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USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Revierderby Edition

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The matchup between Pulisic and McKennie headlines this week’s action

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Ecuador at USA Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was another eventful week for young Americans both at home and abroad. The U-17’s are getting ready for World Cup qualification and the U-20’s will be assembling soon for their World Cup. In the meantime the seasons in most leagues are coming to a close with important games remaining. For any new readers, the rating field for each player reflects how much I think they should be called up to the senior national team at the next opportunity (1-nowhere near ready; 5-absolutely call him up). Here’s what’s going on this week:

Germany

The matchup between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke had massive implications on both ends of the spectrum in the Bundesliga. Dortmund needed to win to apply pressure on Bayern Munich in the title race. Schalke badly needed any points they could muster to avoid a collapse to the relegation playoff spot. Weston McKennie started in midfield for Schalke while Christian Pulisic started on the bench. BVB quickly took command in the game through a Mario Götze goal early on. However, Schalke would strike back with a penalty and would even take the lead into the locker room after a Salif Sané goal off a corner kick. In the second half, the wheels completely fell off for Dortmund. Marco Reus was sent off for a studs-up tackle to Suat Serdar and Daniel Caligiuri scored the third on the ensuing free kick. Just a few minutes later, Dortmund would go down to 9 players after yet another studs-up tackle from behind. McKennie wasn’t involved with the goal-scoring action while he was on the field, but he got a nice hand for his hard work from the traveling fans when he came off in the 77th minute on a yellow card. Pulisic would come on right after that in his final Revierderby. Dortmund pulled a goal back a few minutes later to put some pressure on Schalke, but Breel Embolo slammed the door shut directly after. The win keeps Schalke six points clear from the relegation playoff spot while the home loss severely damages Pulisic and Dortmund’s title hopes. Pulisic Rating: 5 McKennie Rating: 5

Blaine Ferri - Central Midfielder, Greuther Fürth

Blaine Ferri signed his first professional contract this week. The 2017 U-17 World Cup veteran has spent this season playing regularly for Greuther Fürth’s U-19 team on an academy contract. The 18-year-old has clearly impressed the club and will try to push himself into the first team picture alongside Julian Green this summer. Let’s wish Blaine the best of luck as he continues his journey. Rating: 1

Michael Edwards - Centerback, VFL Wolfsburg

Michael Edwards has had a fine spring. The 18-year-old was once again in the starting lineup as Wolfsburg’s U-19’s knocked off Osnabrück’s U-19 team 2-0 to earn the Bundesliga Nord title (Germany has regional tables for their youth teams that eventually face each other in a tournament to determine the German U-19 champion). Hopefully he can keep working his way up and join John Brooks with the first team sometime soon. Rating: 1

Spain

Konrad de la Fuente - Winger, FC Barcelona

Konrad has continued his season with Barcelona’s Juvenil A’s. This week, they had a huge matchup with Chelsea in the UEFA Youth League Semifinals. Early on, Konrad picked up an assist after roasting the Chelsea Left Back and playing a nice ball across the six-yard box.

Konrad’s excellent play wasn’t enough. The 17-year-old would come off in the 83rd minute with Barca protecting a one-goal lead but Chelsea would tie it at 2-2 just minutes later Chelsea would pull out the victory on penalties and eliminate Konrad and Barcelona from the competition. For de la Fuente, he continues to prove how dangerous he is with the ball in space. He should be a major contributor at the U-20 World Cup next month. Rating: 1

Portugal

Stephen Payne - Right Back/Right Winger, Varzim SC

Stephen Payne has quietly had a decent season for Varzim. He’s been a semi-regular fixture in the team while trying to help their poor situation. They’ve been struggling as a team trying to fight off relegation near the bottom of the second tier in Portugal. On Wednesday, Payne came off the bench in the 87th minute against FC Porto’s B team. In a scoreless match and down a man, Payne made an instant impact when he scored the game-winner in the 88th minute. It was his first goal of the season. The 21-year-old’s strike was a huge one as it pulled them into 14th place and to safety. Let’s hope he can use this to gain confidence and push for more next season. Rating: 1

Argentina

Matko Miljevic - Attacking Midfielder, Argentinos Juniors

Miljevic has been making great strides at Argentinos Juniors. He’s been a regular with their reserves and is training with the first team. On Sunday, the 17-year-old made his professional debut in the Argentinian top flight when he came on in the 89th minute of their 1-0 win over San Lorenzo. Miljevic is eligible for both Argentina and the United States and has represented both nations at the youth levels, but most recently with Argentina. Miljevic is a player with quick feet with an appetite for beating defenders off the dribble. Below is a highlight reel for those who aren’t familiar. Rating: 1

United States

Paxton Pomykal - Attacking Midfielder, FC Dallas

Arguably the scare of the weekend came in the FC Dallas match. Pomykal was subbed off at halftime with an apparent injury to his hamstring in Dallas’ 0-0 draw with San Jose. The word is that it is not considered serious and hopefully he’ll be good to go to the U-20 World Cup in a few weeks. Pomykal has started the season on fire for FC Dallas a year after struggling mightily with his few chances in 2018. Hopefully he can get well soon and continue to improve. Rating: 4

Sebastian Anderson - Right Back, Colorado Rapids

Another MLS club seemingly intent on playing youth early this season is the Colorado Rapids. On April 3rd, Anderson was announced as the youngest homegrown signing in club history. On Saturday, they gave the 16-year-old his full debut in their 1-0 loss to Atlanta United. Anderson started at Right Wingback and went 80 minutes before being subbed off with Colorado chasing a tying goal. For Anderson, he looked willing defensively as Atlanta United were frustrated. Hopefully he can continue to get looks and help Colorado turn around their terrible start to the season. Rating: 1

As always, hit the comment section to let me know if there’s anything major I overlooked or there’s anyone you’d like to hear about. Thank you for reading.