Weekend preview

Polster gets UK Work Permit, Torres to NYCFC, and Weekend preview

The weekend is here and Brian Sciaretta has you covered with a rundown on the big stories in American soccer as well as a preview of the top games to watch in the days ahead
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
January 25, 2019
1:00 PM
IT IS FRIDAY and that means a lot of news is coming through channels and there is also a lot of games to look forward to this weekend. Here is a brief analysis of the big stories in American soccer as well as a look at the best games to follow the next two days.

Polster gets Work Permit approved

American midfielder/right back Matt Polster is one step closer to joining Rangers. On Friday his application for a U.K Work Permit was approved. ASN has been told that Polster must leave the UK to formally obtain the permit and then return to the UK before he can sign.

ASN has also been told that all terms are agreed and that Polster should sign with the Glasgow club next week.

This is a great move for Polster because Rangers have been impressed with the Wisconsin-born, Las Vegas raised product during his trials over the past month. Meanwhile, Chicago remains dreadful and nowhere close to making a playoff run. Polster is now 25 and should be looking to play for a winning club, not a rebuilding one.

Torres to NYCFC

U.S. U-20 midfielder Juan Pablo Torres is reportedly set to move to New York City FC. The move makes sense as he has not been able to see the field this season for his club Lokeren, which is in last place in Belgium’s top flight and seems certain for relegation.

Torres needs out of Lokeren and now he can join a team that is in preseason. But NYCFC will be an awfully hard place to earn minutes if he wasn’t playing at Lokeren. Maybe the change of scenery will help him.

Amon scores in friendly

In Denmark, Nordsjaelland does return to Superliga games until February 10 but the club is playing friendlies at the moment during its winterbreak.

United States U-20 winger Jonathan Amon, 19, scored Nordsjaelland’s goal on Thursday in a 1-1 draw with Latvia runner-ups Ventspils. After the goal, Amon was down for a few minutes and needed to be attended to by the team’s medical staff. He would eventually leave under his own power and appeared to be alright.

Red Bulls mess

During the 2018 season, it appeared as if Kaku was happy to be playing for the New York Red Bulls. He struggled latter in the season but overall appeared to be a positive addition to the team.

But then Club America recently began to show interest and Kaku’s agent arrived in the United States only to shoot his mouth off. During his disgraceful rant, he name-dropped Hitler as a point of comparison to what his client was going through.

The Red Bulls have been among the best teams in the league in recent seasons but it has a history with some ugly departures – from Rafa Marquez and Branco to Lothar Matthaus.

But while Kaku has been quite likable during his brief time in New York, it’s hard to look past how his arrival was also really messy. His former agent needed to be paid off because of third-party ownership, Atlanta United needed to be paid off because of discovery rights, and finally his former club Huracan demanded a 20% sell-on fee for a future transfer.

With all of that, the Red Bulls will need to sell Kaku for a fortune just to break even. Fortunately for the Red Bulls, Club America has very deep pockets. If the Red Bulls do not sell, then they have a disgruntled Kaku on their hands with the realistic chance that future suitors won’t be as rich.

There are a lot of big questions. If the Red Bulls don’t sell, what can they expect from Kaku? If the Red Bulls do sell, what are their options to replace the Argentine-born, Paraguayan international?

The Red Bulls have already lost Tyler Adams from last season. If they also lose Kaku (or have an angry/subpar Kaku) there will be a ton of questions heading into the upcoming season. And also, Bradley Wright-Phillips is another year older and pushing towards his mid-30’s.

What to watch for this weekend

Here are five games to follow for American fans this weekend

Borussia Dortmund vs. Hannover 96 (Saturday: 9:30am ET)

On Saturday two Americans in completely different situations will face each other. Christian Pulisic has signed a mega transfer to Chelsea but has remained at Borussia Dortmund on loan and is chasing a Bundesliga title with Dortmund sitting atop the table.

On the opposite side is Bobby Wood who is in yet another relegation battle as Hannover sit in the drop zone. Last year the Hawaiian was unsuccessful in Hamburg’s relegation battle but moved to Hannover last summer.

There is a lot at stake in this game as a win for Pulisic could move Dortmund closer to the title but a win for Wood could help it claw to safety.

Celtic – Hamilton Academical (Saturday: 10:00 am ET)

Tim Weah’s loan to Celtic could not have gotten off to a better start as he scored in his debut in a win over a third-tier side. Then midweek he scored in his Scottish Premier League debut off the bench against St. Mirren.

Now the Brooklyn teenager will be aiming for three goals in three games when Scottish leading Celtic take on 10th place Hamilton Academical.

Accrington Stanley – Derby County (Saturday: 7:30am ET)

Duane Holmes has been on fire lately for Derby County and the Georgia-born attacking midfielder was the man-of-the-match last weekend in a 2-1 win over Reading to keep it within the promotional playoff spots as the club looks to get into the Premier League next year.

Holmes, 24, has said that he hopes success at Derby will help him earn his first U.S. national team call-up and it certainly looks like he is putting himself into a great position.

Werder Bremen - Eintracht Frankfurt (Saturday: 12:30pm ET)

Josh Sargent, 18, didn’t score last weekend but he was dangerous in his 10-minute cameo. But Sargent is continuing to develop nicely and Werder has said publicly that they don’t want to put too much pressure on the St. Louis native. But as Sargent has played more, Werder has been winning more. And the result is that a few more would could see it move into a fight for a Europa League spot.

But Sargent and Werder will have a tough test on Saturday against fifth place Eintracht.

Fortuna Dusseldorf – RB Leipzig (Sunday: 12:00pm ET)

This game is surprisingly interesting for American fans. All eyes will be on RB Leipzig where Tyler Adams could make his Bundesliga debut. Last weekend he was an unused substitute in a loss to Borussia Dortmund.

But on the other side is Fortuna Dusseldorf which features the sometimes forgotten Alfredo Morales. Just a few weeks ago, Fortuna Dusseldorf was in last place in the Bundesliga but the club has won four in a row to shoot towards midtable. Last weekend it defeated Augsburg on the road by a 2-1 score and Morales has a game-winning assist to help deliver the three points.

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