Aaron Long

Photo by Tim Vizer / AFP

USMNT player ratings from Uruguay draw

Leave a comment

The United States men’s national team did not shine in a 1-1 draw with Uruguay on Tuesday in St. Louis, but neither the hosts nor the visitors brought anything resembling an A-team to the party.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some decent entertainment along the way, and we’ll let you know who took their chance to stand out of a lesser soiree to get another look when the A-listers arrive at the front door.

Starting XI

Brad Guzan — 5 — The one-time surefire replacement for Tim Howard did nothing to say he should move up the pecking order, even in the wake of Zack Steffen‘s continued poor distribution choices in a U.S. shirt.

Reggie Cannon (Off 75′) — 6 — Just fine. Not a wide pest for the opposition as we’ve seen in the past, but he had to be a little more defensive with Long to his left.

Aaron Long (Off 65′) — 4 — A terrible international break for the Red Bulls star, who was front-and-center for three opposition goals in five days. Will the mauler rebound during the CONCACAF Nations League next month?

Tim Ream — 7 —  Ream was very good, bailing out Brad Guzan for first half spillage. Oddly enough, he made several incisive passes look easy — including one that led up to Morris’ goal — but sent Aaron Long running on easier sideways passes. Sports!

Sergino Dest (Off 70′) — 5 — Made his fair share of 18-year-old mistakes again but the flashes of brilliance, everyone, they are just… so… darn… bright. It will be a big blow for the USMNT if he ultimately chooses the Netherlands.

Jackson Yueill — 6 — Was neither incredible, nor poor, and hit a couple of eye-opening passes to free his wingers. But what he did do was show that we ought to see what he can do in the holding midfield role rather than keep giving 75-90 minute turns to Wil Trapp.

Cristian Roldan — 7 — Allowed to run his shorts off without the focus of acute attacking third responsibilities, the Sounders man probably had his best game in a U.S. shirt.

Sebastian Lletget — 7 — He’s better than most people realize, and delivered a number of creative passes and moments of vision which are becoming staples of his game. Hopefully we get the chance to see him interacting with a midfield including McKennie or Pulisic more often (or even show that he’s good enough centrally to keep Pulisic at his pulsating best position of wing).

Tyler Boyd (Off 65′) — 5 — A couple good crosses and 1v1 dribbles, but ultimately his sophomore call-up qualifies as a small slump.

Josh Sargent (Off 75′)  — 6 — The hometown hero did plenty of good at the ballpark of his favorite baseball team. Could’ve won a penalty if the referee used his eyes efficiently.

Jordan Morris (Off 85′)  — 7 (MOTM) — A really nice night for the Sounders star, who is working really well as a winger. Some terrific crosses and vision could’ve led to a goal before he bodied one home to tie the score late.

Jordan Morris scores past Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera . (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Substitutes

Corey Baird (On 65′) — 6 — Some decent moments on the wing, but still a mile away from being a starting-caliber option.

Miles Robinson (On 65′) — 6 — The Atlanta United youngster was barely troubled during his half-hour (ish) of time.

Daniel Lovitz (On 70′) — 6 — Same as Robinson.

Nick Lima (On 75′) — 7 — There are times when you think Nick Lima should be in a righteous fight with DeAndre Yedlin for starting right back status (when Berhalter isn’t using Tyler Adams in the spot), and Tuesday was one of them. Right place, right time for the late assist.

Gyasi Zardes (On 75′) — 6 — The anti-hero a national program needs. Yes, you’re in a lot of trouble if he’s your regular starting center forward, but he’s a match-up problem athletically and goes to the dirty areas to finish chances. Is there a place for him if Jozy Altidore, Josh Sargent, and Tim Weah are healthy? No, probably not (but he’ll be there).

Paxton Pomykal (On 85′) — n/a — Congrats on the debut, kid. Wish we could’ve seen more of you.

West Ham scrambling to complete Aaron Long transfer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Amid heavy speculation that West Ham is attempting to bring in NY Red Bulls and USMNT defender Aaron Long, there are reports that the deal has hit a couple of snags.

Most notably, West Ham has been linked with a $4 million move but is reportedly struggling to secure a work permit for Long despite the defender having logged significant time with the U.S. National Team of late. The 26-year-old was a first-choice center-back for Gregg Berhalter throughout the Gold Cup this summer and has made all 11 of his international appearances in the wake of the United States missing out on the 2018 World Cup.

Speaking to Sky Sports on Saturday, Long said he was confused by the situation surrounding his work permit. “As our biggest ally, it seems strange that a football player from the US can’t automatically get a work visa to play in England,” Long said. Sky reported that the club has just five more days to secure Long a work permit, which coincides with the shutting of the transfer window.

The player wasn’t the only person to speak out, as his agent took to social media to add to their frustration. Shaun Higgins seemed to point the finger at Red Bull, suggesting that the other Red Bull clubs in Germany and Austria won’t take his client but also have requested a massive transfer figure, serving to hinder talks.

Long supported this take with his comments, saying that “it would also be a dream to play for RB Leipzig or Red Bull Salzburg” but that a move to those clubs is unrealistic “because they only sign players 24 [years old] or under.”

When reports of a bid from West Ham first came through in mid-July, New York reportedly turned down the initial offer that totaled “under $3 million” but with recent reports suggesting a total closer to $4 million, it appears West Ham was open to increasing its offer. Still, the club must secure a work permit or the deal will by all accounts be off.

Report: Work permit issues hold up potential Long transfer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

West Ham is looking to sign one of the top defenders in MLS to bolster its squad. Unfortunately for the Premier League club, work permit issues may scupper the transfer.

Sky Sports in England reported that West Ham’s inability to acquire a work permit for Aaron Long may slam the breaks on a potential transfer from the New York Red Bulls. Long reportedly has a $5 million release clause and Sky Sports claims Long also has interest from Marseille, Fiorentina, Rennes and Lyon.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Long’s career has been a long story of never giving up, and his career growth over the past few seasons has been very impressive. After barely playing for the Seattle Sounders in 2014 and then playing as a holding midfielder for the USL club, Sounders 2 in 2015, Long was moved back to centerback and excelled in 2016 with New York Red Bulls II. He led the side to the USL Cup title and was named defender of the year.

A year later, with the New York Red Bulls first team, he solidified and stepped right into the backline and is now the defending MLS Defender of the Year. His play in 2017 led to getting a couple of caps in 2018 for the U.S. Men’s National Team under coach Dave Sarachan, and he’s moved into a starting role under Gregg Berhalter, starting five of the six USMNT games at the 2019 Gold Cup this summer.

Unfortunately, UK work permit laws mean that Long – with the U.S. now in the top 30 – would have had to play at least 60 percent of all USMNT games over the past two years, and that just hasn’t happened. It’s a common issue over the past decade for USMNT players looking to move to England. Juan Agudelo never qualified for a work permit while at Stoke City in 2014, while Zack Steffen still hasn’t earned a work permit to stay with Manchester City.

It’s also not the first time West Ham has looked to MLS. Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi was once a target of the club, and it signed Doneil Henry for a two-year period, though the then-young Canadian made no appearances.

It’s a huge moment in Aaron Long’s career. At 26-years old, he’s at the prime of his career, though with less wear and tear on the body compared to many others. It would be the perfect time for him, personally, to make the move abroad and see if he can take his career to the next level.

And yet, MLS and the Red Bulls organization has been stingy so far accepting a transfer request, according to reports, and it may not matter anyway if Long isn’t able to get a work permit.

Marseille would be an interesting choice, since the club is owned by former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. But it’s looking more likely that Long will remain with the Red Bulls in the short term. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the USMNT, it does hurt his potential growth as a player, provided he could break into the Premier League starting lineup.

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT’s Long to London, Newcastle linked with pair

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Could USMNT center back Aaron Long be headed to the Premier League?

The 26-year-old could join West Ham United’s stable of center backs, which includes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, and Angelo Ogbonna.

Sky Sports says that the Red Bulls defender has drawn the interest of Lyon and Fiorentina, but been offered to the Irons should they match his $5 million release clause.

Unable to find a place with Portland and Seattle, Long spent a few seasons in the USL before earning a place with RBNY.

Now 11-times capped by the USMNT with two goals, Long could be bringing his talents to London’s Olympic Stadium.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Newcastle United has the chance to sign oft-injured Danny Welbeck on a free transfer.

The longtime Arsenal striker, weaned at Manchester United, scored five times in 12 matches last season in a return to injury woes following a 43-match season the prior year.

Newcastle is also being linked with a former defender. James Tavernier has gone on to captain Glasgow Rangers, and the 27-year-old would cost around $10 million.

Surely Steven Gerrard would want more for the defender, but prices haven’t met quality for Scottish Premiership players as we’ve seen with Kieran Tierney at Celtic.

USMNT places three, Mexico seven, on Gold Cup Best XI

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
2 Comments

Three United States men’s national team members were named to a Gold Cup’s Best XI littered with players from champions Mexico.

At least one of the honored Yanks will surprise you.

Christian Pulisic was probably penciled onto a number of ballots before the tournament, and he delivered in a big way for Gregg Berhalter.

[ MORE: Arnautovic leaves West Ham ]

Aaron Long was also a regular for the coach, though he had his share of fits and starts, and Michael Bradley played some exceptional passes and showed his typical calm… even the giveaways came too easy for 150-times capped American.

Canadian forward Jonathan David was the only other player not to wear El Tri colors, and he won the Golden Boot with six goals.

As for Mexico, Raul Jimenez leads the line and goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo’ Ochoa is between the sticks.

The other five are defenders Luis Rodriguez, Carlos Salcedo, and Jesus Gallardo, as well as midfielders Jonathan dos Santos and Andres Guardado.

A number of big goal scorers including Uriel Antuna of Mexico and Lucas Cavallini of Mexico, did not make the cut, nor did Haiti’s energetic Duckens Nason.