While the excitement potential is high amongst big club USMNT call-ups like PSG’s Tim Weah and Everton’s Antonee Robinson, there are several other relative newcomers who are facing a more acute focus.
So yes, of course, we’re most excited to see the young guns fire away, but a few others will be under the microscope for different reasons.
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Paraguay is leaving some big names behind — Dario Lezcano, Jesus Medina, Edgar Benítez — but won’t be using as “B” or “C” of a squad as the USMNT. Key defenders Junior Alonso (Lille) and Gustavo Gomez (AC Milan) will be staring down the U.S. attack, while Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron will try his luck against the Yanks’ backs.
- The goalkeepers — With full respect to Bill Hamid and his five caps, the trio of backstops who could play against Paraguay are unknown entities on the senior international level. There are reasons to be excited about Alex Bono (Toronto FC) and Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew) going against Los Guaraníes — and Hamid, too — and standing behind a young and untested group of center backs should give plenty of chances to make a name for whoever is chosen (If Sarachan is more “woke” this go-round, it’ll be multiple keepers).
- Andriya Novakovich — The Telstar striker is checking all the boxes: 6-foot-4, productive on the youth level, and now succeeding overseas. The 21-year-old has 17 goals on loan from Reading in the Dutch second tier. While that’s far from a “Woah” figure considering the top-tier in the Netherlands isn’t exactly a defensive hot bed, it’s intriguing for Tuesday in North Carolina.
- Rubio Rubin — We’re hopeful Sarachan goes with a 4-4-2, which would allow both Rubin and Novakovich to get runs next to Bobby Wood. Rubin is seeing some time at Liga MX side Club Tijuana after his European adventure stalled following a hot start for Utrecht. He had an assist in CONCACAF Champions League play against Red Bulls this month.
- Tyler Adams — Speaking of that match, the Red Bulls got a goal from Adams. It’s fair to say he’s got the chance to be as special a player as Schalke youngster Weston McKennie (and would apparently like to join his USMNT teammate overseas). Adams and McKennie together could legit be an engine room for years. Will that begin on Tuesday?
- Cameron Carter-Vickers — The 20-year-old center back has shown resilience in England. His hot start to life at Sheffield United, on loan from Tottenham, cooled enough to have him sent back to North London, but Carter-Vickers has rebounded to become a key part of Ipswich Town’s back line. With 22-year-old Matt Miazga the only clear center back on the roster and older than him, CCV can quiet a lot of doubters.
- Kenny Saief — This guy has excited at nearly every turn since bursting onto the scene with Gent via the Israeli national team, and an injury cost him some momentum with the USMNT. Now healthy and on loan with Anderlecht, the same side which refined the fire of Sacha Kljestan, the once-capped Florida-born man is as intriguing as ever.
The New York Red Bulls are one round from their first CONCACAF Champions League final.
Tyler Adams scored and the Red Bulls made their big Mexican win hold up in a 3-1 win (5-1 aggregate) over Liga MX’s Club Tijuana at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Tuesday.
Marc Rzatkowski and Kaku scored the Red Bulls’ other goals, with Bradley Wright-Phillips playing a role in all three goals.
The Red Bulls will face either Seattle Sounders or Chivas Guadalajara in the semis, with Seattle holding a 1-0 lead ahead of Wednesday’s second leg at Estadio Chivas.
The semifinals legs are April 3-5 and 10-12.
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Xolos struck quickly, with American winger Rubio Rubin crossing from the left for Luis Mendoza to tap into the goal.
It was the 22-year-old Rubin’s first assist since transferring to the Mexican club following time at Stabaek, Silkeborg, and Utrecht.
The hosts were not moved, with Bradley Wright-Phillips starting a play.
Adams restored the two-goal aggregate advantage in the 28th minute when he met Michael Murillo’s cross and was ruled onside.
BWP and Murillo would switch roles in setting up Rzatkowski’s 70th minute goal, and RBNY was home free.
Three clubs have booked their place in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and that meant one MLS side had to go home on Tuesday.
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Toronto FC rode a scoreless draw against the Colorado Rapids in their second leg affair into the final eight, after the reigning MLS Cup champions went ahead 2-0 on aggregate in the first leg.
The result for the Rapids sees the Western Conference side among the three eliminated teams on the evening, while three more MLS clubs remain alive.
Elsewhere, Tigres and Herediano proved to get tangled up in another wild affair on Tuesday, however, the Mexican side managed to earn its place in the next round despite a tough test from their Costa Rican opposition.
Tigres has finished runners’ up in the competition in each of the last two years, but will face another stiff opponent in the next round when Toronto is on the opposite end of the pitch.
Tuesday’s CCL scores
Toronto FC 0-0 Colorado Rapids (TFC advances 2-0 on aggregate)
Tigres 3-1 Herediano (Tigres advances 5-3 on aggregate)
Tijuana 1-0 Motagua (Tijuana advances 2-0 on aggregate)
Remaining CCL schedule
Chivas Guadalajara vs. Cibao — 8 p.m. ET (2-0 on aggregate)
FC Dallas vs. Tauro FC — 8 p.m. ET (0-1 on aggregate)
Club America vs. Deportivo Saprissa — 10 p.m. ET (5-1 on aggregate)
New York Red Bulls vs. Olimpia — 8 p.m. ET (1-1 on aggregate)
Seattle Sounders vs. Santa Tecla — 10 p.m. ET (1-2 on aggregate)
Make it four Americans on the Club Tijuana roster — plus two on loan — as 21-year-old forward Rubio Rubin heads back to North America after three and a half years abroad.
Rubin, who carries four full USMNT caps, has struggled for playing time at Stabaek (Norway) and Silkeborg (Denmark) after scoring four goals with eight assists for Utrecht in the Eredivisie.
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Sought by several MLS sides, Rubin has decided to join up with Michael Orozco, Fernando Arce Jr, and Alejandro Guido at Club TJ. Midfielder Joe Corona is on loan to Club America and goalkeeper Carlos Lopez is with Sinaloa on loan.
Paul Arriola was with TJ as well before heading to DC United. From Xolos.com.mx:
“Obviously, players like Paul Arriola, Joe Corona, (Alejandro) Guido and Michael Orozco, all the Xolos players who are my football teammates and who speak good things about Tijuana, which is a good club, were also important to make the decision. that the fans are fantastic and that they are all like a family in Tijuana. So my decision I took for that. Your opinion was important to me.”
Rubin will be tasked with getting his career back on track, and both Xolos, the USMNT, and even MLS will be hoping he returns to his highly-sought after previous form.
After four years away, Amando Moreno has decided to return home.
The New York Red Bulls announced that it had signed Moreno to an MLS contract. The 22-year-old forward spent the last four years with Club Tijuana, though he only made a hand full of appearances. He also spent time on loan with Dorados in Mexico’s second division last season, scoring once in seven league appearances.
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His main playing time in Mexico came during Copa MX matches, a breeding ground for the next crop of youngsters looking to break into the first team of every team in the competition. He scored five goals in 21 appearances for Tijuana and another goal for Dorados last fall.
The former U.S. Youth National Team starter found playing time hard to come by both in the U.S. and Mexico, but perhaps he sees light at the end of the tunnel in New York. With Bradley Wright-Phillips on the wrong side of 30, a good season split between the Red Bulls and New York Red Bulls II could be a way in for Moreno, as well as a potential return to the national team picture in the future.