Welcome back to the Weekly Youth Update! With the international break coming to a close, the clubs have reconvened and are back in action. There was some big news over the break, with several players getting opportunities to play up in the ranks with their clubs.
Konrad de la Fuente - Winger/Striker, FC Barcelona
Konrad had a very eventful couple weeks. He has been playing with Barcelona’s Juvenil A’s (U-19) team this season after moving up from the Juvenil B’s at the end of last season. With several players out on international duty, de la Fuente was given an opportunity to move up to Barcelona’s B team over the break. He wasn’t able to appear off the bench in the match, but it’s a great sign that they think highly enough of him to have him playing up multiple levels at the club (he just turned 17 in July).
Also over the break, Konrad was featured in The Guardian’s Next Generation 2018 which features 60 of the best 17-year-olds in the world. This is the fourth consecutive year that at least one American attacker has featured in this list (Christian Pulisic in 2015, Nick Taitague in 2016, Andrew Carleton and Timothy Weah in 2017 were the others). Back with the Juvenil A’s this weekend, Konrad scored a goal and should have earned a penalty in a dominant 4-0 win. Check out the highlights below to see his goal and some of his slippery moves and ability (he’s number 11). Keep your eye on this kid.
[HIGHLIGHTS] Així ha estat la victòria del Juvenil A davant de l’Europa amb gols de Marqués, Konrad, Ilaix i Ansu (4-0) / Así ha sido la victoria del Juvenil A ante el Europa (4-0)#FCBMasia #ForçaBarça pic.twitter.com/Oy4Vpi4Deo— FC Barcelona - Masia (@FCBmasia) October 20, 2018
Josh Sargent - Striker, Werder Bremen
Sargent had a very solid window for the USMNT, getting his second start and scoring his second goal while looking impressive. Back at his club though, excitement about his debut is rising with his coach’s most recent comments. Florian Kohfeldt said of Sargent:
Sargent was not in the squad this weekend, but it looks like he will be getting his chance soon. Stay tuned.
Christian Pulisic - Attacking Midfielder, Borussia Dortmund
Pulisic made his return from injury on Saturday in Dortmund’s 4-0 victory. He came off the bench and picked up a nice assist in the 84th minute when he drifted inside and fed teammate Max Philipp to score the final goal. Look out for their big Champions League match against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday. They’re tied atop the standings in Group A after the first two matches.
Giles Phillips - Centerback, Queens Park Rangers
Phillips hasn’t been on the field for QPR’s U-23s in a couple months. That’s because he’s been out with an ankle ligament injury, temporarily putting his attempts at breaking into the first team on hold. Phillips had played somewhat regularly for QPR in the preseason, but had started the season with the U-23s. He appears to be nearing a return. Hopefully he can get healthy and push Geoff Cameron soon enough.
Owen Otasowie - Central Midfielder, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Unfortunately the news is not so good with Otasowie. He is set to be on the shelf for an extended period following surgery on his knee. Otasowie was set to potentially be a big part of U-20 World Cup qualifying, but he will be unable to take part. The 17-year-old is seen as one of the brightest talents in the US youth setup and has been scouted by some major clubs. Let’s hope he can make a full recovery and get back to form soon.
Sergiño Dest - Fullback/Winger, Ajax
Dest was another player that made some moves over the break. With a bunch of players away on International assignments, Dest was able to play with the first team in a 4-1 friendly victory. Five days later, made his professional debut with Jong Ajax (Ajax’s U-21s). Dest has been featuring on the wing for Ajax’s U-19s this season and in the UEFA Youth League, but he moved back to play Right Back for Jong Ajax. After Ajax took the league against PSV’s U-21s, Dest lost his man and the keeper fouled him for a penalty that tied the match. PSV would go on to win 2-1, but the 17-year-old would impress offensively. Dest is immensely skilled on the ball and has the ability to skip around defenders with regularity. Dest is pushing forward at one of the best academies in the world and is absolutely one to watch. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him check out this thread from @joeincleats (he’s a great follow on Twitter) on his performance from that match:
Sergino Dest, a big part of the current U.S. U20 cycle, played as a right back for Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie earlier today. There was one obvious takeaway from his first appearance with Jong Ajax: Dest's skill on the ball is next level. pic.twitter.com/Et2xcaKMMz— Joseph Lowery (@joeInCleats) October 15, 2018
Kyle Scott - Central Midfielder, Chelsea FC (On Loan at Telstar)
Scott has been starting regularly while on loan at Telstar in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie, the second division in Holland. Over the International break, Scott scored his first professional goal on a penalty in a 2-1 win over Helmond Sport. Telstar hasn’t been performing very well overall, having earned just 12 points from their first ten league matches as well as being destroyed in the Dutch Cup. It’s good to see the 20-year-old gaining some experience.
Jonathan Amon - Winger, FC Nordsjaelland
Amon had an eventful week, making his full USMNT debut against Peru and then starting for his club this weekend. With Nordsjaelland down 1-0, Amon was integral in a nice attacking move by making a good run off the ball and playing a ball across the box for the tying goal.
Amon assist pic.twitter.com/3rnVAYYKNg— American Soccer Now (@ClassicASN) October 20, 2018
This was Amon’s second assist of the season. He now has four goals and two assists in just 697 minutes in all competitions this season. Nordsjaelland would go on to lose 4-1 to league-leading FC Midtjylland.
Gianluca Busio - Attacking Midfielder, Sporting Kansas City
Busio had an unforgettable moment this week. The 16-year-old came off the bench in the 63rd minute with Sporting KC trailing Vancouver 1-0 and sparked a comeback. In just his seventh career appearance, his passing quality was on display and he helped build rhythm to flip the game in their favor. In second half stoppage time, Busio would put the finishing touches on the match by scoring his first career goal.
16-year-old Gianluca Busio scores his first MLS goal to make it 3-1! #VANvSKC https://t.co/GmtKb8dYDC— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 18, 2018
Busio is the second youngest player to score his first MLS goal behind only Freddy Adu. Busio was an unused substitute on Sunday in their 3-0 win over FC Dallas. The consecutive victories has SKC in first place in the Western Conference.
Corey Baird - Winger/Striker, Real Salt Lake
Baird had another huge performance this week in Real Salt Lake’s 4-1 demolition of the New England Revolution. Baird started on the Right Wing and made some sensational plays. On the game’s opening goal, Baird provided a quality ball to Nick Besler.
That was quick! Nick Besler from the back post! #RSLvNE https://t.co/zcSeQWdIhM— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 19, 2018
Later, Baird nutmegged Kelyn Rowe in spectacular fashion to eventually set up fellow American youth Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo for his goal.
corey baird tekkers pic.twitter.com/X7s26xDd8w— Anthony Rizzo (@RizzoReport) October 19, 2018
In the 29th minute, Baird would score one of his own after a well-timed run and cool finish.
Rookie of the Year.— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) October 19, 2018
Let us know if you need our address, @MLS. pic.twitter.com/7jq6jzR7AW
Baird has had a memorable season worthy of recognition. The 22-year-old now has eight goals and five assists in 30 MLS appearances. He will be a vital piece in the postseason for them.
Cole Bassett - Central Midfielder, Colorado Rapids
Bassett earned his first start last week against Minnesota United. The 17-year-old had appeared off the bench a few times this season, but he had a quality performance, even earning him a place on the MLS Team of the Week. Bassett is highly thought of within Colorado’s system and is rightly getting an opportunity with them already eliminated from playoff contention. On Sunday, Bassett got a second consecutive start in a 0-0 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. Hopefully it’s only the beginning for the young man.
Andrew Carleton - Attacking Midfielder, Atlanta United
With Miguel Almiron and Tito Villalba on the shelf, Carleton earned a rare start on Sunday against the Chicago Fire. This was just his second career MLS start after featuring very little all season. The 18-year-old was active and pretty involved and nearly scored a goal in the first half. He was subbed off after 67 minutes with Atlanta leading 2-1 and struggling to gain control in the second half. It’s a good sign to see him getting an opportunity to play. Hopefully it continues.
Gilbert Fuentes - Attacking Midfielder, San Jose Earthquakes
Fuentes made his professional debut on Sunday. The 16-year-old came off the bench in the 89th minute to replace Tommy Thompson against Colorado. Fuentes is one to watch with his tricky ability to create offense and his ability to pick out passes. Congratulations to the young man as he reaches this milestone event.
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!