Christian Pulisic is coming off a memorable few days, and so are several other Americans stationed overseas or in MLS. A few of Pulisic’s fellow young U.S. men’s national teamers are suddenly facing some real adversity with their European club teams, however, leaving their status for next month’s international friendlies against Colombia and Peru in doubt.
Here’s whose stock is rising or falling this week:
M Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund (German Bundesliga)
Pulisic celebrated his 20th birthday with a midweek Champions League winner, and he scored another dramatic late goal on Saturday to salvage a point for 10-man Dortmund against Hoffenheim.
The newly 20-year-old's second goal in 5 days ties it up for Dortmund! pic.twitter.com/kjC3dHxxaT
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) September 22, 2018
The takeaway: The USA’s best attacking player is off and running after fighting through a minor injury early this season. If Pulisic stays healthy and his blistering form continues, his long-awaited return to the U.S. team — he has made just one international appearance in a year — for those October friendlies will be met with plenty of interest.
F Andrija Novakovich, Fortuna Sittard (Dutch Eredivisie)
Novakovich has started all six of Fortuna’s league matches this season, and he now has four goals after scoring twice in Saturday’s wild 4-4 draw with Willem II.
Andrija Novakovich's brace for Fortuna Sittard against Willem II. He is now tied for 6th in the Eredivisie in goal-scoring with 4, alongside guys like Hirving Lozano and Robin van Persie. pic.twitter.com/10qrpZoqOM
— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) September 22, 2018
The takeaway: Novakovich is doing everything he can to convince interim U.S. coach Dave Sarachan to give him a longer look during next month’s games. The 22-year-old debuted for the USMNT in March, but he’s seen just 42 minutes of playing time over his two caps this year, and didn’t play at all in the recent friendlies against Brazil and Mexico.
D DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle (English Premier League)
Yedlin started his fifth game for the Magpies this season, helping his team keep the clean sheet in Saturday’s scoreless draw at Crystal Palace.
The takeaway: The 25-year-old veteran has been perhaps the most consistent American in Europe so far this season. Yedlin missed one match with a knee injury, but outside of an unfortunate own goal last month he’s been solid against some truly elite foes including Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City.
M Alejandro Bedoya, Philadelphia Union (MLS)
The hard-working 2014 World Cup veteran has been excellent for months for the surging Union, who will travel to face the Houston Dynamo in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup final. Bedoya assisted on both Philadelphia goals Sunday in a 2-0 win over then-Western Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City.
The takeaway: It remains to be seen what future, if any, 30-something U.S. vets like Bedoya, Brad Guzan and Michael Bradley have with the national team. If there’s a role for older players, the 31-year-old Bedoya is making his case as the leader of a young Philly team that was built by new USMNT general manager Earnie Stewart. Don’t forget that Stewart, as the Union’s sporting director, signed Bedoya to a designated player contract in 2016.
M Kenny Saief, Anderlecht (Belgian First Division A)
Injured toward the end of last season — the 24-year-old winger had to pull out of U.S. games versus Ireland and France in June — Saief is healthy and has played in Anderlecht’s last three matches, including Sunday’s 2-1 derby win over Standard Liege.
The takeaway: He’s been limited to just two caps since his 2017 U.S. debut and understandably remains relatively unknown to U.S. fans. Yet the Florida-born, Israel-raised lefty could play a bigger role than many expect this cycle. Skilled, smart, still young and well-liked by coaches and teammates, Saief is a good bet to be summoned next month if he’s fit.
D George Bello, Atlanta United (MLS)
Just 16, the highly touted U.S. youth international left back became the eighth-youngest starter in MLS history on Saturday in Atlanta’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake.
The takeaway: To be clear, Bello is nowhere near ready to be considered for the national team right now. His senior U.S. debut is probably two years away at the earliest. Still, fact is he’s the best American left back prospect in recent memory, and it’s no accident that he’s already beginning to break through with the best team in MLS:
The night's matchup for Bello was Jefferson Savarino, a very dangerous winger and a Venezuelan international. Bello shut him down in the first half. pic.twitter.com/D9QZq4TB9T
— Scuffed (@zlebmada) September 23, 2018
M Weston McKennie, Schalke (German Bundesliga)
The 20-year-old Texan was injured on a kick by Bayern Munich’s James Rodriguez during Saturday’s 2-0 home loss, last-place Schalke’s fourth straight defeat to start the season. And while the club said in a Sunday tweet that McKennie’s leg wasn’t broken, it revealed that he’d suffered severe bruising and internal bleeding that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.
The takeaway: McKennie is officially out for at least Tuesday’s trip to Frieburg, but things could’ve been a lot worse. That said, every game he misses reduces the chances that he’ll be available for the games against Peru and Rodriguez’s Colombia next month.
F/M Tim Weah, Paris Saint-Germain (French Ligue 1)
After scoring in the season opener and getting his first start in Week 2, Weah has been left out of PSG manager Thomas Tuchel’s squad for five consecutive games, including Sunday’s 3-1 win over Rennes.
The takeaway: There’s no reason to be overly concerned that Weah, at 18, isn’t playing for one of the world’s deepest clubs. He knew minutes would be hard to come by when he decided to stay in Paris last month. If Weah is still sitting by year’s end though, a loan move in January probably makes sense.
F Bobby Wood, Hannover (German Bundesliga)
Wood’s first league start for Hannover lasted just 30 minutes; the Hawaiian striker was the player sacrificed after defender Miiko Albornoz picked up an early red card in a 2-0 loss to Nurnberg.
The takeaway: Four games into the season, Wood is still looking for his first competitive goal for his new team. He’s managed just two shots, both of them back on Aug. 31. The 25-year-old’s next chance should come quickly, though: Hannover hosts Hoffenheim on Tuesday.
G Ethan Horvath, Club Brugge (Belgian First Division A)
While Horvath started 16 matches for Brugge in 2017-18, his first full season with the club, he’s been relegated to reserve duty this season, making just one appearance off the bench in eight games so far.
The takeaway: Horvath was still invited to U.S. camp earlier this month, mainly because of a lack of depth at the position. That’s fine. At 23, the Colorado native has plenty of room left to grow. Whether Brugge is the best place for his development to occur is questionable. Horvath will have spent two years in Belgium by January. If he hasn’t won back his job back by then a change of scenery could be necessary, if not overdue.
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• Pulisic scores Champions League winner for Dortmund on his 20th birthday