Midweek musings

USMNT heads to Belfast, Llanez returns home, Johannsson nears Lech Poznan deal, & more

The USMNT will head to Belfast for the first time to face Northern Ireland, plus all sorts of player movement news with some good news for Aron Johannsson, Christian Cappis, Taylor Booth but some concerning news for Uly Llanez. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 09, 2021
2:30 PM

THE UNITED STATES will return to the field on Sunday, March 28 when it heads to Belfast for its first-ever matchup against Northern Ireland at the National Football Stadium. This sets up a potentially enormous day for U.S. Soccer.

The federation also added that it hopes of adding a second game in Europe during the same window

The game will kickoff at 12pm EST and will be broadcast on national television on the main Fox Channel.

This will be a chance for U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter to have most of his team together for the first time. Given that this is the international window and that the MLS playoffs are not in session, this will be the first time Gregg Berhalter will have most of his pool at his disposal.

But the United States national team will potentially not be the only national team to play that day. Should the U.S. U-23 team advance from its Olympic qualifying group (with Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic) the week before, it will face a semifinal that will determine its Olympic qualifying fate. A loss would see it fail to qualify for third straight Olympics. That semifinal will take place the same day on March 28, either at 6pm EST or 9pm EST.

It will be up to Berhalter, U.S. U-23 coach Jason Kreis, general manager Brian McBride, and perhaps director Ernie Stewart to make the decision out to prioritize players depending on release possibilities.

Regardless, it will potentially be a big day for U.S. Soccer.

Here are some other news stories on this busy Tuesday


Llanez returns home


In a concerning matter, Eredivisie club Heerenveen announced that U.S. national team winger Ulysees Llanez would return home to be with his family due to a “private matter” but local Dutch media is reporting that there are deeper matters at play. There is no definite time set for his return.

VI reported that: “the winger has been struggling with personal problems recently. Various attempts have been made from Heerenveen to help him recover, but to no avail. In an attempt to break the negative spiral, Llanez - who is also suffering from an injury - has now returned to his home country. His contract with Wolfsburg will run until 2024.”

It is not a good situation for Llanez who has played just 90 minutes this season across five sub appearances. Other reports have suggested he is homesick and unhappy.


Johannsson nears Lech Poznan deal


On Tuesday, UEFA journalist Piotr Kozminski reported that American forward Aron Johannsson was on the verge of joining Lech Poznan in Poland.

ASN can confirm this report and that the deal is close.


Johannsson, 30, has struggled with injuries for most of the past five years but enjoyed a return to form last season with Hammarby where he scored 12 goals.


Cappis heading to Brondby


United States U-23 eligible central midfielder Christian Capps, 21, has been toiling away at Hobro in the Danish second tier after the club’s relegation last season. He has also dealt with tough situations with being deported after the club failed to renew his work visa.

But now things are trending up for Cappis who will join Brondby in June on a four year deal. Brondby currently sit atop the Superliga standings and the Texan might play in the Champions League next season.

Booth joins St. Polten


Taylor Booth, 19, will finally play first team soccer as he has joined St. Poelten of the Austrian Bundesliga on loan from Bayern Munich for the remainder of the season. Once considered a key member of the U.S. U-20 team until that cycle was cancelled, Booth had been playing for Bayern Munich’s U-23 team on occasion. Now the defensive midfielder will head to the Austrian Bundesliga to join a St. Polten team that currently sits eighth in the 12-team league.

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