Americans Abroad: Brenden Aaronson steals show in Leeds' opening win: 'He is only going to get better'

Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams made their Premier League debuts for Leeds United in a 2-1 win over Wolves.

Aaronson, in particular, stood out. He didn't score but did everything but ...

His pressing helped create the opening goal for Rodrigo and appeared to score the late winner before a cross from Patrick Bamford for the winning goal was credited by the Premier League Goal Accreditation Panel -- yes, there is such a body -- as an own goal by Wolves defender Rayan Ait-Nouri.

"The second goal was in some ways a little against the run of play but we were gathering momentum," said Leeds manager Jesse Marsch, who brought Aaronson to Europe in January 2021 when he coached Red Bull Salzburg, said in his postgame interview. "I was really pleased that the guys who came off the bench made a big difference."

"I think all the debutants did quite well. The speed of play... was at a very high level, both teams trying to impose themselves on the way they wanted to play. [Aaronson] is relentless. He is none stop. His work rate is incredible I know him well and the thing I know about him is he is only going to get better."

USMNT Goalkeepers:
Matt Turner (Arsenal, England), on bench (2-0 at Crystal Palace)
• Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough, England), 90 minutes (2-3 vs. QPR)
• Ethan Horvath (Luton Town, England, 90minutes (1-0 at Burnley)
MLS: Sean Johnson (New York City FC).

Steffen's whiff on Ilias Chair’s corner kick that led to QPR's second goal by Jimmy Dunne was not a good look, continuing a pattern of having problems judging balls played into the area.

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder was unhappy with his defense -- and the refereeing -- saying Steffen was fouled on the play that led to Dunne's goal.

“When you give good players a handout, which we did – charity, aided by some ridiculous refereeing decisions – it’s always going to be a difficult afternoon," he said in his post-game remarks  to the Yorkshire Post. "There was a comment by the referee to a member of my staff at halftime that the goalkeeper has to be stronger. The referee [shouldn’t] have an opinion in terms of coaching or what the goalkeeper needs to do. Especially when the goalkeeper’s facing towards the corner and somebody behind him puts a hand on his back and pushes him."

USMNT Outside Backs:
• George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany), sub-19 minutes (1-2 at Hansa Rostock)
Reggie Cannon (Boavista, Portugal), Sunday vs. Portimonense
Sergino Dest (Barcelona, Spain), season starts next week
• Antonee Robinson (Fulham, England), 90 minutes (2-2 vs. Liverpool)
• Joe Scally (Borussia M'Gladbach, Germany), 83 minutes (3-1 vs. Hoffenheim)
Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Sunday vs. Leuven
MLS: Shaq Moore (Tenerife), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami).

Scally (heat map) started at right back and came close to scoring, hitting the woodwork with one of his two shots.

USMNT Center Backs:
• Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic, Scotland), 90 minutes (3-1 at Ross County)
Mark McKenzie (Genk, Belgium), on bench (4-2 vs. Eupen)
Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes, France), Sunday at Montpellier
Tim Ream (Fulham, England), 90 minutes (2-2 vs. Liverpool)
Chris Richards (Crystal Palace, England), on bench (0-2 vs. Arsenal)
James Sands (Rangers, Scotland), 90 minutes (2-0 vs. Kilmarnock)
MLS: Aaron Long (NY Red Bulls), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC). Unattached: John Brooks.

Ream captained Fulham, whose goal will be to avoid immediate relegation, which it suffered in its last two trips to the Premier League.

He described the 2-2 tie with Liverpool as a "huge boost, first game back against the Champions League finalists from last season ... it sets the bar of where we have to be at every single match."

In 2020, the Cottagers opened with four straight defeats and won just two games in the first five months of the season.

Ream's postgame interview ...

USMNT Midfielders:
• Tyler Adams (Leeds United, England), 90 minutes (2-1 vs. Wolves)
Gianluca Busio (Venezia, Italy), Sunday vs. Ascoli (unavailable)
Luca de la Torre (Celta, Spain), season starts next week
Weston McKennie (Juventus, Italy), season starts next week (injured)
Yunus Musah (Valencia, Spain), season starts next week
• Malik Tillman (Rangers, Scotland), 77 minutes (2-0 vs. Kilmarnock)
MLS: Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Sebastian Lletget (New England Revolution), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes).

In his first Premiership start after arriving on loan from Bayern Munich, Tillman earned praise from Rangers manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, who told the Scotsman:

“He came in a couple of weeks ago and has been welcomed by the team really well. You can see his talents are really high from the academy of Bayern Munich and also played competitive games for them. You can see the quality that he has. He’s a strong player, you could see that today. Some players when they come to play in this league struggle a little bit in the beginning but he’s not had any problems with that. And his technical ability is of a very good standard. Today he created some chances for us. Just before he came off there was his pass to [Alfredo] Morelos. It’s a player who is capable of creating those chances for us.”

USMNT Wingers:
• Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United, England), 84 minutes (2-1 vs. Wolves)
Konrad de la Fuente (Marseille, France), Sunday vs. Reims (not in plans)
Matthew Hoppe (Real Mallorca, Spain), season starts next weekend.
• Christian Pulisic (Chelsea, England). sub-26 minutes (1-0 at Everton)
• Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), on bench (1-0 vs. Bayer Leverkusen)
Tim Weah (Lille, France), Sunday vs. Auxerre (suspended)
MLS: Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders).

USMNT Forwards:
• Jordan Pefok (Union Berlin, Germany), 77 minutes, 1 goal (3-1 vs. Hertha Berlin)
• Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg, Germany), sub-17 minutes (0-4 vs.l Freiburg)
• Josh Sargent (Norwich City, England), sub-14 minutes (1-1 vs. Wigan Athletic)
Haji Wright (Antalyaspor, Turkey), Sunday vs. Galatasaray
MLS: Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew).

Pefok opened the scoring in Union Berlin's derby win. It was the third consecutive Bundesliga win over Hertha -- on top of a win in the DFB Pokal to keep the unofficial title of "Stadtmeister" (city champion).

Photo: Imago via ZUMA Press/ISI Photos

25 comments about "Americans Abroad: Brenden Aaronson steals show in Leeds' opening win: 'He is only going to get better'".
  1. frank schoon, August 7, 2022 at 9:35 a.m.

    "He's only going to get better". IN WHAT?  In running more? more turbo? little thinking.  The problem I see and that he's on a team that plays Turbo ball like Pulisic whose obviously is suffering in his development for all they use him for is Turbo meat....

    Unfortunately, Aaronson plays will not be getting any better in areas of quality of passing, creating tempo passes, making passes that sets up others, cross passes to the feet of oncoming teammates, creating passes that can beat one or two defenders, or holding on to the ball in order to draw and create space for other to attack, more thinking type of play. No he won't be getting better, unfortunately, in those sophisticated categories for that is not Leeds United type of ball, 

    One thing he needs to get better at is on defense, since his propensity is go forwards he's doesn't concern himself much on counterattacks, specifically he needs to learn to mark his men at midfield closer for it causes his right back possibly get into 1v2 situation.

    It was a total downer watching Chelsea play with  CP entering the game around 68min mark and didn't do anything or contributed to the point where one could say, "Wow, he's really improving"...

    We need to stop our boys from being send abroad to clubs that could care about our player development...I would much rather have the MLS, USSF spend money on bringing over foreing, retired 'greats' that could actually teach our player the deeper insights and knowledge, technical, tactical or otherwise. Unless our boys come to Ajax and play or to some ohter club like that, I have serious doubts about our European contingent of players really improving our game back home....

    or maybe ,I hope maybe improving in 'give and go passes in small spaces, or increasing his quality of attacking passes or improving the quality of passes like with the outside of the foot, or making accurate cross passes that drop for the oncoming teammate, or make passes to correct foo

  2. John McGinty replied, August 7, 2022 at 10:57 a.m.

    Harsh indeed, you know more about a players improvement or lack thereof than his manager who has coached him for three years on? What one old player coming to MLS can teach more than a cadre of PL team coaches or 21 excellent players on a PL pitch in high intensity matches? Aaronson has been promoted rapidly from academy to Union to Salzburg, now Leeds because he has superior motor and impact on his team, compare him to Arriola, great motor but limited impact who fits your MLS model development. Regardless of your assessment all the world's best players are in Europe. I think Berhalter's comments over the summer confirm this.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, August 7, 2022 at 10:58 a.m.

    The way I would sum up the mess, is that good soccer is defined by how we play the game, not how we describe good soccer. When we get trainers and administrators who never played good soccer controlling player development, we get players playing poorly.

    This means that I expect that both Santi and you would solve soccer tactical problems alot closer than the way you both talk about soccer would indicate. For example diagonal passes, etc. Diagonal passes generally are better tactical choices that verticle passes in most situations. And "lateral" passes, I bet during matches, Santi has switched the ball to the weakside countless times (when it is a good tactical choice). Another key development goal, should be developing players that solve soccer problems, instead of following instructions and mindlessly following pattern passing drills. 

  4. Donald Lee replied, August 7, 2022 at 11:21 a.m.

    What a load of horse crap.  I personally have a preference for Brazil's 1970s- 80s samba style, and the Dutch total football from that era.  But I'm not so egotistic and self-centered that I can't realize that the most succesful teams in the world are playing very fast, very physical, high-pressure, direct soccer these days.  

  5. frank schoon replied, August 7, 2022 at 11:42 a.m.

    John, I'm not impressed with his manager who's just a turbo type of coach...Aaronson will obviously not learn the finer elements of the game when you consider Marsch's own backround as a player...

  6. frank schoon replied, August 7, 2022 at 12:01 p.m.

    Bob, "When we get trainers and administrators who never played good soccer controlling player development, we get players playing poorly.". That's exactly the problem we have with our Academies...We don't have the real mc Coys running the show who exactly can tell and able to demonstrate but we instead get to laptop coaches with licensed and who can talk a good game on the blackboard

  7. Wayne Norris replied, August 7, 2022 at 8:49 p.m.

    Frank, I would not call your Aaronson critique "harsh" but actually "stubborn". Being that you have already labeled him "unintelligent - turbo" he will never be anything but that ...

    I would actually suggest that most of the characteristics you suggest are his weaknesses are actually strengths that set him apart.

    While surely imperfect Aaronsons intelligence , vision, touch and defensive work combines with quickness / speed (turbo?) and confidence make him a special talent.

    Does one EPL game make a career.....of course not but this kid has "that something special" and I look forward to seeing him develop further.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, August 8, 2022 at 12:22 a.m.

    Donald, the teams dominating Europe today do so because they spend the most money.

  9. Radwan Muscat, August 7, 2022 at 10:55 a.m.

    Seems like you're EPL coaching material.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, August 7, 2022 at 11:02 a.m.

    Troll alert.

  11. Ben Myers, August 7, 2022 at 2:05 p.m.

    Let's give credit to Aaronson for what many coaches do not give credit to players. Maybe Aaronson has the necessary intelligence to manage his own development?  No matter who is the coach, a player's improvement often depends on his/her intelligence, motivation, physical abilities and technical abilities. But especially intelligence, the tie-breaker between two othereise equally gifted players.  Playing time is necessary, too, and that is where many Americans in Europe have come up short for whatever reason.

    I have coached for a very long time at the lower youth level up to including high school age players. For me, it has been a wonderful experience to have a team now and them full of extremely intelligent soccer players, or even to have a nucleus of smart kids who want to learn the game and improve.  Or even one or two who can become on the field leaders.  Even at the U10 level years ago with one young lady.  So they learn and get a lot of responsibilty on the field of play, and to think for themselves.  Realistically, that's what the game is all about at every level.  A player has to think for onesself and react accordingly, because one do not have time to ask what the coach would like done in a given situation.

  12. Kent James, August 7, 2022 at 3:58 p.m.

    Player speed and playing quickly are neither inherently good or inherently bad (though lack of speed or inability to play quickly are usually weaknesses).  If you can play quickly, and the other team can't keep up, then by all means, play quickly.  If you suffer a loss of technique (or the loss of the ball) by playing quickly, then that's a problem.  Playing quickly does not signifiy a lack of intelligence.  I would argue that playing quickly usually requires more intelligence because things unfold faster.  

    If the opposing team matches your striker man to man, and is much slower, an intelligent player will spot that and put a simple ball into space behind the defender and let it be a foot race to goal.  Route 1 soccer.  Maybe not as pretty as knocking the ball around and looking for opportunities to open up, but if they give it to you, if you want to win (which is very important at the professional level), you take what they give you.  That's intelligent soccer.  On the other hand, the defense should figure that out and shut it down (which is why consistent Rt 1 soccer doesn't usually work). 

    Aaronson plays quickly and has a high work rate, which I think are positive attributes (better to have those qualities than not, though how they are used is important).  If his work rate is reflected in unintelligent running, then that's a problem. Likewise, if by playing quickly he makes errors, that can be a problem too. Inevitably playing more quickly creates more errors, but whether it is worth it or not depends on how many opportunities it creates vs times you turn the ball over.  It's riskier to play faster but it can often catch the opponents off-balance and create scoring opportunities.  

    I am glad Aaronson did well in his first game in the EPL, and I think playing there should help him continue to improve his game.  

  13. Wooden Ships replied, August 8, 2022 at 11:36 p.m.

    Sound observations Kent. 

  14. frank schoon replied, August 9, 2022 at 9:40 a.m.

    Kent, well said, but here is the problem, we don't have good soccer experts telling the audience when watching what a player is doing wrong or right....That's the problem, the soccer audience is not educated by being told that a certain action from the fan's point of view, perhaps looks spectacular but in a reality it was a dumb play, not efficient, can cause problems,etc. If this kid was dutch and played for one of our dutch teams the 'soccer' audience is more educated by better soccer journalists and experts ,that we lack here, would know a lot more about the player, his faults, weaknesses and positive points. Unfortunately ,the talking magpies who give the color commentary here are clueless......

  15. R2 Dad, August 7, 2022 at 10:41 p.m.

    I thought BA was effective, against a Wolves team that wanted to play. However, this is just the beginning of his troubles. The bottom half of the table will not want to let him play, knowing he will hurt them in the middle of the park and the EPL won't card for persistent infringement. So he''s going to get kicked early and often by the likes of Villa, Forest, Southhampton et al. He will have more excellent outings, but inevitably he'll have his own Ryan Shawcross experience. Idiot talking heads like Roy Keane will blame his "slight stature", and nothing will change. If I were BA I would get a $10M insurance policy to protect his health while playing in the EPL--the FA refuses to protect skillful players who don't know well enough to protect themselves. Ask: Stu Holden, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby.

  16. Wooden Ships replied, August 8, 2022 at 9:30 a.m.

    To true R2. Odds on him being healthy come Qatar?

  17. frank schoon replied, August 8, 2022 at 10:07 a.m.

    R2, you're right, a player that's basically turbo and doesn't have much else to rely upon can be easily put out of commission, as seen by our other players' experiences. Injuries tend to be greater when playing in a Turbo environment.

    Remember before the English league was inundated with foreign players, the average english didn't last long in the league and you have look under a rock to find one an English player still playing who was 30 or older. As the game got more sophisticated by bringing in foreing players less turbo was relied upon and more soccer and as result it did wonders for the English players, physical speaking, ofcourse I'm speaking in relative terms.

  18. Sean Guillory, August 8, 2022 at 12:59 a.m.

    We have people on here that are still stuck in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.  The game is different now. It's more about quick fast, one and two touch soccer.  I keep hearing about Ajax and the Dutch superior way of playing.  When have they won anything last in Europe?  80s and 90s.  Ajax has not produced a great player since Edgar Davids and that crew.  Give me a break.  Aaronson is fine and he does defend.. that's how they scored their first goal because he stole the ball away in their 3rd.  That's defending.

  19. R2 Dad replied, August 8, 2022 at 6:50 a.m.

    Sean, did you not watch Ajax best Real Madrid and Juventus (losing to Tottenham on away goals) during their run to the CL semi in 2019? It's not going to happen regularly but that was a great season for a team from one of the smaller Euro leagues. Don't de Ligt, van de Beek, de Jong, Ziyech, ten Hag ( and Dest the year before) ring a bell? Ajax has always punched above their weight, and their player development is an equal to all the top clubs. Considering the huge payroll discrepancies between Ajax and Bayern/Madrid/Barca/ EPL teams, I don't see where the criticism comes from. Are they supposed to beat Madrid, Juventus, Tottenham and Liverpool regularly in order to rate? Your comments seem out of touch wrt the finances of the modern game.

  20. frank schoon replied, August 8, 2022 at 10:44 a.m.

    Sean, I expect those who read my comments to have an above first grade level of understanding of the game. That's a given to me and I also understand, that some of my more technical/tactical explanations could present some difficulties in understanding, which I have no trouble in clearing up to some who like to get deeper. But your reaction to take what I say literally, like BA is not good in defense by disproving me, giving an example of him actually stopping play defensively, takes the cake. I'm surprised you didn't counter my assertion of BA being a Turbo player by proving me wrong, saying that you've actually seen BA walk during the game and not run. Any idiot can stop a play from happening if he's there at the right moment. You have realize there is more to defense than just being there..

    You have to realize that Ajax has probably the best player development in the world. It's known world wide among Ajax opponents. This is why they want to buy Ajax talent at an early age. This is one of the problems Ajax faces ,buying away their talent before it is fully developed. Ajax plays in the Dutch league that is not to well respected, some think it is Mickey Mouse, but somehow Ajax  develops great players learning the game in this socalled Mickey Mouse league.
    The dutch have worldwide reputation for producing great players and good soccer, Go figure.... 

    Your socalled last great dutch player, Edgar Davids, was not a great player for Ajax standards, although an Ajax player. He was not a thinker, not a good technician or tactician of the game, but he made his name as midfield enforcer...'muscle', in other words. Cruyff didn't think much of him, for his passes did not contribute to good attacking soccer, beginning from midfield, which carries more implications with it that I'm not going to discuss with you for that's beyond the scope of this article and well as you. Cruyff also states that Davids was not a thinker of the game and therefore could not play outside back the way it should be played....again that's beyond the scope here...

  21. Grant Goodwin, August 8, 2022 at 11:14 a.m.

    All i can say is go Aaronson.  The US way has always been physical along with some fast.  I think it is naive to assume that Aaronson is not developing his technical skills along with his all around skillset playing in the premier league.  

  22. Bob Ashpole replied, August 8, 2022 at 10:43 p.m.

    Grant, what you said is true in that turbo players will develop "some" technical skills. The problem is that they are not developing the skills to play in tight spaces--accurate passing with both feet and good first touch in particular. They also are not learning to see and use the tight spaces.

    In summary they learn skills that will help them play 1v1, play in the middle third, and play on the flanks, but not the skills needed in the central zone and in the attacking third. This is most evident when they fail to break down a compact defense in the final third.

  23. frank schoon replied, August 9, 2022 at 9:31 a.m.

    Bob, well said...And until the American soccer fan realizes Turbo soccer as a style and that we produce basically turbo type of players is not good ,but only glimpses of it to throw off the opponent then we'll never develop good soccer as a nation...

  24. Santiago 1314 replied, August 10, 2022 at 12:24 a.m.

    Frank, you missing out on the Current and Future... Tiki-Turbo... USA gonna Win the Olympics in Paris 2024 and World Cup in USA 2026... Bob, Donald, Wayne, Kent got it Right, ... As much as we Love the Clockwork Orange of Cruijff... The Dutch players being Produced by Ajax today are Fringe "Softies" I would say.

  25. frank schoon replied, August 10, 2022 at 8:32 a.m.

    Santi,  you have a continued love affair with the Dutch 'Clockwork Orange' and Total Soccer that never existed. The Dutch just had great players. And true today's Ajax players are not a shade of what Ajax produced in the 70's and that is because that generation grew up playing street soccer. In other words this can be applied to all European teams. The skill level of todays players ,according to Cruyff, is a 5 as compared to when he played an 8

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