Your Weekly USMNT Update— Feburary 19, 2019
A quick heads up: in order to provide full coverage of every matchday, we have decided to change our publish day to Tuesday mornings. Let us know what you think of the change — email@example.com.
Mixed results in Champions League and Europa League: Back to this week — plenty of highlights with several prospects playing in the first knockout stages of the Champions League and Europa League, in addition to their domestic competition. Unfortunately, among our USMNT prospects, only Ethan Horvath was able to clinch a victory in European action with the Belgian side Brugge (2–1 at home against Salzburg). Good news is that virtually all matchups are still within reach for a turnaround in the second leg. And who knows, maybe Weston McKennie and Schalke will upset Guardiola’s Manchester City this week in the Champions League.
STAR OF THE WEEK
Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY) — RB Leipzig, Bundesliga
For the second time in four weeks, our star of the week goes to Tyler Adams, who has found immediate success in the Bundesliga since his arrival in early January from the New York Red Bulls. In Leipzig’s 3–1 victory against a well organized Stuttgart side, Adams once again played the full 90 minutes as a holding center mid alongside the German international, Diego Demme.
First assist in the Bundesliga: While his defensive abilities were never in question, his success as a ball distributor has been nothing but remarkable, underpinned by 71% pass accuracy and many one-time passes that kept the game fast-paced. Moreover, following early games where Adams often preferred to simply keep possession, he is getting increasingly comfortable seeking out passes that can split the opponent’s defense such as the one that led to Leipzig’s 3–1 by Youssef Poulsen, which marked Adam’s first assist in the German Bundesliga.
Transition play a good match for Adams: It appears as though Adams’ abilities to win the ball in midfield, hold onto it, and find a teammate quickly is a perfect match for Leipzig’s style that is supported by Timo Werner’s blistering speed up top. All said, this marked Adams’ 4th start out of 6 competitive matches since he arrived in Leipzig and after just a few weeks in Germany, it seems as though he has found a permanent spot in Leipzig’s starting 11.
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES
Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO) — Club Brugge, Belgian 1st Division
Two critical saves against Salzburg: Despite conceding an early goal against Salzburg’s Junuzovic after an unlucky slip, he was crucial in enabling an impressive second half comeback in Brugge’s 2–1 win over Salzburg mid-week. Two big-time saves toward the end of the first half kept the game at only 0–1 going into the half as Horvath was able to deflect a shot from point blank range in one instance and saved a dangerously low-driven shot from the top of the box in another.
He can perform in big games: While considerably less busy during the second half as Brugge took control over the game, when Horvath was brought into action, he remained flawless. Above all, we think his performance proves that he can execute in the face of adversity, even in big games — Salzburg was unbeaten for six Europa League games prior to their trip to Belgium. Lastly, while Horvath’s strengths are clearly on the line, we’d like to see him grow into more of a commanding presence in his box on set pieces and crosses.
Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY) — Celtic Glasgow, Scottish Premiership
Standout Celtic player in just 15 minutes: Alongside Tyler Adams, Tim Weah has been the second standout US player thus far in 2019 and should get USMNT fans excited about what could be in store for the next few years. While he only played about 15 minutes in Celtic’s 1–0 victory over Kilmarnock, those 15 minutes were by far among the best that Celtic’s attack looked all game. Weah continues to impress with deep runs behind the opponent’s back line that allowed him to get a clean look at goal in the last seconds of the game, only to be denied by the post.
Versatile in attack: He is also looking increasingly comfortable in combining with his new Celtic teammates as he often drifted into the midfield to open up the play from a deeper position, which freed space for Burke and Sinclair up top. Lastly, while he was unable to score in the attempt that hit the post, Weah is not afraid to take a strike at goal from virtually any position, something lacking from the USMNT game for some time. Given this impressive run of performances for Weah, we think he should soon take over a starting spot for Celtic as early as the second leg matchup against Valencia coming up this Thursday.
Romain Gall (24, Herndon, VA) — Malmo FF, Swedish 1st Division
Goal and assist in Malmo’s domestic opener: Soccer in Sweden is slowly getting back to action, and Romain Gall did not have to wait long before appearing on the score sheet. In Malmo’s 3–2 victory vs. Degerfors, Gall clinched one goal and one assist as he was a consistent threat in front of goal. Much like many of our US prospects who primarily play on the wing, Gall has the ability to take defenders one-on-one, but what leaves us excited about Gall is his ability to pull the trigger from outside the box. He once again showcased this ability when he found the back of the net from well beyond the box.
USMNT competition on the wing is fierce: The competition for a spot on the wing for the USMNT is fierce and a frequent knock on Gall is that the level of play in the Swedish League does not compare to other European leagues. While we agree with this point, it is important to note that Berhalter knows the Swedish League firsthand given his time as head coach of Hammarby IF, so we would not categorically dismiss Gall’s chances for a ticket in 2022. Lastly, Malmo is focused on their upcoming trip to Stamford Bridge, where they will face Chelsea in a second leg Europa League matchup and try to come back from a 1–2 loss this week. If Gall can showcase his skill at Chelsea, all “lower quality” arguments could be nullified.
ONEGOAL.US 2022 WORLD CUP TEAM AS OF TODAY
Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA): Not in action this weekend.
Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO): Played 90 minutes mid-week in Brugge’s 2–1 win vs. Salzburg (EL) and played 90 minutes in a 3–1 win vs. Genk (Belgian’s 1st Division).
Alex Bono (24, Baldwinsville, NY): Not in action this weekend.
John Anthony Brooks (26, Chicago, IL): Played 90 minutes in Wolfsburg’s 3–0 win vs. Mainz (Bundesliga).
DeAndre Yedlin (25, Seattle, WA): Played 90 minutes in Newcastle’s 1–1 tie vs. Wolves last Monday (Premier League).
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 0–4 loss to Sheffield United (Championship).
Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Louisiana): Played 90 minutes in Swansea’s 4–1 win vs. Brentford (FA Cup).
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.
Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Played 90 minutes in Dortmund’s 0–3 defeat at Tottenham in mid-week (CL).
Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY): Played 90 minutes in Leipzig’s 3–1 win vs. Stuttgart (Bundesliga).
Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX): Played 90 minutes in Schalke’s 0–0 draw vs. Freiburg (Bundesliga).
Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Not in action this weekend.
Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Played 45 minutes in Derby County’s 1–2 loss to Brighton (FA Cup).
Kellyn Acosta (23, Plano, TX): Not in action this weekend.
Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Not in action this weekend.
Jonathan Amon (19 Summerville, SC): Played 9 minutes in Nordsjaelland’s 2–1 win vs. Hobro (1st Danish League).
Josh Sargent (18, O’Fallon, MO): Played 15 minutes in Werder Bremen’s 1–1 draw vs. Hertha Berlin (Bundesliga).
Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY): Played 30 minutes in Celtic’s 0–2 loss to Valencia mid-week (EL) and played 13 minutes in Celtic’s 1–0 win vs. Kilmarnock (Scottish Premiership).
Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Not in action this weekend.
ON THE RISE / IN THE HUNT
Taylor Booth (17, Eden, UT), Midfield, Bayern Munich
Andrew Carleton (18, Powder Springs, GA), Midfield
Sean Davis (26, Long Branch, NJ), Midfield, NY Red Bulls
Jeremy Ebobisse (22, 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 AND TRANSFERS
Christian Pulisic suffered a hamstring injury during Dortmund’s Champions League loss to Tottenham in mid-week. He is expected to miss the next two Bundesliga games.
All Champions League and Europa League results with U.S. involvement from last week:
Christian Pulisic: Tottenham vs Dortmund 3–0 (CL)
Ethan Horvath: Club Brugge vs RB Salzburg 2–1 (EL)
Timothy Weah: Celtic Glasgow vs Valencia 0–2 (EL)
Romain Gall: Malmo vs Chelsea 1–2 (EL)
This week’s Champions League and Europa League fixtures:
Weston McKennie & Haji Wright: Feb 20, 3pm EST: Schalke vs Man City (CL)
Ethan Horvath: Feb 21, 12:55 pm EST: RB Salzburg vs. Club Brugge (EL)
Timothy Weah: Feb 21, 12:55 pm EST: Valencia vs. Celtic Glasgow (EL)
Romain Gall: Feb 21, 3pm EST: Chelsea vs. Malmo (EL)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Timothy Weah talks Scottish stereotypes on Celtic’s official TV channel.