This was another solid week for USMNT youth with several noteworthy performances. With the USMNT reporting to release the October roster for the friendlies against Peru and Colombia, we will hopefully get a look at a couple other guys that we haven’t had an opportunity to see. This is what happened this week:
Djordje Mihailovic - Attacking Midfielder, Chicago Fire
This was a very good week for young American #10s. Mihailovic had arguably the most impressive performance of any of them with his display against Los Angeles Football Club on Saturday. In the 20th minute, Mihailovic opened the scoring with a gorgeous goal off a volley.
This was his second career MLS goal and his first of the season. The 19-year-old wasn’t done either. In the 66th minute, he raced in on goal after a nice layoff and slipped it across to Aleksandr Katai to put Chicago up 3-0 (they wound up winning 3-1).
Mihailovic also got an assist, running onto a clever through ball, drawing three defenders and laying it off for Katai. pic.twitter.com/NKLLHcuBBm— Scuffed (@zlebmada) September 29, 2018
Mihailovic suffered a torn ACL late in the season last year and only recently returned, but it appears he hasn’t lost much. Chicago won’t be in the playoffs, but it’s good to see them giving him some opportunities toward the end of the season.
Ethan Bryant - Attacking Midfielder, San Antonio FC
Bryant is young man that debuted earlier this season in the U.S. Open Cup while still 16. He’s slowly being integrated into the team with occasional appearances this summer. On Saturday, the now 17-year-old earned his second consecutive start against the Seattle Sounders reserves. In the 26th minute, Bryant scored his first professional goal off a cross with a nice effort that hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced in.
Bryant is a fascinating player, because he has very good touch and spatial awareness as well as a touch of flair. Here’s some evidence of that:
This is a player to keep an eye on to see what becomes of his career. With the ability and skill this young man has, I can’t imagine he’ll be in USL very long.
Luca de la Torre - Attacking Midfielder, Fulham
Did I mention this was a very good week for American #10s? Luca de la Torre earned his first start in more than two years on Tuesday in the League Cup against Championship side Millwall. The 20-year-old had a Man-of-the-Match level performance with a goal and two assists as Fulham ran out to a 3-1 win to advance in the competition. While the League Cup often gives young players an opportunity to show themselves, it’s important for them to perform well when given those opportunities and de la Torre did just that, even causing his coach Slavisa Jokanovic to contemplate giving more to the young man:
He did not make the bench for Saturday’s defeat to Everton, but let’s hope the young man can keep pushing and keep forcing the coach to give him chances.
Antonee Robinson - Left Back, Everton (On Loan at Wigan Athletic)
Robinson has been starting regularly for Wigan. The 21-year-old is enjoying a very nice season on loan in the Championship, already starting ten matches and helping Wigan to eighth place in the league. On Saturday however, Robinson didn’t have his best performance as Wigan were dropped 1-0 by Norwich City. He completed just 14 of his 25 passes and had a giveaway that would lead to a very good chance for Norwich chance. He was pretty solid defensively and has generally looked good defensively in the league this season. Let’s hope he can continue to improve this season.
Jonathan Amon - Winger, FC Nordsjaelland
Amon started in the Danish Cup on Wednesday. The 19-year-old found the back of the net for his fourth goal in eight games in all competitions this season.
Jonathan Amon's goal in the Danish cup yesterday as Nordsjaelland beat HB Køge 4-0. This goal made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute. pic.twitter.com/jAiQ8QEpU4— Scuffed (@zlebmada) September 27, 2018
The goal put Nordsjaelland up 2-0 and they would go on to advance with a 4-0 victory. Amon would be removed after 61 minutes.
Seyi Adekoya - Striker, Vendsyssel FF
Adekoya came off the bench in the 61st minute in the Danish Cup on Wednesday. The 22-year-old would have a big day and helped lead them to the fourth round, scoring a brace in the process. Adekoya has been playing somewhat regularly since his move to Denmark with mixed results. This weekend he started again, but was taken off with Vendsyssel down 1-0 (they would go on to come back and win 2-1).
Rafael Iacovelli - Central Midfielder, Carpi FC
Iacovelli has moved on from AC Cesena. AC Cesena closed shop amid financial insecurity this summer, so Iacovelli was forced to move on. The 18-year-old New York native has signed with Serie B side Carpi FC and has started the season with the U-19 team. It’s good to see him find another home after going through a period of uncertainty this summer. Let’s wish him the best of luck with this endeavor.
Mukwelle Akale - Attacking Midfielder, Villarreal
Akale is yet another #10 who had a big week for his club. With Villarreal taking part in the Premier League International Cup, Akale started against Swansea City’s U-23 club. He drew a penalty by dribbling around the keeper and drawing a foul. Akale then stepped up and slotted home the penalty that would prove to be the game’s only goal. The Minnesota native was not done. On Sunday, the 21-year-old would strike twice in Villarreal B’s 4-1 win (he’s number 7).
Akale has been at Villarreal for a long time and is still trying to break through. Hopefully performances like this week will start to push him closer to the first team.
Shaq Moore - Right Back, Levante UD (On Loan at Reus Deportiu)
Moore finally has the registration and contract issues behind him. He’s settling in nicely at CF Reus, appearing in three consecutive matches and starting the last two. The 21-year-old Georgia native needs to utilize this loan to improve his game so he can make a push for the first team at Levante next summer. The Segunda division is a better league than a lot of people realize. Moore will have a look at some quality players trying to seek promotion to the Spanish top flight. Let’s hope he can take advantage of this opportunity.
Ethan Bayer - Central Midfielder/Centerback, Rayo Vallecano
Bayer is headed to Spain to join La Liga side Rayo Vallecano. Bayer turned 16 this summer and decided to push for a career in Spain. Originally from Woodbridge, Virginia, Bayer moved to the IMG Aacademy in Bradenton, Florida prior to this summer’s move to Spain. Below is a highlight reel for those unfamiliar with Bayer. Let’s wish the young man the best of luck.
I’d like to extend a special thank you to all those folks who make these videos as well as the good people that provide quality content on Twitter (Adam Belz, Joey Anthone, Dillon Payne etc.), the folks at Big Soccer Forum that find insanely detailed information and various websites. Thank you for all you people do.
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!