News roundup

Thoughts on Red Bulls - Chivas, Copa America, and much more

It is a busy news day this morning but here to get your through it is some analysis on the Red Bulls Champions League semifinal first leg result, a dual national in Arsenal's youth system, the Copa America, and much more. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
April 05, 2018
6:00 AM
THE OPENING LEG of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal was not nearly as kind to the Red Bulls as hoped with Jesse Marsch’s team dropping a 1-0 decision to Chivas in Guadalajara.

Overcoming this result is possible but it is a huge uphill climb. Without the benefit of an away goal, the Red Bulls will have to defend hard to keep Chivas off the board while also finding a way to press for the equalizer. To add to this series of problems, Red Bull Arena is expected to be heavily pro-Chivas next week.

My thoughts on the game are rather simple.

After a very strong start to the season, Tyler Adams had a very poor game and it was his turnover that led to the only goal. It will be a major test for him to see how he will respond.

The Red Bulls failed to capitalize on its few opportunities. In the second half, Bradley Wright-Phillips had a close chance alone on the keeper but was unable to convert. The Red Bulls should have been awarded a penalty for a blatant handball but the referee did not make the call.

For Jesse Marsch, starting Aurelien Collin in this type of game was risky and it backfired as the French defender was sent off in the second half with a second yellow.

It was a brutal game but Chivas had the edge in possession. In the second leg, the Red Bulls must start Kaku. The $6 million designated playmaker is still finding his place on the team but over the next week, Marsch is going to have to find a way to generate offense. Kaku would be a good place to start.

It’s not impossible for the Red Bulls to come back, but a lot needs to go right in a hostile, homecoming next week.

Here are some other notes across the American soccer landscape

Sargent receives accolades

Werder Bremen U.S. U-20 forward Josh Sargent was recently named the striker of the tournament for the CRB U-19 Championships. In the tournament in March, Sargent scored goals in a 2-1 loss to FC Salzburg, a 2-0 win over Everton, and in a 1-0 win over Huddersfield.

Johannsson injury woes continue

Over the past four years, Aron Johannsson has spent a lot of time away from the game due to injury. In 2018 he had shown signs he’s back after scoring a few important goals for Werder Bremen. The Icelandic-American was slated to be called into the U.S. team last month for the Paraguay friendly but had to withdraw due to an Achilles problem. Now he is slated to miss Friday’s game against Hannover due to a new ankle injury he suffered on Monday in training.

A key prospect in Folarin Balogun?

Dual-national players always seem to step into the American soccer spotlight every now and then. While the major headlines are when a top player like Jonathan Gonzalez bolts the program, typically the U.S. team has been fortunate in getting most of the players it goes after and calls up.

One player to keep an eye on is Folarin Balogun, 16, who is the leading scorer for Arsenal’s U-18 team. He currently has nine goals and three assists in 14 games.

Not currently listed as being born in the United States, ASN has heard otherwise and that he does have U.S. citizenship by birthright. He was also raised in England and has Nigerian ancestry thereby giving him multiple options for his international future, if he is good enough.

Prospects at this young of an age are tough to gauge and being attached to a big club is certainly no guarantee of success. But bringing him into the youth national team fold could be a very promising development.

U.S. Open Cup draw

The draw for the first round of the U.S. Open Cup was revealed, with the games taking place on May 9.

A few ASN writers are planning to attend the FC Motown vs. New York Red Bulls U-23 game on May 9 at Drew University in Madison, N.J.

USMNT to return to the Copa America?

On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated reported that the U.S. national team has been invited to the 2019 Copa America as one of 16 teams. The tournament had previously consisted of 12 teams (10 CONMEBOL nations plus two guests) but the 2019 tournament, held in Brazil, will now be comprised of 16 teams with six guest nations.

The logistics, however, are difficult for the United States. Clubs are not required to release players for “guest teams” which participate in regional tournaments.

The Gold Cup is also going to be held in 2019 so the U.S. team could potentially play in two tournaments that summer. The U.S. team, however, will get its best players for the Gold Cup.

Should U.S. Soccer accept the invitation to play in the 2019 Copa America (which will run from June 14, - July 7), it would be interesting to see if the team can assemble a competitive roster for a major tournament when clubs are not required to release players. The U.S. faced a similar problem in 2007, when it took an subpar lineup to the Copa America and lost all three games. There is little, if any, incentive for European teams to release players and it is easy to even seem MLS teams balking at releasing key players. 

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