Americans abroad analysis
Rough weekend for Americans abroad as most USMNT players struggle in losses
November 29, 2021
THE WEEKEND FOR AMERICANS abroad was a rough period all around. The solid moments were very few and far between. A bunch of players had neutral weeks and many players struggled either on the field or simply to get onto the field. The best news from the past few days is that the injury which forced Weston McKennie out of Juventus’ loss to Atalanta does not appear to be serious.
The U.S. national team midfielder was playing relatively well against Atalanta but was forced out of the game in the 66th minute with what appeared to be a knee injury. On Sunday, Juventus put out an official announcement that scans to McKennie’s knee revealed no damage to the ligaments and that he would be monitored daily.
That was a huge relief for McKennie, Juventus, and the United States national team. The rest of the weekend was a time to forget for Americans abroad.
Most USMNT regulars struggle
The weekend was especially hard for United States national team regulars, or those who have been in and around the team this year.
John Brooks started and played a full 90 in a 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund with Gio Reyna still continuing to be out long term for Dortmund.
Joe Scally wasn’t poor for Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday but the young Long Island native was not able to do anything to help his club avoid an ugly 4-1 loss on the road to derby rivals 1.Koln. Scally played left wingback and was subbed out in the 83rd minute. No one on Gladbach stood out in this one for the better.
Staying in the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim won a wild one 6-3 away against last-place Greuther Furth on Saturday. Chris Richards was on the bench for Hoffenheim while Julian Green was on the bench for Furth. Chris Richards ended up coming into the game in the 62nd minute with Hoffenheim up 4-2. It was a neutral performance for Richards who did not stand out either way. Green, meanwhile, did not get off the bench. German-American midfielder Timothy Tillman scored for Furth.
Richards seems to have lost his starting position at Hoffenheim and hasn’t started since October 23. Despite that, he continues to get regular sub minutes for his team and that is a very positive sign. Central defenders tend to not get rotated that often but the fact that Richards is getting minutes off the bench regularly suggests he will get another shot.
For Green, however, it’s a tough time. It’s especially concerning given he recently signed a new deal with Furth. Furth are off to a dismal start to the season and are looking at an immediate relegation with just one point from 13 games (and a -28 goal differential). From Furth’s point of view, Green seems like an effective 2.Bundesliga player but not one for a bottom-half Bundesliga team looking to stay up.
Staying in the Bundesliga, Tyler Adams played the final 17 minutes for RB Leipzig in a 3-1 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen. Adams has been in a bit of a slump the past six weeks for Leipzig and it was unsurprising to see him on the bench. Coming into the game with Leipzig down 3-1, there was little Adams could do and he didn’t stand out either way. It continues to be a learning season for Jesse Marsch who missed this game due to COVID protocols. Leipzig fell to eighth with this result.
While no longer in the U.S. national team picture, Timothy Chandler earned the start for Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday and went the distance in a 2-1 win over Union Berlin.
One American who had a good weekend in the Bundesliga was VfB Stuttgart head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. His team defeated Mainz 2-1 to move out of the relegation zone.
In the Premier League, Zack Steffen did not get off the bench for Manchester City in a 2-1 win over West Ham.
Christian Pulisic played the final 12 minutes of a high-profile game against Manchester United. The score was 1-1 when he entered and that is how it ended.
Josh Sargent started at right wing for Norwich in a 0-0 draw against Wolves on Saturday. The St. Louis native played 68 minutes and was certainly decent. His touches were clean, he looked to get the ball forward, he avoided major mistakes, and was useful in possession. The goals and assists, however, are still not there and Norwich needs someone to step up and make plays in its relegation battle. Sargent can certainly be that guy and the club believes in him. He will need to take advantage soon because if the club has hope for survival come January, it might be active for attacking players in the January window.
In Ligue 1, three Americans were in action but none of them stood out. Tim Weah played an uneventful final 14 minutes for Lille in a 1-1 draw with Nantes on Saturday. On Sunday, Nicholas Gioacchini earned his second start for Montpellier playing right wing against Lyon. Gioacchini’s first start the previous game saw him forced out early due to a tactical shift following a teammate’s red card.
In this one, Gioacchini played 56 minutes and left with his club trailing Lyon 1-0 (which was the final score). Gioacchini had one good shot on goal which forced a save. He also did well to battle well in the physical area of the game – and this was a physical game. It wasn’t perfect, but you could see what Gioacchini offers.
On Sunday, Konrad de la Fuente started at left wing for Marseille in a 1-0 win over Troyes. De la Fuente was subbed out in the 69th minute with the game still scoreless. The Miami native struggled in this game and his combination play, defense, and even dribbling was all off. Often, he seemed predictable and always looking to dribble and the defense had an easy time defending him. Also of note, Erik Palmer-Brown was not in the lineup for Troyes.
In Spain’s La Liga, Yunus Musah played an uneventful final eight minutes for Valencia in a 1-1 home draw against Rayo Vallecano. That was still better than Matt Miazga, who did not get off the bench for Deportivo Alaves in a 2-1 home loss to Celta Vigo. Sergino Dest also went as an unused substitute for Barcelona in a 3-1 road win over Villarreal. Matthew Hoppe, meanwhile, remains out injured for Mallorca, which drew Getafe 0-0 on Saturday.
In Spain’s Segunda, Shaq Moore was an unused sub for Tenerife in a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad B.
In the Austrian Bundesliga, Brenden Aaronson got the start for leaders Red Bull Salzburg but his team was upset 2-1 on the road by Austria Klagenfurt, a team promoted just last season. Aaronson was subbed out in the 61st minute with Salzburg down 1-0. In one bit of promising news, FC Dallas loanee Thomas Roberts played the final 13 minutes for Austria Klagenfurt and was on the field for his team’s second goal.
In Portugal, Reggie Cannon was suspended for Boavista in its 2-1 away loss to Arouca.
In Belgium, Mark McKenzie was an unused sub for KRC Genk in a 3-2 loss at home to Club Brugge (and Owen Otasowie is still not in the team’s picture). As for McKenzie, there is one bit of good news is that that many in the local media are reporting that club head coach John van den Brom is very much on the hot seat. With McKenzie struggling to play, this could open the door for another chance.
In Switzerland, Jordan Pefok played the full 90 minutes for BSC Young Boys in a 1-0 loss to FC Zurich on Sunday. Pefok had just 22 touches in this game and both of his shots were blocked.
In Serie A (apart from McKennie), the big game from an American perspective was in Venice where Venezia hosted Inter on Saturday night. Gianluca Busio got the start for Venezia and played the full 90 in what ended a 2-0 victory for Inter. Busio wasn’t poor and he played hard. Inter was simply better. Tanner Tessmann came into the game in the 71st minute for Venezia when the score was just 1-0 and he had a good chance. He also had positive moments against a strong opponent. Both Americans are still adjusting to Serie A and have Venezia in a spot to compete for survival – but the club is still a long ways off from the top teams in the league.
Also in Serie A, Bryan Reynolds did not get off the bench for Roma in a 1-0 win over Torino.
In Serie B, Andrija Novakovich started for Frosinone in a 2-2 draw with Pordenone. Novakovich was subbed out in the 56th minute. His sub, Gabriel Charpentier, scored both of Frosinone’s goals.
In Turkey’s Super Lig, DeAndre Yedlin played the full 90 for Galatasaray in a 0-0 road draw with Yeni Malatyaspor. Yedlin had some decent numbers (35/41 passing, 6/8 duels won, 3/3 in aerials) but this has not been a good season for Galatasaray, so far, and it has now fallen to eighth in Turkey. Down the ladder in Turkey, Tyler Boyd started but did not have much of an impact for last-place Rizespor in a 1-0 win over Kayserispor.
In Brazil, Johnny Cardoso started for Internacional but was subbed out to start the second half of a 1-1 draw with Santos FC.
In other words, it was one tough weekend for a huge percentage of the national team player pool.
There were, however, a few things that went right.
Ream MOTM for Fulham
Championship leading Fulham is surely disappointed with its 1-1 draw against Preston North End on Saturday. It held the lead on the road into the 72nd minute before conceding an equalizer. Despite the loss, however, Fulham remained one point better than AFC Bournemouth for the top of the table.
Tim Ream was excellent in this game, and he continues to be a rock for the club in the Championship. Ream scored Fulham’s only goal when he volleyed home a Jean Michaël Seri free kick.
Ream’s value to Fulham has been significant. The value of earning promotion out of the Championship is extraordinary and owners often spend enormous sums looking to find the right players who can get clubs to the Premiership. Ream, meanwhile, has consistently been a promotion-caliber player in England for years. That is no small achievement.
Antonee Robinson also started in this game and while he had some good moments, he was lucky to avoid a penalty call against him in the second half.
Vines solid in win
Sam Vines, 22, had a nice game on Sunday night for Royal Antwerp in a 3-0 win over KV Oostende. The U.S. national team left back continues to grow into his role with the Belgian club after transferring from Colorado in August but then missing time due to a broken collarbone. The transition has suffered a bit as a result, but the club still view him as a regular starter.
In this game, Vines got on the ball a lot with 98 touches in 90 minutes. He worked hard on both sides of the ball. His offensive game remains his strength, but his defensive side is sharpening up. He remains a strong contender for national team call-ups into the future.
Right now, it is building up consistency for Vines and now that he is healthy, he’s in a good spot. He remains one of the more underrated players in the national team player pool.
- 90 minutes
- 98 touches
- 0 shots
- 1 key pass
- 42/64 passing
- 5/12 long balls
- 4 crosses
- 5/11 duels won
- 3 clearances
- 2 fouls
- 2x fouled
- 1 interception
With the win, Antwerp moved into second place in Belgium and are four points behind leaders Union St. Gilloise.
Hard work pays off for Malone
Ryan Malone, 29, isn’t a big name in the world of Americans abroad, but he has a great story. A former Division III player at Springfield College, Malone moved to Germany and has been a career third and fourth-tier journeyman central defender.
This season, he signed for Hansa Rostock in the 2.Bundesliga but has been mostly riding the bench. On Sunday, he earned his first start for Hansa Rostock against Paderborn. He played the entire game and helped his club earn a 1-1 draw.
Ryan Malone goes a full 90 in a 1-1 draw for Hansa Rostock. He won 6/9 duels won, had 8 clearances, was 2/3 in tackles, & had 2 interceptions. Great story for a former D3 college player who played for a long time a much lower levels to get to the 2.Bundesliga.— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) November 28, 2021
It was a memorable day for Malone who has worked hard and finally got a start at a high level in the 2.Bundesliga. It will be interesting to see if he can build from this.
In Scotland’s Premiership: Ian Harkes played a full 90 minutes for Dundee United in a disappointing 1-1 draw with Ross County. Meanwhile, Celtic defeated Aberdeen 2-1 on Sunday with Cameron Carter-Vickers going the distance in the win while Christian Ramirez played 90 minutes in the loss.
In the Championship, Duane Holmes played 60 minutes for Huddersfield in a 2-1 home loss to Middlesbrough on Saturday.
In League One, Lynden Gooch started and picked up an assist for Sunderland in a 2-1 win over Cambridge United on Saturday.
In Belgium’s top flight, Chris Durkin played the final 22 minutes for St. Truiden in a 2-0 loss to RFC Seraing.
In the Danish Superliga, Christian Cappis played the final six minutes for Brondby in a 1-0 win over Randers. Emmanuel Sabbi played 70 minutes for OB Odense in a 2-0 win over FC Nordsjaelland.
In Austria’s second tier, Uly Llanez scored an 84th minute winner for St. Poelten in a 1-0 victory over Rapid Vienna II.