USMNT gameday in San Diego, Messi trains with Miami, Curtin to stay, and transfer/preseason notes
July 12, 2023
HAPPY MIDWEEK to everyone reading ASN. It’s a matchday for the USMNT as B.J. Callaghan and Company get ready to meet Panama in the Gold Cup semifinal. But elsewhere, the news keeps coming both domestically and abroad.
Let’s start with the national team.
USMNT vs. Panama tonight
The United States will host Panama on Wednesday night. It should be a tough test for the U.S. team which needed an intense 120 minutes on Sunday night to defeat Canada in a shootout. Panama, meanwhile, had a relaxing game a day earlier on Saturday night in a 4-0 win over Qatar.
That is the main story for the U.S. team. How has the team’s recovery been? Who is fit enough start and how long can they go before hitting the wall? The key players are James Sands, Gianluca Busio, DeJuan Jones, Jesus Ferreira, and Bryan Reynolds who all played at least 110 minutes on Sunday.
At the MD-1 press conference on Tuesday, Callaghan said that the physios have been working hard with the players on their recovery and that he was pleased. We will see. Panama is on the upswing right now and have a good team.
For me, Sands is the key player. He’s had a very good tournament and with the absence of Aidan Morris, there are not many players who can play his position on the roster. Jackson Yueill joined the team late and is generally only called-up whenever there is a late injury in the squad.
Speaking of Aidan Morris, there is speculation that a move could be in the works. We will see…
The Philadelphia Union announced on Tuesday that the club had signed head coach Jim Curtin to a multiyear extension. While the Union operate with a tighter budget compared with other top MLS teams, they manage to succeed because of good coaching from Curtin and good decision making from sporting director Ernst Tanner.
But signing Curtin to an extension is something the Union had to do. Curtin is a native of the Philadelphia area and is extremely popular with the players and the fan base. If the Union let Curtin get away, it would have been a disaster.
But Curtin’s success in Philadelphia has been a benefit to not just the Union, but also to American soccer. The club has been at the forefront of youth development where he has integrated some of the best homegrowns in the country into the first team. Union homegrown players feature heavily with U.S. youth national teams and some, including Brenden Aaronson, Mark McKenzie, and Auston Trusty, are in the player pool for the full national team.
Messi show arrives
On Sunday, Inter Miami is going to announce Lionel Messi with a huge party at the stadium full of concerts and other entertainment.
Ricardo Mayorga (ESPN) CONFIRMS: Shakira, Maluma and Bad Bunny will perform at Messi’s presentation on Sunday.— FCB Albiceleste (@FCBAlbiceleste) July 11, 2023
Inter Miami is preparing an amazing celebration to introduce the GOAT.???? pic.twitter.com/bU5cFAaFNn
Over the top like the NFL? Sure. But this is typical of Miami. If you’re Miami, you might as well be Miami.
Meanwhile, the always reliable and ASN friend Gianfranco Panizo reports Messi has already begun practicing with Inter Miami.
???? Lionel Messi entrena!— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) July 12, 2023
Sources telling me that Messi trained with Inter Miami for the first time this morning.
He even went through the introductory slap tunnel welcome from his teammates. #InterMiamiCF #Messi???? pic.twitter.com/bPGeHB3V7k
This is gonna be wild.
Transfer & preseason notes
We know that Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Ricardo Pepi, and now Brenden Aaronson have found new clubs. Among the non-national team players, Agustin Anello also found a new club in Belgium while Ian Harkes returned to the United States with New England.
I’ve commented on the first three. Aaronson’s move to Union Berlin is good in that it saves Aaronson from the Championship with an uncertain club. Leeds is a bit of a mess now. But now, Aaronson will head to one of the better Bundesliga clubs. Unlike last season, his team won’t be on its heels the entire time. The Bundesliga is also less physical than the Premier League and Aaronson should be able to play to his strengths better. But this is only a loan, so Aaronson will need to quickly prove his worth and that he’s better than the existing options.
Meanwhile, the club was quick to post a picture of Aaronson and forward Jordan Pefok - who seems to be fading from the USMNT picture (scoring just once since last September).
New Jersey ???? D.C. pic.twitter.com/qrgsyLzJPW— 1. FC Union Berlin (@fcunion) July 10, 2023
Speaking of other moves that have happened, Duane Holmes has moved from Huddersfield to Preston North End. Holmes, who turns 29 in November, will now remain in the Championship with a club that has better prospects in 2023/24 than Huddersfield. It’s mostly a lateral move, but perhaps it is a better fit for Holmes.
Meanwhile, the number of Americans in the rumor mill is long:
- Sergino Dest
- Auston Trusty
- Reggie Cannon
- Zack Steffen
- Ethan Horvath
- Weston McKennie
- Bryan Reynolds
- Aidan Morris
- Brandon Vazquez
- Justin Che
- Haji Wright
- Malik Tillman
- Tyler Adams
- Christian Cappis
- Erik Palmer-Brown
- Tanner Tessmann
- Johnny Cardoso
- Josh Cohen
- Caden Clark
And there are many other potential players as well.
The latest today is that apparently Ipswich Town is interested in Auston Trusty. It makes sense for the club, but does it make sense for Trusty? He’s just moving from one bottom-half Championship team to another one newly promoted. What makes sense for Trusty after a good year is to move upward.
In preseason, Griffin Yow scored for Westerlo against PEC Zwolle. The former DC United winger moved last year and saw limited minutes towards the end of the year. Yow should see more minutes this year for the Belgian club. Anthony Fontana played in that game as well.
In Portugal, U.S. U-20 defender Josh Wynder has begun training with Benfica B.
U.S. youth international Ethan Kohler has started the preseason with Werder Bremen's first team and scored against SV Drochtersen/Assel, of the fourth tier.
One story to watch this preseason is with Joe Scally. The U.S. national team fullback lost his starting position to Stefan Lainer for the final five games of the season (where Scally played just a minute during this run, to counter the argument that this was merely “squad rotation).
There was also some speculation that this was to audition Lainer for a transfer. But Lainer is still at M’Gladbach, he’s now healthy, and he is telling the media he is ready to compete.
“The situation was indeed not satisfactory for me,” Lainer said this week. “Now the situation is different again. That's how fast it goes in football. As always, when a new coach comes, the cards are reshuffled. At the end of the day you have to face the competition, I'm basically ready for that. That's why I'm happy that it's starting again."
"I've been at a top level physically since the winter break. It didn't go so smoothly then. But in the end I got a few more games and also played good games for me personally. That's why I'm very satisfied and happy. Now there is open competition – I will accept it.”