Americans Abroad

Weah and Pulisic stand out in otherwise rough weekend for Yanks in Europe

It's Monday morning and that can only mean one thing, ASN's Brian Sciaretta walks you through the weekend for Americans aborad. The past weekend saw some of the top Americans such as Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah do well, but overall it wasn't a great few days. Meanwhile, he also looks ahead to the final week of the transfer window. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 28, 2023
10:05 AM

THE WEEKEND FOR Americans abroad wasn’t very good and it is masked by the fact that the country’s best player, Christian Pulisic, played well again for AC Milan. And yes, there were a few other good moments. But overall, it was a disappointing three days in terms of lack of playing time, performances, and, unfortunately, injuries.

On Saturday, I received some pushback when I tweeted this:

But I am not sure how to put a positive spin on the weekend but let’s look at it the old fashioned bad, neutral, and good news from the weekend.

The Weekend’s bad news

 Josh Sargent scored a goal as he preyed on Huddersfield’s incompetence, but he was injured on the play. How was the goalkeeper not sent off in this play? He wasn't even issued a card. 

Sure, there was little Matt Turner could do on Nottingham Forest’s 3-2 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford, but he still saw his team blow a 2-0 lead.

Haji Wright didn’t start but he came off the bench for Coventry in a 0-0 draw with Sunderland (where Lynden Gooch was hurt). Wright had a dangerous chance from the left side, but his right-footed shot was saved nicely.

Neither Chris Richards nor Auston Trusty got off the bench in the Premier League. Palace drew away at Brentford 1-1 while Sheffield United lost 2-1 at home to Manchester City. Tyler Adams was still injured, and yes, Antonee Robinson had a good game for Fulham in a draw at Arsenal, but Tim Ream was suspended.

And that’s just in England.

Elsewhere, Luca de la Torre left Celta Vigo’s loss to Real Madrid in the 80th minute with what appeared to be an injured hamstring. In Belgium, Bryan Reynolds went 90 minutes and Griffen Yow was still injured for Westerlo as his team squandered a 2-0 lead at home and fell 3-2 to Mechelen. Westerlo has just one point from five games to start the season. That’s slightly better than Marlon Fossey and Standard Liege who drew lowly Kortrijk and have just two points from five games. In the Eredivisie, Taylor Booth was still injured for Utrecht. Agustin Anello didn’t get off the bench. Anthony Fontana didn’t even make the bench.

In Germany, Brenden Aaronson was sent off in the first half of a Union Berlin (yes, it was a terrible call, but he was still sent off). Meanwhile, social media continues to bring out the worst in people sometimes. Good to see Union Berlin standing up for the USMNT midfielder.

Jordan Pefok played a little in the game for Union and hasn’t ended his dry spell. Joe Scally and Borussia Monchengladbach were routed 3-0 at home to Bayer Leverkusen. Lennard Maloney and Heidenheim coughed up a 2-0 lead at home and lost 3-2 to Hoffenheim, where John Brooks was subbed out in the 54th before the comeback began.

Julian Green and Maxamilian Dietz both started for Greuther Furth and a humiliating 5-0 loss to Hertha BSC with Dietz getting subbed out in the 34th minute for tactics.

In Scotland, Cameron Carter-Vickers was injured for Celtic. Joe Effords was pulled at halftime for Motherwell while his substitute scored the winner against Kilmarnock. In Portugal, Alex Mendez was an unused substitute for Vizela in a 2-0 loss to Vitoria Guimaraes. In Norway, Sam Rogers didn’t get off the bench for Rosenborg in a 4-0 win. In Sweden, it was good that Joe Gyau scored for Degerfors but his 20th minute equalizer did little in a 4-1 loss to Djurgarden and Degerfors remains in a relegation battle. In Austria, George Bello didn’t suit up for LASK in a 2-0 win over Austria Vienna.


The In-between news

Now, that’s the bad news and there is a lot of it. There was also a bunch of news that was neither good nor bad. It was just playing.

Like Erik Palmer-Brown playing the final 20 minutes for Panathinaikos in a 3-0 win over Volos NFC in Greece. Or Tanner Tessemann and Gianluca Busio both starting for Venezia in a 1-1 draw with Cosenza. Dante Polvara also played 57 minutes for Aberdeen in a 2-2 draw at St. Mirren that won’t be remembered as good or bad.

In Spain’s Segunda, Jonathan Gomez played the final 28 minutes for Mirandes in a 1-0 loss to Espanyol. In the Dutch second tier, the Eerste Divisie, Den Bosh dropped a 2-1 decision at home to Den Haag. Justin Che went 60 minutes in the win for his club debut. Gedion Zelalem went 88 minutes in the loss.

In the Danish Superliga, AGF Aarhus defeated Lyngby 1-0. Jonathan Amon was subbed into the game in the 67th minute for Lyngby. It was a loss, but the good news is that it was his most minutes since he started his comeback this season. Prior to this season, he hadn’t played since October 2020.

In the 2.Bundesliga, Terrence Boyd played the final 19 minutes for Kaiserslautern in a 2-1 win over Paderborn, but all the scoring was done when he entered.


The Weekend’s Good News


The good news is thin. Christian Pulisic was great again for AC Milan in the 4-1 win over Torino where he scored his second goal in as many games. But he is finding a way to be consistently dangerous. Yunus Musah made his debut for Milan and played the final 24 minutes, but Milan is playing so well when he’s not playing that it seems like he’s not going to start regularly anytime soon.

It was tough to gauge the Yank duo at Juventus for the 1-1 draw on Sunday with Bologna. Tim Weah started and played 82 minutes. He left shortly after Dusan Vlahovic equalized for Juve in the 80th minute. When Weah came out, he was replaced by Weston McKennie. Both Americans have played in the first two Juventus games this season, but they have yet to play together.


Bottom line, however, is that Weah was once again terrific. He was the best player for Juventus in this game. He was dangerous in the attack, competent in defense, and overall looks like a great fit at right wingback for Juve. He nearly scored on a volley in the second half.

McKennie meanwhile looked okay in his time on the field – also playing on the right side after Weah left – but it was in limited minutes. Playing as a right wingback does not make the most out of McKennie’s ability and he’s not comfortable there. It raises the question whether McKennie is really in the plans at Juventus or if he is being used to plug holes.

In England, Antonee Robinson had a good but not great game for Fulham in a 2-2 draw away at Arsenal. Unfortunately, there are reports Fulham is looking at Spanish left back Sergio Reguilón from Tottenham. That would be a huge concern for Robinson.

In the Championship, Duane Holmes was a nice surprise as he scored the winning goal for Preston North End in the 78th minute in a 2-1 victory over Swansea.

Holmes played 85 minutes in the game and Preston North End now has a very respectable 10 points from its first four games. Holmes was named to the Championship team of the week. 


In Belgium, Eupen posted a big 3-1 win over OH Leuven with young American goalkeeper Gaga Slonina making two saves in the win, which was the second in a row for Eupen with Slonina in goal.

While it also could have been in the neutral category, Emmanuel Sabbi was subbed into Le Havre’s 2-2 away draw with Rennes in the 73rd minute. All the scoring had taken place when Sabbi came into the game and he didn’t really do anything of note, the fact he is playing in a Big Five league is impressive. Le Havre might get relegated this year, but Sabbi at least has a shot now at a high level.

While he typically doesn’t get mentioned in detail in my weekly columns, Caleb Stanko had a good outing in the Greek Super League on Sunday when he started and went 76 minutes for Lamia in a 1-0 win over Aris.


Bottom line


The negatives outweigh the positives for Americans abroad, both this weekend and in the season’s first few weeks. But the big positive is that most of the top American players are all doing well. Pulisic, Weah, Turner, Robinson, and Sargent are all in the positive corner.

It’s the tier after that where there is concern. Joe Scally hasn’t had a solid start at M’Gladbach, Chris Richards might be a top American centerback but he can’t sniff the field at Palace. The Americans in Belgium (McKenzie, Reynolds, Vines, and Fossey) have had a tough start. The big exception is that Slonina has had a very good two weeks. Brenden Aaronson at Union Berlin had a good club debut and was just sent off. It’s not a concern. Luca de la Torre’s latest injury could keep him off the national team in the coming window. He’s a good player, but the production numbers still need to be better.

Another area to pay close attention is with some of the top young American players in big leagues – particularly Paxten Aaronson at Eintrach Frankfurt and Kevin Paredes at Wolfsburg. Paredes missed most of preseason, but he is now approaching two years at the club. At some point, we will need to see progress (or a possible loan) to get him on the path to start games. Aaronson, meanwhile, is still in a good spot as he is only in his second season with the club. But he is now adjusted to life in Germany, so expectations should be higher and we should see what Eintracht’s plans are for him.


The End of the Window


This is the final week of the transfer window and there should be Americans involved. Here are some thoughts.

Folarin Balogun should be introduced at AS Monaco soon. The club needs a striker after striker Breel Embolo suffered a torn ACL. There are expectations Monaco could contend but they need a forward. If Monaco pays a big sum for Balogun, he’s going to play a lot. There will be a lot of pressure on him as the club’s fortunes will hinge on the USMNT forward.

Ethan Horvath is backing up Matt Turner right now but there are many reports Nottingham Forest are in the market for another keeper. That could mean competition for Turner but it almost surely means Horvath could be on his way out. I’d be surprised if he’s at Forest by the end of the week.

Chris Richards isn’t playing at all with Palace and there are reports in Germany that Stuttgart are looking at him. The fact that Stuttgart lost 5-1 over Leipzig could press the issue to bring in another defender and Richards has had success in Bundesliga before.

Jordan Pefok does not seem to be a big part of the squad for Union Berlin and he’s scored just once since last September. He could be target for a club seeking a forward and there have been reports Monchengladbach is interested because it would reunite him with his former Young Boys coach Gerardo Seoane.

Tanner Tessmann is wanted by bigger clubs but what will Venezia want for him? He is important to their promotion push and Venezia won’t give him away.

Alex Mendez is another player who has seen his playing time decline and he’s hardly playing for  Vizela at the moment. He might need a change of scenery and Vizela might be open to sell if they can make a decent profit.

Johnny Cardoso is always getting mentions during transfer windows and he didn’t play over the weekend (going as an unused substitute). A 21 year old who typically starts for Internacional is always going to generate some interest.

Alan Sonora is still currently a free agent. The most likely scenario is that he returns to his home in Argentina. But maybe he can find a place in Europe for a chance.

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