Americans abroad analysis

CCV wins title, McKenzie scores again, Gooch into the playoffs, & much more

ASN's Brian Sciaretta walks you through the weekend and Monday for Americans abroad. There weren't many fireworks, but we saw some silverware and some relegations. The best moment was Lynden Gooch captaining his Sunderland team back to relevance. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
May 09, 2023
7:55 PM

THE WEEKEND FOR Americans abroad but as the season draws to a close, we are seeing players win silverware, contend for promotion or spots in Europe, or also suffer in relegation battles. This weekend lacked fireworks, but it also told part of the story where these players stand this season.

Before we go into the perspective leagues, let’s talk about those players who had something at stake.


Carter-Vickers & Celtic win Scotland


In what was a foregone conclusion, Celtic won the Premiership and the Scottish Treble after a 2-0 win over Hearts. Cameron Carter-Vickers is out the remainder of the season (and likely the summer with the U.S. team) to rehab his knee, but he was on the field to celebrate another Scottish title. Will he remain with Celtic next season or will he be bought? That remains to be seen.


Wingo wins Hungary again


Similarly, Henry Wingo has been out injured for Ferencvaros but the right back from Seattle clinched his third-straight NB I title with Ferencvaros after winning Norway with Molde.

Wingo, 27, has won silverware but at some point, perhaps, he looks to leverage that for a better deal back home. He never fully latched on with the Seattle but now he might have more options.


Pepi scores, but Groningen relegated


Ricardo Pepi, 20, scored his 12th goal of the season but it was enough as Groningen drew Go Ahead Eagles 1-1 and were formally relegated out of the Eredivsie. It’s been a good season for Pepi who learned a lot about professionalism on his loan to Groningen. Scoring 12 goals over 2,252 minutes for a very poor team in a hostile environment (multiple games suspended for crowd behavior) is a good thing.

Pepi might still not be ready for one of the top five leagues, but he should be able to work his way up the chain substantially within leagues like the Eredivisie or in Belgium. Whether that will be on another loan or on a transfer remains to be seen.

He is one of the top American forwards but one question that is fair to ask, would he consider the U-20 World Cup? He wouldn’t miss any full national team games and Groningen doesn’t need him anymore with relegation sealed and no vested interest in his development?

Probably not. But it’s interesting to think about.


Hoffenhiem take a big step


American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo has survival in sight after his Hoffenheim team was in last place in March. On Saturday, Hoffenheim posted a 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt and John Brooks went 90 minutes in the win. Brooks played well: 5/9 in his long balls, eight clearances, 2/2 aerials.

It was a tough test with Hoffenheim down to 10 players after the 48th minute red card to Stanley Nsoki.

With the win, Hoffenhiem is now four points clear of the relegation playoff position with three games remaining.

What is even more impressive from this game was Paxten Aaronson who played the entire second half and looked dangerous. He looks well ahead of schedule and the club has the DFB Pokal Final on June 3, which could cost Aaronson the chance to play in the U-20 World Cup. That would be too bad, but his development is way ahead of schedule.


Championship: Gooch into playoffs


The Championship had its final round of games in the regular season for most of the Americans in the league, there wasn’t much at stake. The big exception was Lynden Gooch who started and played 66 minutes as Sunderland’s captain in a massive 3-0 win over Preston North End. That was enough to secure a playoff berth due to Millwall’s stunning 4-3 loss to Blackburn. Gooch featured at right back this season  and the club is now aiming for back to back promotions.

For Gooch, 27, he has been affiliated with the club since he was 10 years old. He played with the club when they were in the Premier League and then was with them as they fell in consecutive relegations into League One. He stuck with them and is now attempting to lead them back to the Premier League – as their captain.

Yanks will be represented in three of the four promotional playoff teams. In the first round, Luton Town and Ethan Horvath will take on Gooch and Sunderland. Zack Steffen and Middlesbrough will meet Coventry. At least one American should be in the promotional playoff final in Wembley.

Auston Trusty went 65 minutes for Birmingham City in a 2-1 loss at home to Sheffield United. Birmingham City finished in 17th place, safely ahead of the relegation zone. He had a great season, was chosen as the team’s Supporters’ Player of the Season, made 45 starts for over 4000 minutes, and used it to earn his first USMNT cap. His loan is over, and he will return to Arsenal. Birmingham City would love to have him back but that seems unlikely as clubs further up the chain will likely be looking to take him on.

Josh Sargent didn’t feature for Norwich in a 1-0 loss at home to Blackpool. Norwich was eliminated from the playoff contention last week.

Duane Holmes has been injured but his Huddersfield Town team played well down the stretch to avoid relegation and today they won 2-0 against a Reading team that is going down.

With third place secure, Ethan Horvath was given the day off for Luton Town in a 0-0 draw with Hull City.

Zach Steffen made two saves as Middlesbrough drew Coventry 1-1 as both teams are in the playoffs.


Elsewhere in England


Fulham and Leicester met on Monday in a wild game where Fulham prevailed 5-3 at Craven Cottage. Antonee Robinson struggled a bit defensively and had one bad pass that forced Bernd Leno to bail him out. Offensively, he had some nice moments getting forward.


Christian Pulisic was an unused sub for Chelsea in a 3-1  away win over AFC Bournemouth. It’s going to be a huge offseason for Pulisic.

Matt Turner was also unused for Arsenal in a 2-0 win over Newcastle. Few expected him to play much for Arsenal this season but he hasn’t even made one Premier League appearances.


Leeds in the relegation zone


It was bound to happen. A team can only be bad for so long before the relegation zone overtakes it. This is the case as over the weekend Manchester City defeated Leeds United 2-1 in the first game for Leeds under Sam Allardyce.

Leedflatteringnot play nearly as poorly as it had for most of the past two months but the scoreline was flattering to Leeds United after Manchester City hit the woodwork four times. Weston McKennie played the full 90 and Brenden Aaronson played the last 10 minutes.


Allardyce’s has simple tactics and is good for rallying a team quickly. McKennie was one of the better Leeds United players and he seemed to have an impressive amount of freedom.

The problem for Leeds is that even playing close with Manchester City is not enough after a run of one point from six games. The team needs results, and wins. With Everton pounding Brighton & Hove Albion 5-1, Leeds United slipped into the relegation zone. Then with Nottingham Forest defeating Southampton 3-1, Leeds is two points deep. It will now almost certainly need at least a win and possibly a minimum of four points to survive.

Leeds United has three games remaining: home to Newcastle, away to West Ham, home to Tottenham. It’s going to need a win in there. But that is a tough schedule and the away game at West Ham could tell the story.


Yanks in the Bundesliga


The big game for Americans in the Bundesliga came on Sunday when Borussia Dortmund destroyed Wolfsburg 6-0.

Kevin Paredes returned from a three-week injury absence and played the second half of the loss (it was 3-0 when he came on). He played well and worked hard but could not make much of an impact as Borussia Dortmund were just much better on the day.

Gio Reyna went the final 21 minutes for Borussia Dortmund and similarly played well but it was 5-0 when he came on and Wolfsburg was just looking to end the day. Reyna continues to be a luxury player for Dortmund, which continues to trail Bayern Munich by just one point with four games remaining.

The rest of the Bundesliga was uneventful for Americans this weekend.

Augsburg defeated Union Berlin 1-0 with Jordan Pefok going the final 21 minutes. His hold-up play was effective at times, but he has still only scored one goal since September. Union Berlin continues to hold onto the last Champions League spot from the Bundesliga by goal differential over Freiburg.

Joe Scally was just a stoppage-time, time-wasting sub for Borussia Monchengladbach in a 2-0 win over Bochum. His minutes have dropped in recent weeks.

Caden Clark did not dress for RB Leipzig in a 1-0 win over Freiburg.


Yanks in the 2.Bundesliga


Lennard Maloney and Heidenheim played Magdeburg to a 0-0 draw but still have a four-point lead on third place Hamburg SV (who also played to a draw this weekend) for the final automatic promotional spot. Maloney was pulled at halftime for a more offensively oriented player.

One of the cooler stories from the weekend was Hansa Rostock’s 2-0 win over Jahn Regensburg. Mired in the relegation zone for months, Hansa Rostock has rallied for three straight wins and American central defender Ryan Malone, 31, has been great in all three games. He’s been one of the league’s best players over the past month and is saving the club from relegation. He’s a former Division III NCAA athlete who has toiled in the lower levels of Germany but has been a late bloomer.

But Malone’s surge has been at the expense of Arminia Bielefeld who now sit in the relegation playoff position, four points below Hansa Rostock. On Saturday, Arminia Bielefeld played Greuther Furth to a 1-1 draw. George Bello played the final 28 minutes for Arminia Bielefeld, who are in the relegation playoff and badly need wins are they are four points from automatic safety but only two points clear of automatic relegation.

Julian Green, meanwhile, went 88 minutes for Furth and was replaced by fellow American Maximillian Dietz in a game where Furth sits midtable in 12th place and is simply playing out the stretch. If Arminia Bielefeld are relegated, Bello could be in a position where he returns home to play after a tough 18 months in Germany.

Also in the Bundesliga, Terrence Boyd scored his 13th goal of the season for FC Kaiserslautern in a 3-3 draw with FC Nurnberg. The former U.S. international is third in the 2.Bundesliga in goals and has done well to keep the team comfortably in midtable just one season after getting promoted.

St. Pauli defeated Darmstadt 3-0 on the road and American born manager Fabian Hurzeler has won 12 of 14 games since he took over midseason.

Yanks in Belgium


In Belgium’s topflight, it was a mixed day for American defender Mark McKenzie who scored for the second straight week to get Genk on the board against Royal Antwerp. But Genk could not hold onto the lead and Antwerp prevailed 2-1. McKenzie’s 20th minute goal came after a skirmish after a corner kick.

With that result, Royal Antwerp moved past Genk atop the standings and it was the first time since October that Genk was not atop the First Division. As recently as February the club was ahead by double digits. It is a substantial collapse for Genk.

McKenzie was one of the team’s better players on the day and he still had a great season. He should see minutes for the national team this summer and should have more opportunities for the next manager in the fall. 

Sam Vines was not on the matchday squad for Royal Antwerp and is yet to make an appearance since his broken tibia on November fourth.

In the middle four teams that are in a round robin to compete for a Conference League playoff, Westerlo fell to Cercle Brugge 5-3 at home. Bryan Reynolds, 21, had a tough day and was subbed out in the 76th minute with Westerlo down 5-2. His teammate and former DC United winger Griffin Yow made his first team Westerlo debut when he came on in the 83rd minute.

As it stands, Westerlo is last in the round robin group and does not appear to be in contention for the Conference League spot.

The same could be said for Standard Liege which lost to the leader of that group, KAA Gent, 2-1 at home. Marlon Fossey has had a very good season and, most importantly, has stayed healthy. But he went 90 minutes in the loss.

Could Fossey get into the U.S. national team picture? Perhaps. The right back depth chart his deep but with the Olympics coming up, that will take either Joe Scally or Bryan Reynolds to that team. Then with DeAndre Yedlin turning 30, perhaps he will fade out sooner. Fossey, who was on the 2017 U.S. U-20 team, has only helped himself. Injuries were his biggest concern after multiple major knee surgeries. But this season has distanced himself from that.


Yanks in France


In Ligue 1, the two Americans saw action.

Reims defeated Lille 1-0 and Tim Weah once again did not start. What is interesting is that he came off the bench for the last 27 minutes and was playing in an attacking role for awhile until the final subs shifted him back to fullback.

Weah has been used as an injury replacement fullback for months and this made a long-awaited return to forward. It didn’t amount to much, but it was significant.

Also in France, Erik Palmer-Brown went 90 minutes for Troyes which fell to a much better Paris Saint Germain team 3-1 at home. Troyes will be relegated very soon. The club is 12 points deep in the hole with only five games to play. They are on a 17-game winless skid. It is only a matter of time and I would not expect Palmer-Brown to go down with the ship.


Yanks in the Eredivisie


Three U.S. internationals featured in the Eredivisie over the weekend. We’ve already talked about Pepi.

Taylor Booth returned from injury and played 75 minutes for Utrecht in a 3-0 win over last-place Cambuur. Booth won 7/15 of his ground duels and was active but did not make too much of an impact, which isn’t to suggest he was poor either.

Near the top of the table, Ajax was held to a 0-0 draw with AZ Alkmaar. A result that kept Ajax in third and AZ in fourth. Djordje Mihaiolvoic played the final 12 minutes in the draw. He had eight touches, was 4/5 in passing, and had one shot along with a yellow card.


Yanks in Italy


In Serie B’s race for a spot in the promotional playoffs Venezia squandered a 1-0 lead and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Cosenza (who are near the bottom of the table). That result dropped Venezia out of the promotional playoff positions with three games to go.

Still the club has been on a remarkable climb. Tanner Tessmann went 90 minutes in the game but did not have the impact he typically does. Gianluca Busio played the final 28 minutes.


Yanks Elsewhere


In Scotland, Cameron Carter-Vickers did not play due to injury but celebrated on the field afterward. Malik Tillman was injured and missed Rangers 1-0 win over Aberdeen.

Dundee United dropped a 1-0 decision to St. Johnstone on the road and Ian Harkes went 87 minutes. It’s going to be a close call if they avoid relegation. They’re one point above the relegation playoff but they are only clear by goal differential. They are also only one point clear of the only automatic relegation place.

In the top half playoffs, Hiberniann defeated St. Mirren 2-1 and Matthew Hoppe only made a late-game cameo to kill off time. His playing time has taken a nosedive over the past six weeks and he is setting himself up for serious questions this offseason about what is next for him.

In Sweden, Joe Gyau played 86 minutes for Degerfors in a 2-0 loss at home to IFK Norrkoeping on Monday.

In Norway, Sam Rogers went 90 minutes for Rosenborg in a 3-1 at home to Vaalerenga. Kobe Hernandez-Foster started for HamKam but played only 65 minutes in a 4-0 loss at home to Molde. He left after all the scoring took place.

In Denmark’s relegation half of the Superliga, Emmanuel Sabbi started and scored in his second straight game and his fifth of the season as his 33rd minute goal was all OB Odense needed in a 1-0 win over Silkeborg.

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In Croatia's HNL, Hajduk Split defeated Lokomotiva Zagreb 3-0 on the road. Rokas Pukstas won't be released for the U-20 World Cup but he will continue to feature for Hajduk Split. In this game, he went 90 minutes as assisted on Yassine Benrahou's 53rd minute to open the scoring. Florida winger Agustin Anello played the final three minutes in the win.

Pukstas’ assist was a complete stroke of luck but when you’re playing well, luck tends to find you.

In Hungary, Eduvie Ikoba scored for ZTE in a 2-1 win over Puskas Academy. The win was important in the relegation battle and it was Ikoba’s first goal since November – his 11th goal of the NB I and 13th in all competitions.

In Finland's top tier, Jack De Vries played the final 25 minutes for KTP in a 4-2 loss to Haka.

In Iceland’s top league, 2014 USMNT World Cup veteran Aron Johannsson scored for the second straight week for Valur in a 5-0 win over KR. Valur is in second place with 15 points from six games, three points behind Víkingur Reykjavík.


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