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USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Dallas makes Decision Day delightful

The young squad full of homegrowns stepped it up on the last day of the season.

SOCCER: MAR 23 MLS - Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another week is in the books and we’ve made it to the October International break. The MLS regular season came to a close on Sunday, and we’ll get the opportunity to see many young Americans facing playoff pressure soon. For any new readers, the rating at the end of each update reflects how much I think they should be called up to the senior national team at the next opportunity (1-nowhere near ready; 10-absolutely call him up and start him).

United States

Jesus Ferreira - Striker/Attacking Midfielder, FC Dallas

Ferreira had a heck of a game to end the regular season. Dallas was facing a situation where they needed to win to get into the playoffs (ultimately the San Jose Earthquakes lost to the Portland Timbers so they would have been in regardless, but they didn’t know that going into the match). Ferreira started as usual as an attacking midfielder and was excellent. With FC Dallas already leading 3-0 in the 54th minute, Ferreira received the ball and played it to the streaking Michael Barrios who put it away. This was Ferreira’s fifth assist of the season. Then in the 73rd minute, Ferreira scored the sixth and final goal when he drilled a strike from just outside the penalty area to put the cherry on top. It was Ferreira’s eighth goal of the season.

The 6-0 win guaranteed their playoff position and the two-week break before the playoff start will allow some opportunity for players like Paxton Pomykal to get healthy. This should be a fun team to watch in the playoffs. Rating: 8

Gianluca Busio - Attacking Midfielder, Sporting Kansas City

Busio has been one of the beneficiaries of Sporting Kansas City’s dreadful season. The 17-year-old has been seeing regular playing time in recent weeks, including three consecutive starts to end the season. On Sunday, Sporting Kansas City headed to Texas to take on FC Dallas with the hosts having their playoff lives at stake. Sporting was dominated basically from the opening whistle and were throttled 6-0, but Busio has gained professional experience to take into the U-17 World Cup and into next season. Sunday was not his best game by any stretch, but his growth as a player has been obvious as he had shown the ability to create danger over the last few games of the year. He will have his sights set on a consistent starting spot next year. Rating: 3


Matthew Hoppe - Striker, Schalke 04

Hoppe has started the season pretty well for Schalke at the U-19 level this season. On Sunday, Hoppe started as usual in their matchup with Inglostadt’s U-19s and had a big impact. Hoppe scored the second goal of the match in the 28th minute. He followed that up with a second in the 73rd minute for his first multi-goal game of the season (he now has four goals in ten matches in all competitions this season). Schalke’s U-19s won 3-0 and advance in the DFB Junioren Pokal (the U-19 German Cup). Hopefully he can continue his promising start and push his way into the first team conversation sometime soon. Rating: 2

Taylor Booth - Central Midfielder, Bayern Munich

We finally have a Taylor Booth sighting. The 18-year-old former Real Salt Lake Academy player has been struggling with injuries and has yet to play this season. However, Booth was named to the bench for Bayern’s U-19s for the first time this season on Saturday. Booth didn’t get to make his season debut, but it’s a great sign that he’s finally nearing full fitness. This is a very talented deep-lying playmaker who could play a role in the next U-20 cycle for the United States, assuming he can get and stay healthy. Rating: 1

Quincy Butler - Winger, Hoffenheim

Butler recently joined the large contingent of Americans at the U-19 Bundesliga level. The Sacramento Republic product has been playing regularly for Hoffenheim’s U-19s in recent weeks and had a big game this weekend. In the DFB Junioren Pokal, the 18-year-old scored his first goal and also drew two penalties in a 4-2 win over FC Nöttingen. Butler is yet another USL product who has decided to test himself overseas and another one to watch going forward. Rating: 1


Cameron Carter-Vickers - Centerback, Tottenham Hotspur (On Loan at Stoke City)

Stoke City has had a dreadful start to the season, only earning two points through their first ten matches. Carter-Vickers has become a regular in recent weeks while they’ve been searching for answers. He hadn’t been playing all that well and Stoke had been shipping quite a few goals, but he did have a fine game on Saturday. The 21-year-old got the start against Swansea City, who came into the match leading the Championship. After falling down 1-0 in the opening minute, Stoke responded by leveling the score in the 22nd minute. Then, they won it very late for their first victory of the season. CCV was a force defensively (three blocked shots and seven clearances), and was solid on the ball as well (he even completed seven of ten long balls in this match which has been a traditional weakness of his). He needs to find consistency and help Stoke avoid relegation, but this game was a good start to turning around the disaster start. Rating: 7


Nicholas Gioacchini - Striker, SM Caen

This was an important week for Gioacchini. The 19-year-old has moved up from the reserves and has been training with the Caen first team recently and impressing the coaches. On Friday, Gioacchini made the bench for the first time in his career in their matchup against Châteroux. He went as an unused substitute, but it’s a great sign to see him pushing his way into the first team picture. A professional debut seems imminent. Caen was relegated from Ligue 1 last season and have not started off well in Ligue 2 this year either. Currently they sit in 17th place in the 20-team league. While that certainly doesn’t bode well for his chances of making it to the French top flight anytime soon, it may benefit his immediate situation. They’re desperate for goals (they’ve scored just six times in eleven matches in all competitions this year), and Gioacchini has produced them at every level he’s played. Let’s hope he can continue this push. Rating: 2


Niko Hamalainen - Left Back, Queens Park Rangers (On Loan at Kilmarnock FC)

Hamalainen has had a good start to the season in Scotland. The 22-year-old has been a consistent starter at Kilmarnock and has largely been playing well. On Saturday, Hamalainen got on the scoresheet for the first time this season in a 1-0 win. Hamalainen sent an excellent cross in to find the head of Chris Burke on the game’s only goal just before halftime. Kilmarnock currently sit in 7th place in the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Hopefully Hamalainen can continue to perform well while on loan. Despite playing for Finland’s senior team earlier this season, Hamalainen was recently called to U.S. U-23 camp and in preparation for Olympic qualifying. We’ll see if will stick with the US going forward. Rating: 3


Leonardo Sepúlveda - Fullback, Salamanca CF

Sepúlveda signed his first professional contract with Salamanca CF this week. The 18-year-old LA Galaxy product has brief USL experience with LA Galaxy II, but he will look to test himself in Europe. Salamanca currently play in the Segunda División B (the third tier of Spanish football), so he faces a tall task of climbing to the top. Let’s wish him the best of luck with this move. Rating: 1

Please note that there will be no Youth Update next week while the international break is in effect. Look out for the next edition on October 21st. 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!