This was an eventful week for Americans, with several leagues returning and several young players on the move. Let’s take a look:
Timothy Weah - Striker/Winger, Paris St. Germain (On Loan at Celtic FC)
Weah started on the bench on Saturday as Celtic took on third division Airdrieonians FC in the Scottish Cup. In the 69th minute, Weah came on to make his Celtic debut. In the 83rd minute, Weah timed his run beautifully and got behind the backline to score his first goal for the club.
Weah debut video?— USMNT Videos (@USMNTvideos) January 19, 2019
This was Weah’s first game for a first team since he last played with PSG in August, so it’s a welcome sign to see him respond well. Let’s hope he continues to get plenty of opportunities and produce when he gets them.
Carter-Vickers hasn’t been playing much the last few weeks, but that seems likely to change. On Saturday, CCV started on the bench but was forced to come on in the 21st minute when teammate Joe Rodon was injured. Carter-Vickers nearly had an own goal just before halftime, but he played pretty well overall and helped Swansea City keep a shutout in a 1-0 win. News after the match is that Rodon’s injury is a broken bone in his foot, so CCV could be in line for a lot more opportunities. He needs to take advantage and perform well to maintain his spot after Rodon returns.
Matthew Olosunde - Fullback, Manchester United
We finally had an Olosunde sighting this week. The 20-year-old was named to the bench for their U-23s in their scoreless draw against PSV in the Premier League International Cup this week. Although he was an unused substitute, it is a great sign that he is back healthy and available again following his knee injury. Let’s hope he can get back on the field soon.
Weston McKennie - Central Midfielder, Schalke 04
McKennie earned the start on Sunday in the first match of the second half of the season for Schalke. Deployed as an attacking midfielder, McKennie struggled (as did the entire Schalke team) in the first half to connect passes and build any level of attack. They were fortunate to be tied 1-1 thanks to a silly penalty from Wolfsburg out of nowhere. However, the game changed at halftime. McKennie and Schalke stormed out of the gates in the second half. He nearly had an assist after a great run down the left flank that he crossed to the back post only to have a spectacular save deny him. Then in the 78th minute, McKennie took off on a great run through midfield and fed the ball to Daniel Caligiuri for the game-winning goal.
The win pulls Schalke into 12th place in the Bundesliga, seven points behind Wolfsburg for the European spots. Unfortunately McKennie picked up a yellow card in this match which will suspend him for next week’s match against Hertha Berlin. The 20-year-old continues to become more and more of an impact player.
Haji Wright - Striker, Schalke 04
Wright has officially been named as a first team player at Schalke. The 20-year-old Los Angeles native was brought up to the first team due to an injury crisis at forward, but he has apparently done enough to stay in the plans. On Sunday, Wright started on the bench as Schalke took on John Brooks and Wolfsburg. In the 89th minute, Wright entered to make his fifth first team appearance of the season. He looked bright in his cameo until he had one of the worst misses you will see in stoppage time on a clear cut scoring chance. Let’s hope it doesn’t hurt his confidence going forward. Congratulations to the young man for continuing to fight to become a Bundesliga player.
Sidney Friede - Central Midfielder, Hertha Berlin (On Loan at Excel Mouscron)
Friede was sent on loan this week to Excel Mouscron of the Belgian top flight. The loan is for six months with no option to buy. Friede is a 20-year-old German American dual national who has seen his career stagnate a bit while he has struggled to get into the first team picture for Hertha Berlin. He has only represented Germany and would have to file a one-time switch to play for the United States, but he hasn’t played for Germany since November of 2017. On Sunday, Friede started on the bench for Mouscron in his first match with the club. In the 87th minute, he came on to make his debut. hopefully he can take advantage and push for first team opportunities in the Bundesliga next season.
George Acosta - Attacking Midfielder, Boca Juniors
Acosta has been moved up to the Boca Juniors Reserve side this preseason as he attempts to work his way up the ladder with the Argentinian giants. Acosta scored a penalty in a friendly on his 19th birthday on Friday.
The Colombian-American still faces an uphill battle to get into the Boca Juniors first team, but he could force their hand if he can impress with the reserves.
Keaton Parks is officially on loan after a couple weeks of rumors. The 21-year-old’s loan is for the entire 2019 season. After struggling to get back into the first team picture at Benfica this season, Parks has played regularly for Benfica’s B team this season. However, he was looking for an opportunity to gain first team experience and this will provide that. We’ll see if he can take advantage and go back to Benfica looking to push into the first team.
Justin Rennicks - Striker, New England Revolution
Rennicks has finally signed a homegrown contract with the New England Revolution. It was a bit of a tumultuous relationship between the two after he went on trial in Europe and was suspended by the club. The 19-year-old spent several years in their academy prior to going to Indiana University in 2017. Rennicks has been a regular with the USYNT’s. Recently, he was an important player for the US at the U-20 Concacaf Championship in November, putting up four goals and six assists. Depending on who will be released for the tournament, he seems likely to take part in the U-20 World Cup later this season. Let’s wish him the best of luck as he starts his professional career.
Ethan Bryant - Attacking Midfielder, San Antonio FC
Bryant signed a one year deal this week to remain in San Antonio. The 17-year-old debuted last season for the USL club, totalling a goal and three assists in 816 minutes. Bryant went to Europe this winter to get a look and could potentially sign somewhere after he turns 18 this summer, but that remains to be seen. For now, Bryant will look to build on his strong rookie campaign.
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 all for reading.