It was a very busy week both at home and abroad for many young Americans. There were continental competitions in Europe, South America and North America featuring young Americans this week, as well as league competitions everywhere. MLS returned to action and there were some notable moments from that action as well. For any new readers, the rating at the end of each update reflects how much I think each player 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:
Tanner Tessmann - Central Midfielder, FC Dallas
What a week this was for Tanner Tessman. On Thursday, Tessman decided to spurn Clemson and his shot to play College football and signed a homegrown contract with FC Dallas. Tessman had been with FC Dallas’ academy since 2016 and played in 14 games for North Texas SC in the USL last season. Two days after he signed the deal, the 18-year-old found himself starting the season-opener against the Philadelphia Union to make his professional debut. Tessmann was excellent in his first start, earning Man of the Match honors in the 2-0 win. Tessman went the distance and displayed excellent defensive awareness and activity (he had 7 tackles in this match!) and made a few quality passes. On the game’s second goal, he played a smart combination to pick up his first career assist as well. Tessman is largely getting this opportunity due to Brandon Servania’s injury, but it’s great to see him take advantage. Hopefully it’s only the beginning of a great season for him and FC Dallas. Rating: 4
Paxton Pomykal - Attacking Midfielder, FC Dallas
Perhaps the most welcome news from is that Paxton Pomykal is indeed healthy and available on opening day. The 20-year-old came off the bench in the 76th minute, and it only took him 14 minutes to open his 2020 account. In stoppage time, Pomykal picked the ball up in space and drove forward. He played a combination with Tessmann and dribbled across the box before beating Andre Blake at the far post.
The goal clinched an opening day victory for FC Dallas. It’s great to see Pomykal healthy and aggressive and producing. Hopefully his injury struggles are behind him. Rating: 8
Jonathan Lewis - Winger, Colorado Rapids
With Colorado and DC United tied at a goal each, Jonathan Lewis came off the bench in the 85th minute in the season opener on Saturday. In stoppage time, Lewis found himself in the right place at the right time to finish off a chaotic sequence in the box to complete the comeback and earn them a victory.
This was a great start to what is an important year for Jonathan Lewis. The 22-year-old has yet to nail down a consistent role and needs to become a more consistent player all around. Hopefully this goal will give him the confidence to push himself to earn a consistent spot in the starting lineup going forward. Rating: 5
Kyle Duncan - Right Back, New York Red Bulls
Kyle Duncan has started off the season in strong fashion. The 22-year-old started the season opener against Cincinnati on Sunday. In the 16th minute, he scored New York’s first goal of the season when he arrived late in the box and beat the keeper to score his second career goal.
Duncan wasn’t finished either. In the 70th minute, Duncan picked the ball up near midfield, drove forward and made a nice pass to find Daniel Royer who did the rest to put them up 3-1. A goal and an assist in what would eventually be a 3-2 win is a pretty good way to start a season. Let’s hope Duncan can stay healthy this year, because he has really struggled to stay available in recent years. Rating: 4
Tyler Adams - Central Midfielder, RB Leipzig
Tyler Adams signed a long-term contract extension with RB Leipzig this week. The 21-year-old is now secured through 2025 and figures to go right back into the starting lineup as soon as he returns from his calf injury. Adams has missed a significant amount of the season with various injuries, but Leipzig apparently see nothing to scare them away from locking him in for the foreseeable future. Hopefully he can get back to health soon and help them out in the Champions League. Regardless, this is a big moment for the young man. Rating: 10
Cameron Carter-Vickers - Centerback, Tottenham (On Loan at Luton Town)
Carter-Vickers has taken the next step on his loan tour of the English Championship, having been most recently loaned to Luton Town. The 22-year-old has settled in pretty nicely, playing nearly every match and starting each of the last four. On Saturday, CCV started and went the distance again in Luton Town’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City. He had a strong game including an impressive nine clearances. The point wasn’t as useful as a win obviously, but they need all the help they can get. Currently they’re tied for dead last in the league, and they are five points from safety with ten games remaining. Carter-Vickers has helped improve a defense that was leaking goals at an alarming rate. Hopefully he can finish the season strong. Rating: 7
Timothy Weah - Winger/Striker, Lille OSC
Easily the worst news of the week is that Timothy Weah will miss the remainder of the season. The 20-year-old had surgery to repair his torn hamstring and is confirmed to be out for the remainder of the season. This also would make him unavailable for the Concacaf Nations League matches in June and would make his availability for the Olympics a question should the US qualify. Weah’s season ends with just three appearances for Lille following his 10 million dollar move from PSG over the summer. It’s disappointing for sure, but hopefully the rehab will go well and he can come back strong next season. Rating: 9 whenever healthy
Nicholas Gioacchini - Striker, SM Caen
Gioacchini continues to have an interesting debut season. The 19-year-old has been inconsistent and he’s struggled with his finishing in particular, but he has still provided an attacking spark that has kept him in the starting lineup. On Friday, Gioacchini started as usual and made his presence felt early. In the 15th minute, Gioacchini made a nice run and received the ball racing towards goal when he was fouled in the box. The ensuing penalty gave SM Caen the lead. However, he showed his struggles again in the 32nd minute, when he blew an absolutely golden opportunity on an open net to put them up 3-0. It wouldn’t come back to haunt them as the score would remain 2-0, but Gioacchini really should have at least three or four more goals than he has this season. If he wants to take the next step, he needs to make those chances count. Still, it’s great to see him remain active and aggressive and find ways to affect the game regardless. Hopefully he can find his scoring touch again soon. 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!