Americans abroad analysis

Holmes, Miazga, CCV, and Novakovich shine in mixed weekend for Yanks

It wasn't a bad weekend for Americans abroad as there were noteworthy performances but it wasn't all that great either. ASN's Brian Sciaretta takes you through it all in his regular Monday morning piece
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 11, 2019
4:05 AM
WHILE THIS WEEKEND had a lot of potential, it was mostly disappointing. Of course there were some nice high moments but it not many players had unusually strong performances.

The best moments came from the second tier Championship. The best American players the past few weeks have been Duane Holmes and Matt Miazga and both had strong performances again from the weekend. Cameron Carter-Vickers also performed well in what has been a mostly disappointing season up to now.

But yes, it was mostly disappointing. Christian Pulisisc did not play as Borussia Dortmund choked away a 3-0 lead to draw Hoffenheim 3-3 and see its lead at the top of the table reduced to four points. Josh Sargent and Tyler Adams only made late-game cameos in their game. Bobby Wood and Alfredo Morales also came off the bench in nice wins by Hannover and Fortuna Dusseldorf, respectively. John Brooks was mediocre for Wolfsburg in a 3-3 draw against Freiburg.

In Scotland, Tim Weah came off the bench for Celtic in a 5-0 win over St. Johnstone in a Cup game. The Brooklyn native was neither good nor bad in his 23 minutes on the field. Ian Harkes, however, was solid in the Scottish Cup to help Dundee United of the second tier knock off first-tier St. Mirren by a 2-1 score.

Meanwhile in England, Tim Ream and Fulham were pounded at home by Manchester United 3-0. The loss kept Fulham seven points deep in the relegation zone and a return to the Championship seems inevitable, yet again.

The Danish Superliga resumed from its winter break and Jonathan Amon only saw six minutes off the bench as Nordsjaelland squandered a late 3-2 lead to finish with a 3-3 draw. Meanwhile Hobro played to a 0-0 draw with Horsens and attacker Emmanuel Sabbi went the full 90 as his scoreless run dating back to September 1 continued. Fellow American Christian Cappis came into the game in the 88th minute for Hobro in what was his professional league debut.

So overall, there was a lot of underwhelming stories. But here were some of the positive highlights off the weekend

Holmes continues hot run

Duane Holmes, 24, has been great for Derby County since emerging as a regular starter after Christmas. On Saturday, Holmes and Derby County took on Hull City – which started fellow American Eric Lichaj in the backline.

Derby Country ended up winning 2-0 and Holmes provided the pass of the game when he set up the opening goal in the first half. It began with Holmes making a nice run to take the ball wide left. He then sent a picture perfect pass that sent Martyn Waghorn past the defense. Waghorn scored both goals but the pass from Holmes on the first goal was perhaps the play of the game.

It will be interesting to see if Holmes has done enough to earn his first U.S. call-up for the March friendlies. Born in Georgia but raised in England, Holmes has never even been called up by U.S. youth national teams.

Miazga bolstering Reading’s backline

Reading might still be in the relegation zone of the Championship, but Matt Miazga is doing his part to give the club a chance at survival. On Saturday, Miazga went a full 90 as Reading played to a 0-0 draw against Sheffield Wednesday. The New Jersey native was very good in defense.

Since arriving at Reading two weeks ago, Miazga has started three games and played a full 270 minutes. The good news is that Reading has conceded just one goal in that span. The bad news is that it has also scored just one goal. The team’s lack of offense is solely why it is one point deep in the relegation zone behind Rotherham.

Novakovich scores

If Reading FC desperately needs offense at the moment, it must be a disappointing feeling to know that one of the team’s forwards is performing well on loan at the moment in the Eredivisie.

On Sunday, the Wisconsin native went a full 90 scored the final goal for Fortuna Sittard in a 4-1 win over Excelsior. For Novakovich it was his fifth league of the season and his sixth in all competitions. The goal was a nice play as Novakovich showed some skill on the ball before making a cool finish from close range. With the win, the newly-promoted Fortuna Sittard moves into ninth place in the league.

McKennie assists vs. Bayern in loss

It was a mixed effort for U.S. national team midfielder Weston McKennie who picked up a nice assist against Bayern Munich but was a part of an effort where Schalke was outclassed by the defending champions 3-1.

McKennie’s assist to Kutucu in the 25th minute was the best moment of the game for Bayern as it equalized the score at 1-1. But the score would remain even for just two minutes. Overall, McKennie was Schalke’s best player on the day but even he struggled for the most part against Bayern.

Carter-Vickers important in shutout win

One of the most important performances of the weekend came from Cameron Carter-Vickers who is in Swansea City’s starting lineup due to injuries at the club. He should have another month of starts before the defensive unit is at full strength. These upcoming games are important for the English-born American and on Saturday he took advantage as he was an important part of Swansea City’s 1-0 cleansheet victory over Millwall.

Carter-Vickers, 21, completed almost 90% of his passes while also being credited with two interceptions and six clearances. This will help him build momentum and build a case for a call-up for the March friendlies.

Sonora starts vs. Atletico Tucuman

In Argentina, 2015 U-20 World Cup midfielder Joel Sonora earned the start for Talleres against fourth place Atletico Tucuman. Sonora, 22, rarely starts for the club but was given the nod largely because of the schedule congestion for Talleres due to its involvement in the Copa Libertadores.

Sonora was sharp, overall, in a scoreless draw. That result is impressive for a midtable Talleres team taking on one of Argentina’s best teams on the road. But now Talleres will travel to Brazil for the second leg of its Copa Libertadores tie against Sao Paulo. Talleres won the first leg 2-0 but will be challenged when it plays the second leg on the road.

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