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USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Gio Reyna pushing for his chance

The NYCFC product is dominating at the youth level and looking to push into Dortmund’s first team

SOCCER: JUL 17 Seattle Sounders v Borussia Dortmund Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re back after another busy week for young Americans at home and abroad. We saw the return of European competition this week and a few players took the next step toward an eventual breakthrough. For any new readers, the rating at the end of each update reflects how much I believe he should be called up to the senior national team at the next opportunity (1-nowhere near ready; 10-absolutely call him up and start him). Here’s what’s going on this week:


Giovanni Reyna - Attacking Midfielder, Borussia Dortmund

Reyna had a big week. The 16-year-old started his first UEFA Youth League match as Dortmund faced off against Konrad de la Fuente and the U-19’s of FC Barcelona. Down 1-0, Reyna scored the tying goal when he slid in at the backpost to finish off a nice attacking move.

They would go on to complete the comeback with a goal from Tobias Raschl ten minutes later. Reyna’s performance in the 1-1 draw earned him another opportunity to impress the first team coaches ahead of their matchup against Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. He didn’t make the matchday squad, but it seems to be only a matter of time for this young man. Instead, he played again with their U-19’s and scored yet another goal in a dominant 6-1 victory.

Perhaps the preseason opportunities he saw this summer were a sign of things to come sooner than expected. Rating: 5

Josh Sargent - Striker, Werder Bremen

On Friday, news came that Niklas Füllkrug tore his ACL in training and will be out for the foreseeable future. Füllkrug was among Sargent’s biggest competition for playing time so far this season, so this represents a golden opportunity for the 19-year-old. On Saturday, Sargent got the start as Werder Bremen hosted RB Leipzig minus Tyler Adams. After a bright start, Bremen spent much of the match on the back foot and eventually got smoked 3-0, with Sargent subbing off after 80 minutes. Sargent had an uneven performance. He showed some very nice flashes of combination play, but he also caused little danger for the Leipzig backline. The loss drops Bremen to 10th in the Bundesliga as of Sunday. Leipzig are obviously a much better team right now than Bremen, but Sargent needs to show more and take advantage of this chance that he was fortunate to get. Rating: 9


Charlie Kelman - Striker, Southend United

Kelman’s rise at Southend remains slow but consistent. The 17-year-old earned the start for his fourth appearance of the season on Saturday and made an impact. In the fourth minute, Kelman scored his first league goal this season when he finished off a well-worked attack after his initial strike was blocked

The scoreline would hold up with Kelman going the distance for the first time in league play. The 1-0 victory was the first victory of the season for Southend, and it at least temporarily gets them out of the basement in League One. Hopefully this will get Kelman some confidence and more opportunities. They need him to play well if they hope to survive this season. Rating: 3


Alex Mendez - Central Midfielder, AFC Ajax

Mendez is quickly integrating more into the team at Jong Ajax. On Monday, he got his first start in the Eerste Divisie in the 2-0 win over Jong PSV. He went the distance and had a couple good scoring chances that were well saved. On Friday, he started again against Go Ahead Eagles. He was taken off at halftime with Jong Ajax down 1-0 (they went on to pull a 1-1 draw). Still, it’s great to see him becoming more of a fixture in that team as he settles into life in Amsterdam. We’ll see if he can remain in their lineup going forward. Rating: 7

Joshua Pynadath - Winger, AFC Ajax

Pynadath had an important development this week. He was named to the bench for Jong Ajax for the first time in their matchup against Jong PSV last Monday. Then in the 18th minute,Pynadath was named to the bench for Jong Ajax last Monday. Then in the 18th minute, Brazilian attacker Danilo went out injured. This was the opportunity for Pynadath to make his professional debut. Pynadath was dangerous and slippery with his dribbling as usual and nearly got on the scoresheet a couple times in the 2-0 win as well. See the video below for some of his highlights. Pynadath was not in the Jong Ajax team on Friday. Hopefully the 17-year-old can keep developing and keep pushing through their very competitive academy. Rating: 2


Christian Cappis - Central Midfielder, Hobro IK

Cappis has completely nailed down a starting spot for Hobro this season. The match on Sunday against SönderjeskE Fodbold marked his eighth consecutive start, and Cappis had a strong game. In the 1-1 draw, Cappis delivered a Man of the Match performance as he went the distance in another nervy game from Hobro. SönderjeskE had an opportunity for a winner late but a missed penalty allowed Hobro to gain a point. Hobro currently sit in 10th place in the Danish Superliga. Rating: 5


Shaq Moore - Right Back, CD Tenerife

The 22-year-old had yet to feature since his summer move away from Levante UD, as he went as an unused substitute in each of their first six league games. That changed on Sunday when Moore earned his first appearance and first start for Tenerife in their matchup with Fuenlabrada. Moore had a solid debut but was subbed off in the 60th minute with the match scoreless. They wound up giving away the winner in the 78th minute. Rating: 5


Alan Soñora - Attacking Midfielder, CA Independiente

Soñora continues to inch closer to a breakthrough at Independiente. The 21-year-old made the bench for the first time in league play this weekend in their matchup against Atlético Tucumán. In stoppage time, Soñora was set to get his debut but unfortunately the match was called before he could sub on. Still, it’s only a matter of time before he actually makes his debut. We could see a brother-brother matchup when Independiente takes on Arsenal (where Joel Soñora plays) later this season. Rating: 2

United States

Jorge Hernández - Winger, Los Angeles Galaxy

Hernandez signed a USL contract with Los Dos (LA Galaxy’s reserves). He had been brought up in their academy for many years and is an extremely talented player. The 18-year-old christened his signing by scoring this absolute peach over the weekend.

That outrageous goal gave them the lead in the 8th minute, but they wound up relinquishing it in a 1-1 draw. Hopefully Hernández can continue to hone his craft as his professional journey gets underway. Rating: 1

Bryang Kayo - Central Midfielder, Orange County SC

Kayo has left DC United and signed with Orange County SC. The 17-year-old was seemingly next in line to sign a homegrown deal, but it appears that he has other avenues on his mind. Orange County figures to act as a stepping stone while he awaits his 18th birthday to make a move to Europe next summer. Kayo figures to play an important role on the US U-17 team set to take the field in Brazil next month. Let’s wish him the best of luck on this move. Below is highlights from a recent performance while with Loudoun United for anyone who has yet to see him play. Rating: 1

Moses Nyeman - Central Midfielder, DC United

Losing out on Kayo is certainly a blow for DC United, but Nyeman is a very nice consolation prize. DC United are set to sign Moses Nyeman to a Homegrown Deal. The 15-year-old has already been a regular player for Loudoun United in the USL and will have the opportunity to push his way into DC’s first team sometime soon. Nyeman has excellent ability on the ball and is a fantastic decision maker, particularly for his age. He will be one to watch in MLS. 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!