This was another busy week both at home and abroad, with several notable events and excellent performances for young Americans (Tyler Adams is back from injury, and Josh Sargent and Weston McKennie had big performances this weekend as well as several of the performances we talk about here). For any new readers, the rating at the end of each update reflects how much I think he 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:
Christian Cappis - Central Midfielder, Hobro IK
Christian Cappis has had a strong season for Hobro. The 20-year-old has locked down a starting spot for Hobro and that has continued since they returned from the winter break last month. On Saturday, Cappis was again in the starting lineup as Hobro faced Esbjerg fB. With the match scoreless in the 59th minute, Cappis played a nice 1-2 and lashed home a low, hard strike to put Hobro on top.
It was his first professional goal and brings his tally to 1 goal and 3 assists on the season. Cappis was subbed off in the 80th minute and Hobro relinquished the lead just five minutes after that in. So his goal didn’t stand up as the game-winner, but it was still a big moment for Cappis. Congratulations to him. Rating: 5
Charlie Kelman - Striker, Southend United
Cappis was far from the only player on the scoresheet this weekend. Charlie Kelman got the start as usual on Saturday against Bristol Rovers FC. The 18-year-old English-American made it count when he opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Kelman took a sensational first touch as he raced in on goal and beat the keeper to put them up 1-0.
Charlie Kelman’s goal from yesterday against Bristol Rovers pic.twitter.com/KCzIHNLGkR— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) March 8, 2020
The goal gives Kelman six goals in 1,043 minutes in all competitions this year. It also got them off on the right foot in what would ultimately be a much needed 3-1 win. Southend have been dreadful this year and need a miracle to avoid relegation to England’s League 2 (the English fourth tier). Kelman is under contract through next summer, but you’d have to think he would have some suitors given his age and what he’s shown so far. He will definitely be one to watch this summer transfer window. Hopefully he can finish the season strong. Rating: 4
Malick Sanogo - Striker, Union Berlin
What a year it’s been for Malick Sanogo. The 15-year-old tri-national (he’s eligible for Germany and Ivory Coast as well as the United States) has been a production machine for Union Berlin’s U-17’s, putting up a ridiculous 16 goals and 7 assists in 21 matches this season. He was on the mark again on Sunday when he drew a penalty and took it himself in the 26th minute (the goal wound up being the match winner in a 2-1 win). While he obviously still has a long way to go, he is one to keep an eye on for the 2021 U-17 World Cup cycle. Rating: 1
Federico Oliva - Striker, Atlético Madrid
It’s been a great year for Fede Oliva. The 15-year-old has had a great year for Atléti’s Cadete A (the Spanish equivalent of U-17 level). Finally healthy, Oliva has been one of the most prolific scorers at that level, striking . Oliva has featured for the United States at the U-15 level and recently at the U-17 level and will be an option for the 2021 U-17 World Cup cycle. He is one to watch in the future as he continues to climb the ranks at Atlético Madrid. Rating: 1
Alan Soñora - Attacking Midfielder, CA Independiente
Alan Soñora earned his first career league start in the Argentine Superliga against Central Córdoba on Sunday. The 21-year-old started on the left wing in this match and had a really solid performance. His technical quality was on display as he consistently made accurate and smart passes and he sent in some dangerous crosses as well. He had a great chance to get on the scoresheet as well but his strike hit the crossbar. All in all, he was very good and seemed to really impress the fans. Soñora has a wand of a left foot and that is immensely rare in the USMNT player pool. Hopefully he can nail down a consistent role in the starting lineup soon. Take some time and turn on TYC International once in a while to check him out. Rating: 6
Ricardo Pepi - Striker, FC Dallas
Did I mention we had some goal scorers this week? Ricardo Pepi has come off the bench for each of FC Dallas’ first two matches of the season. The 17-year-old was looked upon to help them come back from a 2-0 deficit against the Montreal Impact when he subbed on in the 76th minute. FC Dallas pulled one back through Zdenek Ondrasek a few minutes after Pepi subbed on and Dallas continued to push for the tying goal. Late in stoppage time, a nice attacking move started by Reggie Cannon found Ondrasek who made a lovely pass in traffic to find Pepi. The 17-year-old struck it hard to beat the keeper and steal a point.
This was his first career MLS goal and a huge moment for Dallas. Hopefully it’s the first of many for the 2019 U-17 World Cup representative. Rating: 3
Cade Cowell - Winger, San Jose Earthquakes
Cade Cowell had an important moment in his career this week. After going as an unused substitute last week, the 16-year-old subbed on at halftime on Saturday to make his MLS debut. In doing so, Cowell became the fifth youngest player to play in an MLS match in the league’s history. Cowell was active and looked to attack from the moment he stepped on the field, but San Jose were trailing 4-1 when he came on so space was at a premium. Still, it’s a great moment for him and hopefully there will be much more where that came from. Rating: 1
NOTE: This coming week is a big one for young Americans. Gio Reyna and Borussia Dortmund face the second leg against PSG in Paris and likely need at least a draw to advance to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League (Wednesday, 4 PM ET on B/R Live and Galavision). Also, we could finally see Tyler Adams make his Champions League debut in the second leg of RB Leipzig’s bout with Tottenham (Tuesday, 4 PM ET on TNT, B/R Live and TUDN). Keaton Parks, James Sands, Joe Scally and New York City FC take on Tigres on Wednesday night at 8 PM ET on TUDN. Also, the Olympic qualifying roster is out for the United States U-23s as we near the qualifying campaign where the US has failed in the last two iterations.
Let’s wish all the players who were called in the best of luck as they try to qualify.
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!