Your Weekly USMNT Update— February 11, 2019

Following a very busy week that included Berhalter’s debut as the USMNT’s head coach (see our newsletter here), this week was significantly more quiet as the MLS remains in the offseason until early March. Nonetheless, we have some very solid performances to comment on, mainly from our prospects playing in the German Bundesliga and the English Championship.

STAR OF THE WEEK

Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX), Schalke 04, Bundesliga

Our Star of the Week goes to Weston McKennie, who impressed twice this past week as Schalke cruised past Duesseldorf in the German DFB Pokal (4–1) but suffered a loss to second place Bayern Munich (3–1) in the Bundesliga. Ironically, while McKennie had solid performances in both games (playing 90 minutes in each), despite the loss, we felt that McKennie showcased his abilities best against Bayern. He remained one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lackluster Schalke side as the engine in the midfield, winning tackles and distributing the ball when Schalke moved forward, specifically in the first half. His role was a bit more defensive than in previous games (a role he fills well given his tackling abilities) but he was still able to clinch the assist for Schalke’s only goal of the day.

While Schalke’s season hasn’t gone as well as hoped for many supporters, McKennie has officially become irreplaceable this year after spending a few seasons between their bench and starting the lineup. Look for that trend to hold true for Berhalter and the USMNT.

OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA) - Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga

1 Goal

While Pulisic has often found himself behind the likes of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerrero for Borussia Dortmund this season, when Pulisic does get the start, it quickly becomes apparent why he will be the face of the USMNT for years to come. In this week’s all-important DFB Pokal matchup between Dortmund and Werder Bremen, Pulisic got his opportunity and immediately made an impact by scoring the 2-1 in overtime. While Dortmund didn’t hold on to the lead (eventually lost in penalties) and not every one of Pulisic’s moves in the attacking third was crowned with success, he remained a threat for the remainder of the game. In fact, with his trademark qualities of extreme pace/acceleration, an eye for teammates and clinical finishing ability, we believe Pulisic has the potential to torment any defense in the world and will remain the central figure in USMNT’s future. Lastly, while we think consistent starts won’t be easy to come by over the next few months given his pending move to Chelsea at the end of the season, Pulisic is still a crucial part of Dortmund’s team, and we’d expect him to be called upon in big games when they need some inspiration in the final third.

Cameron Carter Vickers (21, Louisiana) - Swansea, Championship

When the opposing team only has one real goal scoring opportunity for the entire 90 minutes (and this was a long range effort), it is usually because of a solid performance from the center backs, as was the case for Cameron Carter Vickers in this week’s 1-0 victory against FC Millwall. The young American, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, has grown into a commanding role in Swansea’s defense this year given his superior physical presence, heading abilities, and strong tackling skills that make him hard to pass for attackers. Moreover, he is always a consistent threat on set pieces, which he again showed when Swansea netted the 1-0. Vickers kept the ball alive in the box following a corner kick while surrounded by several defenders before the ball eventually made its way to Swansea’s goal scorer, George Byers. While we believe we have some depth at center back at the USMNT and we think Carter Vickers has the potential to improve at opening the play from the back, if he keeps performing at this level and eventually makes the move to the Premier League, we think it will be tough to exclude him in 2022.

Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA) - Derby County, Championship

1 Assist

It is slowly becoming extremely difficult to imagine Derby County’s offense without inspiration from Duane Holmes. In this week’s 2-0 win over Hull City, Holmes continued his recent run of form as he provided the assist to the go-ahead goal after leaving 4 (!) Hull defenders behind him and starting a run near his own half. He continues to impress at taking defenders one-on-one and slotting in teammates that are in open space. Further, he has proven increasingly versatile in terms of his playing position with him often drifting into the middle of the pitch and taking on the role of an attacking center midfielder at times. Holmes has now contributed 1 goal and 2 assists in Derby’s last 4 competitive matches and we are sure Gregg Berhalter has noticed.

ONEGOAL.US 2022 WORLD CUP TEAM AS OF February 11, 2019

Goalkeepers:
Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA): Not in action this weekend with the MLS in off-season.

Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO): Played 90 minutes in Belgium’s top game between Bruegge and Gent, which ended 1-1.

Alex Bono (24, Baldwinsville, NY): Not in action this weekend with the MLS in off-season.

Defenders:

John Anthony Brooks (26, Chicago, IL): Played 90 minutes in Wolfsburg’s 3-3 tie vs. Freiburg.

DeAndre Yedlin (25, Seattle, WA): Not in action this weekend- no game for Newcastle.

Antonee Robinson (21, White Plains, NY): Not in action this weekend- recovering from injury.

Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ): Played  90 minutes in Reading’s 0-0 vs. Sheffield United.

Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Louisiana): Played 90 minutes in Swansea’s 1-0 win vs. Millwall.

George Bello (17, Douglasville, GA): Not in action this weekend.

Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Not in action this weekend.

Walker Zimmerman (25, Lawrenceville, GA): Not in action this weekend.

Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA): Not in action this weekend.

Midfield/Forward:

Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Played 120 minutes in Dortmund’s cup loss to Werder Bremen in mid-week.

Tyler Adams (19, Wappingers Falls, NY): Played 90 minutes in Leipzig’s 1-0 cup win against Wolfsburg in mid-week.

Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX): Played 90 minutes in Schalke’s 4-1 cup win against Dusseldorf in mid-week and another 90 minutes in Schalke’s 3-1 defeat to Bayern in the league.

Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Not in action this weekend.

Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Played 81 minutes in Derby’s 2-0 win vs. Hull City.

Kellyn Acosta (23, Plano, TX): Not in action this weekend.

Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Not in action this weekend with the MLS in off-season.  

Jonathan Amon (19 Summerville, SC): Played 6 minutes in Nordsjaelland’s 3-3 tie vs. Brondby.

Josh Sargent (18, O’Fallon, MI): Came on for a few minutes in Werder’s 4-0 win vs. Augsburg.

Timothy Weah (18, New York, NY): Played 90 minutes in Celtic’s 2-0 win vs. Hibernian FC  in mid-week and played another 23 minutes in a 5-0 cup victory over St Johnstone.

Paul Arriola (23, Chula Vista, CA): Not in action this weekend with the MLS in off-season.

ON THE RISE/IN THE HUNT

  • Taylor Booth (17, Eden, UT), Midfield, Bayern Munich

  • Andrew Carleton (18, Powder Springs, GA), Midfield

  • Sean Davis (25, Long Branch, NJ), Midfield, NY Red Bulls

  • Jeremy Ebobisse (21, Bethesda, MD), Forward, Portland Timbers

  • Romain Gall (24, Herndon, VA), Midfield/Forward, Malmo FF

  • Jonathan Lewis (21, Plantation, FL), Midfield/Forward, NYCFC

  • Matt Polster (25, Milwaukee, WI), Defense/Midfield, Glasgow Rangers

  • Chris Richards (18, Hoover, AL), Defense, Bayern Munich

  • Danny Williams (29, North Carolina), Defense, Huddersfield Town

  • Haji Wright (20, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, Schalke 04

NEWS/TRANSFERS

Celtic Glasgow officially added Timothy Weah to their Europa League roster this week  which could put him in action as early as this upcoming Thursday when Celtic takes on Valencia in their first game of the knockout stages.

All key U.S. prospects involved in Champions League or Europa league play over the next two weeks include:

  • Christian Pulisic- Feb 13, 3pm EST: Tottenham vs Dortmund (CL)

  • Ethan Horvath: Feb 14, 3pm EST: Club Brugge vs RB Salzburg (EL)

  • Timothy Weah: Feb 14, 3pm EST: Celtic vs Valencia (EL)

  • Romain Gall: Feb 14, 3pm EST: Malmo vs Chelsea (EL)

  • Weston McKennie & Haji Wright: Feb 20, 3pm EST: Schalke vs Man City (CL)

Reggie Cannon talks details on Berhalter’s tactical tweaks to the USMNT during the January Training Camp.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Check out Djordje Milhalovic’s recent interview following his debut for the USMNT.