Your Weekly USMNT Update — May 21, 2019

Two major title disappointments this week for our USMNT prospects in Europe as both Christian Pulisic (Dortmund) and Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge) have officially lost out on their domestic title opportunities, despite valiant efforts from the Americans. In fact, both Horvath (with five clean sheets in ten Belgian play-off games) and Christian Pulisic (two goals and one assist in Dortmund’s last three games) showed that they can be relied upon when it matters most.

Of course, even though the vast majority of European seasons are now on summer break, two major USMNT games are still on the horizon:

  • Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig are set to take on the newly crowned Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich on May 25th in the German DFB Cup Final.

  • Duane Holmes and Derby County play Aston Villa in an EPL Play-Off Promotion Final on May 27th at Wembley. The winner will clinch the last promotion spot to the Premier League.

Also, given some feedback we have received, we are currently working on a detailed article that explains our reasoning behind our OneGoal 2022 World Cup player selection - so stay tuned!

Lastly, a few thoughts on the upcoming Gold Cup: Berhalter’s preliminary 40 man roster was encouraging to see. Several emerging talents such as Jonathan Amon, Josh Sargent, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Antonee Robinson and Miles Robinson will have a chance to integrate into the senior pool, while some new faces including Tyler Boyd and Duane Holmes could make their USMNT debuts. Not surprisingly, the roster is completed by some MLS veterans, with Berhalter previously citing “consistency” as an important factor when judging call-ups.

As we’ve pointed out before, we believe the USMNT transition will be a gradual one and likely measured by years on our way to the 2022 World Cup. More than anything, we strongly believe the USMNT player pool, including many prospects currently in Poland with the U20s, is as good as it’s ever been. That said, the key will be to harness that talent in a way that builds a robust pipeline of players set to elevate the level of play for the USMNT over the next decade, beginning with the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

With that in mind, the Gold Cup will be an important initial step as it not only marks Berhalter’s first competitive tournament as the head coach, but also provides a global stage for some our brightest talents (Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, Steffen, Miazga) to begin assuming leadership roles within the team.

The revised 23-man camp roster is expected to be announced the first week of June, at which point we will have more detailed commentary. Of course, we’ll be sure to update you on all Gold Cup and U20 World Cup developments along the way.

As always, please feel free to email us at hello@onegoal.us to let us know what you think about our newsletter!

Star of the Week

Tyler Boyd (24, Santa Ynez, CA) - MKE Ankaragücü, Turkish Süper Lig

Who is Tyler Boyd?: The United States added another winger to it’s talent pool as FIFA approved of Tyler Boyd’s one time switch from New Zealand to American association. Boyd spent some of his formative years in Santa Ynez, California before returning to New Zealand. He made his debut at 17 in Australia’s A-League and is currently on loan to Turkish side Ankaragucu from parent club Vitoria de Guimaraes in Portugal.

Fast, tricky and a great shot: Boyd is one of the speediest wingers in the American set up. He has some fancy feet and can often takes on defenders 1v1, finding himself a yard of space and curling in a shot. Boyd can use both feet and typically takes long range “crossing” free kicks for his team. He’s not the best passer, and sometimes he holds onto the ball for too long - a common weakness for wingers.  In 13 appearances for Ankaragucu, he has five goals and four assists and had some man of the match performances early this year.

Here are some of his highlights from this season, both in Portugal and Turkey:

Given the timing of Boyd’s switch, we wonder if he’s had a chat with Berhalter to see if he’s going to get a nod to join a certain roster…

Other Notable Performances

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

On the mark again: In this week’s Danish clash between Nordsjælland and Odense BK (2-2 final score), Jonathan Amon was on the mark again as he clinched Nordsjælland’s all important first goal after trailing by two just before the half. A typical Amon goal, the pacey winger received the ball on the left flank near the corner flag and immediately began to cut inside the opponent’s 18 yard box. After leaving three OB defenders behind him, Amon was a bit fortunate to collect his own pass as a rebound but remained cool from point blank range as he finished his own play with a placed strike in the bottom right hand corner of the goal.

In an otherwise tough first half for Nordsjælland, Amon, along with the rest of the forwards on the team struggled to get the offense going - though the young American did have a few other notable chances including a strike that went over the top of the bar.

A man for special moments: No question about it, Nordsjælland struggled for much of the first half, but that is exactly what leaves us so excited about Jonathan Amon. He’s a player for special moments, a player that can get his team back into the game with his individual class in just a split second. When Amon first received the ball on the left wing, OB had seven defenders in the box marking three attackers (incl. Amon four attackers). Not exactly a favorable set-up, but Amon created something out of nothing with his driven run into the box.

Since returning to the starting lineup after recovering from injury, Amon has now scored two goals in just four games. Understandable that Nordsjælland’s staff was reluctant to let him go to the U20 World Cup but all the more exciting to have a special talent like him in our USMNT player pool.

Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY) - RB Leipzig, Bundesliga

Back from injury: After missing eight competitive games with a lingering adductor injury, Tyler Adams returned to Leipzig’s gameday roster and immediately made the starting XI in a 1-2 loss to Werder Bremen this weekend. While not a match of great importance for Leipzig as they have already clinched a Champions League spot for next season, it was crucial for Adams to get playing time ahead of the German Cup final and the Gold Cup.

Already a source of consistency: Above all, it was remarkable to see the 20-year-old become an immediate source of consistency in the middle of the park right off the bat, as teammates turned to Adams to lead the Leipzig game in possession, underscored by 51 touches in just 63 minutes played. A 79% pass accuracy round out Adams’ performance as one of two holding center-mids, though the 79% (slightly below his season average) is a bit misleading as Adams hit an unusual amount of long-balls throughout the game. Perhaps something that Coach Rangnick (an outspoken Adams supporter) instructed prior to the game? Either way, Adams looked quite comfortable in that role - something that should translate well into Berhalter’s tactical system for the USMNT.

That said, his movement off the ball was most impressive to us, as Adams often stuffed the pockets and cut off Werder Bremen’s passing lines - perhaps one of the greatest strengths in Adams’ game.

Lastly, as usual, Adams remained extremely reliable on defense as he led the entire team with five clearances on the day, booked one interception, and three successful tackles. Despite the competition in Leipzig’s midfield, after this performance, Adams looks to be an option for the starting XI in the upcoming cup final vs. Bayern.

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

Assist in his last game for Dortmund: In his last game for Borussia Dortmund, Christian Pulisic showed why Chelsea was willing to spend the big bucks for his services next year. Similar to the past few games, Pulisic was one of the main attacking outlets once again and crowned his performance with the assist to Dortmund’s second goal, finished by Marco Reus:

His speed, awareness, vision, ball control, and technique all contributed to that play and underscores why the 20-year-old is truly a special player already. He almost had another assist on the day, but Piszczek’s header off a Pulisic corner went just wide of the post. Next up: Chelsea, but before that we are excited to see him at the Gold Cup.

Emmanuel Sabbi (21, Chicago, IL) - Hobro IK, Danish Superliga

Emmanuel Sabbi, another promising young winger in the broader USMNT pool, came up with one of the best performances of his career this weekend as he virtually single handedly saved his side from direct relegation with an assist and a goal in Hobro’s 2-0 extra-time win vs. Vejle BK in the Danish Superliga play-offs.

Recently part of the USMNT U23 camp, Sabbi is clearly on the radar for Berhalter and crew as another attacking option. His speed, 1v1 skills, solid finishing abilities, and impressive vision for the 21-year-old definitely make him an interesting prospect - though we think he’ll likely need to transfer clubs to play his way onto the senior USMNT squad. Nonetheless, with seven goals and five assists in 32 games dating back to July 2018 for the Danish Side Hobro, he’s certainly an interesting player to keep an eye on.

MLS Spotlight

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

MLS veteran Bill Hamid had an incredible performance midweek against Toronto FC, as he claimed man of the match with 12 saves. He now leads the league in saves with 61 after 10 games. Hamid had several point blank stops as TFC peppered the DC net, and even pulled a superb tip over the bar from Auro’s curling effort. Hamid faced all types of shots in this match: close range, headers, and long distance strikes. We have to say, it was comforting to watch Hamid take easy care of lofted and driven shots as he turned heads with his gaffe against Columbus (dropped a caught corner kick into the net) a few weeks ago.

Nevertheless, you can’t deny that Hamid is one of the best shot stoppers in the league. Week in week out, he’s making big time saves and pulling off a shutout against the one of the most potent attacks in MLS is no easy task.

Youth Spotlight

Gianluca Busio (16, Greensboro, NC) - Sporting Kansas City, MLS

One of the youngest players in MLS, Gianluca Busio rounded out a superb tournament playing for the USMNT U17 squad in the CONCACAF Championship. Though the U17s fell to Mexico in the final, Busio was by far one of the best players throughout the entire tournament, finishing with five goals and three assists. Busio stood out amongst the other teenagers with his excellent dribbling ability and quick thinking off and on the ball. Just from the speed of his play, it was obvious that he was one of the few on the field playing professional first team minutes. There were several moments where Busio was able to pull away from defenders using his first touch to turn into space rather than relying on solely his dribbling like many other less experienced players did. His maturity and quick thinking is what set him apart, and surely he will be seeing more minutes for Sporting Kansas City.

Earlier this season, Busio became the youngest player to ever score in back-to-back MLS matches.

OneGoal’s 2022 World Cup Roster as of Today

Note: We are excited to add Tyler Boyd to our In the Hunt section following FIFA’s acceptance of his one-time change of association request, which now makes him eligible to play for the USMNT.

Goalkeepers:

  • Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA): Did not play in Columbus’ 0-1 loss to Minnesota due to injury (MLS).

  • Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO): Played 90 minutes in Club Brugge’s 0-2 loss to Liege and played 90 minutes in a 3-2 win vs. Antwerp (Belgian Pro League).

  • Bill Hamid (28, Annandale, VA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 1-2 loss to Houston Dynamo (MLS).

Defenders:

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

  • DeAndre Yedlin (25, Seattle, WA): Did not play this weekend due to injury (Premier League).

  • Antonee Robinson (21, White Plains, NY): No game this weekend, Championship has ended.

  • Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ): No game this weekend, Championship has ended.

  • Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA): No game this weekend, Championship has ended.

  • Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY): Started in the USA U20’s 1-1 tie vs. Uruguay ahead of the World Cup (Intl. Friendly).

  • Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Did not play due to injury.

  • Walker Zimmerman (26, Lawrenceville, GA): Played 90 minutes in LAFC’s 2-0 victory over FC Dallas on Thursday and played 90 minutes in LAFC’s 1-1 tie vs. FC Dallas on Sunday (MLS).

  • Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA): Played 90 minutes in San Jose’s 4-1 win vs. Chicago Fire (MLS).

Midfielders:

  • Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY): Played 64 minutes in RB Leipzig’s 1-2 loss to Werder Bremen (Bundesliga).

  • Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX): Played 90 minutes in Schalke’s 0-0 tie vs. Stuttgart (Bundesliga).

  • Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 0-1 loss to Minnesota (MLS).

  • Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Played 44 minutes in Derby County’s 4-2 win vs. Leeds United (EPL Play-Off).

  • Kellyn Acosta (23, Plano, TX): Played 90 minutes in Colorado’s 0-1 victory against the LA Galaxy (MLS).

  • Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Played 35 minutes in Chicago Fire’s 1-4 loss to San Jose (MLS).

Forwards:

  • Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Played 90 minutes in Dortmund’s 2-0 win vs. Gladbach (Bundesliga).

  • Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Played 85 minutes before getting a red card in DC United’s 1-2 loss to Houston Dynamo (MLS).

  • Jonathan Amon (20, Summerville, SC): Played 90 minutes in FC Nordsjælland’s 2-2 tie vs. Odense Boldklub (Danish Superliga).

  • Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY): Started in the USA U20’s 1-1 tie vs. Uruguay ahead of the World Cup (Intl. Friendly).

  • Josh Sargent (19, O’Fallon, MO): Did not play in Werder Bremen’s 2-1 win vs. Leipzig but was in the match day roster (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 (25, Baldwinsville, NY), Goalkeeper, Toronto FC

  • Tyler Boyd (24, Santa Ynez, CA), Forward, MKE Ankaragücü

  • 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

  • Richy Ledezma (18, Phoenix, AZ) - Midfield, PSV Eindhoven

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

  • Alex Mendez (18, Los Angeles, CA), Midfield, SC Freiburg

  • Andrija Novakovich (22, Muskego, WI) - Fortuna Sittard

  • Erik Palmer-Brown (22, 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

  • Mark McKenzie (Appendicitis, expected to return soon)

  • John Anthony Brooks (Ligament strain, timeline TBD)

  • George Bello (Adductor injury, expected to miss another 2-3 months)

  • DeAndre Yedlin (Groin surgery; expected to miss the Gold Cup)

  • Zack Steffen (Foot injury; timeline TBD)

  • Aaron Long (hamstring injury; missed 2 matches)

In Case You Missed It

Check out the U.S. Soccer Blog’s recent interview with Colleen Warner of FC Helsingør, which has recently been taken over by American Ownership. Their idea is to make the club a stepping stone for many young Americans trying to play professional soccer in Europe.

USMNT veteran Chris Wondolowski clinched four goals and now is the leading goal scorer in MLS, surpassing Landon Donovan