Your Weekly USMNT Update — April 23, 2019
A big week of comebacks for our USMNT stars, as both Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic returned to the pitch in the Bundesliga, albeit under very different circumstances. While Pulisic looks to help Dortmund in what is shaping up to be a historic title race with Bayern Munich, Schalke and Weston McKennie are desperate for points to avoid getting sucked into a deeper relegation battle in the last four games of the season.
Also, Jonathan Amon, who has been sidelined with an injury since the US U20 camp in March returned for FC Nordsjælland in a 2-2 Danish playoff clash.
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Star of the Week
Antonee Robinson (21, White Plains, NY) — Wigan Athletic, Championship
Standout in a defensive battle: For the second week in a row, our Star of the Week goes to Antonee Robinson, who followed up his fantastic outing last weekend with a man of the match performance in Wigan Athletic’s 2-1 win vs. Leeds United. After Wigan dropped to 10 men early in the game (14th minute), Robinson stepped up in a defensive battle as he led his entire team in tackles, interceptions and clearances! In fact, every time Leeds tried to attack with pace down Wigan’s left wing, Robinson was more than capable to absorb the pressure and given his blistering speed, stay composed in 1v1 defending scenarios. On top of that, as usual, Robinson was extremely active on Wigan’s left wing in transition as he joined the attack whenever possible and linked up well with teammates in possession (72% pass accuracy - also among the highest on the night).
Consistent performer week in and week out: The 21-year-old continues to make his case week in and week out at Wigan Athletic, and we are sure that Berhalter has taken note. Robinson is still under contract for Everton in the Premier League, so if he continues his strong run of form, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a transfer move back to Everton this summer. His impressive dribbling skills, speed, and crossing abilities make him one of the most dangerous full backs in the Championship and particularly interesting for Premier League sides who like to attack on the wings and strike on counters.
Other Notable Performances
Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ) — FC Reading, Championship
Another rock-solid performance at the back: In Reading’s 1-1 tie vs. Bristol City, Matt Miazga once again looked rock-solid at the back for Reading, as he almost single handedly made sure that Bristol City was unable to take the lead early on in the game with 13 clearances. His standout moment, however, came with this phenomenal save on the line to deny Bristol:
His awareness, ability to read the game, and passing accuracy out of the back continues to make him a critical player for Reading this season. In fact, since Miazga arrived at Reading in the winter, the team has been unbeaten in 13 out of 16 Championship games - not bad for a team that was third from bottom when Miazga arrived.
Ready for a move into the Premier League? Similar to Antonee Robinson, Miazga’s loan move to the Championship has clearly paid off this season. He is still under contract with Chelsea, and while we aren’t certain that he is ready to break into Chelsea’s squad given their impressive depth at center back (David Luiz, Rudiger, Christensen, Cahill), he’s definitely ready for a permanent move to a top five league.
Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL) — Chicago Fire, MLS
First goal of this season : Djordje scored a simple tap in after some good build up play to extend the Fire’s lead in their 4-1 victory against Colorado. Starting in the heart of midfield alongside Dax McCarty, Mihailovic made a late run into the box after getting the play started with a driven pass up to CJ Sapong. His tap in showed that he does have an eye for goal and an awareness to push forward to sweep in a loose ball.
Watch his goal here:
Positional versatility: Statistically, he had a solid game as well - 45 touches, two key passes, three successful tackles and five interceptions. Seeing Djordje flourish in this position showed his versatility, as he has often been employed as an attacking midfielder instead of a more box-box or distributer. It’s interesting to see some transferable skills, as he still had solid one-touch passing, strength on the ball and managed to find the net all from behind four of Chicago’s attacking players.
Jeremy Ebobisse (22, Bethesda, MD) — Portland Timbers, MLS
Finding some much needed form: Jeremy Ebobisse scored again for the struggling Portland Timbers who were able to pull off an away win in Columbus. With three goals in his last five starts for the Timbers, he has started to show that he has the right mentality and is building some confidence. For his goal, Ebobisse dished the ball out to the wing before making a sneaky run in between three defenders and finishing a driven cross first time into the goal. A tidy goal, Ebobisse moved quickly to first play the pass, run into a pocket of open space, and strike quickly as he didn’t have time to take a touch.
Extra Effort from Ebobisse: Ebobisse tracked back consistently throughout the match, marking the members of the Columbus midfield to put extra pressure and force a mistake. His heat map showed time on the right wing and in the opposing box, as well as, minutes in the midfield. Hopefully, his hard work ethic continues to get paid off with more minutes for the Timbers who need a goalscoring outlet this season.
Julian Green (23, Tampa, FL) — Greuter Fürth, 2. Bundesliga
Finding his stride in the final third: Since his unforgettable goal against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup, Julian Green has been flying a bit under the radar in Germany, as he’s been peddling between several teams (Bayern, Stuttgart, Hamburg) in an effort to garner consistent playing time. Luckily for Green and the USMNT, he seems to have found his stride this season with Greuter Fuerth, where he is one of the key figures in the center of midfield. In this week’s 1-1 draw vs. Union Berlin, Green was the best player on the field as the creative heartbeat. He was able to find his teammates in promising areas of the pitch several times during the game and forced two remarkable saves out of Berlin’s goalkeeper. Green crowned his performance with an assist, as his skillful corner kick was headed home by Caligiuiri to tie the game halfway through the second half.
Still only 23 and talent is there: Sometimes forgotten since he’s been in and around the USMNT player pool for almost five years at this point, but Julian Green is still only 23 years old. His talent on the ball is undeniable and while we have several emerging talents that could step up and claim the playmaker role for the USMNT, we aren’t ready to count Green out of the race just yet.
Check out his stunning top-corner strike from a few weeks ago:
Brenden Aaronson (18, Medford Township, NJ) — Philadelphia Union, MLS
It’s been a breakout season for 18 year old Brenden Aaronson at the Philadelphia Union. The young player has started every game since the third week, either at center mid or attacking mid. He scored on his debut with a nutmeg shot, from outside the box.
Aaronson is excellent on the ball and often pulls away from defenders using his explosive acceleration. He has a tendency to strike from outside the box and likes to pull the strings with frequent short passes. The Homegrown talent has earned high praise from his coach, with Curtin lauding his soccer IQ and mentioning that he “can’t even think about taking him out of games and off the field and out of the lineup.” Aaronson has a high ceiling and should continue to get minutes as the injury to Marco Fabian opens up the opportunity for some additional game time. We’re excited to see if Aaronson can keep up the pace and improve his key passing and assist numbers.
Here are some highlights from one of his best performances against FC Cincinnati this season:
Alex Mendez (18, Los Angeles, CA) — SC Freiburg U19, Bundesliga
This week’s Youth Spotlight goes to Alex Mendez, who was among the most active Freiburg players in their U19 victory over Bayern Munich’s U19, which featured fellow American youth internationals, Chris Richards and Taylor Booth. Mendez, a traditional “number 10” playmaker, showed his link-up ability in this week’s game by stringing together several nice one-touch passes. He also hit the woodwork with a cracking free kick.
It’s been impressive to see how quickly Mendez has adapted to the speed of play in Germany. His current club is known to put a big emphasis on integrating promising youth players into the senior squad. If Mendez keeps up this impressive run of form, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a look by head coach Christian Streich during Freiburg’s summer training camp.
OneGoal’s 2022 World Cup Roster as of Today
Zack Steffen (25, Coatesville, PA): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 1-3 loss to Portland Timbers (MLS).
Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO): Played 90 minutes in Brugge’s 0-0 draw vs. Antwerp (Belgian Pro League).
Alex Bono (24, Baldwinsville, NY): Played 90 minutes in Toronto’s 4-3 win vs. Minnesota United (MLS).
John Anthony Brooks (26, Chicago, IL): Played 90 minutes in Wolfsburg’s 1-1 tie to Eintracht and scored the equalizer in the 90th minute for his squad (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 2-0 win vs. Preston and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 win vs. Leeds United (Championship).
Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ): Played 90 minutes in Reading’s 0-0 tie vs. West Brom and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 tie vs. Bristol City (Championship).
Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA): Played 90 minutes in Swansea’s 1-0 win vs. Ipswich and played 90 minutes in a 4-3 win vs. Rotherham (Championship).
Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY): Did not play this weekend- no match (Eredivisie U19).
Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Played 90 minutes in NY Red Bulls 0-1 loss to the New England Revolution (MLS).
Walker Zimmerman (25, Lawrenceville, GA): Played 90 minutes in LAFC’s 4-1 victory over Sounders FC (MLS).
Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA): Played 90 minutes in San Jose’s 4-1 win vs. Sporting KC (MLS).
Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY): Did not play this week due to injury.
Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX): Played 81 minutes in Schalke’s 2-5 loss to Hoffenheim (Bundesliga).
Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 1-3 loss to Portland Timbers (MLS).
Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Did not play this week due to injury.
Kellyn Acosta (23, Plano, TX): Played 45 minutes in Colorado Rapid’s 1-4 loss to Chicago Fire (MLS).
Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Played 62 minutes in Chicago Fire’s 4-1 win vs. the Colorado Rapids (MLS).
Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Played 19 minutes in Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 win vs. SC Freiburg (Bundesliga).
Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 0-2 loss to NYCFC (MLS).
Jonathan Amon (19, Summerville, SC): Played 32 minutes in FC Nordsjælland’s 2-2 tie vs. Odense Boldklub (Danish Superliga).
Timothy Weah (20, New York, NY): Played 5 minutes in Celtic’s 0-0 tie vs. Hibernian (Scottish Premiership).
Josh Sargent (19, O’Fallon, MO): Did not make Werder Bremen’s game roster this weekend in their 0-1 loss to Bayern Munich (Bundesliga).
ON THE RISE/IN THE HUNT
Corey Baird (23, Escondido, CA), Forward, Real Salt Lake
George Bello (17, Douglasville, GA), Defense, Atlanta United
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
Duane Holmes has been injured with a thigh problem but is expected to return soon per head coach Frank Lampard. Derby remains in a tight race for the promotion play-off spots to the Premier League.
Per Football Wonderkidz, Carter Vickers and been linked with a summer transfer after an extraordinarily successful season with Swansea in the Championship this season.
The Major League Soccer has announced that clubs will start to receive solidarity payments for developing youth players who sign professional contracts. This move comes at a time when more international clubs are looking at MLS talents- in part due to the immediate success that Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent and others are having abroad.
Former Chicago Fire defender, Matt Polster, celebrated his debut with Steven Gerrard’s Glasgow Rangers in Scotland this weekend. And had lots of positive things to say about the Scottish fans.
At the most recent MLS board meeting, Commissioner Don Garber announced that the league has plans to expand to 30 teams, becoming the largest first division professional soccer league in the world.
In Case You Missed It
Notice something cool about the look of MLS teams this weekend? Every team played in a a special Parley jersey made of recycled ocean plastic. The teams donned either dark or light blue kits to support the #GreenerGoals campaign.
Romain Gall might be the most talented long-shot taker in the USMNT player pool. Check out this goal from last season here: