Americans Abroad, 2020-21: The Kids Are Alright

Kliq

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CCV has gone on loan to Bournemouth. This is the sixth time he has been loaned to a Championship club. His last stint went really well; I just hope someone buys him soon.

View: https://twitter.com/afcbournemouth/status/1317167196561354753
The reports around CCV in Spurs camp are always that they really like him, but he always goes out on loan and rarely plays when he is around the team. It seems like a strange situation; it isn't like Spurs are flush with CB depth, so if they liked him enough you would think they'd give him a chance (as opposed to bringing in someone like Rodan) to play with the first team. Since they clearly don't believe in him at that level, I'm surprised he hasn't been sold off to a Championship squad or equivalent.
 

Titans Bastard

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Reyna, Pulisic, Adams, and Sargent are all starting at the same time. This whole "youth wave" thing is hard work.
 

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The reports around CCV in Spurs camp are always that they really like him, but he always goes out on loan and rarely plays when he is around the team. It seems like a strange situation; it isn't like Spurs are flush with CB depth, so if they liked him enough you would think they'd give him a chance (as opposed to bringing in someone like Rodan) to play with the first team. Since they clearly don't believe in him at that level, I'm surprised he hasn't been sold off to a Championship squad or equivalent.
Yeah, I looked it up and CCV hasn't played since the preseason friendlies, 9/5 was last game. His contract expires after the season so maybe a lower-end PL team will give him a shot after that, on short-ish wages.

He played for Spurs in 2 League Cup matches in '16-17, and other than that has never seen the field for the Spurs first-team in a real competition (assuming you even count that).
 

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Sergino Dest vs Getafe over the weekend:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wAwdmhR7S0

The first thing that stands out to me is how tough he is for his size. He'll physically interpose himself with bigger stronger older players no problem, and has a great knack for getting position on them. He also shows his speed a few times there, and his close-control trickery that got him a lot of attention at Ajax. And then the clip ends with him taking a professional yellow decently outside the box. Dude is 19.


No highlights packages yet from the UCL match he played 90 of today, but he was a bit of a passenger on the one goal they gave up, which came from a breakaway that Pique was unable to stop that ended with him yanking the guy down for a PK (converted) plus a red card for his troubles. Dest (started at LB, played more of the game at RB) was trailing the play and didn't appear to give 100% to get back, though it might not have mattered.
 
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Quintanariffic

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As context, the record for American minutes in the UCL is something around 1500 and they did just under 800 mins last year. I think a good near-term aspiration would be to consistently get to the Colombia/Uruguay level of minutes in the 3000-5000 range.

Of course then there's Brazil sitting at the top of the list at 20,000+, but one step at a time. Being "only" as good as Colombia is heady stuff for us already.

FWIW, I exclude EU nations from this sort of stuff b/c of the automatic inclusion of teams from domestic leagues.
 
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DJnVa

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As context, the record for American minutes in the UCL is something around 1500 and they did just under 800 mins last year. I think a good near-term aspiration would be to consistently get to the Colombia/Uruguay level of minutes in the 3000-5000 range.
But of that 1500:

The U.S. record is still 1,547 minutes in 2012-13, when Michael Parkhurst and Sacha Kljestan combined for 944 minutes at Nordsjaelland and Anderlecht. Different era, this.
 

67YAZ

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We'll finally get to see The Kids play together on 11/12 versus Wales. Can't wait.
Wales has 3 matches in 7 days - US, Ireland, & Finland - the latter 2 being Nations League ties. Wales already has qualification sewn up, but Finland is only a point behind them for first place in the group. My guess is that we'll see a half of Wales' starting IX to get them some run and then the second string will roll in. Still, it's a good opponent for the USMNT to measure up against.
 

candylandriots

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Wales has 3 matches in 7 days - US, Ireland, & Finland - the latter 2 being Nations League ties. Wales already has qualification sewn up, but Finland is only a point behind them for first place in the group. My guess is that we'll see a half of Wales' starting IX to get them some run and then the second string will roll in. Still, it's a good opponent for the USMNT to measure up against.
And their starting goalkeeper is out until February, which I only know because he was Palace's #2 (Wayne Hennessey).
 

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Dest starts El Clásico. Jordi Alba is back at LB, so Dest is getting the nod at RB over Sergi Roberto.

Adams missed today's Leipzig game with a ligament injury that doesn't sound serious, but is still rather annoying. It's fair to be moderately concerned about Adams' durability.
 

cromulence

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Dest hasn't been involved much going forward, but he's been really solid defensively. Handling Vinicius pretty easily so far.
 

cromulence

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Not a pretty game for Barca, but Dest was definitely not the problem. Very good showing from him.

We get a half hour break, and then Gio and Pulisic are both starting at 12:30.
 

cromulence

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Sargent finally gets a goal, a nice finish after being played through on goal and juuust staying onside.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Sargent finally gets a goal, a nice finish after being played through on goal and juuust staying onside.
If he gets a few more and Bremen keep it up in the upper half of the table, I can see the narrative changing from “Bremen don’t play his way and he must flee!” to “Bremen is adding some strings to his bow in terms of hold up play and making runs in behind”.

The fact that we have other players rising meteorically kind of hides how having one as a young Bundestag starter steadily improving is still a big deal for the USMNT.
 

Titans Bastard

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Richie Ledezma just came on for his first-team debut at PSV. He has a tough road to hoe there because of all the talent at his position, but it's a positive sign that he's getting involved.
 

TheRealness

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McKenzie has a nice assist in Juventus’ first goal today. Could have probably finished himself but took the sure goal with the pass.
 

Titans Bastard

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If he gets a few more and Bremen keep it up in the upper half of the table, I can see the narrative changing from “Bremen don’t play his way and he must flee!” to “Bremen is adding some strings to his bow in terms of hold up play and making runs in behind”.

The fact that we have other players rising meteorically kind of hides how having one as a young Bundestag starter steadily improving is still a big deal for the USMNT.
Yeah, this youth wave is historically strong compared to past US generations, but there are still a few holes — GK and CF, mostly. CB is a bit thin, although we have a couple of good prospects there. In 2020, the pool of interesting forwards has expanded with breakouts from players like Daryl Dike and Ayo Akinola and continued improvement from guys like Jeremy Ebobisse, but nobody has taken The Leap so far and reached a level comparable with the best of this generation. With enough decent irons in the fire now, I think it means that the floor for the position for the USMNT isn't so bad, but I'm yet to be convinced that the ceiling is extremely high with anyone from this group.

As long as the youth development train keeps rolling for 03s-06s, we're going to really start to see a more robust USMNT depth chart in the next 2-5 years. We're at a point where our actual Best XI and our best U23 XI are nearly identical, so this core isn't going anywhere for a long time. If the next mini generation is as good or even is in the ballpark, we're going to feel really good about our depth at nearly every position.


McKenzie has a nice assist in Juventus’ first goal today. Could have probably finished himself but took the sure goal with the pass.
McKenzie? You may have come down with a case of Philly Union Youth Fever!!
 

rguilmar

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Yes, I'm enraged that USMNTers keep getting nagging injuries of the type normally correlated with insufficient conditioning and stretching.
From the Chelsea thread but responding to this here. Aside from this Pulisic injury, what do you mean? Adams has been pretty routinely injured, but is there a team better conditioned than Leipzig? Teams can't play like they do without taking training (and stretching) seriously. McKennie tested positive for Covid but otherwise has featured at Juve. Anyone I'm missing?
 

67YAZ

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Dirk Kuyt put in 17 top flight seasons, never playing less than 2000 minutes in any of them. Four times he broke 3000 minutes and three other times he topped 2900 minutes. And he was famed for his non-stop, hard charging style. What was Dirk’s secret? What did he put in his pannenkoeken?

Pulisic & Adams’ injury woes are frustrating, but they are both at clubs with world class resources and real investments in both player’s success. Some bodies can’t take the stress. Some athletes take longer to find the right regimen for their bodies. I’ll start worrying if Chelsea and/or Leipzig decide to cut bait. They known the players best.
 

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From the Chelsea thread but responding to this here. Aside from this Pulisic injury, what do you mean? Adams has been pretty routinely injured, but is there a team better conditioned than Leipzig? Teams can't play like they do without taking training (and stretching) seriously. McKennie tested positive for Covid but otherwise has featured at Juve. Anyone I'm missing?
Pulisic has had a BUNCH of injuries, two of which kept him out for much of last season, even before his hamstring died a hero as he charged in on goal in the FA Cup Final. Then he returned from that at long last after several months, and now got injured in warmups. Given what he's showed when healthy, if you're not frustrated by his injury streak (or injury luck, if you prefer), you've got superhuman optimism.

Chris Richards likewise got injured in warmups and pulled the other day. I think Dest had something a few weeks back. We've had lots of knocks going around. Tim Weah has been injured forever to the point where PSG gave up on him, and still hasn't hit the field for Lille. You don't have to poke around many threads here to see that the rate of injuries for our key players is quite high.

Now of course, I have no idea whether this is due to them being injury-prone, them being poorly prepared or ill-advised by trainers, or just freak occurrences, so I won't call it "a pattern", but I think at this point we can describe it as "a streak" of injuries.
 

rguilmar

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Pulisic has had a BUNCH of injuries, two of which kept him out for much of last season, even before his hamstring died a hero as he charged in on goal in the FA Cup Final. Then he returned from that at long last after several months, and now got injured in warmups. Given what he's showed when healthy, if you're not frustrated by his injury streak (or injury luck, if you prefer), you've got superhuman optimism.

Chris Richards likewise got injured in warmups and pulled the other day. I think Dest had something a few weeks back. We've had lots of knocks going around. Tim Weah has been injured forever to the point where PSG gave up on him, and still hasn't hit the field for Lille. You don't have to poke around many threads here to see that the rate of injuries for our key players is quite high.

Now of course, I have no idea whether this is due to them being injury-prone, them being poorly prepared or ill-advised by trainers, or just freak occurrences, so I won't call it "a pattern", but I think at this point we can describe it as "a streak" of injuries.
I think we are dealing with such a small sample that any number of injuries feels like a flood. Of the guys I imagine most of us like to catch as often as possible (Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, Dest, , Reyna, and to a lesser extent Richards and Sargent) having two or more out for a significant stretch at the same time feels like a lot. I wouldn't peg it on conditioning or stretching though. These clubs have access to some of the best resources in the world, and as mentioned above have every incentive to protect their most valuable assets, their players.

Right now, the condensed fixture list is brutal. Combine that with almost no off season at all- PSG wrapped up the 19/20 season the same day Ligue 1 began its 20/21 season- is a recipe for injuries. Hell, one of the reasons why Dest got such early playing time at Barca is because Alba pulled a muscle against Sevilla after playing several games in a row. The other possible replacement, Junior Firpo, was out with a muscle injury too. If I remember the Pulisic injuries correctly (not a given by any stretch), the first came right after the crazy EPL holiday fixtures and the second at the very end of the condensed end of summer season. Too many games in a short period is tough on the players.

The only one I am concerned with is Adams, and not because of the injuries themselves. His manager more or less called him out and said he needs to deal with the pain (MRI had previously shown no ligament damage). On the plus side, he said the team needs Adams too. I'm definitely not questioning the RB Leipzig training staff though. That team is as well conditioned as any team around.
 

rguilmar

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This seems out of left field, but Yunus Musah is joining the USMNT for the Wales friendly. Guess we should add Valencia to the teams we watch. Was he mentioned elsewhere? I mean, I knew he was born in the US but figured he would play for England...
 

Dummy Hoy

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This seems out of left field, but Yunus Musah is joining the USMNT for the Wales friendly. Guess we should add Valencia to the teams we watch. Was he mentioned elsewhere? I mean, I knew he was born in the US but figured he would play for England...
Very curious what his intentions are. Everything I’ve read suggests he’s a stud. Probably starting as an attacker on the right as soon as he declares. Captain for England at u17- this would be a huge coup. But, is he
A) just trying to pressure England to show some more love
-or-
B) recognizing that his quickest path to international starter is with the US
 

rguilmar

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He could play for England, USA, Italy or Ghana I think. If he wants playing time right now, I guess choosing the US makes sense. But long term, certainly Ghana and (I cannot believe I am typing this) possibly Italy have more room for him.
 

Titans Bastard

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Wow, I did not expect this one. This is very interesting news.
 

Titans Bastard

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A few things to add:

- Musah reportedly lived in Italy for a while, but I'm not sure he actually has citizenship
- Musah has played on the wing so for this season, but he's played centrally at other times. Not sure where he winds up long-term
 

Domer

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- Musah reportedly lived in Italy for a while, but I'm not sure he actually has citizenship
Children of immigrants typically cannot become
Italian citizens until 18 years of age, so it is unlikely Musah holds an Italian passport. He would probably have to move back to Italy to obtain citizenship. Mario Balotelli is a recent example.
 

ninjacornelius

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Very curious what his intentions are. Everything I’ve read suggests he’s a stud. Probably starting as an attacker on the right as soon as he declares. Captain for England at u17- this would be a huge coup. But, is he
A) just trying to pressure England to show some more love
-or-
B) recognizing that his quickest path to international starter is with the US
My inclination is that A) must be the answer, but as much as I squint I still can't make sense of it. A player of his caliber wouldn't use the USMNT as a carrot to make England bite, would he? Ghana seems like more of a "come get me" choice if he's trying to force England's hand. Maybe it's possible that the US has been more active courting dual-nationals than we've been led to believe in the post-Klinsmann era?
 

rguilmar

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My inclination is that A) must be the answer, but as much as I squint I still can't make sense of it. A player of his caliber wouldn't use the USMNT as a carrot to make England bite, would he? Ghana seems like more of a "come get me" choice if he's trying to force England's hand. Maybe it's possible that the US has been more active courting dual-nationals than we've been led to believe in the post-Klinsmann era?
It's also possible that something happened that caused Musah to shift away from the Three Lions. He wasn't born there, and spent years in Italy growing up. He left England at age 17, so it's not entirely impossible that his connection to England wasn't very strong. His reasons for joining Valencia was the club's rep for bringing academy players up, which I get, but also can be said of Arsenal. I'm really curious if there was more behind the move from Arsenal to Valencia and if it gives some insight into a possible switch from England to the US.

I don't think that the US has been super active with getting dual nationals, at least compared to past years. Dest has stated pretty clearly that it was his experiences with the US youth teams that caused him to choose the US over the Netherlands. This seems to be the exact opposite, maybe just getting lucky with circumstances.

Whatever the case, I'll dream of a Pulisic-Adams-Reyna-McKennie-Musah midfield in 2026.
 

Domer

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Yeah, this youth wave is historically strong compared to past US generations, but there are still a few holes — GK and CF, mostly. CB is a bit thin, although we have a couple of good prospects there. In 2020, the pool of interesting forwards has expanded with breakouts from players like Daryl Dike and Ayo Akinola and continued improvement from guys like Jeremy Ebobisse, but nobody has taken The Leap so far and reached a level comparable with the best of this generation. With enough decent irons in the fire now, I think it means that the floor for the position for the USMNT isn't so bad, but I'm yet to be convinced that the ceiling is extremely high with anyone from this group.
any gossip on what federation Dike prefers?
 

Titans Bastard

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any gossip on what federation Dike prefers?
None that I have heard. But if there is a January camp for the USMNT, I'd be shocked if Berhalter doesn't try to bring him in. He's averaging just a little under 1 G+A per 90 at age 20, and he's been clearly improving as the season has gone on. In a recent interview, Berhalter mentioned that Altidore's constant fitness issues are a concern, and I think that there's a good chance he's telegraphing that Jozy will be phased out soon. Usually Jozy misses games but puts up great numbers when he's on the field: not so in 2020. It feels like he's entering the part of his career where you can't tell whether he's fallen off in quality, or whether he's just never in form because he's always coming back from an injury, and realize that the answer to that question doesn't actually matter.
 

cromulence

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Very impressive first half from Bremen against Bayern, topped off with a late goal assisted by Sargent.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Very impressive first half from Bremen against Bayern, topped off with a late goal assisted by Sargent.
Maybe even better in the second half. If you want to quibble, he finished nothing, but you could easily also say he had a brace but for Neuer.
 

cromulence

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Maybe even better in the second half. If you want to quibble, he finished nothing, but you could easily also say he had a brace but for Neuer.
He also made a sweet move to get an open look but someone (can't remember who) made a great last-ditch challenge to block the shot.