It’s been another interesting week for young Americans as we continue toward league play in each of the major European leagues. There’s been lots of movement as well as a few new names popping up on the radar. With the September friendlies against Brazil and Mexico less than a month away, I will bring back my ranking system to denote whether I believe these players are ready for a callup (1-nowhere near ready, 5-absolutely call them up). Here’s what happened this week:
Emmanuel Sabbi - Striker/Winger, Hobro IK
Sabbi is absolutely on fire right now. The 20-year-old started again on Saturday as one of the two strikers in a 4-4-2. He showed out in a big way. In the 25th minute, Sabbi opened the scoring following a deflection off a corner kick. A few minutes later, Sabbi doubled the lead by scoring one of the best individual goals you’re likely to see an American score this year. Sabbi received the ball on the left flank and dribbled through two defenders with some beautiful footwork. He then raced into the box and skipped around a third defender before firing perfectly into the lower right corner.
Here's that second goal from Sabbi. Probably the best angle on it. pic.twitter.com/m2QpNVHtXL— Scuffed (@zlebmada) August 11, 2018
Sabbi would wind up being named Man of the Match with Hobro eventually hanging on to win 3-2. This now gives him four goals and an assist in five matches already this season (400 minutes). You’d be hard pressed to find an American in better form right now. 4
Jonathan Amon - Winger, FC Nordsjaelland
Amon is finally back from injury. The 19-year-old started on the bench on Sunday. He came on in the 81st minute in a scoreless match to make his return from injury. Amon was unable to prevent AaB Aalborg from finding a 90th minute winner. Nordsjaelland have their second leg Europa League qualifier on Thursday. Look for Amon to be relied upon to help them advance They lost to Partizan in the first leg 2-1. I’d love to see him called up soon, but we’ll see how well he can get back up to form following a long time on the shelf. 3
Weston McKennie - Central Midfielder, FC Schalke
It’s been a bit of a quiet preseason for the 19-year-old (he’ll be 20 at the end of the month). He’s played some in central defense and last Monday, he was held out to rest. Then McKennie started on the bench in Saturday’s final preseason friendly. McKennie came on at halftime amid several substitutions. He looked very uncomfortable the first five minutes after coming on with several clumsy touches. However, he quickly cleaned it up and went on to have a very nice performance. With the game scoreless in the 69th minute, McKennie played a lovely combination in the Schalke half of the field to open a ton of space in the middle. McKennie drove through the space and cut around two defenders before playing a pass out wide to Daniel Caligiuri. McKennie continued his run and received the cross from Caligiuri to score a tap-in.
Schalke would go on to beat Fiorentina 3-0. Schalke takes on Regionalliga side Schweinfurt in the DFB Pokal (the German Cup) on Friday. The Bundesliga season starts in two weeks. 5
Sebastian Soto - Striker, Hannover
Soto has officially joined Hannover from Real Salt Lake, joining fellow USMNT U-20 player Chris Gloster. The 18-year-old striker started in Hannover’s first U-19 match of the season over the weekend. Soto was dominant at the DA level with RSL’s academy. Now he will give Europe a go after trialing with the club this summer. Good luck, Sebastian!
Matteo Ritaccio - Midfielder, Liverpool FC
16-year-old Matteo Ritaccio has officially signed with Liverpool. Ritaccio was born in New York and had spent the last seven years at BW Gottschee and has been rewarded with a move to the English giants following several trials. He will begin with Liverpool’s U-18 team. Congratulations and good luck! 1
Timothy Weah - Striker/Winger, Paris St. Germain
The Ligue 1 season got started this weekend and PSG took on SM Caen on Sunday. Weah started on the bench, but in the 81st minute he subbed on for Neymar. Weah looked extremely lively in his few minutes as he made this beautiful diagonal run to get a shot on goal. The keeper did just enough to deflect it off the post and prevent it from crossing the line as it rolled tantalizingly close. The movement was fantastic.
I'm going to say it again: Timothy Weah's movement as a striker is really, really good. Minutes after coming on for PSG, Weah almost scored as a direct result of his active, intelligent movement inside the box. pic.twitter.com/SPo2aTIEyb— Joseph Lowery (@joeInCleats) August 12, 2018
Weah’s fortunes would turn moments later when his pressure caused the keeper to make a foolish error. Weah deflected the ball into the back of the net for his first career league goal.
What a moment for Timothy Weah to score his first #Ligue1 goal!!!— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 12, 2018
Awful mistake by #Caen goalkeeper Brice Samba, but credit to Weah for pressing hard and capitalizing on the chance.#PSGSMC #PSG #AllezParis #USMNT pic.twitter.com/iuryl40tcg
He may never score a more ugly goal, but the important part is he made a play out of nothing. Don’t look now but the kid has two goals in about 100 minutes this season. CHOO! CHOO! 5
Lucas Ramalho Ordonho - Striker, AC Milan?
17-year-old Lucas Ramalho is reportedly on his way to AC Milan. The American born youngster from Clube Nautico in Recife, Brazil would sign a three year deal with the Italian club. He would start out with the U-19 team. For those who aren’t familiar with Ramalho, he’s a Brazilian American who is very interested in representing the United States. He has outstanding touch and creativity to find space and create with the ball at his feet. Good luck, Lucas! 1
Emerson Hyndman - Central Midfielder, AFC Bournemouth (On Loan at Hibernian FC)
Bournemouth completed the signing of Colombian midfielder Jefferson Lerma from Levante this week and the writing was on the wall for Hyndman. Shortly thereafter, Hyndman was sent on loan for six months to Scottish Premier League side Hibernian FC. On Thursday, Hyndman made his debut when he came off the bench in the 81st minute of their 0-0 Europa League draw against Molde. On Sunday, Hyndman started and played 63 minutes in Hibernian’s 1-1 draw. 3
Frantzdy Pierrot - Striker, Royal Excel Mouscron
Pierrot is a 21-year-old Haitian-American striker who’s playing in Belgium. Drafted by the Colorado Rapids out of Coastal Carolina in January, Pierrot decided to forego MLS and try his luck in Europe. This summer he was signed by Mouscron. Pierrot has started and gone the distance in each of the first three games of the season in the Belgian top flight. Pierrot has yet to get on the scoresheet as Mouscron have lost each match. The 21-year-old has been called up by Haiti but is not cap tied. 2
Joshua Perez - Winger, Los Angeles FC
Perez is heading back to the States to join LAFC. The California native joins MLS after signing with Serie A side ACF Fiorentina when he turned 18. After a disappointing loan spell with third division team AS Livorno, Perez will try to resurrect his career close to home. Let’s hope the 20-year-old can do so. 1
Djordje Mihailovic - Attacking Midfielder, Chicago Fire
Mihailovic is finally healthy again. After suffering a torn ACL last fall, Mihailovic finally made the bench in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to New York. Mihailovic showed glimpses of outstanding play in his time last year before the injury. Let’s hope he can get back to health and show more. There aren’t many American attacking midfielders in MLS with so many of those positions being occupied by DP’s. It’s also arguably the weakest senior team position when Pulisic doesn’t play there. This is an area we badly need to see some players have movement with their clubs. 2
Believe it or not, this week actually marks one year since I started doing this at the behest of several of the frequent members at Stars and Stripes FC. I want to thank everyone for loyally reading and contributing to the discussions regarding our young players.
As always, head to the comment section to let me know if there’s anything major I overlooked or if there is anyone you’d like to hear about.