The big news this week is that the US U17’s have qualified for the U-17 World Cup by virtue of their 3-0 victory over Panama on Sunday. Congratulations to that group and new coach Raphaël Wicky. With European leagues winding down, many players are getting ready for national team duty, whether with the youth national teams or the senior team. For any new readers, the rating at the end of each writeup 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:
Timothy Weah - Winger/Striker, Paris St. Germain (On Loan at Celtic FC)
The last few weeks have been filled with drama surrounding the 19-year-old. A few weeks ago, Weah expressed desire to go to the U-20 World Cup, but there was pushback from the club due to the Scottish Cup Final happening during the tournament. This week, Weah was apparently told to clean out his locker and leave Celtic early if he chose to play at the event. He did choose to do so and had already left the club ahead of Sunday’s Old Firm Derby defeat to Rangers. Also coming out this week is a report that PSG will look to sell him permanently this summer. Ligue 1’s Stade Rennais and EPL’s Crystal Palace are among the clubs reportedly interested in purchasing the attacker. If he is indeed set to be sold, Weah faces an important tournament in order to impress any suitors. Weah will undoubtedly be a focal point of the US attack and needs to show well. This is shaping up to be a very interesting summer. Rating: 5
Christian Pulisic - Attacking Midfielder, Borussia Dortmund
Pulisic got the start in his final home game at Signal Iduna Park. With Dortmund desperate for a victory to keep their small title chance alive, Pulisic came up big with his fourth league goal of the season in the 41st minute.
Feeling the moment! @cpulisic_10 heads @BVB in front just before halftime. pic.twitter.com/w9OybEWlbx— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) May 11, 2019
The goal wouldn’t be enough as Dortmund would concede the tying goal just into the second half. However, Dortmund would find the resolve to ultimately pull out a 3-2 win. The result combined with Bayern’s draw at RB Leipzig pulls Dortmund within two points heading into the final matchday. They will need to win as well as get help from Eintracht Frankfurt next week to win the Bundesliga. For Pulisic, he wasn’t as dominant as last week, but it was yet another strong performance. On top of his goal, he was lethal on the dribble once again and created danger on many occasions. It’s great to see him ending his Dortmund career on a high note. He was subbed off to an emotional standing ovation in stoppage time. Rating: 5
Chris Richards - Centerback, Bayern Munich
Richards was spotted training with the Bayern Munich first team this week. Unfortunately he did not make the game day roster for their matchup with RB Leipzig. Instead he took part in Bayern’s 0-0 draw with Mainz’s U-19’s on Saturday. Still, this is another exciting step for the 19-year-old. Richards will look to impress Bayern and any potential loan destinations in a couple weeks at the U-20 World Cup. Rating: 2
Alex Mendez - Central Midfielder, SC Freiburg
Mendez’s season came to an end this weekend with Freiburg’s U-19’s taking on Augsburg. Mendez got the start as usual and delivered yet another moment of brilliance with his left foot.
Moments ago @aleexm21 drops this on Augsburg. #quality A fitting end to the @scfreiburg U19 season as he heads off to the U20 World Cup. The #USMNT have a jewel. Good luck @RamosTab and @USYNT. Vamos con todo! pic.twitter.com/d3lGXsoIde— 3four3 (@3four3) May 11, 2019
This goal tied the game at two, but Augsburg would find a winner just two minutes later. Look for the US to be a major set piece threat at the U-20 World Cup with this guy in the team. Hopefully he can get a shot to earn a first team spot this summer. What a talent he is. Rating: 2
Blaine Ferri - Central Midfielder, Greuther Fürth
Ferri made his debut for Greuther Fürth’s B team on Friday in a 3-1 loss against Bayern Munich’s B team. The 18-year-old just recently signed his first professional contract and is getting his opportunity to move up at the club. Ferri was not in Tab Ramos’ plans for the U-20 World Cup, but he should use that as motivation to make that seem like a poor decision by breaking through this summer. Rating: 1
Luca de la Torre - Attacking Midfielder, Fulham
This was such a strange year for de la Torre. The 20-year-old had a breakout performance in September with a goal and two assists in the league cup, but he has failed to appear for Fulham’s first team since. Even recently with relegation from the Premier League a certainty, he hasn’t been able to get any opportunities. On Sunday, he made the bench but their season came to a close without seeing him make his Premier League debut. This summer seems to be massive for this young man. Fulham will definitely unload some of their costly roster after their relegation, and de la Torre only has one year remaining on his contract. Could he be on the move as well or will he push through and earn some opportunities this summer? Rating: 2
Christian Cappis - Central Midfielder, Hobro IK
Cappis is continuing to slowly break through at Hobro. The 19-year-old earned a rare start alongside fellow American Emmanuel Sabbi in Hobro’s massive relegation playoff first leg against Vejle BK on Sunday. Cappis had a solid individual performance and earned team player of the game honors, but it wasn’t enough as Hobro went down 1-0. Next week’s second leg will determine whether they will be relegated out of the Danish Superliga. We’ll see if Cappis and/or Sabbi can help save them from the drop. Rating: 2
Jonathan Lewis - Winger, Colorado Rapids
Lewis was on the move this week. The 21-year-old was offloaded from New York City FC for allocation money after struggling to get on the field for the last three years. Lewis immediately entered into the starting lineup for Colorado on Saturday. With Real Salt Lake controlling possession, Lewis didn’t see a ton of opportunities in his debut and his impact was somewhat limited. He was subbed off in the 65th minute. Hopefully he can become a consistent contributor for them. Rating: 3
Jesus Ferreira - Striker, FC Dallas
Ferreira’s hot start to 2019 continues. The 18-year-old has been terrific with his smart movement and clinical finishing. On Saturday, Ferreira came off the bench in the 29th minute and made his opportunity count. Just before halftime, Ferreira headed home a lovely ball from Jacori Hayes to level the score at 1-1.
Great buildup. Great ball. Great header. @FCDallas equalize thanks to Jesus Ferreira! #DALvRBNY https://t.co/Bg5Z8UuB6w— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 11, 2019
The goal was not enough as New York would go on to win 3-1. The loss was FC Dallas’ second consecutive defeat (Paxton Pomykal was unable to play as he remains out). For Ferreira, this was his fourth goal of the season in just 639 minutes. Hopefully he can keep up this impressive start and get his citizenship approved soon. Rating: 3
Frankie Amaya - Central Midfielder, FC Cincinnati
Frankie Amaya is yet another young American seeing minutes in MLS this season. The 18-year-old started for the second consecutive game on Saturday against the Montreal Impact. Deployed as an attacking midfielder, Amaya had a very clean performance and generated several chances as well. Amaya was subbed off in the 59th minute with Cincinnati leading 1-0 (they would go on to win 2-1). Amaya was also passed over for a U-20 World Cup spot in a crowded midfield group. Hopefully he keeps pushing ahead and improving. Rating: 1
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.