Your Weekly USMNT Update — May 7, 2019

We are back after an action packed week that already saw several of our most intriguing end-of-season USMNT battles in Europe decided:

Timo Weah wins Scottish Premiership: With Weah back in the starting XI, Celtic officially clinched its eighth consecutive league title after a 3-0 victory over Aberdeen. After winning the French title with PSG last year, this marks Weah’s second consecutive season with silverware.

Dortmund and Pulisic with major setback in title race: Despite a spectacular performance by Christian Pulisic, Dortmund’s 2-2 draw vs. Werder Bremen marked a major setback for the Black & Yellow in the German title race. Dortmund now trails Bayern by four points with two games left to play.

Club Brugge and Ethan Horvath keep the Belgian title race exciting: After an all-important 1-0 victory vs. Gent, Club Brugge is holding on in Belgium’s title race, where they continue to trail Genk by seven points with three games to left to play.

Derby County and Duane Holmes are EPL play-off bound: After a 3-1 victory vs. West Brom, Derby County secured a 6th place finish in the Championship and have thus clinched the last EPL play-off spot. After being sidelined with an injury over the past few weeks, Holmes returned to Derby’s starting XI and looks to be a major influence when they take on Leeds United in their first play-off game next Saturday.

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

Star of the Week

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

Our Star of the Week goes to none other than Christian Pulisic, who answered recent critics with a man of the match performance in Dortmund’s 2-2 draw vs. Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. While a disappointing result for Dortmund supporters given Bayern’s 3-1 victory over Hannover 96, Pulisic’s individual performance was a real bright spot.

Individual effort to get on scoresheet: In just the sixth minute of the game, Pulisic clinched the go-ahead goal for Dortmund after he took on four (!) Werder Bremen defenders with a driven run that started all the way near the center of midfield. Pulisic’s speed, agility, and trickery on the ball was simply too much for Werder Bremen’s defense, and Pulisic crowned his fantastic run with a composed finish to the bottom right hand corner of the goal.

Check out his goal:

Pulisic Gif.gif

Consistent threat in the final third: Aside from his goal, Pulisic remained a consistent threat in the final third for Dortmund as he was by far the most active on the ball and routinely sought opportunities to run at Werder’s defense with speed. In fact, with a bit more help from his teammates, Pulisic could have had several assists on the night - most notably after Diallo failed to convert a skillful Pulisic cross from point-blank range in the first half. Lastly, just before the final whistle, Pulisic almost became a hero in Dortmund when he skillfully paved his way into the Werder box, only to see his driven shot fly just wide of the Werder Bremen goal.

Efficiency in front of goal this season: Above all, we have been thoroughly impressed with how Pulisic has persevered through what many consider a “tough season” for the young American star given frequent injuries and tough competition for playing time. For perspective, after this game, Pulisic now stands at six goals and five assists on the season in just over 1,500 minutes - averaging a goal involvement nearly every ~135 minutes (vs. last season at over 250 minutes), underscoring just how dangerous Pulisic has remained. At just 20 years old, we continue to think he’ll be the face of the USMNT for years to come and are excited for what he can do at Chelsea in the Champions League next season.

Other Notable Performances

Brenden Aaronson (18, Medford, NJ) - Philadelphia Union, MLS

Strong Performance against Cincinnati: Brenden Aaronson continued his growth with another strong performance in Philadelphia Union’s midweek victory. Aaronson’s excellence on the ball helped him pull away from defenders using a combination of explosive acceleration and close control. His first touch gave him the upper hand when bursting into space ahead of playing a pass into the final third or in transition from defense to attack. He is consistently providing a spark to Philly’s midfield, especially in the absence of Marco Fabian (injury). It’ll be interesting to see how Union head coach Jim Curtin plays the two of them together.

Still has some growing to do: While Brenden has impressed with his skills on the ball and effective passing, he lacked true conviction in his opportunities to shoot. Aaronson had several loose balls fall to his feet during the game, but he was unable to strike on target. He often smashed a ball right through the center, hitting a defender in the way. In addition, although Aaronson isn’t afraid to get stuck in a tackle, he can be shrugged off or bullied into losing possession up against a much more physical player. Not to take too much away from the 18-year-old - with some bulking up and consistent minutes for the Union, he can grow into one of the best midfielders in the league.

Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ) - Reading FC, Championship

Rock-solid as usual for Reading: Matt Miazga looks to end his season the same way he started for Reading: absolutely rock-solid at the back. In this week’s 0-0 tie vs. Birmingham City, the 23-year-old center back was once again crucial for Reading as he single-handedly came up with 12 key clearances in the game to deny Birmingham virtually any real goal scoring opportunity. He rounded out his performance with 92% passing accuracy (including six searching long balls) and two critical blocked shots. Above all though, Miazga stood out as a real leader on the field, as he frequently took charge of organizing the entire Reading backline, despite arriving at the club just a few months ago.

Where will he be next season? Perhaps one of the most interesting upcoming USMNT questions as we approach the summer transfer window: where will Miazga play next season? His impact at Reading has been undeniable. Since he joined the Championship side in the winter, Reading has been unbeaten in 14 out of 18 games and have secured safety for next season. Not only has he advanced to become a real leader on the pitch, but he’s looked more than capable at keeping up with the physicality in the league. Miazga also looks composed at passing out of the back and with 7.2 clearances per game, he ranks 4th overall in the league. We continue to think he looks ready for a move to a top five league but also wouldn’t be surprised to see Reading fight tooth and nail to keep the American center back for one more year, which could see him link up with fellow American Andrija Novakovich who is set to return to Reading from loan.

Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA) - Swansea, Championship

95% pass accuracy indicative of CCV’s progress this season: Cameron Carter-Vickers was among the better performers in Swansea’s 1-1 tie vs. Derby County from mid-week with an all around solid defensive display that was crowned by a last minute clearance after a dangerous Derby cross. More importantly, however, was his 95% pass accuracy - something the 21-year-old has made great strides at improving this year. In fact, with a ~92% pass accuracy for the season, Carter-Vickers leads the entire English Championship.

This sentiment has recently been echoed by Swansea’s Assistant Manager Billy Reid who commented on Carter-Vickers’ immense development after he took over the starting CB role from Joe Rodon, who picked up an injury.

"Unfortunately Joe picked up his injury, but Cameron has come into the team and, in my opinion, he has made huge progress throughout the season. We asked him to step into the game in terms of how he played on the ball and the progress he has made on that side of his game has been excellent, and he has been a big part of the run we have been on. He is a player who has been an excellent signing. He is a strong boy, he is still 21 years of age but he looks a lot older than that, to be honest with you. But I think there is further progress to come from him over the next few seasons."

Link to full article:
https://www.swanseacity.com/news/reid-hails-excellent-signing-carter-vickers

Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA) - DC United, MLS

Consistency for DC United:
Paul Arriola has been a key part of DC United’s overall success this season, having started every single game. Above all, Arriola’s persistence and grit has helped them see off opponents as games begin to die down - a hallmark trait for the 24 year old.

His victory sealing goal against Columbus this weekend exemplified his drive, as Arriola did well to quickly get up the field on a counter (all the way from his own half), despite already leading by two goals 60 minutes into the game. He finished the play with a great strike, hitting it low into the side netting after a backheel lay off from Jara. Though Paul did have some choice words for teammate Luciano Acosta during the game, the friendly fire seemed to be doused as Acosta said he loves Arriola “like a brother” after the match. How’s that for squad chemistry

Arriola Goal against Columbus:

Arriola Gif.gif

Versatility up and down either flank: Throughout his career and even this MLS season, Arriola has been used across midfield and at full back, given his tremendous work ethic, speed, and usually strong 1v1 abilities. Not only can he drive past opponents, but he holds his own when it comes to tackling - a trait that makes him a uniquely well rounded player for DC United and an incredibly versatile option for Berhalter’s USMNT squad.

Awesome Arriola volley from his Liga MX days:

Arriola Volly MX.gif

Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO) - Club Brugge, Belgian Pro League

Clean sheet in Beligan title race: Ethan Horvath came up with another clean sheet in an all-important 1-0 win over Gent that kept Brugge’s title hopes alive in the Belgian Pro League.

Similar to Brugge’s game vs. Anderlecht in which Horvath put a up stellar performance, he continued to impress with strong reflexes on the line (three saves on the day) and remained alert throughout an otherwise fairly quiet game for the USMNT keeper. After his breakout season with Club Brugge, he has reportedly already drawn interest from several German and English teams - and the race for the #1 spot for the USMNT between him and Steffen is shaping up to be an interesting battle.

Check out his save from two weeks ago from a long range effort:  

Since the start of the Belgian’s Championship round in early April, he’s been rock-solid, having kept clean sheets in five out of seven games and only conceding a total of three goals. In all competitions, Horvath now has 14 clean sheets in just 31 games, including three in the Champions League against Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, and AS Monaco. Safe to say that between him and Steffen, we are in a very solid position when it comes to goalkeepers.

MLS Spotlight

Auston Trusty (20, Media, PA) - Philadelphia Union, MLS  

It’s been another standout season for Auston Trusty at the heart of the Philadelphia Union’s defense. After becoming the youngest MLS player to feature in every minute of regulation play in 2018, he’s helped the Eastern Conference leaders with one solid performance after another, starting in every match this season too (barring a one game suspension). Towering in at 6’3” and 181 lbs, the PA native signed a Homegrown contract in 2016 and has become one of the most important players in the Union set up.

Good luck getting past Trusty: Known for his impressive concentration at a young age, he is capable of pulling off last ditch tackles and threatening in the air as well. Earlier this season, he boasted the stat of only being dribbled by 0.1 times per game, similar to USMNT center backs Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman. Though it’s tough to judge center backs based off raw talent, the consistency that Trusty has shown and the trust he has earned from Curtis, speaks volumes.

While we continue to think our USMNT depth at center back is deep between Brooks, Miazga, CCV, Long, Miles Robinson and Zimmerman - we would argue that Trusty will soon find a place on this list.

Here are a couple clips of some last ditch challenges:

Youth Spotlight

Richy Ledezma (18, Phoenix, AZ) - PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands

This week’s Youth Spotlight goes to Richy Ledezma, who clinched his first goal with PSV Eindhoven’s U19 team this week following his move to Europe this winter. Similar to Mendez and Pomykal, Ledezma is a quick and agile midfielder who is extremely technically gifted on the ball. His early success in the Netherlands has been impressive so far and he’s shown a strong mentality on and off the pitch, as seen by his goal this week. At the top of the box, Ledezma was able to withstand pressure from a defender right on his back and remained composed enough to find the back of the net with a well-placed strike. With the U20 World Cup only a few weeks away, we are excited to see what he can do for the red, white, and blue.

OneGoal’s 2022 World Cup Roster as of Today

Goalkeepers:

  • Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 1-3 loss to DC United (MLS).

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

  • Bill Hamid (28, Annandale, VA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 3-1 win vs. Columbus Crew (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 okay this weekend but was in the roster for Newcastle’s 2-3 loss to Liverpool (Premier League).

  • Antonee Robinson (21, White Plains, NY): Played 90 minutes in Wigan’s 1-0 victory vs. Millwall (Championship).

  • Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ): Played 90 minutes in Reading’s 0-0 tie vs. Birmingham City (Championship).

  • Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA): Played 90 minutes in Swansea’s 1-1 tie vs. Derby County and played 90 minutes in a 2-2 tie vs. Blackburn (Championship).

  • Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY): Did not play this week.

  • Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Played 90 minutes in the Red Bulls’ 3-2 win vs. LA Galaxy (MLS).

  • Walker Zimmerman (25, Lawrenceville, GA): Played 90 minutes in LAFC’s 0-0 tie vs. the Chicago Fire (MLS).

  • Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA): Played 90 minutes in San Jose’s 1-0 win vs. FC Cincinnati (MLS).

Midfielders:

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

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

  • Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 1-3 loss to DC United (MLS).

  • Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Played 65 minutes in Derby County’s 3-1 win vs. West Brom (Championship).

  • Kellyn Acosta (23, Plano, TX): Played 90 minutes in Colorado’s 2-3 loss to Vancouver (MLS).

  • Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Played 90 minutes in Chicago Fire’s 0-0 tie vs. LAFC (MLS).

Forwards:

  • Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Played 90 minutes in Dortmund’s 2-2 tie vs. Werder Bremen (Bundesliga).

  • Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Played 85 minutes in DC United’s 3-1 win vs. Columbus Crew (MLS).

  • Jonathan Amon (20, Summerville, SC): Played 90 minutes in FC Nordsjælland’s 0-0 tie to Esbjerg (Danish Superliga).

  • Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY): Played 73 minutes in Celtic’s 3-0 win vs. Aberdeen (Scottish Premiership).

  • Josh Sargent (19, O’Fallon, MO): Did not play in Werder Bremen’s 2-2 tie vs. Dortmund but was in the match day roster.

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 7 games)

  • Andrjia Novakovic (Thigh strain, still has not returned)

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

  • John Anthony Brooks  (Ligament strain, did not play last 2 fixtures)

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

  • Brenden Aaronson (left hip injury, timeline TBD)

In Case You Missed It

Check out The U.S. Soccer Blog’s recent interview with Liam O’Connell, the Senior Director of Youth Development for the USL.

A couple of thumping long range goals by Lima and Roldan in the MLS are making headlines this week:

Lima:

Roldan:

Roldan gif.gif

And here is Gio Reyna’s free kick goal for the United States U17:

gio reyna free kick.gif