Morning update

Morning kickoff: Vazquez scores, Niko to Como, PSV's speedbump, Sounders improve, & more

ASN's Brian Sciaretta walks you through the news of the day with his thougths. Today's kickoff includes Vazquez scoring for Monterrey, Niko Gioacchini completing his move to Como, PSV hitting a speedbump, the Sounders improving, and more
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
January 25, 2024
7:45 AM

IT IS ALMOST the weekend and it’s a fun time right now as the transfer window winds down, Americans abroad are in full swing, and MLS is in preseason where teams are playing and trying to fill out rosters.

Here are some quick thoughts on the news to start your day.


Vazquez scores for Monterrey


When making a high-priced transfer, it’s important for the player to have a strong start with his new club. It buys time before skepticism creeps in and it wins over would-be critics. It looks like Brandon Vazquez understands this.

On Wednesday night, Vazquez made his first start for Monterrey and this past weekend he made his debut in a 24-minute sub appearance in a comfortable 2-0 win over Santos Laguna. On Wednesday night, he got the nod against Queretaro and in the 41st minute, he scored his first goal for the club to open the scoring with a powerful header. Queretaro and the rest of Liga MX teams will soon understand that leaving Vazquez open for a header is a costly mistake.

The rest of Vazquez’s night was quiet, and Queretaro ended up equalizing in a 1-1 draw. But the goal was important for Vazquez as it will keep him in the starting lineup and his teammates will be comfortable looking for him in dangerous positions.

Regarding the national team, he just needs to keep it up.


Gioacchini finalizes Como move


As has been widely reported, Niko Gioacchini finally completed his move to Como 1907, who are in second place of Serie B. I offered up my thoughts on X after the deal was announced.

The bottom line is that St. Louis helped him set up this move by giving him minutes and a style where he can gain the confidence he needs to succeed. He’s heading over to Como with momentum and the fact that he grew up for years in Italy and is fluent will also help with his adjustment. He has always said it was his dream to play in Italy.

The key issue is that Como has two productive center forwards. Current starting No. 9 Patrick Cutrone, 26, is third in scoring in Serie B with 9 goals and grew up in Como before breaking out with AC Milan. Alessandro Gabrielloni, 29, also has been solid with five goals.

The question becomes what the plan is for Gioacchini? The club is spending real money on him as a $2.1 million transfer is a lot for Serie B. Is Como spending that much money for a depth piece, or are there longer-term plans to move Cutrone and/or Gabrielloni. There are no rumors to move either this window, but perhaps after the season there could be? By that time, Gioacchini will be fully integrated.


Sounders get their man


The Seattle Sounders finally announced their acquisition of designated player Pedro de la Vega, 22, from Lanus in Argentina – where he scored 17 goals and added 14 assists in 127 appearances across all competitions.

The process that brought him to Seattle was one years in the making and this is worth a read. 

Those are big numbers, and de la Vega is well regarded in Argentina. For the Sounders, it’s a move they had to make. There are no guarantees that de la Vega will be the superstar Nicholas Lodeiro was when he arrived, but the Sounders stuck too long with their last core and in 2023, the team was stagnant. To return to being an elite MLS team, Seattle needed to make a bold move with a high-potential young player who can immediately contribute.


PSV hits speedbump


Is their trouble in paradise? PSV Eindhoven’s dream season has hit a bit of a speedbump. 2024 began with PSV perfect in the Eredivisie, into the knockout stages of the Champions League, and alive in the Dutch Cup. But last weekend, PSV played Utrecht to a disappointing 1-1 draw to drop their first Eredivisie points of the season. Now on Wednesday, a first-choice starting lineup including Sergino Dest and Malik Tillman were bounced from the Dutch Cup with a 1-0 defeat to Feyenoord.  

Dest had his worst game of the season – and maybe his only bad game for PSV. He also had a bad moment against Utrecht on their goal over the weekend. Maybe this is a wakeup call. Tillman was also sloppy and was pulled at halftime. Ricardo Pepi played the last 10 minutes and was unable to make a difference.

PSV is still fine, obviously. It was only a matter of time before complacency led to some bad games. But they need to be playing better heading into the Champions League games in February.


The rest of the abroad games


On Wednesday, there were a bunch of other Americans involved in games in Europe.

In the Bundesliga, Brenden Aaronson played the last 12 minutes for Union Berlin in a 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich. Union Berlin is just three points above the relegation playoff line.

In the Championship, Leeds United defeated Norwich City 1-0. While he has been strong since his return from injury, Josh Sargent had a tough game in this one. The good news, however, is that he was able to play 79 minutes. It was another sign his fitness is improving.

In the EFL Cup semi-final, Fulham were eliminated by Liverpool with a 1-1 draw in Craven Cottage. Liverpool prevailed 3-2 on aggregate. Antonee Robinson played well in the draw, and he continues to be very reliable this season. Tim Ream was an unused substitute.

In Scotland’s Premiership, Dante Polvara played 62 minutes for seventh-place Aberdeen in a 1-1 draw with 10th-place St. Johnstone. He left the game when Aberdeen took a 1-0 lead.

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