Americans Abroad

Transfers loom while Paredes, Busio, Johnny, & Vazquez highlight busy weekend

ASN's Brian Sciaretta writes up his thoughts about the transfer window and the weekend for Americans abroad where Busio, Paredes, Vazquez, Johnny, and Dest all had big days. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
January 29, 2024
4:30 AM

THE WEEKEND in American soccer mostly revolved around the Yanks playing in Europe but in addition to play on the field, there is growing chatter about player movement as the transfer window heads into its final days. Meanwhile on the domestic front, MLS preseason is in full swing.

Here are some thoughts on everything.


Transfer window nears end


The transfer window is almost over and there is a lot of talk about several American players. Here is the latest. And it starts with a lot of Nottingham Forest talk.

Gio Reyna is by far the biggest American name that could and should move. There is interest but Nottingham Forest is the one that has surfaced the most in recent days. There has also been talk of Benfica (which I'm skeptical), Marseille, and various teams in La Liga.

Nottingham Forest would be a strange move. It’s an unstable Premier League team that is in a relegation battle right now. Even if they survive, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before they go down. But it’s also time to look at Reyna as a player. He’s shown talent, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Since the start of the 2021/22 season, he has played a total of 1323 minutes in the Bundesliga and 1,947 across all competitions. For 2.5 seasons, that is not a lot of soccer.

Reyna is always going to be a high risk/high reward type player for a club to go after, and the Premier League seems to make the most sense with that given the money in the league. But Forest seems like a tough place for Reyna given that the team is less talented than most of its opponents and given that Reyna will be asked to play a far more physical game than he has been accustomed.

Ethan Horvath is another national team player who needs a move to anywhere he can play. If he can become a starter, almost anywhere will do. If he doesn’t move this window, his national team chances will take an enormous hit and it’s hard to see him involved for the Nations League and Copa America.

Matt Turner is also in a weird spot because Forest is reportedly after another goalkeeper. Does this force him into a backup role, or does it move him to being moved off the roster? It does look like Forest are keen to find another No. 1, but the summer would give him a chance to move if he’s not happy. If Forest finds another keeper in the coming weeks, he’s in trouble until the summer.

Paxten Aaronson is likely to go on loan this week as minutes at Eintracht have been few and far between for the U.S. U-23 attacker. BILD reported on Monday that the club is getting interest from within Germany at both the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga level. But wherever he plays is an acceptable option. He was not even a regular with Philadelphia, so consistent first-team minutes is still something he has yet to achieve. Meanwhile, U.S. fans should hope he is released for the Olympics.


Vazquez surging in Monterrey


South of the border, Brandon Vazquez has made about as good of a first impression as you can get at Monterrey. After scoring midweek against Queretaro, he notched a brace in a 3-1 win over San Luis. He now has three goals in his first two starts (three appearances overall).

His first goal on Saturday was a world-class header.

His second goal started with a bad San Luis turnover but it ended with a nice goal from Vazquez where he controlled the ball and quickly fired it past the keeper.

If Vazquez surges in Mexico, he will continue to climb the USMNT striker pecking order. His immediate competition is players like Josh Sargent, Daryl Dike, Haji Wright, Jordan Pefok, and Jesus Ferreira. That group will hope to pressure Folarin Balogun and Ricardo Pepi who have been the top two options in 2023. But Balogun has had a tough past two months and Pepi has played well but hasn’t played much.

It’s possible, but Vazquez will need to keep it up for several months to be in line for a Copa America spot or possibly and overage spot at the Olympics.


Paredes rises to the challenge


It has been hard for Kevin Paredes to earn a starting job at Wolfsburg, two years after leaving DC United. The USMNT winger has occasionally started, but typically has found his way back to the bench. But on Saturday against Koln, Paredes earned a chance to start and rewarded his coach with a 40th minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw.

The result wasn’t great for a skidding Wolfsburg team which should still be expected to beat a relegation battling Koln team, but Paredes was a bright spot in a disappointing outing.

For Paredes, he must keep this up. He’s had good starts before but hasn’t been able to sustain production. His next few games will be critical.

Internationally, it will be interesting to see if U.S. Soccer sees Paredes as one for the Copa America team or the Olympic team. I think the Olympic team would probably be best, but then it comes down to a release issue.


Sabbi converts Le Havre penalty


Emmanuel Sabbi, 26, scored for Le Havre in a 3-3 draw away to last-place Lorient on Saturday. His 15th minute penalty opened the scoring. He ended up playing 57 minutes and left with Le Havre down 2-1. Otherwise, it wasn’t a particularly standout performance for Sabbi.

But what is interesting is that he is taking penalties for the club right now in important games (a teammate drew the penalty). He also brings a lot of athleticism to the game and over the last six weeks he is finding a role within the team where he can contribute.


Busio’s important winner


Gianluca Busio has now scored in three straight Serie B games for Venezia but Saturday’s 84th minute winner in a 1-0 victory over Ternana was significant because it helped Venezia leapfrog Como and back into second place of Serie B, which is the automatic promotion line.

Busio is playing his best and most consistent soccer since his move to Italy and it comes at a great time. He was the MOTM in this game and his U.S. U-23 teammate Tanner Tessmann also had a strong game.

The game was also played in thick fog in Venice and it made for an unpleasant game and one where it was almost decided by luck. Fortunately, it worked out for Busio in the end and it shows that when you’re playing well, the luck tends to go your way.

"I couldn't see Busio's goal from the bench. I thought Pierini had scored. Honestly, it was almost impossible to see anything,” said Venezia manager Paolo Vanoli.


Weah & McKennie help Juve in tough draw


Weston McKennie took a tough first-half challenge that hurt his ankle, but he was able to play through it and help Juventus to a 1-1 draw where they were down to 10 men from the 18th minute after a Arkadiusz Milik red card. At first, it seemed Mckennie would have to be taken off or that he would be replaced at halftime. But he played through it and made some great defensive runs towards the end.

Tim Weah came into the game in the 59th minute and played very well where he even made one potential game-saving, high-quality tackle.

A 1-1 draw with Empoli is not a good result for Juventus most days, but given the situation after an early red card, Juventus did well to gut out a result and both Americans did their job. We will have to wait and see if McKennie will miss any time due to the ankle injury he played through.

The problem, however, is that Juventus fell out of first place with this draw combined with an Inter Milan win.


Pulisic & Musah in Milan draw


AC Milan are surely disappointed after conceding a late penalty to squander a win in a 2-2 draw with Bologna in what was a wild game that had three penalties. Christian Pulisic went 87 minutes while Yunus Musah entered the game in the 59th minute. The draw cost them the opportunity to make up ground on second place Juventus, who drew. But for now, it seems almost certain they will finish third this season.

Pulisic had a secondary assist in the buildup to the opening goal and was one of Milan’s best creators on the day. Meanwhile, Musah helped Milan control the midfield once he game in. But this was a bad result for Milan who were also let down by Olivier Giroud missing a 42nd minute penalty.

It’s been a great season for both of the club’s Americans but both need to see Stefano Pioli remain as the team’s coach despite some pressure mounting from the team’s supporters.


Johnny impresses again for Real Betis


Johnny Cardoso is off to a strong start after his transfer from Internacional to Real Betis. After a strong outing in a loss to Barcelona, Cardoso went the distance for Betis on Saturday in a 1-0 away win over Mallorca.

He completed 37/41 of his passes, won 5/5 of his aerials, had five clearances, and was just overall solid on both sides of the ball. He helped Betis shut down Mallorca and give them little space to work with in the midfield.


Betis seems to have had a real plan for him since his arrival and believes he can help the team push for a spot in Europe. Cardoso has a chance to be a real breakout player in 2024 and he will also have a chance to play the Tyler Adams role and answer the question who the backup for Adams is.


Dest assists in PSV win


After the worst week of their spectacular season, PSV is back in the winning column after Saturday’s  2-0 win over Almere City.

Sergino Dest assisted on the opening goal when he had a ton of time and space to work with. He then picked out Luuk De Jong who scored both PSV goals. Meanwhile, Ricardo Pepi played the final seven minutes. One potential note is that Malik Tillman was out of the lineup with an unspecified “knock.”

Dest continues to have a great season, but it is interesting for Pepi. At what point will PSV trust him with shouldering more responsibility for this team. Does this hurt his USMNT chances if other players raise their game?


Yanks in the FA Cup


There wasn’t much positive to write about from Americans in the FA Cup.

Matt Turner kept a clean sheet for Nottingham Forest in a 0-0 draw with Bristol City on Saturday. The USMNT goalkeeper didn’t have to make a single save, so it’s unclear if this helped his case as the club is reportedly looking for another goalkeeper.

Haji Wright returned from injury and played the final 17 minutes for Coventry in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. It was an uneventful shift for the forward from California.

Tim Ream returned from injury to captain Fulham in a 2-0 loss at home to Newcastle as the Cottagers bowed out of the tournament. Antonee Robinson also went a full 90 for Fulham and played well despite the loss.


Auston Trusty went the distance for Sheffield United in a brutal 5-2 loss at home to Bright & Hove Albion. Sheffield United continues to take its lumps this season. Trusty is playing, and that’s good but eventually there is only so much development you can make in repeated beatings.

Josh Sargent was rested and didn't play for Norwich in a 5-2 loss to Liverpool and Daryl Dike was also rested as West Brom bowed out of the tournament to Wolves.


Yanks in the Championship


Reggie Cannon was injured and left the game in the 13th minute for Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. QPR was able to salvage a late 1-1 draw against Huddersfield, but they remain three points deep in the relegation zone.


It was a tough homecoming for Lynden Gooch who started for Stoke City in a return to Sunderland (who he was affiliated with from the age of 10 until last summer). Gooch went 85 minutes in a 3-1 loss as Stoke City remained in 18th place.

Duane Holmes was a stoppage time sub in a 1-1 draw away to Millwall on Saturday.


Yanks in Germany


Heidenheim drew Hoffenheim 1-1 and it was another positive step for a Heidenheim team that is simply trying to stay alive in the top tier. With the result, they remained in ninth place.

Lennard Maloney started for Heidenheim and played well in his defensive midfield position where he sat back and defended well. He wasn't asked to do much by way of offense, but in serving that defensive role, he answered the call.

The question for him on the international side is whether his role at Heidenheim translates to the USMNT. His Heidenheim role doesn't exist on many teams. But can he adjust to a role where more is asked of him offensively.

John Brooks returned to the starting lineup for Hoffenheim, which had lost three straight. Hoffenheim should have found a way to win this but were stifled by the guests. American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo must find a solution.

As for Brooks, he was partially at fault for the Heidenheim goal as he allowed the runner to get behind him while he played a high line.

Borussia Monchengladbach played leaders Bayer Leverkusen to a 0-0 draw on the road on Saturday. Considering the gap between the teams, it was a good result for M'Gladbach. Joe Scally started in a back-three formation for M'Gladbach and had a good outing defensively. He didn't make many mistakes and, in the second half, had to deal with some tough situations. This was one of his better outings of the season.

Jordan Pefok has been scoring goals lately but he was contained on the day by Leverkusen before being subbed out in the 79th minute.

Brenden Aaronson played the last seven minutes plus stoppage time for Union Berlin in a 1-0 win over Darmstadt. Aaronson played well and set up a 1v1 with the keeper (which was missed by a teammate). But the win gives Union Berlin a five-point cushion over the relegation playoff position.

Gio Reyna played the last 24 miinutes for Borussia Dortmund in a 3-1 win over Bochum. The score was 1-1 when he came on. The top story, however, is that this was likely his last appearance for the club. If it isn't, the speculation over his future and his limited minutes will continue.

Paxten Aaronson did not make the matchday squad for Eintracht Frankfurt in a 1-0 win over Mainz.

In the 2.Bundesliga, it's been a remarkable turnaround for Eintracht Braunschweig which was in last place but has now won four in a row after Sunday's 1-0 win over Magdeburg. The club is now in the relegation playoff position and only goal differential keeps them from automatic survival. U.S. U-23 forward Johan Gomez started and was taken out in stoppage time.

Julian Green and U.S. U-23 defender Maximillian Dietz both had good outings for Greuther Furth which defeated Holstein Kiel to move into second place, which is automatic promotion. Green is looking for yet another crack at the Bundesliga while Dietz is looking for his first time in the top flight.

Dietz remains a good Olympic candidate who could perhaps alleviate the need for a second overage central defender.

St. Pauli remains atop the 2.Bundesliga following a 2-1 away win over Fortuna Dusseldorf. St. Pauli is coached by former U.S. U-20 midfielder Fabian Hurzeler, who was born in Houston.


Yanks in Spain


Luca de la Torre started for Celta Vigo in a 1-0 loss at home to LaLiga leaders Girona. De la Torre had two shots from distance but was impressively 5/6 in his tackles and 8/16 in his ground duels. But with the loss, Celta Vigo remains in a relegation battle and are just one point clear of the drop zone.

In the Segunda, Eibar defeated Mirandes 1-0. Konrad de la Fuente entered the game in the 81st minute for Eibar, just a few minutes after the goal was scored. Jonnathan Gomez went the distance for Mirandes in the loss.

Both players are pushing for the U.S. Olympic team roster but both have a lot of work to do. Gomez is closer but has competition from John Tolkin, Caleb Wiley, and George Bello at left back. De la Fuente simply needs to play more, a lot more.


Yanks in Belgium


On Friday, Marlon Fossey started and scored a 76th minute goal to put Standard Liege up 1-0 on Cercle Brugge. Standard could not hang on and conceded an 88th minute equalizing goal in a 1-1 draw. Standard sit in 10th place in a disappointing season. Fossey, meanwhile, has been trending positively in recent weeks.

Westerlo played Gent to a 2-2 draw on Saturday. Griffin Yow started for Westerlo and drew a penalty in the 87th minute that was converted by a teammate and a 2-1 lead. But Westerlo was unable to hang on and conceded a late equalizer. Bryan Reynolds went 90 minutes in an up and down outing.

Yow continues to impress and could emerge as a late U.S. U-23 Olympic option as a winger.

It was a wild outing in a derby matchup between St. Truiden and Genk. The match started 30 minutes late as Genk's bus was blocked by striking farmers trying to get to the stadium. Then in the 85th minute, the game had to be delayed after Genk fans threw flairs on the field to protest a red card to Gerardo Arteaga.


As for Americans, forward Kahveh Zahiroleslam started for St. Truiden and went 90 minutes. The former Yale University Bulldog had two shots but helped open the game up at times with his speed. Mark McKenzie went 90 minutes in central defense for Genk and set up a very dangerous chance in the first half with a beautiful longball out of the back.

McKenzie could be an option for the USMNT in March as not much is separating the central defender group. Meanwhile, Zahiroleslam is pushing to be an Olympic option but the center forward spot is likely going to Duncan McGuire with an outside chance of Johan Gomez. Plus, an overage option could emerge.


Eupen won its second game in a row to climb out of the relegation playoff position following a 1-0 victory over Royal Antwerp. Gaga Slonina made four saves, two of which were impressive, and he kept his second cleansheet in a row. This has been the best he has looked since moving to Europe. Antwerp skied a penalty in the second half in its best chance of the game.


Yanks in Serie B


USMNT left back Kristoffer Lund had a very good outing for Palermo in an otherwise disappointing 1-1 draw with Catanzaro on Saturday. Lund played 87 minutes and was 9/9 in his ground duels, 2/2 in his dribbles, 5/7 in his tackles, and had three interceptions. The draw, however, was not good for the team’s promotional hopes as they fell to sixth. It seems very likely that Palermo will be in the promotional playoffs.

Lecco remained in the Serie B relegation zone after a brutal 5-1 loss to FeralpiSalo. Andrija Novakovich went 90 minutes in the hopeless defeat.

Fresh off completing his transfer from St. Louis CITY, Niko Gioacchini was an unused substitute for Como in a 2-0 loss to Ascoli. Como was down to 10 men starting in the 60th minute.


Yanks elsewhere


In France, Folarin Balogun is dealing with a shoulder injury and missed Monaco’s 2-2 draw with Marseille.

In Croatia, Roakas Pukstas is credited as the goal scorer by some, but not by his club Hajduk Split for the opening strike in a 2-1 loss to Rijeka. On the play, a powerful header deflects off Pukstas’ head/neck and into the goal.

But Pukstas took a shot to the head earlier in the game and had to play with a bandage. Overall, it wasn’t a great game for him as he had only 18 touches and seven completed passes in 65 minutes in central midfield. With the loss, Hajduk fell to second as Rijeka overtook them.

In the Eredivisie, Agustin Anello left Sparta Rotterdam to join Cambuur in the second tier on loan.

Taylor Booth played 66 decent minutes for Utrecht in a 1-1 draw at Excelsior. He has returned to a starting job at a time when he looked to have fallen out of favor. In that sense, he will end January on a high note despite Utrecht sitting in 13th place.

Younger brother Zach Booth went the final 27 minutes for Volendam in a 1-0 loss at home to Fortuna Sittard. Volendam are three points deep in automatic relegation. Antony Fontana, meanwhile, is still not playing for PEC Zwolle and missed out on the 1-0 win over Vitesse on Friday.

In Portugal, Auruca pounded Vizela 5-0 and nothing was good for Americans. Benji Michel was unused in the win. Alex Mendez started for Vizela and left in the 67th minute, down 3-0. Vizela is deep in the relegation zone.

In Scotland, Cameron Carter-Vickers signed a new contract with Celtic and played 67 minutes of a 1-0 win over Ross County. Celtic remain five points clear of in first place.


Dante Polvara started and played 64 minutes for 8th-place Aberdeen in a 2-0 loss away to hearts. Scott Pittman was missing in Livingston’s 4-1 loss to Dundee.

In Mexico, Sebastian Saucedo played the second half for Juarez in a 2-1 loss to Atlas.

Alex Zendejas played 64 minutes for Club America in a 0-0 draw against Necaxa. Fernando Arce Jr. played the whole game for Necaxa.

Cade Cowell played the second half for Chivas in a 1-1 away draw with Tijuana. Cowell missed a good chance with a poor shot but also set up a very dangerous play that was missed by a teammate. Meanwhile, Joe Corona was unused for Tijuana.

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