USMNT: October begins on down note for several key players

Union Berlin's Brenden Aaronson (left) tries to escape from Hoffenheim's John Brooks in a Bundesliga battle of Americans. Photo: Imago via ZUMA Press
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Folarin Balogun (Monaco) and Malik Tillman (PSV) both scored goals and added assists for first-place teams, while Christian Pulisic scored in another win for AC Milan, which shares the top spot with Inter Milan on points in Serie A.

Yunus Musah was also very good off the bench for AC Milan in its win over Lazio.

These positive outings overshadowed what has been a rough few weeks in terms of playing time for such players as Tim Weah, Brandon Aaronson and Chris Richards, who had been big contributors for the USMNT when it beat Uzbekistan and Oman in the first friendlies of the 2023-24 season.

That doesn't include Gio Reyna, who was not called in for the September window and has still yet to get off the bench at Borussia Dortmund.

Of the 24 players called into the USMNT for the September window, just 10 started this past weekend.

With the next squad expected to be announced this week ahead of games against Germany and Ghana, here is a look at their situations ...

√-Started Sept. 29-Oct. 2.

Drake Callender (Inter Miami). Beaten at near post by Houston's Griffin Dorsey in Open Cup final and NYCFC's Santiago Rodriguez on Saturday.
Ethan Horvath (Nott. Forest). Not registered for Premier League.
Matt Turner (Nott. Forest). Continues to hold down starting job despite arrival of late summer signing Odysseas Vlachodimos from Benfica.
Sergiño Dest (PSV). Missed last two Eredivisie games, first due to illness, the second as an unused sub.
Kristoffer Lund (Palermo). Started in two wins last week -- 3-1 win at Venezia and 2-1 over Sudtirol -- for Palermo, second in Italy's Serie B.
Mark McKenzie (Genk). Has not played since scoring in Europa Conference League match against Fiorentina on Sept. 21 because of a toe injury.
Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg). Played 11 minutes on Saturday in first appearance since September window after recovering from thigh injury.
Tim Ream (Fulham), Punished for a bad turnover that led to Chelsea's second goal in 2-0 win on Monday.
Chris Richards (Crystal Palace). Late sub in Saturday's 1-0 win at Manchester United.
Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Did not have a good first half against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Miles Robinson (Atlanta United). Five Stripes were idle on Saturday.
*Joe Scally (Borussia M'Gladbach). Did not start in 3-1 win at Bochum after Gladbach opened without a win in five Bundesliga games.
*Replaced by DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution) for second game in September camp after he left for family reasons.
*Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Returned for first leg of Libertadores Cup semifinals, playing first 45 minutes, but did not dress on Saturday.
Ben Cremaschi (Inter Miami). Started last three games, including Open Cup final.
Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo). Sent off in 1-1 draw with Deportivo Alaves on Thursday after receiving two yellow cards.
Weston McKennie (Juventus). Has for now won starting job at right wing back ahead of Tim Weah.
Yunus Musah (AC Milan), Impressed in midfield when brought on in first half of 2-0 win over Lazio after Ruben Loftus-Cheek was injured.
Malik Tillman (PSV), Scored once and assisted on another goal in his first start, a 3-1 victory over Volendam that kept PSV perfect in Eredivisie.

*Replaced by Tanner Tessmann (Venezia) for September camp due to an ankle injury.

Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin). Has played just 87 minutes in four games, all losses, since September break.
Folarin Balogun (Monaco). Rebounded from nightmare against Nice (two missed penalty kicks) with goal and assist against Marseille for first-place Monaco.
Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), No goals or assists in last four MLS games (one goal and three assists for season).
Ricardo Pepi (PSV), Scored in first two games back after scoring in both USMNT friendlies in September but still getting limited action behind Luuk de Jong (61 minutes in last four games).
Christian Pulisic (AC Milan), Expected to start at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in Champions League after solid outings in a pair of Serie A wins.
Tim Weah (Juventus). Played four minutes and seven minutes in Juve's two games last week.

5 comments about "USMNT: October begins on down note for several key players".
  1. Kent James, October 3, 2023 at 11:17 a.m.

    The description of Drake Callender as "beaten at the near post," as if this were a knock on his ability, is something that doesn't make sense. Paul Kennedy is obviously not the only one who as expressed that criticism.  A goalkeeper should give up an equal amount of goals (at least on a per shot basis) to either side, otherwise their positioning is wrong.  If I overplay the near post, so I'm not being criticized for being beaten their, then I'm leaving the far post open.  And from the goal scorers perspective, the far post is the shot that is likelier to go in, because if the shooter misses wide, a teammate can still knock it in (granted, a far post shot also allows a defender the opportunity to block it, but I still think the odds favor the offense).  If a near post shot goes wide, it's a goal kick.  So if anything, as a goalkeeper, I'd prefer they shoot at the near post.

  2. humble 1 replied, October 3, 2023 at 12:37 p.m.

    I was at that game - that - was a golazo - Dorsey top netted that at full gallop had beaten his mark by 2 yards - that - was your issue.  He did it earlier in the year in Houston - I was at that game too.  No chance for keeper.  Callender has his challenges - he is in the thick of things in Miami - played every game all the way thru the final of Open Cup - so can't knock him for lacking games.  C'mon Drake!  

  3. humble 1, October 3, 2023 at 12:44 p.m.

    Aaronson, Weah and Richardson are all 2000 birth year players - still U23 this year - all have been playing pro since 18 - all at the highest level at the moment - all have shown character and ability required to earn the start.  They are in final phase of development where errors still happen - as well as brilliant moments - so they just need to keep developing - to where - the errors are going down - per minute - and the flashes of brilliance - up - it's a process - they are where you want to be - with opportunity - at the highest level.  Richardson in the more complicated situation - because the Prem - lacks integrity - esp for teams like Crystal - but - is also unforgiving.  He has the ability.  Make it happen boys!  

  4. humble 1, October 3, 2023 at 1 p.m.

    Last comment and out.  McKennie's current level is higher than any player I've ever watched for U.S.  He is impacting every game for Juve, if you are not watching Juve, go watch their highlights - he features in the last 5 games.  I don't worry about Weah, he will be have a clear development plan from Allegri and staff - and - he will execute on it.  I see him emerging this year into an impact player - like McKennie - who is setting the bar high.  Also, gets nary a mention here - Antonee Robinson - this young man is consistently at a high level - for club and country - work rate - top class - desire - top class - aggresiveness - top level - we are blessed to have him play for us.  The player I am praying get's back to playing - not even mentioned here - Tyler Adams - don't forget - this kid is a 1999 birth year player - he's been staring as pro since 18 - he proved himself last year - just needs some quality physio and dietician help - that he is not getting - or - if he is - has not taken root yet - he was bulletproof for a long time - I sense they misdiagnosed, failed to properly recover him and brought him back to early - re-injury like that - borders on negilgence - these days.  C'mon Tyler!  

  5. Kent James replied, October 3, 2023 at 11:53 p.m.

    I agree about McKennie; I haven't seen him at Juventus, but he (and Adams and Pulisic) is the heart and soul of the USMNT.  He's a unique player; powerful, but surprisingly adept dribbler, great vision, suprisingly good in tight spaces, excellent passer and he can shoot.  On the national team, he seems to roam all over the field, creating havoc for the other team, which is how I think he should be used.  I'm surprised he's playing an outside back, because that doesn't seem to suit what I think are his strengths, and I've not seen him play a lot of disciplined defense (which seems like an important part of being an outside back, unless they're primarily using him offensively).  I'm glad to hear he's doing well.  I also agree about Weah; he'll find a spot.  He's certainly improved since he first joined the USMNT; I just wish he'd use his left foot more...

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