Back from vacation
Analysis: USMNT heads to knockouts, transfer rumors fly, Rose Bull full
July 05, 2023
FOR MANY, including ASN, it has been a long holiday weekend and despite the Gold Cup, transfer news, and MLS games, it was a good time to turn off the laptop and get away for a few days. But it’s back to business as usual.
So, what’s the best way to catch up? Instead of separate articles here is a brief run down with some thoughts on the top stories since we’ve been away.
John Berylson, RIP
The 4th of July brought with us some awful news as Millwall FC announced the death of owner John Berylson. At first it was announced as a tragic accident but later was reported to be a single car accident in his native Massachusetts.
In a time when American ownership of English clubs is frequently criticized, Berylson, 70, was an example of positive ownership. Since 2006 he has guided the club to a much better standing and became extremely popular with the club’s tough fanbase.
Loved. Adored.— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) July 5, 2023
We were so lucky to have you, Mr Chairman. pic.twitter.com/gsxKx089qp
I had the opportunity to interview Berylson twice for my former publication, Yanks Abroad, and he couldn’t have been more generous with his time. He took time to ask questions about me, because he was interested in people, their background, and getting to know others. But what struck me was his utmost dedication to Millwall and his determination to ensure the club’s stability. Over his time, he took the club from struggling in League One to one that has been able to compete for promotion to the Premier League. This past season, they fell just short of qualifying for the playoffs.
His loss is a terrible loss for his family, his community, Millwall, and English soccer. As an American, he was an fantastic representative of what ownership should be.
Galaxy downs LAFC
The highlight of the fourth of July games in MLS was the LA Galaxy and LAFC meeting up in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena before a league record sellout of 82,110.
The game lived up to the billing and the Galaxy delivered an entertaining 2-1 victory as the venue it originally called home through 2002.
Tyler Boyd opened the scoring in the 26th minute.
LA Galaxy strike first in the Rose Bowl via Tyler Boyd— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 5, 2023
- both teams have had their chances
- LAG have a lot of energy right now. Clearly playing with a chip on their shoulder
- nice goal from Boyd
- Dueñas, just 18, gets a lesson. Needs to defend tighter pic.twitter.com/toZq5LqGX1
LAFC equalized in the 57th when anear-post corner from Timothy Tillman found Ilie Sanchez for a perfect short header.
But then it was Riqui Puig who found the winner in the 73rd minute.
Here are a few thoughts:
- Tyler Boyd was the MOTM. This was the Boyd who, for a short period of about four months, was dominating Turkey and saw Gregg BErhalter reach out to convince him to play for the USMNT. He’s a good player. He just needs consistency and to dominate over a longer period of time.
- Erik Dueñas, 18, is a good young American right back but he was exposed in this game defensively. He needs to be much tighter with his defense and we will see if he learned lessons.
- Both teams are struggling. LAFC has now lost three in a row and has just two wins in eight MLS games. The hangover from the CCL final run is real and Steve Cherundolo needs to reverse this. This is the biggest test of his young coaching career.
- It didn’t seem possible, but Denis Bouanga is struggling.
- A lot of the attention was on the crowd, and for good reason – it was terrific. Too bad it began close to 11pm on the East.
- The Galaxy still has a deep hole to climb – 13th place of the 14-team West. It’s easy for them to get excited for a sold out game at the Rose Bowl. But the season is a long grind. They’ve already lost Chicharito for the season. But again, MLS can be forgiving but the do need to start a turnaround soon.
McGuire looking like Dike
Orlando thoroughly played Toronto off the field on Wednesday night with a 4-0 win. American forward Duncan McGuire, 22, scored the team’s second goal.
McGuire has been eye-opening in his first professional season and it is very similar to Daryl Dike. Like Dike, McGuire was a Midwest native who was a star college player later drafted by Orlando. Like Dike, he is scoring goals in droves for Orlando in his first professional season. McGuire now has 7 goals in 685 minutes.
Players who score like this at the start of their career need to be followed closely. Surely European teams are following him closely. It’s too early to talk about McGuire and the U.S. national team at a time when there are now good forward options (Folarin Balogun and Ricardo Pepi getting the most attention now) but Duncan seems like a very strong bet for the U.S. U-23 Olympic team next year in Paris.
Martinez & Inter Miami
There are a lot of big stories around Inter Miami right now. Lionel Messi is getting headlines around the globe. There are also rumors of other legends like Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and others following Messi. Tata Martino will be the next coach and he will be a useful link with Messi and the league. All of this has highlighted another story of just how bad Inter Miami is. They are the worst team in the East with 17 points from 20 games. They trail 9th place Montreal by nine points for the final playoff position.
THIS moment on repeat ???????????? pic.twitter.com/BS8PNsFTV2— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) July 5, 2023
For Inter Miami, it might just be about 2024 and beyond after 2023 introduces the world to the coming circus.
One of the cooler stories under the radar is the team’s forward Josef Martinez being reunited with Martino. It was under Martino when Martinez became one of the best forwards in the history of the league.
He might be past his prime years, but there is still a good player inside. He’s scored two impressive goals now in two games. Last night, he rescued Inter Miami with a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw with Columbus.
It’s cool to see Josef Martinez turning back the clock. He should/could be very effective working with Tata again pic.twitter.com/ItDkst1Y9G— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 5, 2023
This was a great goal and it is going to be fun seeing him coached by Martino and with players like Messi giving him service.
USMNT vs. Canada
The USMNT rolls on at the 2023 Gold Cup. Historically, the group stage of this tournament has always been of poor quality. It’s generally asking a lot of CONCACAF to provide enough serious competition for a full group stage – knockout tournament when the gap in quality falls significantly after the first three or sometimes four teams. Now with many teams not fielding all of their best players, the tournament is erratic.
For the U.S. team, the tournament is a great opportunity to look at some promising players who have a future with the Olympic and possibly the full team on a regular basis. But games against St. Kitts & Nevis and this Trinidad & Tobago team are not an opportunity to learn anything meaningful.
???? Knockout prep pic.twitter.com/fiGnsvz7un— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) July 5, 2023
The Jamaica game, however, was a true test. If Jamaica can get all on the same page and build chemistry with their wave of dual national recruits, they can be very good with six Premier League players in their main XI, which they brought to this tournament. They can easily win the tournament. The U.S. team’s 1-1 was a decent result with a poor first half followed by a good second half.
Some of the observations I have heading into the knockouts are:
Jesus Ferreira is playing well, but he needs to bring it in the knockouts as opposed to a player who is just racking up numbers against bad teams. I think he has the ability to do so when he is in a good rhythm, but opportunities will be harder to come by if he doesn’t step up in the knockouts.
Bryan Reynolds is a genuine favourite to be a big player next summer at the Olympics. He’s another player who needs to show more in the knockouts but is going to be an interesting player to watch over the upcoming year.
Alex Zendejas is really struggling. It seems he is not relaxed and is forcing the issue. He may or may not be good enough for regular USMNT call-ups, but he is better than what he is showing at the Gold Cup. He typically performs much better in Liga MX than he is now.
Jalen Neal has shown important maturity. It’s easy to see why he was called up. The central defense player pool is very thin for players born 2001 and afterward. U.S. Soccer doesn’t want to have a huge gap without having a central defender who has decent international experience.
Alan Sonora and Jackson Yueil: Alan Sonora withdrew from the U.S. team due to a hamstring strain. He was replaced by Jackson Yueil who won’t need much time to be brought up to speed.
As for the upcoming game against Canada, the USMNT is favored but is facing a Canadian team that could beat them if not careful. Canada needs to use this Gold Cup as the U.S. team has done in the past – to build up depth. Canada has some star players, but it still needs a supporting cast. The returns in this tournament haven’t been great for them, so far.
We spent a lot of time last week talking about Tim Weah, Yunus Musah, and Ricardo Pepi who are both on the move with great opportunities although more of a risk for Weah. But due to a tough season in 2022/23, this summer window was always going to be wildly busy.
True enough, the picture is becoming clearer with many more players.
Brenden Aaronson won’t be heading to the Championship with relegated Leeds United. Instead, he will be heading to the Champions League with Union Berlin. According to reports, he will be joining the club on loan from Leeds United (presumably with an option to buy).
For Aaronson, it was a tough first season in the Premier League but it would hardly be surprising if he is a much better fit in the Bundesliga – on a club that is functioning well with chemistry and cohesion. He’s already shown well in the Champions League, so there are reasons to be optimistic.
Ethan Horvath won’t return to Luton Town. After helping to lead the team to promotion, the club won’t exercise its option to buy on its loan from Nottingham Forest (where he struggled to start in 2021/22). He will report back to preseason at Nottingham Forest but the best situation for him would be a loan to another Championship team. He’s been passed over twice on teams heading to the Premier League but has thrived in promotion contention. He will always have teams in that range looking for a goalkeeper. That’s not a bad situation to be.
Reggie Cannon: Is Reggie Cannon going to go to La Liga? That would be something. His time at Boavista was mixed. Last season he even stopped playing right back and moved to central defense. But such a move is a bit of a concern because Cannon is now a free agent – or he is at least trying to become one. He unilaterally cancelled his contract for lack of payment and might have to prove this in court. But even if he wins and moves on a free transfer, it’s tough to gauge how much the buying team wants him. Without paying a transfer fee, they could just be taking a flyer on him. If a team pays a fee for a player, you have an idea of how much they value him. Plus, what position is he viewed as?
Reggie Cannon es buscado por clubes europeos, en particular al menos 2 de Primera División española, me dijo una fuente— Carlos Nava ESPN (@TapaNava) July 4, 2023
El defensa @USMNT , ex #FCDallas será agente libre oficialmente, luego de q #Boavista portugués con el q jugó las pasadas 3 temporadas tiene atrasos salariales
Weston McKennie: as a player who has played in the Bundesliga, Serie A, and the Premier League (with Champions League games for Schalke and Juventus), there will be interest in Weston McKennie. The disappointment at Leeds likely won’t affect him. One report has Borussia Dortmund interested but other reports have suggested a variety of Premier League clubs. This one seems far from settled right now.
Agustin Anello: Signed for Sparta Rotterdam on a transfer from Lommel. He spent the second half of 2022/23 on loan with Hajduk Split but the team declined to exercise its option to buy. Now he heads to a Spart team that finished sixth in the Eredivisie. That is a big step up. It remains to be seen how much of a role the club initially sees for him. But it is a big opportunity.
Welkom! https://t.co/xOWsVRElJj— Sparta Rotterdam (@SpartaRotterdam) July 2, 2023
Jonathan Amon: the injury plagued Amon, 24, signed for Lyngby after a long run with Nordsjaelland. He hasn’t played since 2020 due to injuries. He will now remain in Denmark’s topflight with a Lyngby club that narrowly avoided relegation. It is just a one-year deal and the club acknowledges there is a risk with injuries but insists there isn’t much pressure on him. It is almost like a paid trial.
Andrew Gutman: The former Indiana Hoosier is on the move to another MLS team after being traded from Atlanta to Colorado on Wednesday. He has done well at Cincinnati, the New York Red Bulls, and Atlanta but has been a journeyman. Colorado, however, can certainly use a reliable presence in the back. For Atlanta, this opens the door for Caleb Wiley to play left back (as opposed to left wing) but Wiley is likely to eventually be sold.
Ian Harkes: has signed for the New England Revolution after his run at Dundee United came to an end following the club’s relegation. His first stint in MLS wasn’t great and he was eventually released by DC United. But we will now see how much he matured in Scotland after having a lot of responsibility with Dundee United.