We’re back from the March international window with lots of action on the field. Young players are contributing all over the world and starting to make editing decisions difficult. Upon request, I will continue my rating system (1-nowhere near ready yet; 5-absolutely call them up at the next opportunity) to keep some perspective on where the players stand in terms of the overall player pool. Here’s what’s going on:
Paxton Pomykal - Attacking Midfielder, FC Dallas
Pomykal is off to a flying start to the season. The 19-year-old has nailed down a starting spot and is impressing with his playmaking ability. On Saturday, Pomykal started against Real Salt Lake and had a major impact. In the 32nd minute, Pomykal scored his first career MLS goal after taking a cross down between two defenders and beating Nick Rimando.
Paxton Pomykal is having one heck of a breakout this year. He’s been great in 2019 and now he gets his first pro goal. He’s got a ton of momentum heading into the U-20 WC where he’ll be a big part of the US team pic.twitter.com/ZZIb6gdmfk— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) March 31, 2019
Pomykal wasn’t done either. In the 64th minute, he had his left-footed strike from the edge of the box deflected into the back of the net to secure his brace.
POMYKAL SCORES HIS SECOND. https://t.co/dkaeLfXCjV— USMNT Only (@usmntonly) March 31, 2019
FC Dallas would go on to win 4-2. On top of the two goals, Pomykal made plays all over the field creating scoring opportunities. Assuming he gets released for the U-20 World Cup, he will likely be a key cog for Tab Ramos in Poland. Hopefully he can keep this up. Rating: 3
Gianluca Busio - Attacking Midfielder, Sporting Kansas City
Busio is slowly breaking through with SKC. The 16-year-old featured in his third consecutive league game, a dominant 7-1 victory over the Montreal Impact. In the 62nd minute, Busio came off the bench with SKC already manhandling Montreal 4-0. In the 78th minute, Busio pressed the backline and caused a turnover that he quickly put away for his second career goal.
#SportingKC has been absolutely dominant today. 16-year-old Gianluca Busio scores his first goal in front of the home crowd (the second of his @MLS career) and increases SKC's lead to 6-0.— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) March 30, 2019
Tune in now on FSKC+ and FSGO. pic.twitter.com/3DWvdv1IDI
Sporting Kansas City is the last remaining representative from MLS in the Concacaf Champions League and will take on Jonathan Gonzalez and Monterrey on Wednesday. For Busio, his rise at such a young age has been impressive as has Peter Vermes’ willingness to give him opportunities. Rating: 2
Griffin Yow - Attacking Midfielder, DC United
Yow signed a homegrown contract with DC United over the International window. One of the bright talents in the area, Yow has already impressed with Loudoun United, DC’s USL affiliate. Yow scored a lovely curling strike into the top corner in just his second appearance for the club. At just 16 years old, he has to develop further before we can expect him to play in MLS. But he’s one to watch with his skill. Rating: 1
Ricardo Pepi - Striker, North Texas SC
Ricardo Pepi made his professional debut last night for newly minted North Texas SC (FC Dallas’ USL League One affiliate). The FC Dallas Academy product impressed with the US U-17’s at the Nike Friendlies in November and is off to a good start to his professional career. At just 16 years old, Pepi scored a hat trick in a 3-2 win over Chatanooga. He’s smart and seems to have a great understanding of where he needs to position himsef on the field to create chances, and is deadly when he gets those chances. Here is the last of those goals following a defensive error that Pepi punishes by chipping over the keeper before finishing.
Pro debut hat trick? Sure why not.— USL League One (@USLLeagueOne) March 31, 2019
Ricardo Pepi is #WeAreOne | #NTXvCHT pic.twitter.com/0zj8zqciDj
Pepi is also eligible to play for Mexico and has played for them in the past, so we’ll see if the US can hang onto him, but this was an impressive start, albeit at a very low level. Rating: 1
Tyler Adams - Central Midfielder, RB Leipzig
Adams produced yet another excellent performance for Leipzig on Saturday. The 20-year-old started against Hertha Berlin at the base of a midfield diamond and was influential throughout. RB Leipzig seized command of the game early on as Adams picked up a hockey assist on the game’s opening goal by playing a quick pass to Kevin Kampl who delivered a beautiful assist. On the game’s fourth goal, Adams produced a spectacular moment when he completely split the defense with an absurd through-ball to Yussuf Poulsen.
That Tyler Adams pass— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 30, 2019
The Yussuf Poulsen chip
Poulsen completes the hat trick and Leipzig are running away with it! pic.twitter.com/kzQN1QktVg
On top of this sparkling play, Adams was also very good defensively as Leipzig again didn’t concede. They have surrendered exactly one goal (ONE!) in the 747 minutes he’s been on the field for them since January. He’s been nothing short of fantastic since the move from MLS. Leipzig’s schedule is going to get busy and more difficult in the coming weeks with matches against Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Wolfsburg. Rating: 5
Alex Mendez - Central Midfielder, SC Freiburg
Mendez has carved out a starting spot on Freiburg’s U-19’s. The 18-year-old has started each of the last four matches, including Saturday’s 4-0 victory over the Kaiserslautern U-19 team. Last week, he captained the U-20 team in the final window before the U-20 World Cup. Look for him to be one of the names on Tab Ramos’ 50-man provisional roster set to release today and play a massive role in Poland next month. Rating: 2
Isaiah Young - Winger/Striker, Werder Bremen
Young scored his first goal of the season for Werder Bremen’s reserves on Sunday. The 21-year-old has had a good year for their reserves, leading the team in assists while continuing to start pretty consistently on the wing in the German Regionalliga. He still has a lot of players he has to beat out if he is to have any chance at the Bremen first team, so a loan or a move might be on the horizon soon. Rating: 1
Antonee Robinson - Left Back, Everton (On Loan at Wigan Athletic)
Robinson is starting to regain his form. The 21-year-old got the start again on Saturday as Wigan took on Brentford, needing points to remain safe from relegation. Robinson delivered a solid performance in helping keep a clean sheet while also doing what he does best and pushing forward into the attack. Wigan were unable to find a goal, although they did hit the woodwork and had a goal pulled back for offsides as well. The scoreless draw pulls Wigan level with Reading, four points clear from safety with seven games remaining. Rating: 4
Andrija Novakovich - Striker, Reading FC (On Loan at Fortuna Sittard)
Novakovich was back on the scoresheet again on Saturday. The 22-year-old started for Fortuna Sittard against Willem II and opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. On a set piece, Willem goalkeeper Michael Woud fumbled the ball off a simple save and Novakovich took advantage to poke it home for his eighth league goal of the season.
Not quite a goalazzo from #USMNT & Fortuna Sittard forward Andrija Novakovich but he was in the right place at the right time to make the keeper pay for a massive error w pic.twitter.com/eIOi4G1OkP— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) March 30, 2019
Fortuna Sittard would wind up letting the game slip away in a 3-2 loss. He now has four goals in his last seven games. Rating: 4
As always, hit the comment section to let me know if there’s anything major I overlooked or if there’s anyone you’d like to hear about. Thank you for reading!