Midweek musings

Reyna & Adams in the UCL, the CCL brings blues, and soccer might be scarce soon

The UEFA Champions League featured two promosing Americans this week, which was great news. The CONCACAF Champions League? Not so much. Feilhaber retires after a fine career. But for now, who knows how much soccer we will have in the weeks ahead. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
March 11, 2020
6:05 PM

THE MIDWEEK of American soccer has been fairly quiet and about to get quieter. The coronavirus outbreak is cancelling games in Italy, postponing games in MLS, or forcing games to be played behind close doors. But the trend is less soccer to cover.

For now we have to having fun with what we have.

Adams UCL debut

Tyler Adams both returned from an injury and made his UEFA Champions League  debut Tuesday for RB Leipzig in a convincing 3-0 win over Tottenham to advance to the quarterfinals of the prestigious tournament. The former New York Red Bull came into the game in the 56th minute and played mostly as a right wingback, although he had quite a bit of freedom to cut into the midfield.

Adams was a little rusty but showed some nice glimpses of himself. The important thing, however, is that he gets a long and extended run of games in before the end of the season since he’s missed so much time over the past 12 months.

Here were his numbers vs. Tottenham

  •         35 minutes
  •         1 shot
  •         0 key passes
  •         2 successful dribbles
  •         0/1 accurate crosses
  •         0/1 accurate long balls
  •         1 tackle
  •         37 touches
  •         69.2% pass completion


Reyna sharp, but Dortmund losses

Giovanni Reyna, 17, came off the bench in the 71st minute on Wednesday for Borussia Dortmund, which was trailing Paris St. Germain at the time. That turned out to be the final score. But Reyna was quite sharp in the game, including a tackle on Neymar which sprung an attack for Dortmund.

But PSG was the better team and advanced. But Dortmund is sitting near the top of the Bundesliga table and will return to the Champions League next season. Not even 18, Reyna has the experience of two Champions League knockout games.

But Reyna clearly looks like he belongs. He moves well and can handle the physical and athletic side of the game against fully grown players. He’s also fully confident and carries himself well in these big environments. It bodes well for him making big strides next season – which will be his first full season as a professional.

Here are Reyna’s numbers vs. Tottenham.

  •         20 minutes plus stoppage
  •         23 touches
  •         1 shot
  •         93.3% pass completion
  •         1 successful dribble
  •         1x fouled
  •         1 tackle (on Neymar)


Feilhaber retires

Former U.S. international Benny Feilhaber, 35, announced his retirement from soccer today and he should leave with his head held high. He was on the national team at one of the best times in its history (2007-2010), had appearances in the Champions League and the Premier League early in his career, and won significant silverware with Sporting Kansas City.

He was also an example of a player who used youth national team experience to advance his career at an early stage. His involvement at the 2005 U-20 World Cup led to him moving to Europe where he played for Hamburg, Derby County, and AGF Aarhus.

On the national team, he will forever be remembered for his goal against Mexico in the final of the 2007 Gold Cup. With the game even 1-1, Feilhaber’s volley from outside the box in the second half gave the U.S. team a 2-1 lead – which would be the final score.

But Feilhaber continued to have success with the national team. He had a crucial assist in the U.S. team’s 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederation’s Cup. He also played at the 2010 World Cup and played particularly well off the bench in the 2-2 comeback draw against Slovenia.

Feilhaber had his best club success with his first stint with Sporting Kansas City from 2013-2017. He was part of an MLS Cup championship in 2013 and Open Cup wins in 2015 and 2017. In 2015 he was named to the league’s best XI.

As for what the future holds, Feilhaber said in a statement that he wants to stay involved. Whether that is broadcasting, coaching, or some other area, he won’t be a stranger to the soccer field.  

CONCACAF Champions League blues

MLS teams are back to struggling in the CONCACAF Champions League. Montreal lost to Olimpia 2-1 at home and New York City fell to Tigres 1-0 at home. Both losses were disappointing and NYCFC’s failure against Tigres mirrors its slow start in the league where it has lost both games 1-0 (away at Columbus ad Toronto) and hasn’t even scored a goal yet.

NYCFC had its chances but could not seize momentum with a goal. Herber has been especially disappointing so far and he needs to make the most of opportunities like this. But right now, NYCFC can’t score and that doesn’t bode well for its chances in Mexico.  

Montreal was expected to struggle in MLS this season and has actually defied odds a bit with four points from two games. But those games were also examples of the team punching above its weight. The fact it got past Saprissa was eye-opening but now needing to make up ground away at Olimpia is extremely unlikely.

But kudos to Thierry Henry for not blaming the officiating for the loss. Montreal should have had a penalty awarded in the second half but Henry wanted to focus on “school-boy” errors made by his team.


Who knows what kind of soccer we are going to have to cover in the weeks ahead due to the coronavirus? Games in Italy are suspended. There are also games being played behind closed doors throughout a lot of Europe and suspensions might also be forthcoming. In MLS, games in Seattle and San Jose are also suspended.

But the NBA has suspended its season and the NCAA tournament will be played without fans. Games that are still scheduled seem to be on the edge of either being suspended or played behind closed doors.

For now, we can only hope this outbreak gets under control, people recover with their health, and we can all get back to the set schedule.

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