Your Weekly USMNT Update — September 24, 2019
With the European seasons now officially in full gear following the first round of the Champions League and Europa League group stage games in Europe and the MLS approaching the playoffs, we have a full slate of USMNT performances to comment on this week.
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Star of the Week
Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA) - Fortuna Dusseldorf, Bundesliga
Zack Steffen had another fantastic performance in Germany this week for Fortuna Dusseldorf, although he wasn’t able to prevent his team’s 1-2 loss to Europa-league side Gladbach. The young American keeper, on loan from Manchester City, stood out once again with nine saves on the night. Perhaps his most impressive save of the night came early on in the game when he stopped a 1v1 breakaway shot from Gladbach’s Breel Embolo. After the initial attempt, the ball bounced favorably for the Swiss international, but Steffen recovered quickly to stop the follow up shot.
Check out some of Steffen’s best on the day here:
If there is one thing Steffen still needs to improve, it has to be his passing out of the back. While Dusseldorf does not necessarily favor Berhalter’s possession oriented playing style around the back, Steffen’s 40% pass completion rate on the night is still far from impressive.
His strengths are clearly reflexes on the line - and the main reason why he has been crucial for Dusseldorf and is clearly the USMNT #1 - but he needs to get more comfortable with the ball at his feet in high pressure situations to take his game to the next level.
Steffen has already been named to the Bundesliga side of the week twice by WhoScored this season and has averaged 6.6 saves per game, which is by far the most out any keeper in the entire Bundesliga. But despite Steffen’s fantastic start to the season, Fortuna Dusseldorf has struggled early on as the surprise side from last year currently stands at just four points out of five games. Safe to say that without Zack Steffen, the team would be sitting much closer to the relegation zone already.
Other Notable Performances
Emerson Hyndman (23, Dallas, TX) - Atlanta United, MLS
Notching his first goal since his move from Bournemouth AFC, Emerson Hyndman had a confidence boosting performance in a victory that Atlanta left late against San Jose. Hyndman has been decent in his games this season, but finally had a big performance, playing on the wing. Statistically, Hyndman had 88% pass success, three shots on target and one key pass. Overall, a positive effort for playing out of position and for a player who is still trying to find his feet and solidify a spot in Atlanta’s starting lineup. The biggest gap in Hyndman’s play is his consistency, which will boil down to his in-game concentration and playing time. A bit of a vicious cycle there, but scoring the game winner in a late season game will do a lot to make Emerson feel like he can contribute significantly to Atlanta.
Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA) - New York Red Bulls, MLS
To be completely honest, Aaron Long had been in terrible form since the summer when his name spun around the rumor mill with interest coming from across Europe. The Red Bulls didn’t fold and kept Long, but his play never completely returned back to his peak defensive prowess. After leaking goals for NYRB and the USMNT, finally, in the midweek fixture, Long secured a clean sheet to snap a three game losing streak for NY. Long won five aerial duels, 11 clearances and blocked three shots against Portland’s formidable attack. In the Sunday game, Long had a huge clearance off the line in the first half and consistently made clearances throughout the match.
Long has his sharpness and aggression back. Simply put, his focus is back right as the Red Bulls secured a spot in the playoffs, which begin just four days after the USMNT play against Canada in the Nations League (Oct. 15th).
Kyle Duncan (22, Brooklyn, NY) - New York Red Bulls, MLS
The other standout player for the Red Bulls, Kyle Duncan, scored a powerful strike and was credited an assist on a penalty in the shocking away win at Portland. Duncan, an athletic right back is well known for his abilities including his speed, aggression and crossing ability. He is growing game by game and had two starts in one week after struggling with injuries and form for two and a half months. In that time, he did earn a call up to Jason Kries’s U23 USMNT camp and will look to head to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA) - Stoke City, Championship
After finishing last Championship season on loan at Swansea where he was the most accurate passer in the entire league with a 92% pass completion rate, Carter-Vickers is slowly finding his way to that form at his new club Stoke City. In this week’s 0-0 tie vs. Brentford, Carter-Vickers was a rock on the right side of a back-three for Stoke, as the young American had four tackles and won six out of his seven duels on the ball. After a slow start to the season where Carter-Vickers got accustomed to his new teammates and he was recovering from an injury that he suffered in Tottenham’s pre-season, Carter-Vickers looks physically back to where he was last season. But what impressed us the most: he looked comfortable passing out a back three with an 86% pass completion rate. While most passes were admittedly short driven into the midfield or simply retaining the ball at the back, it was also clear that Stoke City’s head coach Nathan Jones trusts CCV to hit the ball long (4/6 long balls found a teammate) - a skill we could use in the USMNT to find Pulisic or Boyd in space.
We continue to think Carter-Vickers deserves to get a bigger chance under Berhalter. In the recent round of friendlies vs. Mexico and Uruguay, keeping the ball when trying to pass out of the back was a key weakness for the team - why not see what Carter-Vickers, who has cemented himself as solid ball distributor of the ball over the past two seasons, can do? If Carter-Vickers keeps up performances such as this one, we think he’ll get a closer look by Berhalter soon.
Oh and he’s still only 21 years old...
Gio Reyna (16, New York, NY) - Borussia Dortmund U19, Bundesliga
Gio Reyna is living the dream at Dortmund and is coming off a stellar week with the German giants as he scored vs. Barcelona in the Youth Champions League mid-week and scored again vs. Leverkusen in the Youth Bundesliga on the weekend.
It is impressive how quickly Reyna has assumed a leading role at one of the most talented youth teams in Germany, as he has almost always been in the starting XI for the U19s as an attacking midfielder or a winger. He stands out with his dynamic runs at defenders, technique on the ball, finishing abilities, and has looked increasingly dangerous when linking up with Dortmund’s 14-year old-wonderkid, Youssoufa Moukoko.
But Reyna’s productivity says it all as Reyna has already netted three goals and four assists in just eight games with Dortmund’s U19.
Oh, and he was officially named to the senior Borussia Dortmund squad for the Champions League group stages a few weeks ago. While we don’t anticipate he’ll see the pitch given Dortmund’s depth in the attack this year, we do think that it is a clear sign of how favorably head coach Luicen Favre already views the young American. Reyna was invited to train with the first team again this week after this superb performances at the Youth level.
Check out his goal vs. Leverkusen’s U19s here:
OneGoal’s 2022 World Cup Roster as of Today
Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA): Played 90 minutes in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 2-1 loss vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach (Bundesliga).
Ethan Horvath (24, Highlands Ranch, CO): Did not play competitive soccer this week - on the bench.
Bill Hamid (28, Annandale, VA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 2-0 victory vs. Seattle Sounders FC (MLS).
John Anthony Brooks (26, Chicago, IL): Did not play competitive soccer this week - recovering from injury.
DeAndre Yedlin (26, Seattle, WA): Did not play competitive soccer this week - recovering from injury.
Antonee Robinson (22, White Plains, NY): Played 90 minutes in Wigan Athletic’s 2-0 win vs. Charlton Athletic (Championship).
Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA): Played 90 minutes in Stoke City’s 0-0 draw to Brentford (Championship).
Matt Miazga (24, Clifton, NJ): Did not play competitive soccer this week - recovering from injury.
Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY): Played 90 minutes in Ajax’s 1-1 draw to PSV Eindhoven (Eredivise).
Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Played 90 minutes in NY Red Bulls’ 0-2 win to vs. Portland Timbers and played 90 minutes in NY Red Bulls’ 2-0 win vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS).
Reggie Cannon (21, Chicago, IL): Played 16 minutes in FC Dallas’ 0-0 draw to Seattle Sounders FC and played 90 minutes in FC Dallas’ 1-1 draw to NYC FC (MLS).
Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY): Did not play competitive soccer this week - recovering from injury.
Weston McKennie (21, Little Elm, TX): Played 76 minutes in Schalke’s 2-1 victory vs. FSV Mainz 05 (Bundesliga).
Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Played 33 minutes in Columbus Crew’s 1-1 draw vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS).
Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Played 81 minutes in Derby’s 1-1 draw vs. Cardiff (Championship).
Paxton Pomykal (19, Lewisville, TX): Played 90 minutes in FC Dallas’ 0-0 draw to Seattle Sounders FC and played 62 minutes in FC Dallas’ 1-1 draw to NYC FC (MLS).
Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Played 32 minutes in Chicago Fire’s 0-0 draw vs. FC Cincinnati (MLS).
Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Did not play competitive soccer this week - on the bench.
Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 2-0 victory vs. Seattle Sounders FC (MLS).
Tyler Boyd (24, Santa Ynez, CA): Did not play competitive soccer this week - not in squad.
Jonathan Amon (20, Summerville, SC): Played 23 minutes in FC Nordsjælland’s 2-1 win to Aalborg BK (Danish Superliga).
Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY): Did not play competitive soccer this week - recovering from injury.
Josh Sargent (19, O’Fallon, MO): Played 80 minutes in Werder Bremen’s 0-3 loss vs. RB Leipzig (Bundesliga).
On the Rise / In the Hunt
Kellyn Acosta (24, Plano, TX), Midfield, Colorado Rapids
Corey Baird (23, Escondido, CA), Forward, Real Salt Lake
George Bello (17, Douglasville, GA), Defense, Atlanta United
Jeremy Ebobisse (22, Bethesda, MD), Forward, Portland Timbers
Romain Gall (24, Herndon, VA), Midfield, Malmo FF
Chris Gloster (19, Montclair, NJ), Defense, PSV Eindhoven
Richy Ledezma (18, Phoenix, AZ), Midfield, PSV Eindhoven
Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA), Defense, San Jose Earthquakes
Jonathan Lewis (22, Plantation, FL), Forward, Colorado Rapids
Andrija Novakovich (22, Muskego, WI), Forward, Frosinone Calcio
Erik Palmer-Brown (22, Napoleon, OH), Defense, Austria WIen
Chris Richards (19, Hoover, AL), Defense, Bayern Munich
Miles Robinson (22, Arlington, MA), Defense, Atlanta United
Sebastian Soto (19, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, Hannover 96
Haji Wright (21, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, VVV Venlo
Walker Zimmerman (26, Lawrenceville, GA), Defense, LAFC
News / Transfers
Tyler Adams (recovering after adductor injury; timeline TBD)
Timothy Weah (out through international break)
DeAndre Yedlin (Groin injury, timeline TBD)
In Case You Missed It
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