Your Weekly USMNT Update — April 16, 2019
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A bit of a slower weekend with Pulisic, McKennie, and Adams all still recovering from recent injuries but we still have some very solid USMNT performances to highlight. This week also starts off the Generation Adidas Cup, an international youth tournament pitting MLS U-17 squads against European, Asian, and other North American U-17 teams to build the competitiveness of American Youth Soccer community. Scroll to our “In Case You Missed It” section for some more links on the tournament.
Star of the Week
Antonee Robinson (21, White Plains, NY) — Wigan Athletic, Championship
Our Star of the Week goes to Antonee Robinson, who was Wigan’s standout player in their 1-1 draw vs. first place Norwich City in Championship action this weekend.
Crucial clearance, dangerous going forward: Robinson was crucial for Wigan on both ends of the pitch, coming up big on defense when he was able to clear a shot off the line to avoid a concession early on into the match. As Wigan gained confidence in possession, Robinson was the driving force on the left wing as he was able to make the game fast and pressure Norwich’s back line with his blistering speed and one touch link-up passing with the Wigan’s midfielders. He also stood out with several driven crosses into the box that contributed to him single-handedly creating five chances against the current leaders in the Championship. 60 touches on the ball, four won duels, two interceptions and three attempts at goal round out an all-around very solid performance for Robinson, who looks like he’s back at 100% following his injury earlier this year.
Left back alternative for the USMNT? Given our lack of depth at left back, we continue to believe that Robinson is a clear contender for a USMNT call up in coming months. He’s more of an attacking left back and has limited experience in a center back role (something that can be asked of LBs in Berhalter’s system at times), but we still think that the natural left footer deserves serious consideration.
Other Notable Performances
Andrija Novakovich (22, Muskego, WI) — Fortuna Sittard, Dutch Eredivisie
A Unique Striker: Andrija Novakovich leads the line for Dutch side Fortuna Sittard. He was on the mark again this week, sweeping in a rebound from a loose parry by the goalkeeper. Though he has a knack for being at the right place at the right time, what is exciting about Novakovich is his excellent ball control and dribbling skills. For a 6’4” striker, his ability to take defenders on and use his agility to find an angle to take a shot on goal is impressive. His strengths include winning aerial duels, taking defenders on, and finishing low, driven shots into the bottom corner of the net. We certainly see him continuing his superb run of form, now with 11 goals and two assists in the first Dutch division this season.
His playstyle is a bit like Robert Lewandowski, though he will have to show some solid consistency upon his return to Reading F.C., his parent club, before he draws any more far-reaching comparisons.
Don’t just take our word for it though, see some of his highlights from this season here:
Erik Palmer-Brown (21, Napoleon, OH) — NAC Breda, Dutch Eredivisie
Erik Palmer-Brown, a Man City loanee, had another man of the match performance for NAC Breda at center back. Statistically, he had a strong game with four successful dribbles, 81% pass completion, two clearances, and of course an 88th minute equalizer for the Dutch side. Erik works well with a possession oriented backline, as he has strong passing ability and likes to play out the back - dishing out to his defensive midfielder or taking the ball up a bit himself, as he can surprisingly dribble well.
See his goal here:
Impressive USMNT center back depth: We like what Palmer Brown has to offer - but his competition at center back is steep. John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Matt Miazga (Reading), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC) and Atlanta’s shooting star, Miles Robinson, are all eyeing a spot in Berhalter’s team. Not to mention Chris Richards (19), who has been extremely impressive with Bayern’s youth squad.
Haji Wright (21, Los Angeles, CA) — Schalke 04, Bundesliga
Hat-trick for the U23: Following an already impressive outing last weekend, Wright took it up another level this weekend by scoring a hat trick for Schalke’s U23 in a 7-0 victory that helped solidify their first place spot in the table. Wright has now clinched four goals and one assist in his last two games for Schalke’s U23. With numbers like those, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him included in Schalke’s first team roster again soon - after all, they could use a consistent striker off the bench in their current relegation battle.
A different, physical kind of striker: As we pointed out last week, given Wright’s physical presence, he’s a striker (similar to Novakovich) that could be an interesting addition to the current USMNT player pool. Particularly in tight games, a target man up front can be a crucial difference maker. In fact, Wright, at 6’3”, could be just that. He is a towering figure with strong heading ability, but has a quick turn and can dribble nicely in tighter spaces. His speed and strength make it challenging for defenders when he pulls away on a short sprint. But next step: senior minutes with Schalke.
Gianluca Busio (16, Greensboro, NC) — Sporting Kansas City, MLS
Opportunity knocks, Busio Answers: Homegrown talent Gianluca Busio scored the game-tying goal against New York Red Bulls in a 2-2 draw. Coming off the bench, he tapped in a cross-shot, snatching on ahead of the sleepy Red Bull’s defense. Opportunistic as ever, Busio became the youngest MLS player to score in three consecutive matches. The winger is adding a bright spark in Kansas City, and we’re excited to see if he can maintain his consistency and begin to start more.
Fun fact, as Busio signed his contract with SKC in the summer of 2017, he became the youngest player to sign an MLS contract since Freddy Adu signed for DC.
Chris Durkin (19, Hampton, VA)—DC United, MLS
Our MLS Spotlight this week goes to Chris Durkin of DC United who unusually found himself in the box against RSL, and ripped a clean strike into the side netting. Known for intercepting balls, blocking passes and marking open spaces that creative players pop into, he has very good defensive spatial awareness, so seeing make a run into the box and finish like a forward will have DC fans grinning. Durkin’s transitional play shines well - he’s known for picking off a pass and immediately switching defense into attack by playing a forward ball either to Rooney (dropping back) or up to Luciano Acosta to create. Durkin can also play brilliant long balls, utilizing his vision to pick up a forward run cutting defensive lines.
Check this assist:
Taylor Booth (17, Eden, UT) — Bayern Munich, Germany
This week’s Youth Spotlight goes to Taylor Booth, who clinched his first goal since arriving in Germany this weekend in Bayern’s U19 5-1 victory over local rivals, Heidenheim. Since arriving in Munich just a few months ago, Booth has slowly worked his way toward consistent minutes with Bayern and is already making an impact on the pitch for the Bavarians. We continue to believe his ball distribution skills and movement off the ball make him a special midfielder that can always get his teammates into play. Maybe he can make a late run for the U20 roster in Poland. Either way, he’s a player to keep an eye on in the future.
OneGoal’s 2022 World Cup Roster as of Today
Note: We are excited to add Erik Palmer-Brown and Andrija Novakovich to the Hunt. Both of them remain a bit under the radar in the Dutch division, but are full quality and future potential at just 21 and 22 years old, respectively.
Zack Steffen (25, Coatesville, PA): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 0-1 loss to Minnesota United (MLS).
Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO): Played 90 minutes in Club Brugge’s 1-3 loss to Genk (Belgian Pro League).
Alex Bono (24, Baldwinsville, NY): Did not play for Toronto FC, but was on the bench for 90 minutes (MLS).
John Anthony Brooks (26, Chicago, IL): Played 90 minutes in Wolfsburg’s 0-2 loss to RB Leipzig (Bundesliga).
DeAndre Yedlin (25, Seattle, WA): Did not play for Newcastle United, but was on the bench for 90 minutes (Premier League).
Antonee Robinson (21, White Plains, NY): Played 90 minutes in Wigan Athletic’s 1-1 tie vs. Norwich City (Championship).
Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ): Played 90 minutes in Reading’s 2-1 win vs. Brentford (Championship).
Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA): Played 90 minutes in Swansea’s 0-4 loss to QPR (Championship).
Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY): Played 90 minutes in Ajax U19 0-1 loss to PSV U19 (Eredivisie U19).
Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Played 90 minutes in NY Red Bulls 2-2 draw to Sporting KC.
Walker Zimmerman (25, Lawrenceville, GA): Played 86 minutes in LAFC’s 2-0 win vs. Cincinnati (MLS).
Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA): Played 2 minutes in San Jose’s 1-2 loss to Houston Dynamo (MLS).
Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY): Did not play this week due to injury.
Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX): Did not play this week due to injury.
Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 0-1 loss to Minnesota United (MLS).
Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Did not play in Derby County’s 4-0 win vs. Bolton Wanderers (Championship).
Kellyn Acosta (23, Plano, TX): Played 90 minutes in Colorado Rapid’s 2-3 loss to DC United (MLS).
Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Played 24 minutes in Chicago Fire’s 1-1 tie vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS).
Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Did not play this week due to injury.
Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 3-2 win vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS).
Jonathan Amon (19, Summerville, SC): Not on roster this week due to injury.
Timothy Weah (20, New York, NY): Played 15 minutes in Celtic’s 3-0 win vs. Aberdeen (Scottish Cup).
Josh Sargent (19, O’Fallon, MO): Did not play this week but was in the game day roster for Werder Bremen (Bundesliga).
ON THE RISE/IN THE HUNT
Corey Baird (23, Escondido, CA), Forward, Real Salt Lake
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
Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY), Defense, Ajax Amsterdam
Jeremy Ebobisse (22, Bethesda, MD), Forward, Portland Timbers
Romain Gall (24, Herndon, VA), Midfield/Forward, Malmo FF
Chris Gloster (18, Montclair, NJ), Defense, Hannover 96
Jonathan Lewis (21, Plantation, FL), Midfield/Forward, NYCFC
Alex Mendez (18, Los Angeles, CA), Midfield, SC Freiburg
Andrija Novakovich (22, Muskego, WI) - Fortuna Sittard
Erik Palmer-Brown (21, Napoleon, OH), Defense, NAC Breda
Paxton Pomykal (19, Lewisville, TX), Midfield, FC Dallas
Chris Richards (19, Hoover, AL), Defense, Bayern Munich
Sebastian Soto (18, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, Hannover 96
Haji Wright (21, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, Schalke 04
News / Transfers
Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie all in practice again after their injuries. Look for them to return to Bundesliga match action next weekend.
In Case You Missed It
Also, congratulations to Sebastian Soto (18) who has appeared in consecutive Bundesliga games for Hannover 96!