Americans abroad analysis
Busio, CCV, Scally, and Gioacchini make big strides for Euro-based Yanks
September 13, 2021
THE WEEKEND ABROAD FOR Americans had a few highlights but was mostly mixed with spells of inactivity, brief cameos, and poor performances. Most of this was expected with many players fatigued after returning from international duty, but it was below even low expectations – with a few notable exceptions.
Think about it like this, how good could a weekend be with the following players either injured, not on the bench, or going as unused substitutes?
Players out of action
- Tim Weah – injured for Lille
- Josh Sargent – fatigued and injured for Norwich
- Christian Pulisic – injured for Chelsea
- Brenden Aaronson - was not in the 18 for Salzburg
- Zack Steffen – quarantined and out for Man City
- Gio Reyna – injured for Borussia Dortmund
- Tyler Adams – unused substitute for RB Leipzig
- Ethan Horvath – unused substitute for Nottingham Forest
- Tanner Tessmann – unused substitute for Venezia
- Matthew Hoppe - unused substitute for Mallorca
- Sergino Dest – Barcelona game postponed
- Matt Miazga – Deportivo Alaves game postponed
- Sam Vines – injured for Royal Antwerp
- Andrija Novakovich – unused substitute for Frosinone
- Alex Mendez – unused substitute for Vizela
- Erik Palmer-Brown – not in the 18 for Troyes
- Owen Otasowie – not in the 18 for Club Brugge
Among those that played, there were some good things and bad things. Let’s dig into that now.
Busio’s strong outing
Gianluca Busio, 19, had his best and first truly positive outing when he started and went the full distance for Venezia in a 2-1 away win over Empoli. Venezia is starting off the season with a long road trip as the Stadio Penzo is expanded for Serie A. After dropping their first two games, Venezia traveled to face Empoli and came up with a big 2-1 win.
Busio was strong – especially in the first half with the ball – and then in the second half he contributed defensively as his team held on for dear life to cling to a valuable three points.
Gianluca Busio: raw # for Venezia in 2-1 away win vs Empoli— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) September 11, 2021
1 key pass (1 chance created)
2/5 long balls
If Venezia is going to survive this season without being relegated, it is going to need all players to step up on both sides of the ball. Efforts such as this help Busio show that he is more than just a luxury item.
As for the national team, we know Gio Reyna is likely out for the U.S. team and the door is open for Busio as a player who is set to be a regular starter this entire season.
CCV’s big Celtic debut
After over 11,000 minutes in the Championship, Cameron Carter-Vickers played his first league minutes outside of England’s second tier when he started for Celtic in his club debut after going on loan from Tottenham. It was a good opportunity for Carter-Vickers to get comfortable as relegation battling Ross County was not expected to provide much competition.
Carrter-Vickers, 23, had a very strong game, which included a rare moment of offensive production. The English-born American actually opened the scoring in the 53rd minute with a fluky goal when he stepped up for a shot from distance, but it took a massive deflection to loop into the net.
CCV GOAL OF SEASON ???????????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/TyOU6ubd6m— JOHN ????????#CurvedSpinesMatter???????????????????????????????????? (@ScoliosisReform) September 11, 2021
Carter-Vickers got on the ball a ton in this game and helped Celtic in its dominating possession en route to a 3-0 win. It was a big effort that ensured he is ready to continue to start.
Cameron Carter-Vickers in his Celtic debut (3-0 vs Ross County)— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) September 11, 2021
1 key pass
10/14 long balls
7/11 duels won
- some debut
Will Carter-Vicker’s make a return to the national team? He’s in a better position now than he was before this loan but he has a lot of competition with Miles Robinson, John Brooks, Mark McKenzie, Chris Richards, Tim Ream, Matt Miazga, Erik Palmer-Brown, Walker Zimmerman, and Aaron Long (whenever he returns).
McKennie returns for Juventus
We all know about the ugliness McKennie went through during the last international window. The big question is how that was going to affect his play at Juventus. Manager Massimiliano Allegri announced on Friday that McKennie would return to the starting lineup for Saturday’s visit to Napoli.
The game turned out to be a mess for Juventus, which took a 1-0 lead off an error in the 10th minute but crumbed in the second half in a 2-1 loss. Juventus now has just one point from the first three games this season.
McKennie was poor in this one. It goes without saying that the entire Juventus team was bad and it probably took a turn for the worse once McKennie was replaced by Aaron Ramsey in the 72nd minute. But McKennie has suffered a dip in form to start this season and when you combine it with the incident with the U.S. team, Juventus could look to unload him in January.
This is the biggest test of his career because he is dealing with adversity while in the spotlight. He has the ability to right the ship, he just needs to focus and do it.
Gioacchini’s Ligue 1 debut
One of the most underrated transfers of the summer window for American players was the loan (with an option to buy) that sent Nicholas Gioacchini from SM Caen to Montpellier of the first tier, Ligue 1.
On Sunday, the Kansas City-born attacker made his club and league debut as he came off the bench in the 58th for Montpellier in a 2-0 win over Saint Etienne. He was part of the build-up to the team’s second goal – a Valere Germain strike in the 62nd minute. Gioacchini controlled the ball into the attacking third, swung it to Stephy Alvaro Mavididi who then assisted to Germain.
Gioacchini is in a great position to see a lot of minutes and sneak into the USMNT picture. He can bring some size and strength in the attacking third. Berhalter has always seemed to really like what Gioacchini has brought to the table and with him now in the top flight and playing, he could overtake others who are not playing.
Scally & Gladbach win
Joe Scally is in a position to continue starting for Borussia Monchengladbach as the club is still struggling with injuries. On Sunday, Scally showcased his versatility in a 3-1 win over Arminia Bielefeld, which was Gladbach’s first win of the season.
Scally, 18, started at right back but was able to shift to left back in the second half when left back Luca Netz was subbed out of the game. Gladbach dominated this game, but Scally played well, and helped his club get back on track.
- 90 minutes
- 90 touches
- 1 shot
- 1 key pass
- 51/60 passing
- 1/1 long balls
- 2/2 crossing
- 4/10 duels won
- 2 clearances
- 0/2 dribbles
- 0/2 tackles
- 2 fouls
- 1 yellow card
- 2 fouls drawn
Ihr habt gefragt, Joe Scally hat geantwortet!— Borussia (@borussia) September 13, 2021
Joe über sein deutsches Lieblingsessen, was er aus der Heimat vermisst, mit welchem Promi er gerne mal einen Tag lang tauschen würde und vieles mehr ????
Yedlin starts in Galatasaray draw
Fresh off of helping the U.S. team defeat Honduras, where he assisted on the winning goal, DeAndre Yedlin started for Galatasaray on Sunday in a 2-2 away draw to Trabzonspor.
It was a disappointing result from Galatasaray which built a 2-0 lead early but collapsed as the game moved along to settle for a 2-2 draw.
As for Yedlin, he was pretty quiet in this one but that is to be expected after playing in a busy international window with a ton of travel. Still, it’s good to see him playing regularly from a U.S. national team perspective as he can bring needed experience and stability to the team’s backline.
Pefok’s struggles for Young Boys
It was a good win for BSC Young Boys on Saturday in a 4-0 win over leaders FC Zurich. Jordan Pefok got the start for Young Boys, despite having just returned from the U.S. team in Honduras.
The perennial Swiss champions easily won the game but Pefok struggled where he lost almost all of his duels, and generated little of the attack.
Jordan Pefok: raw # for Young Boys in 4-0 win vs Zurich— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) September 11, 2021
2/12 duels won
?Poor numbers in a good win. Shows why many are rested following a busy international break w/ lots of travel
It's hard to draw much from this performance but it shows a few things:
- 1) Young Boys is much better than most teams and should eventually climb back atop the table.
- 2) Pefok is too valuable to leave out of the lineup, even when he’s tired.
- 3) It just shows how taxing these three-game windows can be when combined with CONCACAF travel for Euro-based players.
McKenzie plays Genk’s 2nd half
Mark McKenzie played the second half for KRC Genk on Sunday in a 1-1 draw with Union St. Gilloise. It was 0-0 when he entered. It was a disappointing result for Genk, however, which went up a man in the 72nd minute and scored on the ensuing penalty. But despite being up a man and a goal, had to settle for a draw when Union St. Gilloise equalized deep into stoppage time.
McKenzie was not at fault for the goal and played relatively well. It remains to be seen if he can reclaim his starting job. Either way, Genk actually rotates its central defenders more than most teams so McKenzie has been doing a good job in seeing the field regularly.
Richards starts in Hoffenheim loss
It was very positive to see Chris Richards make a return to Hoffenheim’s starting lineup fresh off securing second loan to the club just before the international window. Richards will now get the chance for an entire season with the Bundesliga club. The Alabama native started on Saturday as Hoffenheim hosted Mainz.
The bad news from this game is that Hoffenheim dropped a 2-0 result to a Mainz team impressing to start the season. The good news is that from Richards’ perspective, he played well and was not at fault for either goal.
Richards had 100 touches over 90 minutes and completed 75/86 of his passes – including 5/10 long balls and was 6/12 in his duels. He’ll also continue to improve given he has not played much over the summer and at the start of the season. He was essentially coming into this game with very limited preparation and acquitted himself well. For him, it was a good game. For the team, it was poor.
Robinson, Ream, & Fulham lose
After a terrific start to the season, Fulham dropped its first game of 2021/22 on Saturday in a 1-0 away defeat to Blackpool. Both Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson returned from U.S. national team duty to go a full 90 in this loss.
Despite the loss, both Americans played well despite the fatigue of travelling. Robinson had a gut-busting day with 105 touches and was 4/8 in his crosses. He also had three key passes and generated what little offense Fulham was able to generate. Ream also had 105 touches and was 96/99 in passing. He was also a perfect 3/3 in his duels.
Fulham will be a contender for promotion this year and both Americans give the team a chance to win any game in the Championship. From there, it just needs the offense to put things together.
Green & Furth lose to Wolfsburg
It often seems like Greuther Furth isn’t even interested in avoiding relegation his year. After earning promotion to the Bundesliga, the club spent little on upgrading its squad. It is essentially the same team as last season – including U.S international Julian Green.
On Saturday in a 2-0 loss at home against Wolfsburg, Green started and played about an hour. He worked hard and tried to win duels and force turnovers but wasn’t able to come close to helping his team earn a result. He had just 26 touches in 60 minutes and was 9/11 in passing.
John Brooks, meanwhile, returned from international duty with the U.S. to play the final 17 minutes of the win. He was on the field for the team’s final goal in stoppage time.
As for Green, he might make a return to the U.S. team – as some U.S. fans are hoping – but there is increased competition and with the way Furth is playing, it is tough to gauge just how well Green is playing. The entire team is struggling to compete.
Yanks in Cameos
In addition to the previously mentioned John Brooks, a bunch of American players were involved in brief cameos for their respective clubs – to varying levels of involvement.
In La Liga, Yunus Musah came into Valencia’s 4-1 away win over Osasuna and had one moment in stoppage time when he made an impressive 80 yard run with the all and set up a play which nearly result in a goal.
In Spain’s second tier, Shaq Moore played the final 10 minutes for Tenerife in a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid. In limited minutes, Moore actually had two crosses that created very dangerous chances for Tenerife.
In France, Konrad de la Fuente was a 79th minute sub for Marseille in a 2-0 away win over Monaco.
In Serie A on Sunday, Bryan Reynolds came into Roma’s game against Sassuolo and was on the field for a winning goal in a 2-1 victory.
It was a mixed weekend for American coaching in Europe. Jesse Marsch and RB Leipzig dropped a 4-1 result at home to perennial champs Bayern Munich. The result was not surprising but Leipzig has struggled out of the game under Marsch with just three points from four games.
Pellegrino Matarazzo and VfB Stuttgart fought to a 1-1 away draw against Eintracht Frankfurt and the New Jersey native’s club has four points from four games.
Other notes & thoughts
Among the Americans who did not play, one of the big winners was Ethan Horvath. His Nottingham Forest team dropped a 2-1 loss at home to Cardiff City. Forest has just one point from four games and is in the basement of the league. First choice goalkeeper Brice Samba has been poor this season and both goals he conceded on Sunday were avoidable. Horvath seems like he will get a shot soon, but this team has a lot of problems and he won’t be able to fix them all. But he’ll be an improvement over Samba.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Duane Holmes started for Huddersfield in a 2-1 away loss to Stoke City.
In League One, QPR loanee Charlie Kelman assisted for Gillingham in a 1-1 away draw against Burton Albion. Lynden Gooch started for Sunderland in a 2-1 win at home over Accrington Stanley.
In Scotland’s Premiership, Christian Ramirez started and played 90 minutes for Aberdeen in a 2-0 away loss to Motherwell. Ian Harkes started and went the distance for Dundee United in a 0-0 away draw to St. Mirren.
In Austria’s Bundesliga, Thomas Roberts was an unused sub for Austria Klagenfurt in a 2-1 away loss to Sturm Graz. In the second tier, Uly Lanez played the second half for St. Poelten in a brutal 3-0 home loss to Dornbirn. The game was 1-0 when he entered and St. Poelten sits in 15th place in the 16 team league.
In Hungary, Henry Wingo was a 25th minute substitute into the game for reigning champs Ferencvaros as he his team went down a man early due to a red. He played the rest of the game at right back in a big 1-0 win over Honved.
In Turkey, Tyler Boyd started and struggled over 69 minutes for Rizespor in a 2-0 home loss to Hatayspor.
In Slovakia's Super Liga, Zyen Jones played the final 18 minutes in a 2-1 away win for second place Spartak Trnava over Zemplin Michalovce.
In the Dutch 2nd tier Eerste Divisie, Dante Sealy started scored for Jong PSV in a 3-1 win over Jong Ajax.
It was his first goal since joining Jong PSV on loan from FC Dallas.