Evening kickaround

USMNT seek mentality shift, USYNT set for tests, Aaronson rejoining LUFC, FC Dallas, & More

ASN's Brian Sciaretta walks you through the news in American soccer with important notes on the U.S. youth national teams, transfers, FC Dallas, Brenden Aaronson, and yes, the USMNT. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
June 10, 2024
9:05 PM

WHILE MOST OF the talk in the American soccer circles on the United States national team as it attempts to pick up the pieces after a brutal loss ahead of the Copa America, there is plenty of other news to talk about with stateside soccer.

 Let’s break it down


U.S. Youth teams in action


This is also a busy week for the top two youth national teams on the men’s side as U-20 (called the U-19 ) team and the Olympic team are both in camps.

The U-20 team opened camp on Friday with an impressive 1-0 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires. The one goal was scored by Keyrol Figueroa and was assisted by Nimfasha Berchimas. This is significant because they are both young players who were key to the last U-17 World Cup team. Berchimas, 16, is playing up a U-20 cycle and is even eligible for the current U-17 team.

Argentina had the better of play, with five shots on target compared with the U.S. team’s three. But the U.S. team defended well, was very good in the physical side of the game, and received strong goalkeeping from Gavin Beavers (who played the first 61 minutes) and Adam Beaudry who replaced him.

The U.S. U-20 team is only in its second and final camp before World Cup qualifying next month. With wins over Argentina this camp and England last camp, the team seems prepared.

On Tuesday, the U.S. team will visit Uruguay in Montevideo. Yet another good test. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. U-23 team is preparing for a friendly against Japan on Tuesday night in Kansas City. Jack McGlynn, Tanner Tessmann, and Paxten Aaronson threw out the first pitch for the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Ried also visited the team over the weekend. 

Marko Mitrovic addressed the media on Monday and said that after the Japan game, his staff will move quickly to make Olympic roster decisions and seek releases from clubs.

The expected starting lineup should be: Schulte; Reynolds, Zimmerman, Neil, Tolkin; Tessmann, Morris, Aaronson; Paredes, McGuire, Yow


FC Dallas fire Estevez


Nico Estevez became the third MLS coach to get fired this season as FC Dallas dismissed the Spaniard after the team’s 1-1 draw Minnesota on Saturday night.

Estevez has been forced to deal with some injuries – most significantly with Alan Velasco and Paxton Pomykal but the team’s offense was not nearly as potent as hoped with Petar Musa, Jesus Ferreira, and Paul Arriola leading the charge. The team has only scored 18 goals all season.

Dallas has not responded well to the team’s formational changes and lineup tinkering. After 16 games this season, Dallas sit 13th out of 14 teams in the Western Conference with 14 points. They are seven points out of ninth place for the play-in game.

Estevez was previously on the USMNT staff under Gregg Berhalter.

It’s a move that had been building as Dallas came into this season with high expectations. Thus far, they’ve been among the most disappointing teams along with Atlanta, who also fired their head coach.

You can’t really argue against this move.


Report: Aaronson to return to Leeds


According to a report from the Yorkshire Evening Post in England, the plan is Brenden Aaronson to return to Leeds next season after a season away with Union Berlin. The season was mixed for Aaronson, but he was very good the final two months of the season and helped Union successfully avoid relegation.

Now he will rejoin Leeds to help them in a promotional push after failing to return to the Premier League with a loss in the playoff final to Southampton.  

The report said:

“Having spent a season away from Elland Road, Aaronson engaged in talks with Leeds and Farke that club sources say went positively, leading to a decision to bring him back into the fold. The YEP understands Aaronson had the option to return to Union Berlin and there was interest from elsewhere but his preference was to come back to Leeds to be part of the promotion effort. Leeds believe that the 23-year-old could be a considerable asset in the Championship, particularly in an area of the pitch that lacked depth last term.”

The Championship is long with 46 games in the season and depth will be important. But Aaronson could thrive in the rough and tumble league as he often brings energy to games.

If Aaronson starts for Leeds, he will play a lot and the benefit of leading a team in a promotional hunt could be huge.


Jasson & Ferkranus earn transfers


A pair of minor transfers were announced in recent days.

The first is that Andres Jasson, 22, was transferred from New York City FC to Aalborg BK in Denmark. The American winger was a homegrown signing for NYCFC but he never sealed a set starting job. In 2023, he played his most for NYCFC making nine starts, 21 total appearances, for a total 807 minutes.

Now he will be joining an Aalborg BK team that just earned promotion back into the Danish Superliga. Aalborg is historically one of the bigger Danish teams but recently was dealing with tough times.

Similarly, 2023 U.S. U-20 central defender Marcus Ferkranus transferred to the Brisbane Roar of Australia’s A-League from the LA Galaxy. The transfer was announced last week. With Ferkranus holding an Australian passport via his mother, he will not take up one of the limited foreign roster spots.

What is interesting in both cases, they were both homegrown players who ran into a difficult time earning playing time. As opposed to the MLS Next Pro or the USL, they were able to secure moves abroad because it offered a better prospect of playing time.

It’s a good avenue for players when regular MLS minutes are not available. They get to experience something different and broaden their perspectives, even if the level is between MLS and USL.


USMNT looking to change mentality


Less than two weeks before the start of a major tournament is not the time for a team to be concerned issues such as mentality. But after the USMNT suffered its worst loss in years after a 5-1 shellacking by Colombia.

But those were the big themes to arise on Monday when Tim Ream and Chris Richards addressed the media. Both spoke of just how much the game, even just a friendly, meant for the Colombians who also had an edge in talent.

Soccer America pulled two of the most significant quotes. 

“I know we talk about these being friendlies and you’re not playing for three points or moving on in a knockout stage, but you understand and start to get a feel for what those games are going to be like,” Ream said. “And we’re moving into tournament play after this week. Knowing what it means to them, I think it needs to mean as much if not more to us. And again that goes back to the intangibles, the fight, and the will to try to get a result.”

“I think a few things will need to change, not just maybe structurally, but also mentality, like Tim spoke about," Richards said. "When you play these types of teams, even if it’s a friendly, you can kind of tell the spirit, the fight that they have. For me, the one thing that we need to change is our mentality.”

For people who have followed the USMNT for decades, this is very surprising because the team’s fighting spirit used to be its hallmark and allowed it to compete well with some very, very talented teams. 

We will see how they respond on Wednesday when they host one of the world’s most storied teams in Brazil.

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