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USMNT midweek viewing guide: International break edition

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Away from the spotlight, we have EFL Cup action, plus matches in England, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and here at home.

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U-20 showdown in USL: Jose Gallegos (left, of San Antonio FC) will face Diego Luna (right, of El Paso Locomotive) on Thursday). Gallegos was eligible for this year’s U-20 World Cup, which was canceled due to COVID-19. Luna is eligible for the next U-20 World Cup in 2023.

While attention is correctly focused on the USMNT’s continuing World Cup qualifying odyssey, there are a few club matches this week that give us a chance to highlight players on the fringe of the national team conversation. Let’s go on a journey to England, Brazil, and Argentina to see what our Yanks are up to there.

Let’s get into it!

Monday

  • Colon v Banfield, 7:15p on Paramount+, Fanatiz, Sling TV, fuboTV (free trial): Joel Soñora has 1 assist for Banfield in nearly 500 minutes to start the season, but hasn’t played since August 24 due to injury. The former US U-20 phenom tallied 2 goals and 1 assist last season. Banfield is 23rd out of 26 in the Argentine league table after 13 matchdays.

Tuesday

  • Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool U21, 2p: Matteo Ritaccio played 68’ as a defensive mid for Liverpool’s reserves in their first EFL Trophy match, a 4-0 win over Rochdale. The 19-year-old has been in US U-20 camp, but has just 12 minutes of action in the first 6 U23 matches in the Premier League 2.
  • Gillingham v Ipswich Town, 2p: Charlie Kelman went 90’ up top in Gillingham’s first EFL Trophy match, a 1-0 win over Colchester United. The 19-year-old has been in US U-20 camp, and has 1 assist in 176 minutes of League One play to start the season.
  • Harrogate Town v Newcastle United U21, 2:45p: Santiago Muñoz has yet to play for Newcastle’s reserves since joining from Santos Laguna on loan, but could feature in this EFL Trophy match. The 19-year-old Mexican-American striker went on a tear this spring, scoring 3 goals in 7 matches for the Laguneros. He has only represented Mexico to this point in his career, and has 3 caps with their U-23s, but left the door open for the US in an interview with Futbol Americas, saying “I’m not married to Mexico. The door is still open.”
  • Raya2 v Tlaxcala, 10:05p: Jacobo Reyes has played 80+ minutes in all 10 games for Monterrey’s cleverly named reserve side in the Liga de Expansión, scoring 2 goals. The 21-year-old winger has been called up to YNT sides for both the US and Mexico in the past.

Also in action:

  • Lincoln City v Sunderland, 2p: Lynden Gooch has 1 assist in over 600 minutes for Sunderland in League One this year; they face fellow League One side Lincoln City in the EFL Trophy.
  • Accrington Stanley v Leicester City U21, 2:45p: Chituru Odunze was on the bench for Leicester’s reserves in their first EFL Trophy match, a 4-1 win over Fleetwood Town. Odunze has one 19’ U23 sub appearance in the Premier League 2, and has made the bench another 3 times.

Wednesday

  • Ceará v Internacional, 2p on Paramount+, Fanatiz, Sling TV: Johnny Cardoso has logged over 600 minutes in the midfield for Internacional, who sit 7th in the Brazilian league table, in position to qualify for Copa Sudamericana group stage, but just outside Copa Libertadores qualifiers.
  • El Paso Locomotive v San Antonio FC, 9p on ESPN+ (free trial): Diego Luna has 6 goals and 4 assists in 24 games for El Paso this year, which isn’t bad for an 18-year-old. The attacking mid was born in 2003, which means he’s eligible for the next U-20 World Cup in 2023. Here’s a feature on Luna from the local ABC affiliate. San Antonio features 20-year-old attacking mid Jose Gallegos, whose dribbling ability caught the eye of USMNT watchers like Sanjiv. Gallegos has trialed with Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona, and has 4 goals and 4 assists in 22 games for San Antonio.

Also in action:

  • Memphis 901 v Sporting Kansas City II, 8p on ESPN+: Andre Reynolds II has played 21 games for Memphis on loan this season, notching 2 assists. The 20-year-old Chicago Fire homegrown left back is joined by young ‘keeper Brady Scott and FC Dallas academy product Brecc Evans, who lifted the USL League One trophy with North Texas SC. Meanwhile, 21-year-old DR Congo-USA winger Enoch Mushagalusa has 7 goals and 3 assists in 27 games for KC’s reserves. Mushagalusa has been in US U-16 camp before. He’s joined by academy loanees Isaiah LeFlore and Jahon Rad (whose twin brother Kaveh is on a homegrown deal with Sporting).
  • Austin Bold v Tacoma Defiance, 9p on ESPN+: Roberto “Beto” Avila has a goal and an assist for Austin in 11 games this year. The 20-year-old winger is eligible for USA and Mexico. Juan Pablo Torres, former US U-20, has 2 goals and 2 assists in 22 games for Austin. Tacoma features a plethora of Seattle academy kids, including former US U-17s Danny Robles, Ray Serrano, Alex Villanueva, Juan Alvarez, and former US U-15 Obed Vargas.
  • Oakland Roots v Sacramento Republic, 10p: Minnesota United homegrown winger Patrick Weah has settled quickly into life with Sacramento, logging 184 minutes in his first 4 games since arriving on loan. The 17-year-old Liberian-American is widely viewed as a likely attacking piece for the 2023 U-20 World Cup. Sacramento also features 19-year-old attacking mid Mario Penagos, who has 2 goals and 2 assists in 19 games this year.
  • Dorados v Tepatitlán, 10:05p: Jonathan Suárez has a goal and 2 assists for Dorados in 9 games this year. The Mexican-American center mid is a former US U-20, but would’ve hoped to have reached a higher level than Liga Expansión by his current age of 24.

Thursday

  • Tampa Bay Rowdies v Charleston Battery, 8p on ESPN Deportes, ESPN+, fuboTV, Sling TV: Jordan Adebayo-Smith has 4 goals and 1 assist in 19 games for the Rowdies this year. The Nigerian-American progressed through the Lincoln City academy to the pro ranks and was loaned out several times before making the move to Tampa Bay. Inter Miami winger Josh Penn has 1 goal in 12 games for Charleston, after picking up 2 goals and 1 assist in 10 games for Fort Lauderdale CF in USL League One. Penn is joined by on-loan Houston Dynamo homegrown Erik McCue. The Swedish-American McCue has 1 goal and 1 assist in 14 games for Charleston.

That’s it! Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s see who impresses this week!