Americans Abroad

Turner makes statement with Forest, Aaronson assists, Pulisic wins, & much more

ASN's Brian Sciaretta does a very deep dive into the weekend for Americans abroad starting with Turner's huge win at Stamford Bridge and covering everthing else, including Paxten Aaronson's assist, Milan's winning ways, the always debatable John Brooks, and much more. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
September 04, 2023
1:00 PM

IT IS LABOR DAY in the United States which marks the unofficial end of summer. The summer transfer window is mostly over in Europe and the soccer season in Europe now has a steady flow. For American players, there are now less talks over moves and more about playing and playing well.

The summer transfer window was a good one for Americans. It was unprecedented in terms of movement and just about everyone who had to move put themselves either in a better position, or (like Sergino Dest) in a position where they can reset. The proof will come in the months ahead, and while some moves won’t prove to be winners, most will.

The concern, however, is in key players who didn’t move. Most notably Chris Richards and Ethan Horvath. These are two national team caliber players who are stuck in the depth charts at their current clubs. It’s important to note that the entire summer window is now closed. It remains open in Belgium and, unsurprisingly, we see Richards now linked to Club Brugge for what would be a likely loan. That seems like a very realistic move.

Horvath, meanwhile, in on the verge of becoming the third choice goalkeeper at Nottingham Forest. Throughout his career, playing time has swung wildly between being a starter and a seldom used backup. Now months after leading Luton Town to promotion to the Premier League, he is in limbo. Is there a club for him in Belgium as well?

On the field, this weekend was okay. There were some very good things and some frustratingly bad things. But let’s walk through it.


Turner’s big win


The top story of the weekend in Americans abroad came in London where Matt Turner posted a cleansheet win for Nottingham Forest in a 1-0 victory over hosting Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. If ever there was a player who needed a big performance, it was Turner.

Just two days after Forest acquired Benfica and Greek national team starting goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos, Turner found himself in a position where there was competition for his starting job. He responded with a two save effort and a commanding performance in an important win over Chelsea.

This will likely keep Turner in the starting XI, for now. But not where is pressure to perform well regularly.


Elsewhere in the EPL


For a moment, it was exciting in Manchester. With overmatched Fulham playing Manchester City, Tim Ream equalized for the Cottagers in the 33rd minute to make the score 1-1.

That was all downhill from there for Fulham. Erling Haaland had a hat trick and Man City rolled to a 5-1 win to remain perfect with 12 points from four games. Ream and Antonee Robinson both went 90, but aside from Ream’s tap-in, it was a day to forget for both players.

Tyler Adams was still not ready for AFC Brournemouth but it was a tough outing for his team as they surrendered a stoppage time equalizer in a 2-2 away draw at Brentford. That would have been a huge two points in what could be a relegation battle.

Finally two USMNT defenders watched their teams and went as unused substitutes. Chris Richards did not play for Crystal Palace in a 3-2 win over Wolves and all eyes are on the rumors to link him to Club Brugge as Belgium’s window is still open. Meanwhile, Auston Trusty watched his Sheffield United team play Everton to a 2-2 draw.


Yanks in the Championship


It was a busy weekend for the Yanks in the Championship, despite injuries forcing Josh Sargent out of Norwich’s 2-1 loss to Rotherham United and Daryl Dike out of West Brom’s 2-1 loss at home to Huddersfield. Both American forwards were missed.

The top story among this American contingent was Haji Wright who went a full 90 for Coventry in a 3-3 draw at home with Watford. Wright saved his best moment for the 87th minute when he assisted on Matt Godden’s goal to even the score at 3-3. It’s hard to tell if Wrigth was intending that pass or if it deflected, but it worked out in the end. Godden had previously missed a penalty in the 20th minute.

It was also a huge day for Duane Holmes and Preston North End. The American attacking midfielder was subbed into the game to start the second half and led Preston North End to a big 2-0 away win over Stoke City. With the score 0-0 when he came on, Holmes drew a penalty in the 50th minute and provided the assist on Will Keane’s 57th minute goal on a lethal attacker.

Holmes is playing terrific soccer right now and Preston North End sits atop the Championship table with 13 points from five games. Holmes made a great move getting out of Huddersfield this summer. Even with his childhood attachment to the club, he has put himself in a great position to be in a promotion race. He will soon turn 29, so it’s an open question if he has another call-up left in him. It’s hard to see it because of Berhalter looking at younger options like Ben Cremaschi, Tanner Tessman, as well as other players emerging – like Noel Buck and Paxten Aaronson. But who knows? All Holmes can do is continue to play well and make it a tough decision.

In that game, Lynden Gooch made his Stoke debut after his transfer from Sunderland. The Santa Cruz native went the final 29 minutes.

Finally in the Championship, Charlie Kelman went as an unused substitute for Queens Park Rangers in a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough.


Spain: de la Torre starts in big Celta win


On Friday, Luca de la Torre went a full 90 for Celta Vigo in a big 3-2 away win over Almeria. The U.S. national team midfielder was his typical self in this game. He was tidy on the ball, helped in position, he advanced the ball into dangerous areas from time to time. He doesn’t really create or get on the end of dangerous plays often and he’s not a defensive presence. He’s a facilitator for others.

The good thing is that he’s improving in this role for Celta. He seems more comfortable this year than last and the team seems to trust him. He is in a great position because not all coaches in a big five league would have a role for him, but he has carved out a spot with Celta.

In the second tier, Jonathan Gomez was an unused substitute for Mirandes in a 1-1 draw at Huesca. It’s still early in the season, but Gomez is in a tricky spot in his career. He really hasn’t found a place to play and grow yet in Europe.

Finally in the second tier, Konrad de la Fuente is still injured and missed Eibar’s 1-0 loss to Leganes.


Pulisic & Milan win in Rome


AC Milan are firing on all cylinders to start the Serie A season. After a 2-0 win at Bologna and a 4-1 win at home against Torino, Milan continued their perfect start on Friday with a 2-1 win over Roma away at the Olympic Stadium. Both Milan teams have nine points from three games.

Christian Pulisic started and went 79 minutes. He played well and nearly scored the team’s third goal, only to have it saved. He also created two more dangerous chances and this game fit into the theme that this has been a great rebound for Pulisic after Chelsea. He needed out and he looks both happy and confident.

Pulisic left shortly after Milan were reduced to 10 players in the 61st minute. From there, Milan bunked their way to a win on the road.

As for Musah, he didn’t get off the bench. It’s going to require patience with him. Yes, the red card required a different need, tactically. But Milan is just playing too well right now that he is going to have to wait until there is an opening of if there is squad rotation.


McKennie starts for Juve in win


It’s a weird situation with the two Americans at Juventus. Tim Weah started the first two Juve games and it appeared he played well. But it wasn’t what Max Allegri wanted and instead he started Weston McKennie on Sunday against Empoli. McKennie played 83 minutes at right wingback before being replaced by Weah for the final seven minutes.


It’s a weird situation. McKeniie is serviceable as a right wingback, but it’s not his best position. In this game, he did well, and he had a close shot blocked in the first half. But McKennie out of position is what was keeping Weah off the bench.

It’s hard to see what more Allegri wants from Weah. When he came into this game and replaced McKennie, Weah hit a wonderful cross that Arkadiusz Milik headed off the bar.

Still, both are playing for Juventus and both are on a winning team. It’s still early in the season and perhaps things will settle into something normal, where McKennie plays in the midfield and Weah is at wingback or as a winger. But for now, this is the present.


Elsewhere in Italy


In Serie B, Venezia earned a hard-fought point on the road with a 0-0 draw at Cittadella. Tanner Tessmann is ready for the upcoming USMNT camp, and he is playing well as a solid two-way midfielder. In this game he played 89 minutes and Gianluca Busio replaced him to help close out the game. Venezia has eight points from two games.

At this rate, I’ll be surprised if Tessmann is there through the end of January. He’ll probably be too valuable not to sell and he’s doing this while a lot of Serie A scouts are watching. As for Busio, I am sure Venezia would be happy to sell but they need someone to meet a high price to recoup some of their investment.

Andrija Novakovich made his club debut for Lecco in a delayed start to their Serie B season. He scored in the 54th minute to cut Lecco’s deficit to 2-1. But in the end, Catanzaro prevailed 4-3. It was a tough loss for Lecco at home in their opener and they might be in a relegation battle all season fresh off promotion from Serie C.


Brooks scores in Hoffenheim win


John Brooks, 30, scored an equalizer for Hoffenheim in a 3-1 win over his former club Wolfsburg on Saturday. His goal came just before the half and, surprisingly, it didn’t involve a header but rather a run into the box and a finish with his feet.

Brooks had a big game as he went the distance. Naturally, this caused many to speculate, again, why Brooks wasn’t on the national team roster. Brooks is a complicated player and not for every team or system. He’s fallen out of favor with multiple managers and gradually found his way into the plans of others. He’s been in the plans of Gregg Berhalter and Jurgen Klinsmann, only to have had tough times with both. But now, no longer in his prime, it’s just tougher to work his way back in. Fortunately, he is in the plans of the team’s American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo.

Also in this game, Kevin Paredes came into the game in the 68th minute for Wolfsburg. It was a good appearance for Paredes who brought some life into the game for Wolfsburg when they needed it. At some point, Paredes needs to earn occasional starts. Since moving to Wolfsburg from DC United, he has made 24 appearances and just one start. At least becoming a part time starter is a good realistic goal for Paredes.


Aaronson assists for Eintracht


Paxten Aaronson has had a good week. He made a start for Eintracht midweek in a 2-0 win over Levski Sofia in a Conference League qualifier. Now on Saturday, he came off the bench in the 80th minute and assisted on an 87th minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Koln.

Aaronson, 20, was in consideration for a USMNT callup but he still has only played 269 minutes in all of 2023 for Eintracht. That call-up is coming, unless he is shifted to the Olympic team, which wouldn’t be a bad team for him if his releases can be secured.

Joe Scally, 21, got the start for Borussia Monchengladbach as they hosted Bayern Munich on Saturday. The Long Island native has a positive history against the perennial Bundesliga champions and in this game, he played well defensively despite a 2-1 loss. Scally was subbed out in the 83rd minute with the score 1-1 and he came out for an injury while trying to clear a ball. Scally wasn’t one of the best players, but he was up to the level of play. Jordan Pefok made his club debut for Borussia Monchengladbach but he didn’t register a shot or create a chance in his 31 minutes.

Lennard Maloney went 90 minutes for Heidenheim in a hard-fought 2-2 away draw against Borussia Dortmund. Heidenheim is expected to be in a relegation battle this season so earning a point away at Dortmund is impressive. Maloney was not an instrumental player for Heidenheim in this game but he was serving his purpose as a physical presence in the middle of the midfield. He committed a game-high five fouls, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for Heidenheim either. Heidenheim has one point from its first three games but is not in the bottom three of the league due to goal differential.

Finally in the Bundesliga, Brenden Aaronson was suspended for Union Berlin’s 3-0 loss at home to RB Leipzig.

In the 2.Bundesliga, Julian Green and Maximillian Dietz each went 90 minutes for Greuther Furth in a 3-1 loss at home. Furth does not look like it will be a promotional contender this year and this was a poor effort. The good news, however, is that the one goal from Furth was a beautiful strike from Green from distance. Green’s future moving forward will be interesting. He is showing his level as a above-average 2.Bundesliga player. At what point could he be looking beyond Germany?

Elsewhere in the 2.Bundesliga, Terrence Boyd played the final 20 minutes for Kaiserslautern in a 3-1 win over Nurnberg. Also, St. Pauli and its American-born manager Fabian Hurzeler drew Eintracht Braunschweig 1-1 on the road. It’s the fourth straight draw for St. Pauli.


Americans shine in PSV win


PSV cruised to a 4-0 away win over RKC Waalwijk on Saturday and it was the first time all three of the club’s American players featured. It was a comfortable win for a Champions League caliber team in PSV over a team that is expected to be in a relegation battle and has lost each of its first four games.

Sergino Dest started and was effective, again, over his 84 minutes. Thus far, he has been what PSV had hoped.

Malik Tillman and Ricardo Pepi each went the final 18 minutes. Ricardo Pepi had a goal called back because he was in an offside position. This season, Pepi is there to learn and provide from Luke De Jong so it is wise to dial expectations way back for Pepi. He will play, but so long as de Jong is healthy, playing time will be very uneven.

Tillman found the back of the net in this game and he took advantage of horrible Waalwijk defending to score the final goal. It was good for Tillman who should be more confident as a result. He is still very unlikely to displace the team’s starters anytime soon.


Elsewhere in the Netherlands


Djordje Mihailovic, 24, played the final 18 minutes for AZ Alkmaar in a 2-0 away win over Vitesse on Saturday. Mihailovic came into the game after all the goals were scored but he played relatively well, tidy with his passes and defending well to see out an away win. But AZ is playing so well right now with nine points from three games, that it is tough to make changes with the starting lineup.

Agustin Anello, 21, played the final 13 minutes for Sparta Rotterdam in a 1-1 draw with Nijmegen. The winger from South Florida was on the field for the equalizer.


Taylor Booth was unable to play for Utrecht which lost 5-1 to Feyenoord at home and has lost all four of their games to start the season.

In the second tier Eerste Divisie, Gedion Zelalem started and played 63 minutes for Den Bosch in a 2-1 loss at home to Jong PSV. Also, Justin Che had a very good outing for Ado Den Haag in a 4-1 win over Jong AZ. Che had an assist playing as a right back.


Injury slows Vines’ rise


For awhile it seemed as if Sam Vines was going to have a 10-day run for the ages. Seeing his first meaningful playing time since his broken leg last November. In the Champions League playoff against AEK Athens, Vines was pressed into duty. In the first leg, he came in to defend after his team was down to 10 men. He played well to see out a 1-0 win. In the second leg, he stood out as Royal Antwerp prevailed.

Now making his first league start in 2023 against a good Union SG team, Vines equalized for Antwerp in the 22nd minute with a splendid goal from distance to make it 1-1.

Unfortunately, Vines was subbed out eight minutes later with what looked like a muscle problem. It’s just awful news as Vines has had very tough luck since joining Antwerp from Colorado. He’s played well, but has also broken his collarbone, broken his tibia, and now this.

Antwerp and Union SG finished 1-1. For Vines, hopefully he came make his Champions League group stage debut this fall but we will learn this week the extent of his injury.


Elsewhere in Belgium


Mark McKenzie and Genk played Anderlecht to a 1-1 draw at home. McKenzie got the start on the left side of the defense and was 42/46 in his passing, including 7/9 in long balls. It was a tough defensive assignment as Genk was down to 10 players in the 14th minute. The U.S. national team defender played 84 minutes and was subbed out as Genk chased the equalizer – which came in stoppage time.

Gaga Slonina made five saves but his Eupen team lost 1-0 to Mechelen. But the one goal conceded is one he would probably like to have back.

Bryan Reynolds
went 90 minutes for Westerlo but his team fell on the road to Cercle Brugge 2-1. Nothing is working for Westerlo at the moment, and they have just one point from their first six games. Reynolds played well and put up impressive numbers defensively (6/7 ground duels, 8 recoveries, 3 interceptions) but was unable to create anything dangerous offensively.

Marlon Fossey came off the bench for the second straight game for Standard Liege in a 1-1 draw with RWD Molenbeek. Standard also has had a poor start to the season with just three points from six games.


Yanks elsewhere


In Norway’s top flight, Sam Rogers earned very positive marks from local media for his club debut for Lillestrom. The American central defender played a very strong game in a 1-1 away draw with Aalesund. Also in Norway, Kobe Hernandez-Foster was an unused substitute in a 4-4 draw with Bodo/Glimt.


In Scotland’s Premiership, Cameron Carter-Vickers was injured for Celtic’s 1-0 win over Rangers in an Old Firm derby. Scott Pittman started and played 82 minutes for Livingston in a 1-1 draw with St. Mirren. Pittman is the club’s all-time leader in appearances. Dante Polvara played the final 14 minutes for Aberdeen in a 2-0 loss at home to Hibernian. Finally, Joe Efford was an unused substitute for Motherwell in a 1-0 win over Hearts at home. Motherwell played the final 21 minutes down to 10 players.

In Greece’s Super League, Caleb Stanko started and went 90 minutes for Lamia in a 4-0 loss on the road to Olympiacos. Erik Palmer-Brown made his first start for Panathinaikos in a 1-0 away win over PAS Giannina. Palmer-Brown went 73 minutes and left with the score 0-0. The winning goal was scored a minute after he left.

In Austria, George Bello was an unused sub for LASK in a 3-0 win over Austria Lustenau

In Portugal, Alex Mendez was an unused substitute for Vizela in a 1-0 win over Gil Vicente.

In the Danish Superliga, Jonathan Amon played the final three minutes for Lyngby in a 1-1 draw against his former club, Nordsjaelland. Amon was on the field for FCN’s late equalizer.

In France’s Ligue 1, Emmanuel Sabbi was unused for Le Havre in a 3-0 win over Lorient.

In Sweden’s Allvsenskan, Joe Gyau went 90 minutes for Degerfors in a big 1-0 upset win over Hacken, last season’s champions. That win could go a long way towards helping Degerfors avoid relegation. Gyau was involved in the winning goal.


In Honduras, Jonathan Bornstein went 90 minutes for Vida in a 6-2 loss to Olimpia.

In Brazil, Johnny Cardoso was injured for Internacional's 0-0 away draw against Goias.

In Argentina, Joel Sonora was unused for Huracan in a 2-1 win over Colon.

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