Paredes, Busio and Trusty impress, Turner benched in eventful weekend for Yanks abroad
November 06, 2023
IT WAS A decidedly mixed weekend for Americans abroad with wild swings of highs and lows. There were big goals, big wins but also injuries and players getting benched. When you add it all up, it was an eventful weekend although it is still too early to determine if the positives outweigh the negatives or vice versa.
It was known last that Tim Weah was out for Juventus as his hip flexor will likely keep him out until after the November window. Also, Christian Pulisic would miss AC Milan’s visit to Udinese after being replaced at halftime last week due to fatigue. The prognosis for his return before the international break is more optimistic than for Weah. Also, Luca de la Torre was forced out of Celta Vigo’s match against Sevilla after picking up a hamstring injury in practice on Friday.
But let’s get right into the weekend.
Paredes stands out for Wolfsburg
One of the best stories from the weekend was Kevin Paredes who started for Wolfsburg for the second straight week and delivered a goal in the 59th minute that put Wolfsburg up 2-1.
The goal itself was a rather easy finish after Werder Bremen’s defense had been broken apart.
But the big takeaway is that Paredes put in another strong shift from the starting lineup. He played 84 minutes and was tough for Werder to defend. Defensively, he was also strong and he won most of his duels (8/15 on ground duels).
This is an important step forward for Paredes. Until two weeks ago, he only started once for Wolfsburg and had been limited to coming off the bench (35 appearances as a sub). Now he’s earning the trust as a starter, and he is playing well.
He’s showing signs of making substantial progress.
Will he be on the USMNT next summer for the Copa America or will he be on the U.S. Olympic team where he will likely be a key starter? It can go either way. But his future is looking much brighter.
Trusty starts in Sheffield United win
Stuck deep in last place and winless to start the season, Sheffield United needed a win soon to have any sort of hope of digging out of the relegation zone. That happened on Saturday when Sheffield United downed Wolves 2-1
Auston Trusty, 25, played the entire game for Sheffield United in a three-man backline. Was he a star in this game? No. But he played well-enough, and he helped his team get a rare win.
Sheffield United is still in last, but one more win could get them out of the relegation zone.
As for Trusty, this should be huge for his confidence. After some very good outings last year for Birmingham City, he now gets a taste of winning at the highest level. Knowing Gregg Berhalter, this could also likely get him a call-up for a look with the USMNT. There is a lot of parity in central defense, and Berhalter will likely value someone who is playing in the Premier League right now.
Turner benched at Forest
The biggest hot-button issue for the U.S. national team this past weekend was that Matt Turner was benched for Nottingham Forest against Aston Villa. This came after Turner made a mistake on the final goal of last week’s 3-0 loss to Liverpool. There had always been chatter that Turner could be replaced as soon as his form cooled off after Forest acquired the Greek national team No. 1 Odysseas Vlachodimos from Benfica at the end of the August window.
After Turner’s mistake last week, manager Steve Cooper named Vlachodimos the starter against Villa and Vlachodimos responded in making three saves en route to a big 2-0 win over fifth place Villa. Meanwhile, Forest rose to 12th in the standings.
This is bad for Turner who rarely played last season at Arsenal. Now after starting the first 10 games for Forest, he is on the bench for the time being. How will this affect his form?
For the U.S. national team, it’s very worrying. Berhalter needs to have a selection of goalkeepers who are playing and in form. Right now, the list is thin. Turner could now struggle for minutes. Ethan Horvath isn’t even registered at Forest. Zack Steffen isn’t registered for Manchester City and is injured. Gaga Slonina is still just a teenager. Drake Callender showed promise with Miami but still has yet to play an international game.
It's just a bad situation all around.
Pefok scores, gets injured
After a slow start to the season, it appeared as if things were picking up for Jordan Pefok. This past midweek, he scored two goals against FC Heidenheim in a 3-1 DFB Pokal win. Then on Saturday, he got the start against Freiburg.
With Freiburg up 1-0 in the 24th minute, Gladbach had a free kick from 40 yards out. After an initial pass to the side, a ball was played into the box. Luca Netz headed the ball back across the goal and Pefok headed it home over the keeper.
But in the 43rd minute, Pefok left the game with a groin injury. We don’t know how long it will keep him out, but it puts an end to the progress he was showing, and it hurts his case for the national team. The next window won’t be until March and anything can change over that four-month period.
The gamed ended 3-3 with Gladbach now sitting midtable in 11th place.
Joe Scally also went 90 minutes for Gladbach at right back. He was solid with the ball but struggled at times defensively in the first half to keep up with Freiburg’s left-sided attack.
Busio lifts Venezia
Gianluca Busio moved to Europe from Sporting Kansas City with a lot of hope he would make a big splash in Europe. He had some glimpses of promise but he could not help save Venezia from relegation. Then his first season in Serie B was difficult.
But the North Carolina native is now playing well again. He’s back to being a regular starter for Venezia and he’s contributing heavily to the club’s promotional push.
On Saturday, Busio went 90 minutes and scored the only goal in a 1-0 away win over Ternana to maintain its grip on second place in Serie B.
There has been a lot of attention on Tanner Tessmann, who has been playing well for longer with Venezia. Tessmann also played well over 90 minutes in the win over Ternana. But Busio is now raising his game to give Venezia a huge American presence in the midfield with two players who were developed in MLS. It is an effective tandem that makes them a favorite for promotion.
Busio and Tessmann are strong candidates to lead the U.S. Olympic team next year in Paris and they should have a strong chemistry between them.
Two Yanks score as PSV rolls
PSV remains perfect in the Eredivisie with 33 points from 11 games following a comfortable 6-0 win over Heracles. After Heracles was reduced to 10 players in the 21st minute, the game was essentially over even with it still being 0-0 at the time.
Segino Dest was the only American of the team’s trio of Yanks to get the start, but Malik Tillman and Ricardo Pepi came off the bench to add goals.
Tillman came into the game in the 54th minute and scored in the 65th to make it 3-0. Pepi came into the game in the 60th minute. He assisted on Andre Silva’s 69th minute goal to make it 4-0. Then the former FC Dallas product scored in the 90th minute for a 6-0 lead to complete the scoring.
It’s not proper to read too much into this game given the talent gap between the teams after Heracles went down to 10 players, and that Heracles essentially gave up after PSV had a multi-goal lead – but it was especially important for Tillman to play well.
Tillman had not played well in recent games and it wasn’t a surprise he did not start. But it’s very important to note that Tillman didn’t replace a starter in this game. He replaced a sub who came on at the half and left injured. Without that injury, would Tillman had even played?
But he was dealt a favorable hand and played it well.
As for Pepi, it’s about him building up trust so that Luuk de Jong, 33, doesn’t have to play as much as he has. My guess is that PSV’s approach has always been to play de Jong a lot early to get Pepi acclimated and adjusted to PSV. If Pepi can show that he is ready, the burden on de Jong can ease up. If not, PSV might look to buy a striker in January.
But Pepi is showing more and more like he can handle more of a workload so that de Jong can be rested.
As for Dest, he played 60 minutes and was effective against a bunkering and overmatched opponent.
Milan drops tough loss
Without Christian Pulisic, AC Milan was shorthanded when it hosted Udinese, but still heavily favored. But the San Siro crowed was extremely disappointed with their team’s effort as 16th-placed Udinese traveled to Milan and came away with all three points following a 1-0 win.
From an American perspective, Yunus Musah replaced Pulisic on the right side and looked uncomfortable on the wing. Musah played the wing his first season at Valencia before being moved centrally, which he prefers. Now having been removed from the wings for two years, Musah looked off – especially defensively.
He’s having a good season, but he is not a player who can interchangeably play positions. He needs to stick to the middle of the field.
Milan remained in third place after the loss, four points behind second-place Juventus and six points behind Inter Milan, the leaders.
On another note, Pulisic was in training ahead of the Champions League clash Tuesday against PSG. Milan is yet to score a goal in the competition.
Wright & Holmes score in the Championship
In the Championship, Preston North End defeated Coventry 3-2 with two Americans finding the back of the net.
Haji Wright opened the scoring with a weird goal that looked as if the 2022 World Cup veteran pushed his defender away to get open for a tap-in rebound but it was not called. Instead, Wright was able to finish close.
Then it was Duane Holmes who equalized just two days before his 29th birthday.
With Preston North End up 3-1, Wright scored his second goal, again from a tap-in rebound.
For Holmes, he’s a big part of Preston North End’s push to make the promotional playoffs.
For Wright, the goals were easy and it took luck. But Wright took advantage of the opportunity when it was completely necessary. As the club’s all-time highest paid transfer, Wright has a lot of pressure and goals (even easy goals) will alleviate the pressure. As for the national team, Wright made the last World Cup team but is probably slipping further with Balogun, Pepi, and Vazquez all playing well.
Coventry has lost four in a row and needs to be careful of falling into a relegation battle. Coventry sit 20th in the 24-team league.
Zendejas scores for America
Alejandro Zendejas, 25, is playing well for Club America right now and he scored the opening goal in the 73rd minute of the club’s 3-0 win over Tijuana. Club America is now 10 points clear atop the table of Liga MX and has won eight in a row.
American is playing terrific soccer and Zendejas has been playing much better than before. He had three shots in this game, and aside from the goal, the other two were in the box (both blocked). But he was dangerous.
There have been some rumors now linking Zendejas to clubs in Europe. But America is a big club and probably won’t sell for a cheap value. But Zendejas is not a player who is young and can easily be sold in a few years for a profit.
For the national team, with a few players battling injury, Zendejas seems likely to get called up next week.
Heidenheim downs Stuttgart
Entering the season, no one gave Heidenheim much of a chance to stay up in the Bundesliga. But while the club struggles in most games, they are finding ways to pick off wins here and there to give themselves a chance. On Sunday, Heidenheim defeated Stuttgart 1-0 and they have three wins and a draw in 10 games for 10 points. That puts them on pace to survive, which would be improbable.
In the win, Lennard Maloney went 90 minutes. As always, he was not much of an offensive threat or did he help in offensive transitions. Defensively, he was very good and he thrives when his team is pinned back and he has to defend, he has to win balls, and clear it away from danger.
It’s easy to see Maloney not fitting into most teams, but he has a plan at Heidenheim, and he is playing under a manager who is secure in his job. In other words, he’s in the perfect spot.
Will he stick with the U.S. national team over the long term? Maybe not. But he has a great opportunity at Heidenheim to showcase himself.
Bello on the rise
Don’t look now, but George Bello is no longer struggling. After back-to-back relegations and being benched at Arminia Bielefeld, Bello has found a home at LASK in the Austrian Bundesliga. He’s now a starter at the club and is gradually playing better.
On Saturday, Bello went the full 90 for LASK in a 3-1 lead over leaders Strum Graz. He wasn’t one of LASK’s better performers on the day, but Bello now has a place where he can play, grow, and win. He didn’t even have that in Atlanta – which was a mess after Tata Martino.
For Bello, the next big task is to get onto the U.S. U-23 team but he has tough competition from John Tolkin and Caleb Wiley.
Aaronson Derby letdown
Many American fans were hoping to see family fireworks when Union Berlin hosted Eintracht Frankfurt as both teams employed one of the Aaronson brothers.
Unfortunately, not much happened as Eintracht traveled to Berlin and came away with a 3-0 win. Brenden Aaronson came into the game in the 83rd minute for Union and Paxton Aaronson came into the game in the 85th minute for Eintracht – but all the goals had been scored when both Aaronson brothers entered the game.
But the brothers going against each other wasn’t the top story. The top story is Union Berlin’s nosedive from last season when they qualified for the Champions League. The club has now lost 12 games in a row across all competitions and their last eight Bundesliga games. This has them sitting in the relegation playoff position.
The question is when will this end? Is Union a real relegation threat? Probably not and they’ll shake out of it at some point. But it’s a mess now.
For Paxten Aaronson, it’s tougher for him to play given the club has won three of four and sits in seventh place. But he’s still in a great spot to learn and also flourish with the U.S. U-23 team.
Yanks in the Premier League
Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson continue to be steady in the Premier League. Sometimes that is good enough for results. Sometimes it is not. On Saturday, it was not as the club lost 1-0 at home to Manchester United. The Cottagers fell to 15th place with the loss.
What will happen to Tyler Adams when he does return in February or March from his hamstring injury? AFC Bournemouth is in the relegation zone and were laughed out of Manchester with a 6-1 loss to Manchester City. Can Tyler Adams run away from another relegation?
Crystal Palace moved into 10th place in the Premier League following a 2-0 away win over relegation battling Burnley. Chris Richards played the final five minutes for Palace and a big January awaits. Will he move? Will Palace clear the deck, so he starts? Or will he get stuck in the middle of a game of transfer chicken?
Yanks in the Championship
QPR remains six points deep in the relegation zone following a 1-1 draw with fellow relegation battlers Rotherham United. Reggie Cannon played 90 minutes for QPR but was subbed out in stoppage time as part of a time-killing matter. He was replaced by fellow yank Charlie Kelman.
Lynden Gooch played the final eight minutes for 13th-place Stoke City in a 0-0 draw with Cardiff City.
Yanks in the Bundesliga
Despite impressing recently, Gio Reyna did not get off the bench for Borussia Dortmund in a 4-0 loss at home to Bayern Munich. It’s still about managing his minutes given how much time he has missed. Dortmund fell to fourth with the loss while Bayern Munich remained in second.
Bayer Leverkusen defeated Pellegrino Matarazzo’s Hoffenheim 3-2 away to remain atop the table. Matarazzo has done a great job with Hoffenheim but this was probably a frustrating loss for the New Jersey native. John Brooks was on the bench for this game and went unused. Likely given the difficult matchup against Bayer.
American teenage forward Damion Downs did not make the bench for last-place FC Koln in a 1-1 draw with Augsburg.
Yanks in the 2.Bundesliga
St. Pauli remained in strong position atop the table with a 2-0 win over Elversberg. Houston-born Fabian Hurzeler is one of the more impressive young managers in Germany now given his quick turnaround of St. Pauli.
Greuther Furth defeated FC Kaiserslautern 2-0 away. Julian Green played all 90 minutes and assisted on the opening goal via a corner while scoring the second via a penalty (which was draw by a teammate). Meanwhile, U.S. U-23 centerback Maximillian Dietz went 90 minutes for Furth to help keep a clean sheet. Terrence Boyd played 90 minutes for Kaiserslautern but couldn’t find the back of the net. With the win Furth moved into sixth place while Kaiserslautern fell to seventh.
Hannover defeated Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 on Sunday. U.S. U-23 forward Johan Gomez played the last 18 minutes for Braunschweig which is in last place with five points from 12 games (seven points deep in the relegation zone.
Yanks in Italy
Second-place Juventus traveled to Florence and came away with a 1-0 away win over eighth-place Fiorentina. Tim Weah was out for Juventus while Weston McKennie shifted from the middle and played right wingback in place of Weah. McKennie had a decent 90-minute performance where he was defensively sound and mostly mistake free. Attacking wise, he had a few good chances. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was overall strong. Allegri isn’t playing the most exciting brand of soccer, but McKennie is blossoming into a dependable and well-rounded player this year.
In Serie B, Sampdoria defeated Palermo 1-0 and U.S. national team left back Kristoffer Lund played 79 minutes in the loss. A contender for promotion, Palermo has lost two in a row and has just one point from three games to fall to fifth in the second-tier league.
Andrija Novakovich played all 90 minutes for Lecco in a 1-1 away draw with AC Reggiana. Lecco now sits 17th out of 20 in Serie B.
Yanks in Spain
Luca de la Torre missed Celta Vigo’s 1-1 draw with Sevilla on Saturday. Celta were reduced to 10 players in the 65th minute and remains in 18th place in La Liga, two points deep in the relegation zone.
In the Segunda, Konrad de la Fuente played the final seven minutes for Eibar in a 1-1 away draw with fifth-place Espanyol. Eibar remained in third place with the draw and is setting itself up for a promotional push.
Jonathan Gomez played 90 minutes at left back for Mirandes in a 2-2 away draw with Levante. Mirandes sits in 12th place and Gomez is playing more and more as the season progresses.
Yanks in France
Folarin Balogun played 81 minutes for Monaco in a 2-0 win over Brest. He had a first-half goal called back through VAR due to him being offside. Aside from that, he was mostly quiet. Monaco moved back into second place with the win, just one point behind Paris St. Germain.
Le Havre scored two late goals to come from behind and defeat Toulouse on Sunday. Emmanuel Sabbi came into the game in the 72nd minute for Le Havre and was on the field for both of his team’s goals although he neither scored nor assisted. Newly promoted Le Havre is in seventh place of Ligue 1 with 14 points from 11 games.
Yanks in Belgium
It was very busy week for Yanks in the First Division of Belgium over the weekend.
Mark McKenzie struggled for Genk in a 3-2 away loss to Royal Antwerp to fall to fifth place. McKenzie is on the edge of the national team roster, but it remains to be seen if this will hurt his chances for a November call-up. Sam Vines remained out for sixth-place Antwerp.
St. Truiden hosted Eupen on Saturday and the teams played to a 1-1 draw. Gaga Slonina made three good saves for Eupen, which rose to 10th place with the result. Former Yale University Bulldog Kaveh Zahiroleslam played 86 minutes at forward for St. Truiden but made little impact in the game.
Connecticut-born winger Alex Mighten played 82 minutes for Kortrijk in a 1-1 away draw with Molenbeek. With the result, however, Kortrijk fell to the bottom of the table.
Westerlo moved out of last-place with a 2-0 away win over Oud-Heverlee Leuven. Griffin Yow continued this rise with a nice performance in the away win. Even with no goals or assists, Yow was dangerous and effective on both sides of the ball as he went 76 minutes. Bryan Reynolds played all 90 minutes for Westerlo at right back and drew the penalty which led to the opening goal in the 64th minute. Both Reynolds and Yow could receive U.S. U-23 call-ups this week for the upcoming camp in Spain in the November window.
The news was brutal for Marlon Fossey who has been playing much better recently after a slow start to the season for eighth-place Standard Liege. The American right wingback was forced out of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Mechelen in just the 11th minute after an ugly collision.
Yanks in the Netherlands
In the Eredivisie, Djordje Mihailovic was an unused substitute for second-place AZ Alkmaar in a disappointing 1-1 away draw with Excelsior.
Taylor Booth had quiet day for Utrecht when he started and played 61 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Twente. Utrecht continues its disappointing season where it sits 17th out of 18 teams.
Zack Booth played the final seven minutes for Volendam in a 3-3 away draw against NEC Nijmegen. Booth was on the field for the wild finale as his team was up 2-1 when he entered the game in the 83rd minute.
Anthony Fontana was an unused substitute for PEC Zwolle in a 2-0 win over Fortuna Sittard.
Agustin Anello played the final 12 minutes for Sparta Rotterdam in a disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Almere City. Sparta fell to sixth in the Eredivisie with the result
In the second tier, Gedion Zelalem played 90 minutes for Den Bosch in a 1-1 draw with Jong Utrecht. Den Bosch remains in 17th place in the 20-team league.
John Hilton played 71 minutes at left back for Dordrecht in a 2-2 away draw with Groningen. Dordrecht sits in sixth place with the draw.
In Brazil’s Serie A, Internacional came up with a nice 2-1 away win over Cruzeiro on Saturday. Johnny Cardoso played 87 minutes and assisted on his team’s second goal. With the win, Internacional moved into 11th place.
In Argentina, neither Joel Sonora nor Alan Sonora featured for Huracan in a 2-1 away win over River Plate.
In Scotland, Celtic defeated Ross County 3-0 and the game was very easy for Celtic after Ross County were reduced to 10 players in the 10th minute. Celtic had a 16-0 edge in shots and 78% possession. Cameron Carter-Vickers played all 90 minutes and didn’t have much to do defensively.
Also in the Premiership, Dundee United defeated Livingston 1-0. Scott Pittman went 90 minutes in the loss and Livingston sits 11th out of 12 teams. Pittman is Livingston’s all-time leader in appearances for the club.
In the Danish Superliga, Jonathan Amon made his first league start since May 25, 2019 as he played 72 minutes for Lyngby in a 2-2 draw with OB.
In Croatia’s HNL1, Hajduk Split defeated Rudes 1-0. Rokas Pukstas went 87 minutes in the win. Hajduk sits second but is now only out of first on goal differential. Rudes fell into last with the loss. Pukstas could compete for a spot on the U.S. U-23 team and might be in line for a U-23 call-up for the November window.
In Norway, Kobe Hernandez-Foster was unused for HamKam in a 3-0 win over Viking. Sam Rogers was not in the squad for Lillestrom in a 1-0 win over FK Haugesund. Christian Cappis was not in the squad for Molde in a 3-1 loss to Rosenborg.
Bob Bradley and Stabaek lost to runaway leaders Bodo/Glimt 4-0 but remains one point clear of the relegation playoff position with three games to play. It’s going to be close.
In Sweden, Joe Gyau and Degerfors were relegated after conceding a late equalizer to Elsborg in a 2-2 draw. There is still one game remaining in the season.
In Hungary, Henry Wingo was unused for leaders Ferencvaros in a 2-1 loss to Kecskemeti TE 2
In Portugal, Alex Mendez played the final 22 minutes for Vizela in a 1-0 away win over 13th-place Casa Pia on Saturday. Mendez was on the field for the winner but wasn’t a part of the goal.
In Greece’s Super League, PAS Giannina and NFC Volos played to a 1-1 draw. Joe Efford was not part of the squad for PAS Giannina. Also, Lamia dropped a 2-1 decision at home to Panathinaikos. Caleb Stanko was injured for Lamia and Erik Palmer-Brown was injured for Panathinaikos.