We have reached the September International window following another so-so week from young Americans. Here’s what happened this week:
Andrija Novakovich - Striker, Reading FC (On Loan at Fortuna Sittard)
Novakovich had a big performance on Saturday in Fortuna Sittard’s 1-1 draw against FC Utrecht. Novakovich started again (he’s started each of their four games to start the season) and was the Man of the Match. In the 74th minute with Sittard down 1-0, Novakovich scored off a deflection following a scrum in the box.
In the 86th minute, Novakovich was nearly the hero when he struck the post on what would have been the game-winner. Novakovich has responded well to the increased level that he’s facing now, even on a poor team that’s only been able to get two points from their first four matches. Novakovich has two of the team’s four goals so far this season.
Kyle Scott - Central Midfielder, Chelsea (On Loan at Telstar)
One of the more surprising loans this summer was Kyle Scott to Telstar. After coming off the bench for Chelsea in the FA Cup last season, it seemed like a slightly higher level loan was in order. Regardless, this is the opportunity he has and he needs to take advantage. Scott got his first start of the season on Friday in Telstar’s 2-0 win over Jong FC Utrecht. The 20-year-old had featured once in their first two matches of the season off the bench before he earned the start. Scott played 83 minutes and figures to feature very often the rest of the season.
Luca de la Torre - Attacking Midfielder, Fulham FC
De la Torre made his first cameo of the season for Fulham this week. With Fulham leading 2-0 against Exeter City in the Carabao Cup (the League Cup), de la Torre came off the bench in the 74th minute. The 20-year-old then started for the U-23 team on Saturday. In that match, de la Torre scored their only goal to level the score in the 66th minute in Fulham’s 1-1 draw. It’s a good sign to see him still in the plans despite Fulham being promoted to the Premier League. The young man still has a long way to go, but he doesn’t seem to be shying away.
Niko Hamalainen - Left Back, Queens Park Rangers
Hamalainen got the start for Queens Park in their 3-1 League Cup win against Bristol Rovers. The 21-year-old earned an assist on the second goal as QPR will move on to the next round. This was his first appearance of the year as he has yet to be named to a matchday squad for them in any league games in the Championship. Hamalainen is provisionally cap-tied to Finland after playing for them in U-21 Euro qualification, so he would have to file a one-time switch to play for the US. He’s one that US Soccer should keep an eye on, particularly considering the lack of depth at the Left Back position.
Antonee Robinson - Left Back, Everton FC (On Loan at Wigan Athletic)
Robinson is in great form at the moment. He has consistently started for Wigan following his loan from Everton and has been excellent for them. On Saturday, Robinson put in another strong 90-minute shift en route to a 1-0 win. Wigan have been able to get 10 points from their first six matches and sit in ninth place in the Championship at this time. Hopefully Robinson can keep up his level of play.
Mason Judge - Centerback, Eintracht Frankfurt
Judge is headed to Germany to join Eintracht Frankfurt. The 16-year-old is also eligible for England and was able to obtain an English passport which allows him to sign before he turns 18. Judge had impressed on trial and will join the Frankfurt U-17’s. Mason Judge is a regular for the US U-17 team and will likely be a part of the 2019 U-17 WC team. Good luck to the young man as he joins the contingent of Americans in Germany.
Maurice Malone - Striker, FC Augsburg
Malone has started off the U-19 season absolutely on fire. The 18-year-old German-American attacker has scored seven times in the first five matches, including the second goal in their 4-1 win on Saturday. Malone is provisionally cap-tied to Germany, but we should keep an eye on any US-eligible goal scorers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 18-year-old feature for the Augsburg first team at some point this year.
Emmanuel Sabbi - Winger/Striker, Hobro IK
Sabbi started on the wing again on Saturday. With Hobro down 1-0, Sabbi made a nice run from the right wing and got his head on the end of a cross to level the score at 1-1 in the 62nd minute.
Here is Emmanuel Sabbi’s goal to pull Hobro even with Sonderjyske 1-1. It is the 5th goal of the season for the 2017 United States U-20 World Cup forward. Game is still 1-1 in the 62nd #USMNT pic.twitter.com/lcfwg29xNw— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) September 1, 2018
Sabbi’s goal helped them get an important point with them struggling early in the season. Sabbi now has five goals and a drawn penalty in 647 minutes this season. Unfortunately, Sabbi had to be subbed off just five minutes after the goal after tweaking his hamstring. It’s a shame that he got a knock after having such outstanding production early in the season. Hopefully he’ll get back to full health and we’ll see him in October.
Konrad de la Fuente - Winger/Striker, FC Barcelona
De la Fuente has moved up to the Juvenil A level at La Masia (the equivalent of the U-19 team). In the first match of the season on Saturday, the 17-year-old started and played 83 minutes in their 2-0 win. Hopefully de la Fuente will be able to be released to take part in U-20 World Cup qualifying in November, because he is one of the most talented players in his age range. Good luck in the new season, Konrad!
Eryk Williamson - Central Midfielder, Portland Timbers (On Loan at Santa Clara)
Williamson is being loaned out to the Primeira Liga to newly-promoted Santa Clara. The 21-year-old has only featured for Portland once in the US Open Cup after they acquired his rights from DC United. So this could be a good opportunity for him to earn some high quality experience. Williamson featured for the US at the 2017 U-20 World Cup. Let’s hope he shows well in Portugal. Williamson was not in the team for their match this weekend while he nurses a thigh injury.
Jonathan Suarez - Winger, Queretaro
Suarez is starting to break through south of the border. The 21-year-old made his professional debut last week and again was on the bench this past weekend. Suarez subbed on in the 74th minute and picked up his first career assist in the 85th minute.
California native Jonathan Suarez (21) grabbed his first career assist last night in a 4-1 win over Monarcas Morelia. Really like Suarez as a player. Technically gifted and extremely quick on the ball. pic.twitter.com/WLCjTyCsJI— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) September 1, 2018
Suarez is a talented player with very good touch and nice composure on the ball. Hopefully he can continue his rise through the ranks at Queretaro.
Ben Mines - Winger, New York Red Bulls
Mines is set for a spell on the shelf. The 18-year-old had surgery to repair a broken collar bone this week. Mines scored in his MLS debut in March but hasn’t made another appearance for the first team since. Instead he has been a regular for New York Red Bulls II in the USL this year. Let’s wish him a quick recovery following this setback.
Justen Glad - Centerback, Real Salt Lake
Glad has been a consistent starter all season long for Real Salt Lake. On Saturday, RSL continued the recent surge by blowing out the LA Galaxy 6-2. The 21-year-old has had some headscratching moments at times, particularly earlier in the season when RSL was struggling. However, he has performed at a higherl level more recently with Real Salt Lake climbing into fourth place in the Western Conference. Erik Palmer-Brown hasn’t been able to get on the field for NAC Breda and CCV has missed the first month of the season through injury and didn’t play on Saturday so I wouldn’t be shocked to see Justen Glad get a callup at some point soon.
George Bello - Left Back, Atlanta United
Bello has been making the bench for Atlanta United in recent weeks while Greg Garza is on the shelf. On Sunday, he got his first cameo in Atlanta’s 3-1 loss to DC United. In the 76th minute, the 16-year-old made his MLS debut. Bello is a star of the US U-17 team and is one of the brightest talents in his age range. Congratulations on the debut and we hope to see much more down the road!
I’d like to congratulate all the players who earned callups this week ahead of the September friendlies. As we continue to move forward towards 2022 (we’re still more than 50 months away from that World Cup kicking off!), I hope to see more and more new faces as they rise the ranks with their clubs. If we learned anything from the previous World Cup failure, it’s that we need legitimate competition for every spot on the field.
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. Look out for the next Weekly Youth Update on September 16th following the International break. Thank you for reading!