Americans Abroad, 2020-21: The Kids Are Alright

Titans Bastard

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If social media is any guide, Dike is already a cult hero at Barnsley.
 

Titans Bastard

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Titans Bastard

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James Sands signed an extension at NYCFC, but it sounds like he expects to go abroad sooner or later. When this quote is in the club's press release:

“Long-term, playing at a top level in Europe has always been my dream and still is. The Club is in a good position to help me achieve my goals. I’m thankful they understand my ambitions and it’s why I’m so comfortable signing an extension here.”
Sands suffered a stress fracture in his foot part way through last season and has been out of the spotlight. He also gets less attention simply because he's an extremely boring but highly effective DM. I think his chances of emerging as Adams' backup for the NT are underrated.

https://www.nycfc.com/post/2021/03/04/new-york-city-fc-midfielder-james-sands-signs-contract-extension
Sam Vines also signed a contract extension with Colorado. Several reporters have said that they don't think he'll see the end of that contract either.


When players like Vines and Sands (or Cannon and Reynolds) sign contract extensions with higher salaries, it actually makes them easier to sell. When they are cheap, they are impossible to replace at the same salary level and clubs have a hard time letting go of that sort of value. After signing an extension, their wages are a bigger hit to the salary cap and thus are easier to replace at the same cost. In a cap-driven league like MLS, that's important.
 

cromulence

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And then they end up conceding off a ridiculous error by Pavlenka, so it's not the winner. That's what I get for watching Koln vs Bremen. Sargent needs to move as much for our sake as his own.
 

Titans Bastard

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It's a veritable bonanza today for Americans in second-tier leagues.

Aaronson & Booth scored. Servania debuted.

Elsewhere in Austria, some sites gave EPB MOTM today.

Tyler Boyd scored for Sivasspor. Luca de la Torre scored for Heracles. Konrad scored for Barça B. Ariyibi scored for Panetolikos.



Aside from all that, we should be talking about Chris Richards. He's gone straight into Hoffenheim's XI and has been consistently good for them. I expect to see a lot of him for the USMNT across our busy, full-of-squad-rotation 2021 and that means he has a very, very real shot of emerging as Brooks' partner ahead of Aaron Long.
 

Titans Bastard

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Sargent scored again today, his third in three games. It was a tap-in, but also the result of a good run.
 

Titans Bastard

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The BBC profiles Daryl Dike and drops a few nuggets.

Thank you parents:

Crucially, his parents never relented to pleas from local coaches for the boy to take part in American football trials. They considered the sport unsafe.

The only dissent came on the supporting front: he is a Chelsea fan in a family of Arsenal fans.
Say what?!?!

Dike, 20, only arrived at Barnsley on the last day of the most recent transfer window - but such has been his impact in the Championship that the BBC understands there has already been an approach from one of the big six Premier League - Orlando City have reportedly turned down a $10 million bid.
 

Domer

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The BBC article states Dike has a USD 20 million release clause. That can‘t possible be accurate? It’s extremely rare (maybe impossible) for MLS clubs to have release clauses on its players, let alone for a league record fee one year out of the Superdraft.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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The language is imprecise. It's not said to be a release clause on the contract, but a purchase option on his Barnsley loan.
 

Titans Bastard

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The BBC article states Dike has a USD 20 million release clause. That can‘t possible be accurate? It’s extremely rare (maybe impossible) for MLS clubs to have release clauses on its players, let alone for a league record fee one year out of the Superdraft.
It's not a release clause in his MLS contract, it's a purchase clause in his loan deal.

EDIT: @Jimy Hendrix beat me.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Bryan Reynolds with his Roma debut for about 25min.

Pretty bad honestly, but in the context of his CL contender team losing 2 - 0 to relegation battlers they were all pretty bad
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I hope his first USMNT goal celebration is seeing how many of our little shrimps he can carry on his back at once.
 

cromulence

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It's fun to see how much Barnsley and their fans love him. If he keeps scoring and they get promoted, he's gonna be a Barnsley legend.
 

Zososoxfan

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It's actually in the Mersey, I believe.

(point taken about a hot start not making a career, but what a hot start it has been!)
Ha! No point intended, just a lame quip per usual.

To add a bit of substance here, this seems like the moment when US players really starting filling into European leagues en masse. While this may have been happening in lower divisions some time ago, the US can now draw on almost a full XI playing in European first divisions. These players may not always fit together for a cohesive side, but the talent really seems to be rising to the highest levels in numbers finally.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I was truly 50/50 on whether there was a point there or whether it was fun nonsense, to which I am not opposed!

It's super exciting. 2022 is shaping up to be a fun World Cup and then we get a few years to see what percentage of this was just a great cohort and what percentage is just "well, now a country our size has decent-to-good development and this is a new baseline".

If it's the latter, then having a second generation of young kids this talented combined with those of the current crop who make it through as quality mid-career players will make for a very intriguing 2026.
 

Titans Bastard

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I was truly 50/50 on whether there was a point there or whether it was fun nonsense, to which I am not opposed!

It's super exciting. 2022 is shaping up to be a fun World Cup and then we get a few years to see what percentage of this was just a great cohort and what percentage is just "well, now a country our size has decent-to-good development and this is a new baseline".

If it's the latter, then having a second generation of young kids this talented combined with those of the current crop who make it through as quality mid-career players will make for a very intriguing 2026.
Time will tell, but I am voting for "this is the new normal" based on what I've seen and heard about the next cohorts of players. Furthermore, I think it's telling that it's not just that Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, et al are better than the guys before them, but that our 10th, 20th, and 30th best players from the rising generation are a lot better than the 10th, 20th, and 30th best players from previous generations. It makes it feel more systemic and less like a flash in the pan.

It's already looking increasingly likely that the 00s and 01s will be deeper than the 98s and 99s (Pulisic/McKennie/Adams' cohort). That doesn't mean that the 00s and 01s will automatically generate players who are on that level, but I think it's another sign that systemic improvements are real.

My sense is that the 02s are a bit weak relative to adjacent birth years, but we've still got Reyna and probably a few others. (And Musah, of course, but he doesn't count in the discussion of whether our development is getting better.) The 03s look like they're going to be strong. I've heard some hardcore prospect watchers say that the 05s are especially strong, but who really knows.

We haven't gotten to the point where Berhalter has to make truly difficult cuts, but after the kids have a few more years of development and when everything stops being a split-squad affair, there are going to be some historically good (by USMNT standards) players left out in the cold.


The exciting thing is that the USMNT should consistently improve over the entire 2020s simply because the number of key players in the NT pool who will definitely age out during this time amounts to simply John Brooks. Of our inner circle younger talent, the oldest player is Weston McKennie and he'll be 31 when the 2030 World Cup is played.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Time will tell, but I am voting for "this is the new normal" based on what I've seen and heard about the next cohorts of players. Furthermore, I think it's telling that it's not just that Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, et al are better than the guys before them, but that our 10th, 20th, and 30th best players from the rising generation are a lot better than the 10th, 20th, and 30th best players from previous generations. It makes it feel more systemic and less like a flash in the pan.

It's already looking increasingly likely that the 00s and 01s will be deeper than the 98s and 99s (Pulisic/McKennie/Adams' cohort). That doesn't mean that the 00s and 01s will automatically generate players who are on that level, but I think it's another sign that systemic improvements are real.

My sense is that the 02s are a bit weak relative to adjacent birth years, but we've still got Reyna and probably a few others. (And Musah, of course, but he doesn't count in the discussion of whether our development is getting better.) The 03s look like they're going to be strong. I've heard some hardcore prospect watchers say that the 05s are especially strong, but who really knows.

We haven't gotten to the point where Berhalter has to make truly difficult cuts, but after the kids have a few more years of development and when everything stops being a split-squad affair, there are going to be some historically good (by USMNT standards) players left out in the cold.


The exciting thing is that the USMNT should consistently improve over the entire 2020s simply because the number of key players in the NT pool who will definitely age out during this time amounts to simply John Brooks. Of our inner circle younger talent, the oldest player is Weston McKennie and he'll be 31 when the 2030 World Cup is played.
It's going to be huge simply being able to avoid the recent scenario where you had 3-5 years that were just a total washout with hardly any talent from the 23-27 age range that should generally be comprised of guys at their peak leading the team. A weaker pool for a year or two is no big deal but that longer gap just crushed us.
 
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cromulence

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Messi puts one on a tee for Dest. He's looked very good today (Dest that is, Messi isn't too bad himself).
 

SoxFanInCali

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California. Duh.
"He's running like he's got a food mixer down his shorts, and it's set to beat."

Ray Hudson is a disturbed individual.
 

Titans Bastard

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The full text of Berhalter's reply makes it clear that he doesn't expect that clubs will release those types of players for the Olympics.

But you never know. The Olympics aren't the pinnacle of the sport, but it's a cultural event that players want to be part of. Player/agent advocacy could persuade a few clubs, I suppose.
 

cromulence

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Same for what Pulisic said - it was basically "I'd love to play in the Olympics, but there's no chance I'll be able to", except without being so blunt about it.
 

SocrManiac

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This is the correct response, in my opinion.

The neighbor that reported the party threw some nice shade at the players, too, saying he prefers that they focus some effort on the pitch.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Also is yanked at halftime. Beats being Ziyech and getting yanked at 30, game is too weird to think that says too much, although it won’t stop USMNT Twitter doomsayers.
 

DJnVa

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Also is yanked at halftime. Beats being Ziyech and getting yanked at 30, game is too weird to think that says too much, although it won’t stop USMNT Twitter doomsayers.
Hamstring. He wasn't yanked. He took himself off.

Werner was coming off, Pulisic came out, did a 5 yard sprint to a cone and immediately turned around and went to staff.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Is there like an injury nexus he has to get through like pitching prospects or is his entire career going to a fingers crossed soft tissue nightmare?
 

SoxFanInCali

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California. Duh.
Is there like an injury nexus he has to get through like pitching prospects or is his entire career going to a fingers crossed soft tissue nightmare?
I remember Steven Gerrard having a lot of hamstring issues early in his career, and he overcame it. But it is concerning that Pulisic is into his mid-20s and is still struggling.
 

DJnVa

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They were talking about this on PL Live and one guy said if he can hurt it after a 5 yard sprint, it was likely already hurting and maybe he shouldn't be playing. The other guy basically said "Bah, I would have at least tried to go for 15-20 of game time in second half and see."

So, a lot of consistent thinking on things out there.
 

cromulence

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Dike with another goal, then draws a penalty to complete the hat trick but fails to put it away.
 

TheRealness

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My buddy has been yelling at me that Dike is the American Lukaku, and that's all over the twitter-sphere today.

They seem to have similar games, but I cannot recall an American being this physically dominant in a while. He reminds me of those NFL RBs that are impossible to arm tackle. Just so much fun to watch.