Americans Abroad 2019-20: A New Hope

Titans Bastard

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Yedlin had the announcers shouting about how well he created some chances in his last game vs Norwich. Load up the MOTD highlights here and run to 1:50, they praise him twice in a 30-second span. Newcastle is 12th in the EPL, but they're in the EPL, and Yedlin's pretty clearly their first-choice RB whenever he's healthy. And he's 26 years old, with 62 caps.

I think you're right to be excited about Dest's potential, but putting him ahead of Yedlin right now, nevermind putting FC Dallas' RB ahead of him in the depth chart, is a little ludicrous.
If you measure by club resume, sure. But when was the last time Yedlin put in an impressive performance for the US?
 

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Isn't club form like the #1 evaluation criteria for national team managers, because they get such little time overall with the national team? And that question is extra unfair for Yedlin since he's been hurt the past couple bigger international windows. But he played 10 matches in the 2018 WCQ cycle and did fine - was one of the only people who visibly gave a shit in T&T, for example, along with CP.

If they had to play a world cup game in a few weeks, with each of them having equal time to get ready for it, 10 out of 10 national team managers start Yedlin over Dest or Cannon.
 

67YAZ

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Time is running short for experiments, but I would like to see Yedlin at RW, Canon at RB, and Dest at LB tried a couple times. Yedlin won’t offer much cutting in, but he’d provide width and a chance at real fluidity combing with Canon. And it can’t be much worse than some of the football we’ve seen lately.
 

Titans Bastard

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Isn't club form like the #1 evaluation criteria for national team managers, because they get such little time overall with the national team? And that question is extra unfair for Yedlin since he's been hurt the past couple bigger international windows. But he played 10 matches in the 2018 WCQ cycle and did fine - was one of the only people who visibly gave a shit in T&T, for example, along with CP.

If they had to play a world cup game in a few weeks, with each of them having equal time to get ready for it, 10 out of 10 national team managers start Yedlin over Dest or Cannon.
As a matter of general principle, few managers simply pick an international XI based on the club résumé of the players. Jackson Yueill got a lot of minutes at DM for the US in 2019 even though a Bundesliga starter like Alfredo Morales was available.

Yedlin is a good player, but he has a lot of ups and downs with Newcastle. I think that Dest and Cannon have both come on strong — I mean, look at those Dest highlights vs. PSV! What impresses me about him is that he's not just a kid hanging on as the 11th best starter on his team; he's really doing well for a high-quality team, despite having some very tough competition at his position at Ajax (Mazraoui).

Cannon still has work to do, but I think he's about the same as Yedlin defensively (both have a moment in a game where they just totally lose a mark) and I think he's a little better at combining going forward. Because it's close and he's on a growth trajectory, I'll give the edge to Cannon. Dest already the best of our RBs offensively, and it's not close. At the club level, he isn't tested defensively to the same extent because, of the three, his club is by far the most dominant in its domestic league.

In the end, it's a good problem to have. Cannon will likely be with the U23s in March for Olympic qualifying. I wouldn't be shocked if Dest is shunted to LB for the time being until a true LB finally puts their stamp on the position. I expect we'll see all three in USMNT rosters when available for the time being.
 

Titans Bastard

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A supposedly reputable Dutch outlet is reporting that Bayern is trying to negotiate a summer transfer for Sergiño Dest.

 

Titans Bastard

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More smoke: there are reports that Dest was spotted at Bayern's midweek cup game. This feels like pretty legit interest.

Dest is very good, but Bayern would be an aggressive jump. In an ideal world, I think Dest would benefit from one more year at Ajax. Of course, huge clubs don't always come knocking, so who says no when they do?

View: https://twitter.com/iMiaSanMia/status/1226104705811652609
 

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Tyler Adams started and played 90 in the Leipzig - Bayern Munich matchup today. Highlights here. He figured in several key attacks for Leipzig and didn't look out of his depth at all against a full-strength Bayern side.

Very excited. Gonna have to start watching more Leipzig.
 

Titans Bastard

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Ben Lederman, of La Masia fame, as landed at Raków Częstochowa in the Polish league after an unsuccessful stint at Gent's reserve team.

 

Titans Bastard

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Ledezma gets a contract extension with PSV through 2022. This is significant because Ledezma is due for a significant raise next year because of the Eredivisie's rules about salary minimums for non-EU players. (It's cheaper for teens, but there's a relatively higher floor for older players.) PSV wouldn't be keeping him around on a more expensive salary if they didn't hold hopes that he'll be a first team player soon.

View: https://twitter.com/PSV/status/1239536897506054145
 

Titans Bastard

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Although they are in the second division, Stuttgart is one of Germany's bigger clubs, and the fact that they have an American born-and-raised manager now has really gone under the radar among U.S. soccer fans. I'm pretty sure Stuttgart is the historically "biggest" club ever managed by an American-raised manager.

 

Titans Bastard

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It looks like D.C. United's Chris Durkin is close to a permanent move to Sint-Truiden, where he was on loan.

View: https://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/1254821263555670016


Steven Goff @SoccerInsider
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Paperwork issues continue to delay @dcunited's $1.1 million transfer of U.S. youth intl Chris Durkin to @stvv. Belgian side and MLS HQ seeking to nudge it over the finish line soon. #dcu


I loved Durkin at the U17 World Cup because he's a good passer at DM and showed sophisticated composure on the ball. However, as time as progressed he's been revealed to be a below-average athlete. I see him as a Wil Trapp type, whose lack of quickness and defensive bite will be exposed at the highest level. I think he'll be a good player but don't rate him highly as a USMNT prospect.
 

Titans Bastard

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Durkin's move is official. I like this. He's moving to a modest club for a modest fee (although I don't think it's particularly modest by STVV's standards). He's going to a development-focused league that should help his game. An MLS club turns a small profit and doesn't hold out for a stupid high fee demand that's never going to met.

If the Durkins of the world do well, clubs will notice and the next round of players will sell for a bit more.

View: https://twitter.com/stvv/status/1258382606934171650
 

Jimy Hendrix

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They must have seen what their own offense looked like last game.

Uly may or may not be ready, but they pretty badly need options that are not just lump it to the scrappy big guys.
 

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McKennie on Wednesday (jump to 2:08 for the highlight, and I mean, holy shit):

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd7ebWYxXyk


...though the rest of his team made an absolute hash of the match, despite being in the middle of the hunt for a Europa League spot.

McKennie on Saturday was playing at winger, and frankly after that shot above, you can hardly blame his coach for trying it. Josh Sargent started on the other side for Bremen, but I only saw highlights and he wasn't on those.

John Brooks and Timothy Chandler were out there for Wolfsburg and Frankfurt yesterday. Chandler didn't cover himself in glory on Wolfsburg's goal. Brooks looked like he largely did his job, but his teammates on the back line were not so diligent.

Fabian Johnson didn't even make the bench for Gladbach. Al Morales started for Dusseldorf, and along with his teammates got thoroughly undressed by Bayern.

Reyna was a late sub for Dortmund this morning. But the story was all about Jadon Sancho, who was the best player on the field by a considerable margin, in many different ways.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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One of the interesting commonalities in Josh Sargent's recent mini-revival and Weston McKennie putting in one of the better 90min I've seen from him this weekend is that they've been pressing like absolute demons.

I hope Berhalter's taking notes and continues moving away from the "low block and get picked apart" defense he initially preferred and towards a more aggressive counterpress. He seemed to be already starting that process, so I am optimistic.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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One of the interesting commonalities in Josh Sargent's recent mini-revival and Weston McKennie putting in one of the better 90min I've seen from him this weekend is that they've been pressing like absolute demons.

I hope Berhalter's taking notes and continues moving away from the "low block and get picked apart" defense he initially preferred and towards a more aggressive counterpress. He seemed to be already starting that process, so I am optimistic.
Sorry to have missed McKennie's effort. His on-ball defense can be so strong with his anticipation and ability to disrupt passing lanes/recover quickly, whereas most of his lapses tend to be mental errors/failure to track a mark back.
 

Kliq

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McKennie was great yesterday. Early in the game he smoked a volley from outside the box but unfortunately hit it straight at the keeper. Just tons of energy and toughness, felt like he was like Luke Keuchly going sideline to sideline making tackles.
 

67YAZ

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McKennie was great yesterday. Early in the game he smoked a volley from outside the box but unfortunately hit it straight at the keeper. Just tons of energy and toughness, felt like he was like Luke Keuchly going sideline to sideline making tackles.
For the last year or so he’s been all or nothing on a match by match basis. I’m hoping that this is positive sign - that when the confidence rise high and he can play his role Intuitively without having to process every decision, he’s a monster. The talent is all there, he just needs to be coached up. I expect Wagner can do it. Berhalter tho...
 

Titans Bastard

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Chris Richards is on the bench for Bayern today for the first time.
 

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McKennie was great yesterday. Early in the game he smoked a volley from outside the box but unfortunately hit it straight at the keeper. Just tons of energy and toughness, felt like he was like Luke Keuchly going sideline to sideline making tackles.
Not just the volley, he had an effort from the top of the box on Sunday that was so hard that even though it was straight at the goalie, all Hradecky could do was block it and he gave up a straight-ahead rebound that was pounced on by the striker, and deserved a goal (but went wide on the redirect). He really knocked the stuffing out of it. And yeah, had a great all-around game although I only saw parts of it.

I wonder if he's going to end up our set-piece taker for direct efforts from 20-30 yards out. He's got the juice to beat goalies from there if he places it right, that's not really Pulisic's jam.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I wonder if he's going to end up our set-piece taker for direct efforts from 20-30 yards out. He's got the juice to beat goalies from there if he places it right, that's not really Pulisic's jam.
I dunno if he's got the bend you want on most set pieces, but I think he took some "just kick the shit out it" lessons from Naldo which could be situationally useful.
 

Kliq

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IIRC isn't McKennie pretty good in the air? Feels like he scores most of his goals off of set pieces.
 

Titans Bastard

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Antonee Robinson also made his first appearance for Wigan since disappearing from view after his AC Milan medical revealed a heart issue. Great to see.
 

candylandriots

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My boys from Union Berlin may have helped bail Josh Sargeant and Werder Bremen out today. With nothing to play for, Union defeated Düsseldorf 3-0 while Bremen defeated Köln 4-0. So Bremen makes into the playoff after sitting 17th with a negative goal differential before the start of play today.

Which is a long way for me to brag about Union finishing 10th, even ahead of Schalke.
 

Titans Bastard

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The Werder game actually ended up finishing 6-1, with Sargent bagging the final goal after coming off the bench. He finishes the regular part of the season with 4g/4a. He spent a decent part of the season flailing, but it's not terrible production on a bad team, given his minutes.

Fingers crossed that he can make a big step forward next season. I'm rather bullish on the youth generation coming through for the USMNT, but the fact is that we don't have all that many particularly exciting prospects at center forward and we have a lot of eggs in the Sargent basket.
 

candylandriots

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The Werder game actually ended up finishing 6-1, with Sargent bagging the final goal after coming off the bench. He finishes the regular part of the season with 4g/4a. He spent a decent part of the season flailing, but it's not terrible production on a bad team, given his minutes.

Fingers crossed that he can make a big step forward next season. I'm rather bullish on the youth generation coming through for the USMNT, but the fact is that we don't have all that many particularly exciting prospects at center forward and we have a lot of eggs in the Sargent basket.
Oh wow - I assumed because they stopped talking about the Bremen-Köln score, it had stayed the same. But I guess they were trying to keep viewers on the Union-Düsseldorf game instead.

Good for Sargent. Hopefully they make it through the playoff.
 

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My boys from Union Berlin may have helped bail Josh Sargeant and Werder Bremen out today. With nothing to play for, Union defeated Düsseldorf 3-0 while Bremen defeated Köln 4-0. So Bremen makes into the playoff after sitting 17th with a negative goal differential before the start of play today.

Which is a long way for me to brag about Union finishing 10th, even ahead of Schalke.
Thank you for your service.

As for Josh Sargent's chances for staying up, his team has actually looked pretty lively the last few weeks and they had some truly hard-luck losses. They will host the 2.Bundesliga 3rd place (probably Heidenheim) next Thursday the 2nd, and then away on Monday the 6th.

Here is how the pro/rel playoffs have gone the last 10 years:

2019: Stuttgart (28 pts) falls to Union Berlin 2-2 on away goals and is relegated.
2018: Wolfsburg (33) beats Kiel 4-1 to remain up
2017: Wolfsburg (37) beats Braunschweig 2-0 to remain up
2016: Frankfurt (36) beats Nurnburg 2-0 to remain up
2015: Hamburger (35) beats Karlsruher 3-2 to remain up
2014: Hamburger (27) beats Greuther Fürth 1-1 on away goals to remain up
2013: Hoffenheim (31) beats Kaiserslautern 5-2 to remain up
2012: Hertha (31) falls to Dusseldorf 3-2 and is relegated
2011: Gladbach (36) beats Bochum 2-1 to remain up
2010: Nurnburg (31) beats Augsburg 3-1 to remain up

So, 8 of the last 10 years have seen the 1.Bundesliga team win and stay up. The two teams that fell were on the lower end of the point scale. Bremen will head into the match with 31 points.