Americans Abroad, 2020-21: The Kids Are Alright

Titans Bastard

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FFS do I now need to watch Cagliari? At least they can't have any fans in the stands now, but when they do have fans it can be ugly. Cagliari ultras do rank behind Lazio ultras for me, but not by much. Off the top of my head, Moises Kean, Romalu Lukaku, Matuidi and Sulley Muntari were all subject to racist chants in recent years. To be fair, racist chants are a horrible but common thing in Italian soccer, so it takes a lot for one club to stand out in that regard.
Well maybe, maybe not. I've just heard second hand (take it FWIW) that apparently Reynolds' dad is blabbing to a lot of reporters and playing it fast and loose with the facts, so who knows. It's clear that there is interest in Reynolds, but some of the details that have been reported by several people (e.g. the Cagliari loan) may or may not be accurate.
 

Kliq

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Don't look now, but Yedlin just put in 90 good minutes and helped Newcastle keep Liverpool off the scoreboard.
 

Titans Bastard

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Well maybe, maybe not. I've just heard second hand (take it FWIW) that apparently Reynolds' dad is blabbing to a lot of reporters and playing it fast and loose with the facts, so who knows. It's clear that there is interest in Reynolds, but some of the details that have been reported by several people (e.g. the Cagliari loan) may or may not be accurate.
3rd Degree posted a quote from Reynolds in which he expressed his excitement about his future at Juve. The quote was later deleted from Twitter. A few hours later, Reynolds posted an IG story that he has not spoken to any reporter about the transfer business.

Safe to say dad is going HAM and causing mayhem behind the scenes.
 

Titans Bastard

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It seems like Steffen will make his EPL debut shortly, since Ederson tested positive for COVID.
 

67YAZ

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Taitague released by Schalke as they slash payroll. He'll probably look to catch on in Europe, but a 2 year MLS stint could do him well. He could take some time to get his body right after years of injuries, take part in a full training camp to really integrate into a team, and then hopefully have a great season in a league that's got a lot of scouts monitoring it these days.
 

Quintanariffic

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Titans Bastard

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Taitague released by Schalke as they slash payroll. He'll probably look to catch on in Europe, but a 2 year MLS stint could do him well. He could take some time to get his body right after years of injuries, take part in a full training camp to really integrate into a team, and then hopefully have a great season in a league that's got a lot of scouts monitoring it these days.
I think he'd be lucky to get an MLS deal. He doesn't have a Euro passport, so many places in Europe are tough. I'd say he's looking at Regionalliga or USL, most likely.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Who knows if this is the start of something special or if he’s Federico Macheda; but what a day for him. That move around the keeper was sweet. He’s given the club a spark it was desperate for.
 

Titans Bastard

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Hoppe is from LA but also came through the Barça Academy program in Casa Grande, AZ, where Julian Araujo and Caden Clark spent time as well.

He's now scored 25% of Schalke's goals this season!
 

Titans Bastard

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Cam Harper '01 started for Celtic in the ongoing match against Hibs today. It's his first team debut, and although he's normally a winger he's up top. Celtic have a zillion guys out quarantining right now.
 

McSweeny

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Cam Harper '01 started for Celtic in the ongoing match against Hibs today. It's his first team debut, and although he's normally a winger he's up top. Celtic have a zillion guys out quarantining right now.
Shocking that fucking off to Dubai in the middle of a global pandemic would result in a positive test result (a player out injured for 4 months even!) and 13 first team players, the manager, and assistant manager all self-isolating.
 

Quintanariffic

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Speaking of rumors, CCV May finally be getting a permanent move to Bournemouth after a few years on the “annual loan to a Championship club” circuit.

he needs a home and Bournemouth are in the promotion zone right now, so that would be a great move for him if true. Not the first CCV sale rumor we’ve seen over the years.

View: https://twitter.com/usmntonly/status/1350095974090342400?s=21
 

OCST

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Titans Bastard

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How good is Swansea? Will Morris get playing time? Is he good enough?
I don't see why he wouldn't be good enough for the Championship. There's a huge overlap in the quality of the player pool of the Championship and MLS. Swansea is a stronger club — they're in 2nd right now, but Morris is also one of the better attackers in the US.

One tricky thing is that Swansea appears to play a 3-4-1-2, so they don't have a position like Morris plays in Seattle's 4-2-3-1. He'd be competing for one of the two forward spots currently occupied by Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe.


There are also some rumors floating around that Leverkusen and Wolfsburg are interested. I'm not really sure what to expect from this situation.
 

rguilmar

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In one week, Hoppe has gone from no goals to Schalke's leading goal scorer. Seems totally out of nowhere.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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In one week, Hoppe has gone from no goals to Schalke's leading goal scorer. Seems totally out of nowhere.
Cool to see the name. I played against Hoppe's dad or uncle (presumably) when he repped SoCal (I played for Idaho). He was the backup keeper to an pretty good Oregonian for our West regional team (I wasn't that good).
 

Titans Bastard

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Cool to see the name. I played against Hoppe's dad or uncle (presumably) when he repped SoCal (I played for Idaho). He was the backup keeper to an pretty good Oregonian for our West regional team (I wasn't that good).
His father's name is Tom, if that lines up with your experience.
 

DJnVa

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It's pretty crazy. He was coming off the bench for the reserve team this fall.
What's his NT ceiling?

Is this someone breaking out or is a kid with talent (all these guys obviously have top level talent) having a good few weeks but not really with expectations of more?
 

Titans Bastard

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What's his NT ceiling?

Is this someone breaking out or is a kid with talent (all these guys obviously have top level talent) having a good few weeks but not really with expectations of more?
That's the big question. Few people have seen enough of him to say. I'm still a little skeptical about how much of this is real and sustainable; he's scored four goals in 360 Bundesliga minutes, but this came after scoring four goals in around 1500 minutes for Schalke's U19 and U23 teams. I need more convincing that there isn't a significant flukish element to all of this.

That said, it's clear that he works hard and makes quality runs. That won't change from game to game, and that's going to get him a lot of opportunities — both to play and to score. The intelligence and nuance of some of his runs are what stood out to me the most in the highlights from his last two games, really. Despite his lack of impressive goal production at the youth levels and his bench status with the U23s, it's clear that Schalke have always rated him higher than his stats and usage suggest. After all, they called him up to the first team ahead of Luca Schuler, the 21 year old starter for Schalke II. It's also a nice sign that he got his first chances under Manuel Baum, and continued to get chances with Christian Gross after Baum was sacked.


It's not a wild prediction to say that I think he's going to come down to earth with his finishing no matter what. I also think there are still big questions about his ability to hold up the ball and participate in a possession game. But who knows — it's possible that he's made a big leap in his game and the regression to the mean won't be as big as one might think.


In general, I'm finding it very difficult to differentiate between most of our forward prospects. Sargent looked like The One, but he hasn't progressed as fast as hoped and while he's still a leading forward prospect the pack has closed a lot of the gap. But Dike, Akinola, Ebobisse, Soto, Gioacchini, Hoppe.... I just don't know how to rank them. I'd also keep an eye on Ricardo Pepi, who is a bit younger than those guys, in 2021.
 

DJnVa

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Thanks.

If there's a rotating cast of characters at that spot, it might simply be a case of finding the one that is it good form at the time.

But squad depth is very important too. If he's a guy that doesn't grow into a top NT player but is good enough to be playable against the smaller CONCACAF teams that's still important. It's like an innings-eater in baseball.
 

Titans Bastard

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I'm bullish about our forward pool, generally, and I do expect that clearer stratification among this cohort of prospects will occur as they advance in their careers. It's just tough to know which horse to bet on right now. It's a good problem to have because our young forwards are close together right now because they've mostly been doing pretty well, not because they've mostly been struggling.
 

Titans Bastard

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Molde has sold right back Henry Wingo to Ferencváros. After a few years with the Sounders, he wasn't in their plans but the club were (surprisingly, to me) able to earn a small transfer fee by selling him to Molde. Originally a winger who experimented with RB, he become a full-time RB in Norway and did fairly well as Molde made it to the Europa League.

Molde were actually knocked out of the CL qualifiers in the final round by Ferencváros, which is perhaps what led to today's move.

View: https://twitter.com/Fradi_HU/status/1351202218016444417
 

Jimy Hendrix

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If enough of these guys come good enough, I'd take "deep pool of C+/B- guys, pick the two in the best form" over "Jozy and then scramble when Jozy gets hurt" for damn sure. Would love some of them to stake stronger claims than that though.

I'm intrigued to see Sargent back in a US camp, which he has not been for a weirdly long time given his position in the pool. I think we might be underrating him a bit because he's not been part of the fun, green shoots 2020 games and because Werder are what Werder are with their midfield. I want to see him with a USMNT which is filled with better and slicker passers than his club team.
 

DJnVa

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I want to see him with a USMNT which is filled with better and slicker passers than his club team.
Not something we would have thought we could say a few years back about the USMNT vs. a decent-sized club in a top 5 league.
 

Kliq

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That's the big question. Few people have seen enough of him to say. I'm still a little skeptical about how much of this is real and sustainable; he's scored four goals in 360 Bundesliga minutes, but this came after scoring four goals in around 1500 minutes for Schalke's U19 and U23 teams. I need more convincing that there isn't a significant flukish element to all of this.

That said, it's clear that he works hard and makes quality runs. That won't change from game to game, and that's going to get him a lot of opportunities — both to play and to score. The intelligence and nuance of some of his runs are what stood out to me the most in the highlights from his last two games, really. Despite his lack of impressive goal production at the youth levels and his bench status with the U23s, it's clear that Schalke have always rated him higher than his stats and usage suggest. After all, they called him up to the first team ahead of Luca Schuler, the 21 year old starter for Schalke II. It's also a nice sign that he got his first chances under Manuel Baum, and continued to get chances with Christian Gross after Baum was sacked.


It's not a wild prediction to say that I think he's going to come down to earth with his finishing no matter what. I also think there are still big questions about his ability to hold up the ball and participate in a possession game. But who knows — it's possible that he's made a big leap in his game and the regression to the mean won't be as big as one might think.


In general, I'm finding it very difficult to differentiate between most of our forward prospects. Sargent looked like The One, but he hasn't progressed as fast as hoped and while he's still a leading forward prospect the pack has closed a lot of the gap. But Dike, Akinola, Ebobisse, Soto, Gioacchini, Hoppe.... I just don't know how to rank them. I'd also keep an eye on Ricardo Pepi, who is a bit younger than those guys, in 2021.
I might be wrong but I think Hoppe was a midfielder for part of his time in Schalke's youth team, which might explain his unimpressive goal totals.
 

Titans Bastard

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Transfermarkt doesn't have lineups for all of his U19/U23 games, but for every one they do he was playing center forward. TM isn't always reliable, but FWIW.
 

Kliq

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Transfermarkt doesn't have lineups for all of his U19/U23 games, but for every one they do he was playing center forward. TM isn't always reliable, but FWIW.
I didn't watch the whole game, but in the highlight video of his hat trick the announcers are talking about him as if he used to be a midfielder.
 

Titans Bastard

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I didn't watch the whole game, but in the highlight video of his hat trick the announcers are talking about him as if he used to be a midfielder.
It could be so. There are a lot of Hoppe's youth games for which TM does not have data.

I feel like someone told me he was converted to FW at some point but I can't find a cite a this point. He was playing as a forward back when he was still in the US; in 2018-19 he led the U18 Development Academy in scoring with 29 goals in 20 games for Barca Academy. So he does have a strong scoring record in other environments.
 

Titans Bastard

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Molde has sold right back Henry Wingo to Ferencváros. After a few years with the Sounders, he wasn't in their plans but the club were (surprisingly, to me) able to earn a small transfer fee by selling him to Molde. Originally a winger who experimented with RB, he become a full-time RB in Norway and did fairly well as Molde made it to the Europa League.

Molde were actually knocked out of the CL qualifiers in the final round by Ferencváros, which is perhaps what led to today's move.

View: https://twitter.com/Fradi_HU/status/1351202218016444417
This was nearly a $1m fee, too.

View: https://twitter.com/BrianSciaretta/status/1351217614731804674