This was the final week prior to the March International window. As other national teams convene to make final decisions and preparations for the World Cup, the USMNT will play a friendly looking to get some young fringe players International experience. This wasn’t a good week overall for Americans in Europe, but there were some standout performances this week.
Tyler Adams - Central Midfielder/Right Back, New York Red Bulls
Adams had undoubtedly the best youth performance of the week in New York’s 3-1 Concacaf Champions League victory last Tuesday. New York pulled off a shocking 2-0 win in Tijuana the previous week, and needed to hang on at home to advance. In the 10th minute, Tijuana scored the opening goal. The pressure was on New York with the Xolos needing only one more goal to tie the quarterfinal and potentially send the game to extra time. However, Adams stepped up and scored on a beautiful counter in the 28th minute.
Here's his goal. Makes a trademark 100 yard run to finish a counterattack off a corner. (He was onside, barely.) pic.twitter.com/632IRXYlkA— Scuffed (@zlebmada) March 14, 2018
The goal restored order to the match for New York. They went on to add two more in the second half to win the tie by a dominate 5-1 scoreline. Adams playing a vital role earned him the Man of the Match honor. Let’s hope Adams can keep it up.
Andrew Carleton - Attacking Midfielder, Atlanta United
Carleton received his first decent MLS league minutes on Saturday. Atlanta United went up 3-0 over Vancouver before subbing on the 17-year-old in the 78th minute. Carleton took a defender on, but gave the ball away at the edge of the 18-yard box. The turnover would lead to Vancouver’s only goal in the 85th minute. However, Carleton atoned for his error a few minutes later by delivering a brilliantly weighted ball to the back post for Josef Martinez to head home.
Carleton’s assist once again shows his immense talent and ability to generate high percentage scoring chances. Let’s hope he can earn more opportunities.
John Requejo - Left Back, Los Angeles Galaxy
Requejo has returned from Liga MX to sign with LA Galaxy 2 in the USL. Requejo is a Mexican-American fullback who has featured for US U-20’s in the past. Requejo had been in Club Tijuana’s system until January when he was let go. Let’s hope the 21-year-old can take advantage of this new opportunity.
Nicolas Defreitas-Hansen - Goal Keeper, Everton FC
Defreitas-Hansen is a 16-year-old who has featured for Everton’s U18 team 7 times this season as well as made the bench for the U23’s several times. The young man moved on from Miami area’s Weston FC Development Academy last summer. He is eligible to play for both Denmark and the United States. Defreitas-Hansen has featured 3 times for the US U-16’s and was part of the U-18 group at the USYNT Summit in January. While certainly very young, he’s one to keep an eye on for the future.
Ethan Wady - Goal Keeper, Chelsea FC
Wady is another very young talent in Chelsea’s academy. The North Carolina native reportedly has dual nationality with the US and England. The 16-year-old came up through the Capital Area Railhwaks Development Academy before moving on to Chelsea. Wady is yet another young American keeper to keep an eye on. The US has a pretty nice contingent of players in Chelsea’s system at the moment (Matt Miazga, Kyle Scott and Wady).
Matt Miazga - Center Back, Chelsea FC (On Loan at Vitesse Arnhem)
Miazga had a solid outing on Saturday in Vitesse’s 0-0 draw with Heracles. This was a pretty good response following the 5-1 shellacking they received the previous week. Miazga figures to be the number one centerback for the US for a good while with the injury issues that have plagued John Brooks. The 22-year-old has had a very nice year in Holland.
Sergino Dest - Fullback, Ajax
Dest has had a nice season for Ajax’s U-19 team. The 17-year-old has featured on the left as well as the right and has consistently been starting while playing above his age group. Dest has dual nationality with the US and the Netherlands which allows him to play in Europe before his 18th birthday. Let’s hope the young man can continue his rise through one of the most prestigious academies in the world.
Andrija Novakovich - Striker, Reading (On Loan at Telstar)
Novakovich continues his recent goal-scoring tear. On Tuesday, the 21-year-old struck in the 50th minute to put Telstar up 2-0. Seven minutes later, Novakovich added another and Telstar would hang on for a 3-2 win. In Friday’s match, Novakovich levelled the score in the 49th minute to help Telstar earn a 1-1 draw. He now has 19 goals in all competitions this year and now deservedly has earned his first USMNT callup.
Keaton Parks - Central Midfielder, SL Benfica
Parks was in the news this week as it was reported that he would be joining the Benfica first team this coming preseason to fight for a first team spot. Parks has impressed while playing mostly with the B team this season, scoring 5 goals and assisting on 6 more. He also scored twice during Benfica B’s midweek 4-0 victory over Uniao Madeira. Parks was named to the first team squad for this weekend’s match but did not make the bench as has been the case on several occasions recently. Let’s hope he can see some more first team opportunities this season and win a consistent spot this summer. Unfortunately, Parks was not included in the roster for the March 27th friendly. I imagine American Manager Dave Sarachan wanted to let him focus on winning a spot at his club. Then again, Erik Palmer-Brown is in the same boat on a far worse team (and just like Parks, EPB is only eligible for the US), and he was called up. Hopefully Parks will be there in June.
Ali Mohamad Khatoun - Attacking Midfielder CD Leganes
Khatoun is a left-footed 19-year-old attacking midfielder who features for the Leganes B team in the Tercera Division in Spain. Khatoun is a Lebanese-American who was born in Ivory Coast. He was loaned to 4th division side Santa Ana FC in September, but his loan was cut short in December to help the struggling Leganes B. He scored in his first match for them in early December. He is well known for his outstanding technique and skill on the ball. Khatoun is yet another talented but not well known talent in Europe that we should be keeping an eye on. Here’s a highlight video of the young man from several years back:
Rubio Rubin - Attacking Midfielder, Club Tijuana
Rubin started opposite Tyler Adams in the previously mentioned Concacaf Champions League clash. Rubin was also involved in the scoring as he provided the assist on the game’s opening goal.
Rubin did very well to chest down the long ball and calmly slot it to the runner at the near post. He seems to be taking his chance in Liga MX very well. Let’s hope he can keep it up!
As always, please let me know if there is something major I overlooked. With the International window this week, look for the next Youth Update installment on April 1st. Thank you all for reading!