The MLS regular season came to a close on Sunday with many USMNT-eligible youngsters in action. With playoff positions on the line, several youngsters had opportunities to play in a high pressure situation. Here’s what happened this week:
Tyler Adams - Central Midfielder, New York Red Bulls
Congratulations to the New York Red Bulls for winning the Supporter’s Shield. Adams was once again at the heart of another solid defensive performance as they won 1-0 and took advantage of the massive choke job by Atlanta United. What figures to be his final regular season match as a member of the Red Bulls will be memorable as they kept a clean sheet en route to winning their third Supporters Shield in six years. Adams has put together a fine season as his game has grown. His fine defending has been complimented by his improvement with the ball at his feet. The 19-year-old will be heavily relied upon during the upcoming playoffs, but they will have the first round off. Congratulations!
Cole Bassett - Central Midfielder, Colorado Rapids
Bassett also had a memorable final day of the season. He became the youngest goalscorer in Colorado history when he latched onto a cross to level the score in the 80th minute against FC Dallas.
Colorado would go on to add a winner four minutes later and knock FC Dallas down to fourth in the Western Conference. For Bassett, this was an unforgettable moment as he scores his first professional goal. Hopefully the 17-year-old is consistently in the plans next season.
Auston Trusty - Centerback, Philadelphia Union
Unfortunately it was a poor day at the office for the 20-year-old. Needing a win to avoid playing on the road in the opening round, Trusty was guilty of an own goal in the 10th minute that gifted New York City FC a second goal. They would go on to lose 3-1. It’s been a very good year for Trusty, so it’s disappointing that it would end in this fashion. Now they will have to face NYCFC again in the knockout round. Hopefully he can atone for this performance.
Haji Wright - Striker, Schalke 04
Following last season’s failed loan to SV Sandhausen, Wright has been back with Schalke this season. The 20-year-old is playing for the second team in the German Oberliga (the German fifth division) and has been producing. He has four goals and an assist in seven appearances (308 minutes). While people have been critical of him, it’s important that he regains some confidence and pushes for another chance. Let’s hope he can continue to improve and earn more opportunities.
Jonathan Klinsmann - Goalkeeper, Hertha Berlin
Klinsmann has been featuring pretty regularly for the Hertha’s U-23s this season. Still third on the depth chart behind Rune Jarstein and Thomas Kraft, the 21-year-old is doing all he can to improve and perform well with the reserves. On Sunday, Klinsmann kept his third clean sheet in seven starts as Hertha Berlin’s reserves won 2-0. Keep your eye on him in the upcoming windows for a possible move to pick up experience.
Cameron Carter-Vickers - Centerback, Tottenham (On Loan at Swansea City)
Carter-Vickers has seen an uptick in minutes this week, earning a start in Swansea’s 3-1 win against Blackburn. CCV showed off his improved passing by completing 54 of his 59 passes. This weekend, the 20-year-old came off the bench in the 78th minute to help secure the second consecutive victory. He still has a tendency at times to shut off defensively which I believe has contributed to him struggling for consistent playing time this season (he has just four appearances so far for Swansea). Carter-Vickers needs to continue to improve to get on the field more often.
Andrija Novakovich - Striker, Reading FC (On Loan at Fortuna Sittard)
Novakovich has been in the news a bit this week following some comments from his parent club. Many Reading fans were unhappy with the choice to send him on loan this summer and have been critical of the club for the decision while they’ve struggled to find goals early this season (they have just 20 goals in 15 games). Reading boss Paul Clement responded to demands to recall Novakovich early saying that:
It’s good to see that they seem to value him and have thoughts about possibly recalling him. Novakovich was unavailable this weekend after picking up a knock. We’ll see if he can get back for their Dutch Cup matchup against NEC this Thursday.
Erik Palmer-Brown - Centerback, Manchester City (On Loan at NAC Breda)
Similar to CCV, EPB has struggled for playing time while on loan this year. However, EPB has seen even less. Palmer-Brown once again spent this weekend on the bench in NAC Breda’s 1-1 draw with Den Haag. The 21-year-old started back-to-back matches in mid-September, but he hasn’t seen the field since (they shipped six goals in those two matches). He needs to improve and start winning minutes and opportunities if he wants to stay in the mix for future USMNT callups. There is lots of competition at centerback at the moment.
George Acosta - Attacking Midfielder, Boca Juniors
Acosta is making some waves in Argentina and is one of the bright spots on Boca’s U-20 team with his ability to create havoc in the attack. The 18-year-old Colombian-American represented the United States at the 2017 U-17 World Cup and is looking to work his way into the first team picture with the Argentine giants. With the lack of quality central attacking players in the USMNT, I hope to see it soon.
Joel Soñora - Attacking Midfielder, VFB Stuttgart (On Loan at Talleres Cordoba)
The 22-year-old continues to get opportunities in the Argentinian Superliga. On Saturday, Soñora came off the bench in the 78th minute of their 0-0 draw with San Martin. He has just one start so far, but he’s consistently been in the team and looked to to provide a spark off the bench. With his loan set to run out in January, it will be interesting to see what happens next. He may return to Stuttgart and fight for a place in the Bundesliga, but I would be more inclined to think he will move on.
Andre Costa - Central Midfielder, Rayo Vallecano
Andre Costa is no longer a member of “La Fabrica”. The 16-year-old has moved on from Real Madrid to Rayo Vallecano. He is currently playing for their Juvenil Bs. Costa had been contacted in August to represent the US, but has yet to accept a call up. Costa is eligible for Brazil and would prefer to play for them, but they have yet to reach out. Let’s wish this young man the best of luck on the new move.
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.