Americans Abroad

Dike injured again, while Sargent, Pepi, Booth, Wright, & Maloney all score in busy weekend

ASN's Brian Sciaretta walks you through the last four days of games and news regarding Americans abroad. There was lots of good, some not so good, and just a horiffic bit of news about Daryl Dike. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 12, 2024
5:10 PM

THE WEEKEND FOR AMERICANS abroad saw a lot of goal scoring among the forward contingent but unfortunately, most of it was overshadowed by an unfortunate and sad injury to Daryl Dike that puts his career in a very difficult spot.

There was, of course, a lot of success from American forwards throughout Europe. Haji Wright scored twice, Josh Sargent scored, Andrija Novakovich scored, Charlie Kelman scored, winger Taylor Booth scored twice and now has five goals in his last two games.

Dike, 23, was injured in the second half of West Bromwich’s 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town. Dike missed the second half of last season and the first half of this season with a torn right Achilles. He was still working his way back to full strength and he came on in the 56th minute of this game. Less than 10 minutes later, he had to leave and it was later to be confirmed as his other Achilles, the left side.  

There are really no words to talk about how unfortunate this is. Dike is a very popular and charismatic player who was very popular with his teammates and fans. As for what is next, who knows? Is this bad luck or something related to his body? Again, we don’t have the answers beyond just wishing and hoping for the best.


Cardoso continues Betis rise


Johnny Cardoso has continued to hit the ground running since his arrival at Real Betis. On Friday, he had his best game since arriving in a 2-0 away win over Cadiz. In just the fifth minute, he forced a big turnover and promptly assisted Willian Jose for the opening goal.

Cardoso, 21, finished 38/39 in passing (completing all four long balls) and was 6/8 in his ground duels. Overall, he was a huge presence in central midfield.

The expectations will be elevated for him when he joins the USMNT camp in March. It’s been a long time now since Tyler Adams has been with the team and Cardoso should be able to start making his own way and not as a distant back up.


Booth remains red hot


It’s tough to find another American player as in-form as Taylor Booth who scored two goals for Utrecht in a 4-0 win over Fortuna Sittard on Sunday. This comes on the heels of his hat trick last weekend in a 4-2 win over Volendam. At this rate, he will be pushing for another Eredivisie Player of the Month (he won one in November 2022).

After a terrible start to the season, Utrect have begun to climb and are now ninth in the Eredivisie and Booth is playing a big part of that.

Booth had been cool for most of the early parts of the season and Utrecht were willing to listen to offers for him in January. Then the question is what happens to him in the summer? Does Utrecht want to now keep him or sell him for more?

Internationally, we also have the debate over what happens to Booth in the short-term future? Does he join the USMNT for March and then the summer as a backup? Or does he focus with the Olympic team where he likely is a starter? Those are tough questions, but my guess is the Olympic team.


Maloney scores in Heidenheim win


Count me among those who are stunned about Heidenheim’s success this season. I figured they were going to be easy picks for relegation. But now in mid-February following Saturday’s 2-1 away win over Werder Bremen, they are sitting in ninth place while are just five points out of Europe.

Lennard Maloney, 23, might have had his best game of the season as he continues to start every game for the club. As a very deep-lying defensive midfielder, Maloney only rarely gets to contribute offensively. But in this game, he opened the scoring when he headed home a corner kick for his first Bundesliga goal.  

Heidenheim is a great story and it is an amazing experience for Maloney to be part of it. There will always be questions about whether or not Maloney’s role will translate over to the USMNT or any other team. It is a unique position. But for now, he is helping his team defy all expectations.


Sargent keeps up scoring rate


Josh Sargent, 23, is in the best form of his career this season despite having missed nearly four months from late August through December. On Saturday, Sargent scored for Norwich in what was overall a disappointing 2-2 away draw for the Canaries against Queens Park Rangers.

With the goal, Sargent now has seven goals in just 672 minutes of action. He has three goals in his last four games. Last season, he scored 13 goals but played 3162 minutes.

But the draw was tough for Norwich as QPR is one of the worst teams in the Championship (although they are improving) and a win would have out Norwich even on points for sixth place. In the race for promotion, this should have been a win for Norwich as Sargent’s goal in the 67th minute put them up 2-1.

David Wagner’s Norwich team returns to the field on Tuesday against Watford.

On another note, Reggie Cannon went the full 90 for QPR and he has been an asset to the team that is nearing a climb out of the relegation zone. They are just two points away from safety but are trending upward.


Wright hits double digits


In the second half of Sunday’s game, Coventry was in trouble – trailing Millwall 1-0 at home. But then Haji Wright happened. The American forward drew a penalty in the 65th minute. Then in the 66th minute, he converted the penalty to equalize the game at 1-1. In the 70th minute, he scored a second on a counterattack for the winning goal of a 2-1 victory.


Wright doesn’t need a lot of touches to be dangerous. He is now playing a hybrid winger who also moves centrally. He had only 25 touches in this game over a full 90 minutes but 11 of them were in the Millwall box. He also had seven shots. He was just 8/11 in passing. He also hit the crossbar once in this game too.

He is a pure goal scorer right now. He’s not a great playmaker and doesn’t try to be one. He just has an effective nose for the goal. He now has 10 goals on the season in the Championship plus another in the FA Cup.


For the U.S. national team, there is a lot of competition and he’s probably behind Balogun, Pepi, and even Sargent. The question is him pulling ahead of Vazquez, Ferreira, and Pefok. That appears likely.


Pepi scores in PSV rout


As expected, PSV smashed Volendam on Sunday to the tune of a 5-1 away victory. PSV has a 10 point lead atop the table right now and is yet to lose. Volendam is even on points (12) for last place and is cruising towards relegation. With the loss, Volendam has conceded an Eredivisie-worst 52 goals in 21 games.

Sergino Dest started and played 77 minutes against the overmatched opponent and was very good. Malik Tillman and Ricardo Pepi both came into the game in the 77th minute to mark returns from slight injuries. Both were very good off the bench and Tillman went 19/20 in passing while also playing sharp defensively.

Pepi scored PSV’s fourth goal and for him, it was his fifth goal in the Eredivisie in just 229 minutes. He also has two Champions League goals in just 156 minutes. His scoring ratio is terrific albeit typically against overmatched teams late in games. He’s understandably behind Luuk de Jong, but the question is whether PSV has confidence in him to replace de Jong down the road?

Afterward, Pepi earned the praise from Peter Bosz.

Zach Booth
started and played 90 minutes for Volendam. He had 20 touches, three shots, and forced two saves.


Yanks in England


In England, Fulham defeated Bournemouth 3-1 behind two strong games behind Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson, who each went a full 90. Robinson put in another gut-busting performance where he got forward effectively and tracked back to defend well. Robinson won all four of his ground duels and was 6/8 in aerials.

Nottingham Forest is in relegation trouble and is just two points clear but is only one point ahead of Luton Town. Everton is in the relegation zone, for now, but should pass both Forest and Luton Town. Saturday’s 3-2 loss at home to Newcastle was another big setback. Gio Reyna came into the game in the 73rd minute for Forest and was sharp but couldn’t help them find an equalizer. Still, he will have a big role ahead. Matt Turner watched from the bench as Matz Sels wasn’t any good in this game as goalkeeping is a huge problem for Forest.

On Monday, Crystal Palace fell at home 3-1 in a London derby loss to Chelsea. Chris Richards returned to his more normal central defense position and wasn’t at fault for any of the goals. He was probably the best Palace defender on the day, but that wasn’t saying much either.

Auston Trusty returned to the bench for Sheffield United after a tough outing last weekend. This time he watched from the bench as his team posted a big 3-1 win away against Luton Town. This result could have him on the bench for a bit.

In the Championship, Stoke City lost their fourth game in a row in a 3-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers. Lynden Gooch went 60 minutes at right back for Stoke.

Ethan Horvath was on the bench for Cardiff City in a 2-0 loss at home to Preston North End. Horvath should make his club debut soon. Duane Holmes was not in the lineup for PNE.

In League One, U.S. U-23 eligible Charlie Kelman scored for Wigan in an otherwise bad 3-1 loss at home to Exeter City. Kelman recently joined Wigan on loan from QPR.


Yanks in Germany


Union Berlin defeated Wolfsburg 1-0 to move six points clear of the relegation playoff position of the Bundesliga. Brenden Aaronson came into the game in the 31st minute but only had 19 touches and was 4/7 in passing.

Kevin Paredes started in the loss after two solid outings but in this game, he wasn’t able to do much over his 71 minutes. Fan protests against the DFL delayed the game 21 minutes in the first half as supporters threw tennis balls onto the field.

Jordan Pefok was injured deep into first half stoppage time as Borussia Monchengladbach and Darmstadt played to a 0-0 draw. The American forward was subbed out before halftime holding his thigh. Joe Scally was on the bench but entered in the 72nd minute of a boring game.

On Sunday, John Brooks did not feature for Pellegrino Matarazzo’s Hoffenheim in a 1-1 draw with Cologne.

In the 2.Bundesliga, leaders St. Pauli under Houston-born manager Fabian Hurzeler were upset by Magdeburg 1-0.

Eintracht Braunschweig won for the fifth time in six games to surge away from the relegation zone following a 2-0 win over Karlsruhe. Johan Gomez started for Eintracht and played 59 minutes.

Gruether Furth dropped their second in a row with a 2-1 loss at home to Hertha BSC to fall to fourth place. Julian Green and U.S. U-23 central defender Maximillian Dietz both played 90 minutes in the loss.


Yanks in Italy


AC Milan came up with a big 1-0 win over Napoli on Sunday. That win combined with the Juventus loss has Milan just one point behind Juve for second place as Inter Milan are pulling away easily. Christian Pulisic started and played 81 minutes while Yunus Musah came into the game in the 65th minute. Theo Hernandez scored the game’s only goal in the 25th.

Over the past month, Pulisic has been noticeably below his high standard. It’s not a huge cause for concern and he is working hard defensively. But he might find himself on the bench at the start of games until he picks up his production. Musah too seems to be a bit off lately, despite Milan winning.

Juventus lost its second game in a row on Monday when they fell at home 1-0 to Udinese. Weston McKennie and Tim Weah both started and, along with the rest of their teammates, had a game to forget. Tactically, the team was a mess and was not able to find a way to attack effectively. It wasn’t the best use of either of their talents. McKennie wasn’t shifting the point of attack with great long passing. Weah wasn’t getting forward enough before he was subbed out in the 61st, only to see McKennie shift to the right wingback role. Juventus now is almost caught in second place by Milan.

In Serie B, Nicholas Gioacchini made his debut for Como when he played the last 10 minutes of their win over Brescia. Como is in third place, only out of second (automatic promotion) on goal differential. Gioacchini had a good shift in his limited time.  

Palermo remained in fifth place after a 2-1 away win over FeralpiSalo. Kristoffer Lund put on a steady and solid 86-minute shift at left back. The Danish born Lund has been consistent since joining the club.

Venezia still sits in fourth place, just one point behind the second and third place teams, following a solid 3-0 away win over Sudtirol. Gianluca Busio went 86 impressive minutes in the win and left with the score 2-0. Tanner Tessmann was suspended for this game. Busio has been one of the better surprises among Americans abroad following a tough time last season. Both him and Tessmann look likely for the Olympics.  

Andrija Novakovich went 90 minutes and scored but he could not help stop Lecco’s six game losing skid which has them now in last place in Serie B. His second half goal was just a consolation in a 3-1 loss away to Bari.


Yanks in Spain


Luca de al Torre went the distance for Celta Vigo on Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Getafe. After equalizing the game at 2-2 in the 86th, Celta conceded a late goal in the 89th to lose.  While de la Torre has been on fire the past two months, this was a bit of a step back for him. Celta are just three points clear of the relegation zone.

In the Segunda, midtable Mirandes lost to FC Cartagena 1-0 on Sunday. Jonathan Gomez played well at left back for Mirandes despite the loss. The former Louisville standout is looking to climb the pecking order at left back for the U.S. U-23 Olympic team.

Konrad de la Fuente did not play for Eibar in a 1-0 win over Real Zaragoza.


Yanks in France


In Ligue 1, Emmanuel Sabbi started and played 65 minutes for Le Havre in a 1-0 loss at home to Rennes on Sunday. Sabbi had two shots (one blocked, the other missed) and 21 touches in this game.

Folarin Balogun has not been at his best the past two months and as a result was on the bench on Sunday for Monaco which defeated Nice 3-2 on the road. Balogun played the final 10 minutes but came on after all the scoring was completed.


Yanks in the Eredivisie


Paxten Aaronson made his Eredivisie debut after joining Vitesse on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt at the end of January. It was only this past week when his work permit was approved. Aaronson, 20, went the full 90 in a 3-2 away loss to Heracles and Vitesse remained in last place. Vitesse needs Aaronson to get used to his new team quickly for them to have a chance to survive.


Anthony Fontana was unused for PEC Zwolle in a 1-1 away draw with Go Ahead Eagles.


Yanks in Belgium


St. Truiden rose to eighth place after Friday’s 1-0 win over lowly Kortrijk on Friday. Kahveh Zahiroleslam played 79 minutes at forward for St. Truiden but was quiet, unlike many of his other recent games.

Standard Liege moved away from the relegation playoff positions on Saturday with a 1-0 win over OH Leuven. Marlon Fossey played 78 minutes at right wingback in the win. It was a decent shift for the LA born Fossey in the win.

Westerlo played to an impressive 2-2 away draw with leaders Union SG. Bryan Reynolds played all 90 minutes at right back while Griffin Yow played 83 minutes. Yow was 5/8 in his dribbles where he was always looking to attack. He also won 10/19 of his ground duels in a busy outing. Reynolds, meanwhile, had 94 touches, was 5/7 in tackles and 7/9 in ground duels. He also had 14 passes into the final third which was almost half (30) of his total completed passes in the game.

Gaga Slonina only made two saves as Eupen were clobbered 4-0 by Club Brugge. Eupen is second from the bottom and only three points above last place Kortrijk.

Genk is not having a good season and is failing to win games it should. Sunday was yet another example in a 1-1 draw with Mechelen. Mark McKenzie went 90 minutes in the backline for Genk and made eight clearances on the day. He has had a pretty good season but Genk is surely disappointed with its seventh place standing and its lackluster performances in Europe earlier in the year.

Yanks in Mexico


Ventura Alvarado started for Mazatlan in a 2-0 win over Atlas but was subbed out in the first half due to an injury.

Joe Corona was an unused substitute for Club Tijuana in a 1-1 draw with Queretaro.

Fernando Arce Jr. went 90 minutes for Necaxa in a wild 3-3 draw with Toluca. Arce won all seven of his ground duels and drew four fouls in a tough game in which Necaxa found an 89th minute winner.

Chivas defeated Juarez 2-1 on Saturday with Cade Cowell coming into the game in the 63rd minute for Chivas. Cowell came into the game with Chivas up 1-0 and was active, even if he didn’t get onto the scoresheet. Sebastian Saucedo, meanwhile, was unused for Juarez.

Club America defeated Leon 1-0 on the road on Sunday. Alejandro Zendejas went 63 minutes in the win but left with the score 0-0. His replacement converted the winning penalty in stoppage time.

Brandon Vazquez did not feature for Monterrey in a 3-2 win over Pachuca.


Yanks Elsewhere


In Croatia, Rokas Pukstas played the entire game in midfield for Hajduk Split in a 4-0 win over Slaven Koprivnica. The U.S. Olympic hopeful drew five fouls, had two shots, was 9/11 in ground duels, and 3/3 in tackles in a solid performance as Hajduk remained in second place.

In Hungary’s NB I, Henry Wingo played the second half in defense for Ferencvaros in a 2-1 away win over Debrecen. Ferencvaros is just one point behind leaders Paks.

In the Austrian Bundesliga, LASK and Austria Klagenfurt drew 2-2. Sebastian Soto started and played 71 minutes for fifth place Klagenfurt while George Bello went the full 90 at left back for third place LASK.

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