Americans abroad analysis
Dike and Paredes injuries loom large but Tessmann, Fossey, & Pepi impress
April 17, 2023
THE WEEKEND for Americans abroad had a few improved performances and positive stories compared with last week’s dismal stretch of games. But injuries reared their ugly head in a potentially major way and it overshadowed all that was good.
Let's just start with the top stories
Dike and Paredes injured
American players were hit with two injuries over the weekend with the injury to Daryl Dike potentially the most serious, West Brom defeated Stoke 2-1 but American forward Daryl Dike looks set to miss a lot of time – well into next season – if the fears over a possible Achilles injury are confirmed.
Dike missed most of the first half of the season with a separate injury and this eliminated any hope he had to play in the World Cup. Then when he full returned in December, he began scoring big goals for West Brom again. This led to his return to the national team in March.
Albion striker Daryl Dike looks set for another extended period out of the side with an Achilles injury suffered in the comeback victory at Stokehttps://t.co/Xjw6dlD2cS— Express & Star (@ExpressandStar) April 16, 2023
Now Dike has suffered a major setback – which is bad news for West Brom, the U.S. national team, and most of all Dike himself who is one of the nicest American guys in the game.
For the U.S. team, it ups the pressure on players like Haji Wright, Josh Sargent, Ricardo Pepi, Jesus Ferreira, Brandon Vazquez, and maybe even Folarin Balogun. The U.S. team has a busy slate of games in June.
Then in Wolfsburg’s 0-0 home draw with Bayer Leverkusen, U.S. U-20 winger Kevin Paredes was subbed into the game in the 54th minute but was forced out in the 79th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. No official timetable is set for him yet, but this injury could potentially cut short his season and possibly be used as a reason for Wolfsburg to deny his release for the U-20 World Cup next month.
??79 ' | Unfortunately @KParedes_7 has picked up a muscle injury and needs to be taken off.— VfL Wolfsburg EN/US ???????? ???????? (@VfLWolfsburg_EN) April 16, 2023
Ridle Baku ??@yannickgerhardt ??@LacroixMaxence ??@KParedes_7 ??
0-0 | #WOBB04#VfLWolfsburg ?????? pic.twitter.com/nU65n4NiI9
Paredes is young and should bounce back soon but this comes at a tough time when international games are on the horizon – either with the U.S. U-20 team or the full national team.
Reyna scores, but BVB disappoint
Borussia Dortmund squandered an amazing opportunity to pull even with Bayern Munich on points atop the table on Saturday against Stuttgart. Gio Reyna entered the game in the 82nd minute with Dortmund ahead 2-1. Stuttgart equalized in the 84th but then Reyna was able to put Dortmund back on top 3-2 in the second minute of stoppage time.
But it was short-lived as five minutes later in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Stuttgart found an equalizer with one of the final kicks of the game.
Reyna continues to play well off the bench, but it still doesn’t seem closer to starting for Dortmund. His goals/assists per minute ratio is excellent. But what will get him back into the starting lineup? It might not be until preseason this summer. For now, Dortmund is prioritizing trying to catch Bayern Munich.
Internationally, Reyna should be back with the U.S. team this summer. But will he be okay with coming off the bench?
Fossey scores, impresses for Standard
Over in Belgium, Standard Liege defeated Sporting Charleroi 3-1. American wingback Marlon Fossey, 24, scored in the 82nd minute to give Standard a 2-0 lead. He now has three goals in his last four games for Standard, which has risen to sixth place in the league.
His goal came when he finished a flick-on header from a corner.
????? Baloise ???????????? ???????? ???????????? ???????????????????? ???? Charleroi ???? Marlon Fossey ????— Standard de Liège (@Standard_RSCL) April 17, 2023
???? Top 5??
1. @Marlonfossey_ (40%) ????????
2. @bodart_arnaud (22%) ????????
3. Merveille Bope Bokadi (14%) ????????
4. Renaud Emond (7%) ????????
5. @noahohio9 (5%) ????????#STACHA #RSCL #StandardApp ???? pic.twitter.com/X2I9GO6q2Q
As for Fossey, he is a handful to defend going forward with his athleticism and pure tenacity. He really hasn’t flown under the radar because U.S. Soccer has always been interested (he was initially on the 2017 U.S. U-20 World Cup team) but he has never been able to stay healthy and he suffered a series of knee injuries.
Now healthy, he is putting distance between himself and the injuries of his past. That is important. Any talk of him getting sold is way too premature. He needs to play for a long period of time without any injures. The U.S. program is surely monitoring his progress and the likes of Sergino Dest, Joe Scally, Bryan Reynolds, and DeAndre Yedlin is competition on the right side. Also, Fossey plays as a wingback with three central defenders behind him. That doesn’t rule him out, but fitting into the U.S. program would be an adjustment.
For now, he’s doing well and he’s doing all he can to make up for lost time.
Pepi scores 11th
Ricardo Pepi scored his 11th goal of the season for Groningen in a 2-1 loss at home to RKC Waalwijk 2-1. The defense on the goal left a lot to be desired and this scoring opportunity is not available against most opponents.
But what is most impressive right now is that Pepi continues to focus on his game despite a ton of distractions. His team is terrible and will be relegated after this year. Fan violence from Groningen supporters has halted two of his games. But Pepi has kept his head down, worked hard, and has given his team the best he can offer. He doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to score but he’s making the most of it.
Ricardo Pepi’s equalIzer for Groningen. His 11th of the season. The team has just 1 win & 1 draw in the games he’s scored. The rest are losses. Fan violence has halted 2 of his games. It is impressive how he continues to put his head down and do his job. pic.twitter.com/P9FG2f6PpY— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 15, 2023
Pepi, 20, has a big offseason ahead. He will move clubs but likely won’t return to Augsburg. It’s hard to see him moving back into another “big five” league but a move, likely via another loan, up the chain within Holland makes sense. The top teams in Holland know what he can do. Maybe Pepi also attracts interest from top Belgian teams or elsewhere outside of the “big five” but that is likely the direction he is heading.
For the U.S. team, he is likely going to have a real opportunity to become the team’s starting center forward sooner than later.
Hoffenheim crawl towards safety
After an impressive three game winning streak lifted the club from last place and three points into safety, Hoffenheim continued to impress. On Saturday, the club traveled to Munich and played Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw.
Into the new week ???? pic.twitter.com/HiSpJXyNqy— TSG Hoffenheim EN (@tsghoffenheimEN) April 17, 2023
At the heart of the turnaround is Pellegrino Matarazzo, the American manager from Fair Lawn, NJ. Over the past month, the club’s success now has it in 13th place and five points clear of the relegation playoff position. John Brooks has also played every minute of the last four games. Will he continue to be part of the team’s plans next year? It depends. But he’s certainly helped his case.
Younger Aaronson gets extended minutes
U.S. U-20 playmaker Paxten Aaronson earned his first extended run for Eintracht Frankfurt when he played 35 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. He didn’t make a huge impact in the game, earning 19 touches and going 6/8 in passing. But he was aggressive and showed positive movement on the field.
Joe Scally, 20, went the distance for Gladbach and also played well in the draw. Over 90 minutes, he had 59 touches and eight passes into the final third. With this performance, he now eclipsed 4000 minutes in the Bundesliga. For a player of his age, that is excellent and he is way ahead of the curve in terms of experience.
Tessmann lifts Venezia
Tanner Tessmann, 21, continues to be a massive presence for Venezia in its relegation battle and his 63rd minute goal gave Venezia a 3-1 lead, which proved to be the eventual winner of a 3-2 victory. Venezia has now won three of four games and is two points clear of the relegation playoff position.
Tessmann had a complete 90 minute performance on both sides of the ball. Physically, he held his own. Defensively, he was important in helping Venezia control the middle of the field. Then with his goal, he showed excellent movement for an easy finish.
Here is some food to think about.
Just running some numbers of how important Tanner Tessmann has been to Venezia this season— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 17, 2023
Overall team record: 33 games, 10W, 14L, 9D
When TT starts: 22 games, 9W, 7L, 6D
When TT doesn't start: 11 games, 1W, 7L, 3D
Tessmann could still factor into the U.S. team this summer but his future should be focused on the U.S. U-23 team and the Olympics in 2024. That could be a breakout stage for him.
On a more concerning note, the game was not positive for two other Americans. Andrija Novakovich played just the final two minutes and seems to be fading out of the club. Gianluca Busio was an unused substitute but is still a player in which Venezia is heavily invested. That is going to be a tough one for Venezia to figure out.
Valencia continues skid
It hasn’t been a good season for many Americans abroad, but Yunus Musah is having a particularly tough season. The U.S. national team midfielder started and played 59 minutes for Valencia in another loss, this time a 2-0 defeat to Sevilla.
The loss kept Valencia three points deep in the relegation zone in La Liga despite having season goal differential of just -6 (typically, relegation-battling teams are double digits into the negatives). But this team isn’t dangerous and concedes bad goals.
The bottom line is that survival could be decided over the next three games – against last-place Elche, home against Rayo Valladolid, and then away to Cadiz. Those are all manageable wins and Valencia needs five or six points from those games.
Musah simply hasn’t been good enough. After so much talk about a $40 million price tag, he just doesn’t seem to be that player right now. Yes, you can see the potential there and he carries the ball so smoothly through the midfield. But with no goals and two assists this season in over 1800 minutes, he’s not doing enough. He’s not the only problem for Valencia, but he’s a starting midfielder and he’s not creating or finishing chances.
He’s young and has talent, but he’s still a long way towards making the most of it. It will be fascinating if they go down. Do they sell Musah and for how much? What will be the demand?
Zendejas brace for Club America
Alejandro Zendejas, 24, scored a pair of impressive goals for Club America in a 3-1 win over Cruz Azul.
This was even more impressive in that he was playing with a mask due to a broken nose.
And the second from Zendejas pic.twitter.com/4g5GogGTDQ— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 16, 2023
Club America are into first place of Liga MX and should be in great shape come the playoffs.
As for Zendejas, he will not be playing with the U.S. national team again until at least the fall. After this season with Club American, he is set to undergo surgery on his face/nose and this will likely keep him off the field with the U.S. team for the Nations League of the Gold Cup.
Yanks in the Premier League
Fulham defeated Everton 3-1 on Monday in Liverpool. Both of the club’s Americans, central defender and captain Tim Ream and left back Antonee Robinson, both played all 90 minutes and were solid. For Robinson, it was probably his best game in at least two months and he defended and attacked well.
That win was likely greatly appreciated by Brenden Aaronson, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, and the rest of Leeds United because it kept Everton below them in the relegation battle, for now. Leeds United was blown out by Liverpool 6-1 at home and the wheels are starting to fall off at Elland Road. Over the last two games, Leeds have been outscored 11-2. On Monday, Brenden Aaronson and Weston McKennie each started with Aaronson going 66 minutes and McKennie going the full 90.
The game was a disaster. Aaronson played okay in stretches but had no real chance to make an impact. McKennie, unfortunately, was part of the problem.
Relegation battles are almost completely a mental test and Leeds has serious problems in that regard.
A long and disappointing season at Chelsea continues for Christian Pulisic and Company with a 2-1 loss at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. Pulisic started and played 56 minutes. He was dangerous a few times but only had 18 touches. His start was most likely due to Frank Lampard resting some players for the Champions League return leg to Real Madrid. The Premier League games simply lack meaning for Chelsea the rest of this season.
West Ham drew Arsenal 2-2 in a London Derby at the Olympic Stadium. U.S. national team goalkeeper Matt Turner was unused and is still looking for his first Premier League appearance.
Chris Richards was healthy enough to return to the bench for Crystal Palace in a 2-0 win over Southampton. He’s played just 352 minutes this season.
Yanks in the Championship
Zack Steffen & Middlesbrough hosted Josh Sargent & Norwich City on Saturday and the result was completely domination in favor of Boro. In the 5-1 win, Zack Steffen had to make just two saves as Boro played Norwich off the field.
It was good news/bad news for Josh Sargent who scored the only goal of the game for Norwich. It was his 12th goal of the season. It was actually an outstanding play as he stripped the ball from the defender and made a powerful run into the box before capping it with a well-placed finish.
Norwich is only two points out of the promotional playoffs but they’re not playing well. Teemu Pukki is looking tired, and Sargent will likely take on a bigger role within the team under manager and former U.S. national team forward David Wagner. But can Sargent be a forward to lead a team to promotion?
Luton Town defeated Rotherham 2-0 on the road. Ethan Horvath earned yet another clean sheet victory although the U.S. national team goalkeeper did not have to make a save. Luton Town currently sit in third place and are likely headed to the promotional playoffs.
Sunderland posted a 2-1 win over Birmingham City on Saturday. Lynden Gooch played 62 minutes at right back in the win while Auston Trusty played 90 minutes on the left side of Birmingham City’s defense. Gooch and Sunderland are just two points out of the promotional playoffs while Birmingham City are in 17th place, no hope of promotion or threat of relegation. For Gooch, he has been affiliated with Sunderland since he was 10 years old. He now has the chance to lead the club back to a respectable standing.
Yanks in Germany
In the Bundesliga, Caden Clark was not in the lineup for RB Leipzig in a 3-2 win over Augsburg. Jordan Pefok made just a four-minute cameo for Union Berlin at the end of its 1-1 draw with Bochum.
In the 2.Bundesliga, many Yanks saw action.
St. Pauli fell to Eintracht Braunschweig at home 2-1. For American born manager Fabian Hurzeler, 30, he lost his first game as a head coach after 10 straight wins since being hired in December.
Terrence Boyd, 32, came off the bench for Kaiserslautern in the 65th minute and broke a 0-0 deadlock in the 75th minute. Kaiserslautern went on to win 2-0 and moved up to seventh place in the standings. They have no realistic hope of promotion but this has been a great season for the club to stabilize after earning promotion from the 3.Liga last year. The club was bankrupt and Boyd has actually been one of the big pieces in its rebuild. He has 12 goals on the season.
On Friday, Greuther Furth defeated Jahn Regensburg 2-1 and former U.S. national team attacker Julian Green scored from the penalty spot in the win. Greuther Furth rose to 10th place in the table. Fellow American Maximilian Dietz was an unused sub for Furth.
Promotion contending Heidenheim remained in second place with a 3-0 win over Hannover. American midfielder/defender Lennard Maloney, 23, played all 90 minutes in the win. After struggling for playing time in the top two levels of Germany for the early parts of his career, he has now surpassed the 2200 minute mark this season – all this was done as he converted from a central defender to a defensive midfielder. It’s been a positive year for Maloney (who had two U.S. U-20 call-ups in 2018) and now he’s in a promotional race.
Hansa Rostock looks likely to be relegated amidst its recent run of form. Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Paderborn was its fourth defeat in a row and it sits second from the bottom of the table. Ryan Malone started and played 90 minutes in central defense during the loss, which was magnified by a 27th minute red card to Hansa Rostock.
Arminia Bielefeld are just two points clear of the relegation playoff position after dropping a 4-2 decision to Karlsruher on Saturday. George Bello’s tough run in Europe continued as he played just the last five minutes.
Yanks in France
Tim Weah got the start for Lille at right back against Montpellier but was one of three substitutions made at halftime for Lille, which trailed 1-0 at the break. It turned out to be a wise move as Lille rallied in the second half for a 2-1 win. Weah is approaching a summer window where he is going to have to decide how much longer he wants to keep up the fullback experiment or try to push for a move to a club where he can be an attacker.
In a similar position, Erik Palmer-Brown is likely facing a move this summer. Troyes fell to Marseille 3-1 over the weekend and Troyes is now 10 points deep in the relegation zone. Palmer-Brown went 90 minutes in the loss. He likely won’t stay with the club in Ligue 2, but he is going to face an important crossroad over his next step.
Yanks in Belgium
Genk defeated Anderlecht 5-2 on Sunday to remain two points clear of Union SG atop the table. Not only did Mark McKenzie go a full 90 minutes, but he also wore the captain’s armband for Genk. McKenzie had a decent outing completing 49/53 of his passes and going 6/10 in his long balls. Defensively, he had six clearances. He seems like a safe bet to be with the national team this summer.
Also in Belgium, Westerlo played Club Brugge to a solid 0-0 draw with U.S. national team (and likely U-23 team) right back Bryan Reynolds went the distance for Westerlo, which sits impressively in seventh place fresh off its promotion last year.
Meanwhile, Sam Vines was once again not in the lineup for Royal Antwerp in a 1-0 win over Kortrijk. Vines is still looking for his first appearance after his broken tibia in early November.
Yanks in Scotland
Cameron Carter-Vickers was not in the squad for leaders Celtic in its 4-1 win over Kilmarnock on Sunday. With Celtic running away with the lead after last week’s Old Firm win, the club will be looking to rotate its squad as manager Ange Postecoglou told the media over the weekend.
Rangers rebounded from a crushing Old Firm lost with a 5-2 win over St. Mirren. Malik Tillman played 77 minutes in the victory, but his performance was mostly uneventful.
It was a massive performance from Dundee United which defeated Motherwell 2-1 on the road. The three points lifted Dundee United out of last place and closer towards safety. The club had been in the basement for most of the season. Ian Harkes had a very important performance for Dundee United over his 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, Steve Pittman played the final 13 minutes for Livingston in a 2-0 win over St. Johnstone. The American is the club’s all-time leader in appearances.
Finally, Matthew Hoppe’s loan to Hibernian has taken a turn for the worse as he was an unused substitute again in a 1-0 win over Hearts in the Edinburgh Derby. It was important that this loan go well because it seems unlikely that Middlesbrough miss him all that much. If he doesn’t impress on his loan to Hibs, what is next?
In Italy, Sergino Dest wasn’t in the squad for Milan in its 1-1 draw with Bologna. Dest has returned to the United States to play with the national team this week in its friendly against Mexico.
In Spain, Luca de la Torre played 76 quiet minutes on the left side of the midfield for Celta Vigo in a 1-0 loss at home to Mallorca
In Portugal, Benji Michel played the last 16 minutes for Arouca in an impressive 1-1 draw at Sporting CP. Arouca moved into fifth place with the draw. On Monday, Alex Mendez, Alejandro Alvarado and Vizela will host Reggie Cannon and Boavista.
In the Eredivisie, Djordje Mihailovic was an unused substitute for AZ Alkmaar in a 3-0 away win over Fortuna Sittard. Taylor Booth remained out injured for Utrecht in a 1-0 win over Twente.
In Denmark, Brondby defeated AGF Aarhus 1-0 with Christian Cappis going the last 26 minutes in the win. In the relegation half of the playoff, OB defeated Silkeborg 2-0 with Emmanuel Sabbi going 90 minutes.
In Turkey, Antalyaspor defeated Alanyaspor 3-1 with U.S. national team forward Haji Wright assisting on final Antalyaspor goal scored by Bertu Yildirim. The goal came after a nice counterattack in the 85th minute after Alanyaspor was reduced to 10 players.
In the Austrian Bundesliga, Austria Klagenfurt lost to Sturm Graz at home 2-0. Sebastian Soto played 60 minutes in the loss but was ineffective.
In Norway, Sam Rogers went 90 minutes for Rosenborg in a solid 1-1 draw on the road at Molde. American central defender Sam Rogers went 90 for Rosenborg. Among clubs expected to finish in the bottom half, Haugesund defeated Hamkam 3-2. Kobe Hernandez-Forster played 60 minunutes for HamKam and left with his team down 2-0.
In Sweden, Joe Gyau played the last 30 minutes for Degerfors in a 2-0 loss to Mjallby. He came in when his team was down 1-0.
In Israel, Hapoel Jerusalem upset leaders Maccabi Haifa 2-1. Josh Cohen started in goal in the loss. Maccabi Haifa still have a seven-point lead atop the table with five games to go.
In Croatia, Hajduk Split dropped a 2-0 decision to third-place Rijeka. Hajduk Split was missing some of its best players. U.S. U-20 midfielder Rokas Pukstas had a goal called back in the 70th minute.
In Brazil, Johnny Cardoso started for Internacional and played 70 minutes in 1-1 draw with Fortaleza.