Another week is in the books and while we were munching on turkey, European competition was in full swing. On top of the return of Champions League and Europa League, there were midweek matches in the Championship and, of course, a full slate of games this past weekend. For any new readers, the rating at the end of each update reflects how much I think each player 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). Here’s what happened this week:
Owen Otasowie - Centerback, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
Easily the biggest news from this week was from Owen Otasowie. Surprisingly, the 18-year-old traveled with the senior team for their Europa League matchup with SC Braga on Thursday. Otasowie even made the matchday 18 for the first time in his career. Wolves took a 3-1 lead into the break, but they let the lead slip away through two second half goals. Unfortunately, this limited his opportunity to make his senior debut as they chased the winning goal. On Sunday, Otasowie was once again in the matchday squad as they took on Sheffield United. Sheffield went in front, and Wolves fought back to earn a draw. Unfortunately, Otasowie was once again left to wait for his debut. Otasowie would be only the third American to feature in the Premier League this season if he gets his debut this year (Christian Pulisic and DeAndre Yedlin are the others). Still, even without him seeing the field this week, this was a monumentally important week for the young man. Wolverhampton is showing that they value this young man despite his injury issues. Now that he’s healthy and performing well at the youth level, they want to give him a shot with the first team. Hopefully we’ll see a debut coming soon. Congratulations to this young man. Rating: 3
Antonee Robinson - Left Back, Wigan Athletic
Robinson had a big moment this week as well. The 22-year-old got the start as usual on Tuesday against Millwall FC. With the match level at a goal each in the 56th minute, Robinson scored his first career goal to put them in front. Robinson made a decent run and finished very well with his preferred left foot.
Unfortunately, Wigan would surrender the lead and once again drop points in a 2-2 draw. On Saturday, Robinson again started against fellow American Matt Miazga and Reading FC. Robinson went the distance, but Wigan were outmatched as usual in a 3-1 defeat. Robinson struggled in possession in the loss. Wigan continue to fight for their lives at the bottom of the Championship (currently they are just four points away from the bottom spot). Robinson and the group need to improve defensively if they want to secure safety. Rating: 7
Luca de la Torre - Attacking Midfielder, Fulham FC
Another surprise this week was seeing Luca de la Torre back in the squad for Fulham. The 21-year-old has hardly gotten a look all year, only featuring in cup competitions. On Friday, he was on the bench in league play for just the third time all season. Once again he didn’t get an opportunity to play as he watched from the sidelines. Still, it’s good to see him at least in the matchday squad. He needs to keep pushing in training to force the coach to put him on the field. Rating: 2
Giovanni Reyna - Attacking Midfielder, Borussia Dortmund
Reyna had another strong week for Borussia Dortmund’s U-19s. The 17-year-old scored the game-tying goal in their 2-1 win over Konrad de la Fuente and FC Barcelona in the UEFA Youth League.
It was the second time he’s scored against them this fall (the loss eliminated Barcelona from being able to qualify for the knockout round of the competition). Dortmund needs to win their final group stage match to qualify for the knockout stage. Then on Sunday, Reyna was at it again as he scored his third league goal of the season in a 3-1 win over VFL Bochum. He now has 5 goals and 6 assists in 14 games in all competitions this season. We’re still waiting for him to get an opportunity with the Dortmund first team, but it will only be a matter of time if he can keep making plays and prove to the coaches that he’s ready for a look. Rating: 5
Tommy Mihalic - Winger, FC Augsburg
Tommy Mihalic is slowly but surely working his way up to the U-19 level in Germany. On Saturday, he made his third appearance of the season when he came off the bench in their 1-1 draw with SSV Ulm 1846 Fußball. The Croatian-American dual national left Chicago this summer in hopes of starting a successful career in Europe. At just 17 years old, he’s one of the youngest Americans playing in that league right now. Let’s hope he can continue pushing his way through their system. Rating: 1
Patrick Leal - Attacking Midfielder, Sporting Clube de Portugal
Leal has had a good year since his move to Sporting CP last year. Back in September, he signed a five year contract with the club as they showed their intent to nurture the young man. The 16-year-old features regularly for their U-17’s and hopes move up through their famous academy. He scored this goal to conclude the scoring in a 6-0 win over Sintrense this weekend.
Leal is too old for the next U-17 cycle, but he could play a role in the 2021 and/or 2023 U-20 World Cups. Let’s hope he can keep impressing. Rating: 1
Christian Cappis - Central Midfielder, Hobro IK
Cappis has been a regular for Hobro this season, starting or coming off the bench in basically every match. On Sunday, Cappis started as Hobro traveled to face Aalborg BK. In the 4th minute, Cappis sent in a corner that was headed home for an own goal to open the scoring.
In the 20th minute, Cappis delivered a lovely through ball that set up a big chance, but the ensuing shot was saved. The 19-year-old was removed at halftime in a tactical shift, but the move didn’t pay off as they couldn’t find a winner. The 1-1 draw has them in 12th place in the 14-team league. Cappis has played well for Hobro and is starting to generate interest from some clubs in bigger leagues. It will be interesting to see what happens with him going forward. Rating: 5
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!