Matthew_real_-_union Philadelphia Union
News roundup

MLS poised to make a big step, U-20 notes, Yanks in the UCL, & more

There is a lot of news to cover on Thursday across many different levels. The U.S. U-20 camp is well underway, MLS is poised to do something really smart, Americans are on the big stage in the Champions League, and more
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
October 25, 2018
8:00 AM
It is Thursday and there is a lot of news in the world of American soccer. The men’s national team coaching search is still ongoing, the U-20 World Cup qualifying team is in camp, MLS enters its final week of the regular season, and Americans abroad are in full swing.

With that, here are a few words on some of the top stories.

MLS ending geographic restrictions?

Last year, ASN wrote that one of the biggest steps MLS could do for the development of the American player would be to own geographic restrictions on homegrown talent. This would allow MLS teams to compete against each other to sign the best talent in the country.

It would essentially force teams to prove that it can create a pipeline for academy kids to the first team and possibly eventually Europe. Teams with quality academies would get rewarded and teams with bad academies or first team managers who don’t play young academy products would get punished.

Here is what ASN said at the time – which is just as relevant today as it was last November when it was published.

Via a report from The Athletic, that finally appears as if it might happen.

This would be a huge step forward for the league.

U.S. U-20 camp underway

In exactly one week, the U.S. U-20 team will open its World Cup qualifying campaign against Puerto Rico at IMG academy in Bradenton, Florida. Head coach Tab Ramos named his roster on Tuesday and the team is currently assembled in Florida.

Yesterday, ASN wrote about the development of Mark McKenzie who has been a standout for Philadelphia and a leader on the U.S. U-20 team.

Here is some other news ASN has been hearing from camp:

Do not be surprised of Philadelphia Union left back Matt Real is the U-20 captain for World Cup qualifying. The Pennsylvania native has impressed the coaching staff this cycle with his professionalism and leadership. It’s not completely certain that he will be the captain but it is a strong possibility.

Aside from McKenzie and Real, the third player from the Philadelphia Union trifecta on the U.S. U-20 team is midfielder Anthony Fontana. ASN has learned that Fontana has acquired an Italian passport in 2018 which could open the doors to far more European opportunities in the future – should he seek an opportunity abroad.

Chris Durkin was not released by DC United to play in this tournament (at least the first stage). Tyler Adams is seen as beyond the U-20 program. So who will be playing the No. 6 role for the U.S. U-20 team in qualifying?

ASN has learned that FC Dallas homegrown Brandon Servania has been playing the No. 6 role so far in camp along with Lokeren’s Juan Pablo Torres. Servania signed with Dallas in August and recently trained with Bayern Munich earlier in the month as part of the partnership between the two teams.

Americans in the Champions/Europa Leagues

Neither Weston McKennie nor Christian Pulisic were on the U.S. roster for the October friendlies due to injuries. Both players, however, played last weekend for Schalke and Borussia Dortmund, respectively.

Yesterday, both played in the Champions League as well. Christian Pulisic started for Dortmund and came off in the 79th minute with Dortmund up 2-0 on Atletico Madrid at home. The score would finish 4-0. Dortmund now has a perfect nine points from three games to sit safely atop Group A.

Pulisic wasn’t consistently dangerous but had some moments where he showed his talent when the game opened up and he had space.

McKennie came off the bench and played the final eight minutes of a scoreless draw on the road against Galatasaray. Through three games, Schalke is in second place of Groul D with five points – two behind leaders Porto and one ahead of third place Galatasary.

In the Europa League on Thursday, Kenny Saief and Anderlecht will host Turkey’s Fenerbache. Through two games, Anderlecht has yet to pick up a point and badly needs a win.

Life after Tata

By now, everyone knows that Tata Martino is on his way out of Atlanta after this season and will likely take the Mexican national team job.

There is no question that Martino as a home-run hire for Atlanta. He brought credibility, results, and attractive style to Atlanta from the first game.

Even without the Mexican rumors, his departure should not be a surprise. When just looking at his club career, he has never stayed anywhere beyond two years.

There are multiple reports linking current Boca Juniors manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto to the Atlanta job. Schelotto played with Columbus from 2007-2010 following a legendary 10 year playing career at Boca.

ASN has heard that this has a strong chance of happening.

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