It was another very busy week for young Americans with some excellent performances and a couple returns as well. The rating attached to each player reflects whether 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:
Sebastian Soto - Striker, Hannover
Soto had a day to remember on Saturday. The 18-year-old made the matchday squad for the first team as Hannover took on John Brooks and Wolfsburg. With Hannover trailing 3-1 in the 79th minute, Soto replaced Marvin Bakolorz to make his Bundesliga debut. Soto only touched it a couple times and was rarely involved when he came on with Wolfsburg in complete command and dominating possession, so he didn’t get much of an opportunity to show his skill. Still, this was a great moment for him as he became the seventh US-eligible player 20 years old or younger to appear in the German top flight this season. Hopefully he will get several more opportunities this season, particularly when Hannover have little to lose with relegation already a near certainty. Look for Soto to play a big role at the U-20 World Cup next month. Rating: 2
Haji Wright - Striker, FC Schalke
Wright has seen his first team chances fade away as Schalke’s attacking options have become healthy again. The good news is he started and scored for Schalke’s reserves this weekend. The bad news is he was playing for the reserves again. The 21-year-old hasn’t featured in a matchday squad for the senior team since February 23rd and doesn’t look to be in the plans of their interim manager. We’ll see if he can keep pushing to get himself back into the first team conversation. Rating: 2
Marlon Fossey - Right Back, Fulham
Great news on the injury front came this week. Marlon Fossey made his return from a massive knee injury that he suffered just before the season started. Fossey came on at halftime of Fulham’s U-23 match against Reading on Friday. The 20-year-old ran into terrible luck when he got injured prior to the season. He was impressing coaches and fans in the preseason and looked to be in line for some opportunities with the first team. With Fulham set to be relegated, look for Fossey to work his way into the first team picture this summer if he can stay healthy. Rating: 2
Luca de la Torre - Attacking Midfielder, Fulham
We finally have a Luca de la Torre sighting. Luca also came on at halftime for Fulham’s U-23’s against Reading. It was the first appearance at any level for him since December 8th. The 20-year-old is under contract through the summer of 2020 and potentially could look for a move away from Craven Cottage. He’s struggled to stick with the first team despite several opportunities over the last few years. Rating: 2
Cameron Carter-Vickers - Centerback, Tottenham (On Loan at Swansea City)
Carter-Vickers was in the news a bit this week amid speculation that Swansea would attempt to permanently acquire him from Tottenham. Graham Potter spoke about his intent to hold talks with Tottenham at the end of the season as he has impressed when called upon, particularly in Joe Rodon’s absence. Potter said this:
The 21-year-old started and had another very good game again on Saturday in Swansea’s 3-1 win over Middlesbrough. He’s displayed outstanding growth this season, particularly with his passing and composure. With Joe Rodon now returning from injury, his minutes might not be as consistent towards the end of the year. Still, it’s good to see him improving and impressing his loan club. Rating: 4
Erik Palmer-Brown - Centerback, Manchester City (On Loan at NAC Breda)
Palmer-Brown has really turned his season around in recent weeks. For the bulk of the season, he had struggled to get on the field and performed poorly when given his rare opportunities. Recently though, the 21-year-old has forced his way into the lineup regularly with some very good performances. On Saturday, Palmer-Brown was one of Breda’s best players as they lost a tough match to Heracles 1-0. NAC Breda have been pretty hopeless all season long and may well get relegated, but it’s been good for EPB’s development. He’s been forced to play a defensive role on a team constantly under attack. And his improvement on that side has been noticeable. I’m happy for him that he’s been able to push through his struggles and improve. Rating: 3
Richie Ledezma - Attacking Midfielder, PSV Eindhoven
Ledezma finally made his first appearance for PSV against Vitesse on Saturday. The 18-year-old has battled injury and fitness issues this year and was only just now able to get back on the field. Ledezma came on in the 55th minute as he looks to gain some form and potentially make a last push to make the U-20 World Cup team. Hopefully he can end the season strong. Rating: 1
Cole Bassett - Central Midfielder, Colorado Rapids
Bassett is yet another American teenager getting some playing time early this season in MLS. On Saturday, Bassett had his best game of the season in Colorado’s 4-3 loss to Orlando City. In the 61st minute, Bassett delivered a fantastic cross to Nicolás Mezquida to head in to tie it at two goals each.
A lethal counter attack results in Mezquida's first goal with the club!— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) April 7, 2019
What a goal, now let's find a winner!! pic.twitter.com/3jgHWkojUa
Ten minutes later, the 17-year-old scored his first of the season when he cut back and finished well with his left foot to put Colorado in front.
COLE. BASSETT.— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) April 7, 2019
Chop it back + clinical finish with the left foot.
LET'S FINISH THIS! pic.twitter.com/gOQLKFMXOP
Orlando would come back and win, but Bassett is starting to repay the coach’s faith early in the season. He needs to keep it up if he wants to stay on the field and ultimately help Colorado win games. Rating: 2
Gianluca Busio - Attacking Midfielder, Sporting Kansas City
Busio is getting opportunities with Sporting rotating their squad and is taking full advantage. Busio started again on Sunday and scored for the second consecutive game. In the 63rd minute, the 16-year-old took advantage of a massive error from FC Cincinnati Left Back Greg Garza to level the score at a goal apiece.
Busio would go the distance as the 1-1 score would hold. On top of the goals, he’s shown excellent poise and solid passing skills as well. I’m impressed with his confidence to show his talent when he gets his opportunities. It shouldn’t surprise any of us if he stays in Peter Vermes’ plans. Assuming he gets released, he could be a major factor at the U-17 World Cup this year. Rating: 2
Alex Mendez's goals from yesterday.— Scuffed (@zlebmada) April 7, 2019
NBD just a 35-yard banger. pic.twitter.com/AoEOeNVU3i
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!