Your Weekly USMNT Update — April 30, 2019

It’s been another busy week for our USMNT prospects with several MLS teams playing midweek fixtures in addition to regular weekend action, while the European leagues are winding down to the business end of their seasons.

In fact, several USMNT players still have plenty to play for between relegation/promotion battles, the hunt for European qualifier spots, or even a chance at winning silverware. A list of key battles we are keeping a close eye on:

USMNT End of Season Battles:

  • Christian Pulisic and Dortmund remain in a neck and neck title race with Bayern Munich. Dortmund trails the Bavarian giants by two points with three games left to play in the Bundesliga.

  • Tyler Adams has the chance to win the German DFB Cup as Leipzig is set to take on Bayern in the final on May 25th.  

  • Duane Holmes is fighting for a Premier League play-off promotion spot with Derby County. Derby currently sits in 6th place (last play-off spot), tied on points with 7th place Middlesbrough with four games left to play.

  • Ethan Horvath and Club Brugge are in the midst of the Belgian Pro League title race. With four games left to play in the Championship play-offs, Brugge (2nd) trails Genk by six points.

  • John Anthony Brooks and Wolfsburg look to secure a Europa League place in the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg are one point behind the last EL spot (7th place Hoffenheim) with three games left to play.

  • Sebastian Soto and Hannover 96 are staring down the barrel of relegation. With three games left to play, Hannover are six points off the relegation play-off spot and under pressure to clinch points in the coming weeks to stay alive.

  • Timo Weah and Celtic Glasgow are well on track to win the Scottish Premiership (leading rivals Rangers by nine points with three games to go) and can also win the Scottish Cup, where Celtic is slated to play Hearts of Midlothian in the final on May 25.

Also, in response to some of your feedback, we have added an “Injury Update” to our letter. The list of USMNT injuries is relatively long at the moment, but we are optimistic that several players can return as early as next weekend. Scroll to our “News/Transfers” section for details.

As always, please feel free to email us at hello@onegoal.us to let us know what you think about the addition or for general feedback on this week’s letter!

Star of the Week

Bill Hamid (28, Annandale, VA) - DC United, MLS

Man of the Match against Columbus: DC United veteran Bill Hamid had an outstanding performance midweek against the Columbus Crew, claiming his fifth shutout in nine games this season. Hamid had a total of five saves, including a grab off the line from a rolling rebound and a world class tip over the bar from a wicked shot by Higuain. The former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year has returned to DC on loan from FC Midtjylland of Denmark and has already had a few standout games this season.

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A big save against Minnesota in the 58th minute:

Immense Self-Belief: Hamid hit some controversy earlier this season for commenting that he was simply better than USMNT stalwart Brad Guzan (at the moment, we don’t disagree). Hamid has never been able to make a stamp on the USMNT roster with only six caps in his career, though his mentality and loyalty to DC United show that he is a real leader on and off the pitch.

We like these quotes from him on speaking with Berhalter and responding to Guzan’s distaste after his initial comments (MLSsoccer.com):

On not making the January 2019 USMNT Camp:

“The only conversation I had with coach Berhalter is prior to January,” Hamid said. “I’ve got to prepare myself for here (DC United). This is important. This is my national team right now. This is my Europe. This is my Real Madrid, my Barca, just like Josef Martinez said.”

On Guzan’s response:

“And I never said anything bad about any goalkeeper. In the article, he never mentioned me saying anything bad about him or anyone else. I just said I was better than him. I didn’t say he was terrible.”

Taking all that in to consideration, we think that Bill Hamid would be a great third choice goalkeeper to join in the 2022 World Cup squad. Bringing significant experience and leadership, Hamid would be a difference maker in the locker room, and if worse came to worse, we could rely on him between the sticks too.

Other Notable Performances

Antonee Robinson (21, White Plains, NY) - Wigan Athletic, Championship

Gotta give credit where credit is due; assist for Wigan: For the third week in a row, we are including Antonee Robinson as a standout player, as he continued his impressive run of form in Wigan’s 1-1 tie vs. Birmingham City. The New York native was once again the key driver behind most of Wigan’s threatening attacks as Birmingham's defenders simply seemed unable to keep up with Robinson’s pace and skill on the ball for the majority of the game.

He crowned his performance with the assist to Wigan’s only goal on the day, as Robinson was able to find Nick Powell unmarked at the top of the box with a short pass after drawing in five (!) Birmingham defenders with an intelligent run. A solid defensive outing with two won tackles, one interception and two key clearances wrapped up yet another successful game for the young American, who is making a strong case for a chance to play in a top five league next year, just weeks before the summer transfer window is set to open. Recall, Robinson is still under contract with Premier League side, FC Everton, who could surely use a pacey left back in their squad...

Pushing up high on the pitch: Unlike last week where Robinson performed in a long defensive battle as Wigan was reduced to 10 men early in the game, he was able to push much higher on the field against Birmingham. At times, he operated like an out and out winger on Wigan’s left flank and with a bit more help from his teammates in the final third, Robinson could have clinched two or three assists on the night as he created several chances on the left wing such as this one after sprinting all the way from the midfield line:

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Fun fact, despite being a defender, Robinson has been responsible for almost one third of all of Wigan’s crosses over the past three games.

Chris Durkin (19, Hampton, VA) - DC United, MLS

Composure on the ball a standout: Chris Durkin, one of the rising stars in the MLS at just 19 years old, had another strong week for DC United. In DC United’s 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew, Durkin looked extremely comfortable on the ball and more than capable of playing out of pressure - a remarkable trait for a teenager in his debut season. More importantly, not only does his short-pass game look extremely neat, but Durkin also looks more than capable of distributing the ball out wide from a deep “6” position - something we know Berhalter values in a defensive mid.

But his movement off the ball perhaps even more impressive: However, what leaves us most excited about Durkin’s long-term prospects with the USMNT is his movement off the ball. An extremely intelligent center mid, Durkin has already shown a keen ability to move into the right spaces at the right time and close down the opponent’s passing lanes - a skill that has earned him the reputation of being an excellent incerpeter of the ball. His soccer IQ was extremely apparent against the Columbus Crew, where he made a recovery run all the way from the center of midfield into DC United’s own six yard box to clear a shot by Higuain off the line and secure DC United’s lead in the first half. Essentially, Durkin did not end up here by accident:

A few weeks ago, it became public that German club Bayer Leverkusen was interested in signing Durkin this past summer. If he continues to play like this, we wouldn’t be surprised to see his name linked with a permanent move to Europe sooner or later.

Jonathan Amon (20, Summerville, SC) - FC Nordsjælland, Danish Superliga

Back in the XI and immediately on the score sheet: Following his comeback from injury last week, Jonathan Amon returned to Nordsjælland’s starting XI for the first time since November and immediately made an impact. Just 20 minutes into the game, Amon slotted one past the Midtjylland keeper with a skillful outside of the boot finish from a very acute angle. No doubt an impressive finish, but perhaps even more remarkable was that Amon initiated the attack himself. After a driven run into the box, he regained the ball again after a quick one-two demonstrating his tidy footwork under pressure. As the game progressed, Midtjylland gained more control but Amon remained a consistent threat on the counter.

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One of the most talented wingers on the ball: Arguably one of the most talented wingers in our entire USMNT player pool, Amon is clearly at his best when he is running at the defense. His explosive acceleration and trickery make it very tough to separate the young American from the ball. If he continues to stay healthy, we think he has one of the brightest futures out of any USMNT talent currently emerging on the big stage. Fingers crossed.

MLS Spotlight

Jeremy Ebobisse (22, Bethesda, MD) - Portland Timbers, MLS

Starting a Scoring Streak: Jeremy Ebobisse was on the mark again for the Portland Timbers who have found a recent surge in form with their second consecutive away win. Ebobisse now has four goals in his last six starts and interestingly seems to have a knack of scoring diving headers, with two of those dramatic finishes this season.

This Week’s Diving Header:

His other header this season:

A diving header from his USL days (0:47 in the video):

Solid finisher: We’ve previously lauded Ebobisse’s excellent finishing technique. He’s known for using his speed and finesse to put the ball in the net, but also is strong in the air, often winning aerial duels against defenders who might be a bit taller than him (Jeremy stands at 6 ft.).  He has a classic striker’s instinct by finding himself in good attacking positions to finish off crosses as seen in last week’s goal against Columbus. The Duke University alum has shown that he can score with his left, right, and head and we continue to believe that he is rightfully in the mix for one of the striker positions in Berhalter’s USMNT roster.

Youth Spotlight

Uly Llanez (18, Los Angeles, CA) - VFL Wolfsburg U19, Bundesliga

This week’s Youth Spotlight goes to Uly Llanez, who has recently completed a move to German club VFL Wolfsburg from the LA Galaxy. While not eligible for league-action until next season, he’s already made a strong impression in Wolfsburg as he scored two goals against JFV Calenberger in a friendly a few weeks ago. A tricky, fast, and clinical winger, his standout skills include dangerous crosses and  taking defenders on 1v1 before curling a shot on goal. While still early on for him in Germany, Llanez seems to have the right mindset to make it at one of the bigger clubs.

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OneGoal’s 2022 World Cup Roster as of Today

Note: Given his strong performances with DC United this season, we are excited to add Bill Hamid to our 2022 World Cup roster as our third choice goalkeeper.

Goalkeepers:

  • Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 0-2 loss to Houston Dynamo and played 90 minutes in a 0-1 loss to DC United (MLS).

  • Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO): Played 90 minutes in Club Brugge’s 1-0 win vs. Anderlecht (Belgium Pro League).

  • Bill Hamid (28, Annandale, VA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 1-0 win vs. Columbus Crew and played 90 minutes in a 0-1 loss vs. Minnesota (MLS).

Defenders:

  • John Anthony Brooks (26, Chicago, IL): Did not play due to a minor injury this week (Bundesliga).

  • DeAndre Yedlin (25, Seattle, WA): Did not play for Newcastle United in a 1-1 tie vs. Brighton, 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. Birmingham (Championship).

  • Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ): Played 90 minutes in Reading’s 1-2 loss to Middlseborough (Championship).

  • Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA): Played 90 minutes in Swansea’s 2-2 tie vs. Hull City (Championship).

  • Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY): Played 90 minutes in Jong Ajax’s 0-1 loss to MVV Maastricht (Eerste Eredivisie).

  • Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Played 90 minutes in NY Red Bulls 1-0 win vs. FC Cincinnati  (MLS).

  • Walker Zimmerman (25, Lawrenceville, GA): Played 90 minutes in LAFC’s 1-1 tie vs. the Seattle Sounders (MLS).

  • Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA): Played 90 minutes in San Jose’s 0-0 tie vs.FC Dallas and played 90 minutes in a 2-2 tie vs. the Seattle Sounders (MLS).

Midfielders:

  • Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY): Did not play this week due to injury.

  • Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX): Played 77 minutes in Schalke’s 4-2 win vs. Dortmund (Bundesliga).

  • Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 0-2  loss to Houston Dynamo and played 90 minutes in a 0-1 loss to DC United (MLS).

  • Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Did not play this week due to injury.

  • Kellyn Acosta (23, Plano, TX): Played 90 minutes in Colorado Rapid’s 1-0 win vs. Atlanta United (MLS).

  • Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Played 90 minutes in Chicago Fire’s 0-1 loss to NYCFC and a full 90 in their 0-1 loss to Montreal Impact.

Forwards:

  • Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Played 12 minutes in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-4 loss to Schalke 04 (Bundesliga).

  • Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 1-0 win vs. Columbus Crew and played played 90 minutes in a 0-1  loss vs. Minnesota (MLS).

  • Jonathan Amon (20, Summerville, SC): Played 75 minutes and scored a goal in Nordsjaelland's 1-2 loss to Midtjylland (Danish Superliga).

  • Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY): Did not make the roster in Celtic’s 1-0 win vs. Kilmarnock (Scottish Premiership).

  • Josh Sargent (19, O’Fallon, MO): Did not play in Werder Bremen’s 1-4 loss to Dusseldorf but was on the bench for 90 minutes (Bundesliga).

ON THE RISE/IN THE HUNT

  • Corey Baird (23, Escondido, CA), Forward, Real Salt Lake

  • George Bello (17, Douglasville, GA), Defense, Atlanta United

  • Alex Bono (24, Baldwinsville, NY), Goalkeeper, Toronto FC

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

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

  • 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

  • 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

Injury Update

  • Tyler Adams (Adductor injury, still out after missing 6 games)

  • Andrjia Novakovic (Thigh strain, subbed off in the first half this weekend)

  • Duane Holmes (Thigh strain, missed 3 games)

  • Mark McKenzie (Appendicitis, did not play this week)

  • John Anthony Brooks  (Ligament strain, did not play last fixture)

  • George Bello (Groin Injury, still out after missing 6 games)

In Case You Missed It

As a thank you to all of our subscribers, we are running a free giveaway of a signed Christian Pulisic USMNT Jersey! To enter see our Twitter or Instagram posts and we will be announcing the winner next Sunday (5/5).

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Ethan Horvath clinched another clean sheet in Club Brugge’s 1-0 win vs. Anderlecht this weekend. He has now kept four clean sheets in his last six games in Belgium’s Championship round. Check out his recent save on a thumping long range effort:

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