Andriya Novakovich

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WATCH: USMNT’s Novakovich bags first Eredivisie goal

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Firstly, you know it’s an Eredivisie highlight when there are backheeled passes in the defending third.

But we should be grateful for that sort of tomfoolery from PSV Eindhoven, as it allowed a young American center forward to bag his first Eredivisie goal.

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Andriya Novakovich lit up the Dutch second tier during a loan spell a Telstar last season, and earned a new deal with Reading and loan to the first tier this season.

The Fortuna Sittard striker turns 22 next month, and has gone 90 minutes in his first two matches for the club. His second took advantage of hesitant defending with physical play and a scorer’s touch.

Novakovich scored 22 times with five assists last season, and made his USMNT debut in 2018 with caps against Paraguay and Bolivia.

Five USMNT players to watch in club adventures

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The next level is within reach for these five Americans abroad, whether it’s a step to stardom or just a move toward finding a new permanent home.

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  1. Andriya Novakovich, Fortuna Sittard — He’s re-signed with Reading, but the Football League Championship side isn’t ready to hand him the keys to a big role (or lose him before he reaches peak value). The Wisconsin-born 21-year-old with two USMNT caps will attempt to bring his prolific Dutch second division season (19 goals for Telstar) to Eredivisie with promoted club Fortuna Sittard.
  2. Erik Palmer-Brown, NAC Breda — The 21-year-old center back has taken baby steps in Europe, but defending in the prolific Eredivisie (on loan from Manchester City) is a tall ask. While Matt Miazga’s proven he could handle the load, EPB will look to do the same.
  3. Tim Weah, Paris Saint-Germain — This one’s rather obvious, but we’re not watching to see whether the fiery young striker is quality. Rather, what would it say if the 18-year-old can get significant playing time with a Champions League mainstay?
  4. Julian Green, Greuther Furth — Last season’s loan to Furth was enough to make the 2.Bundesliga club want to buy the former Bayern Munich man from Stuttgart. Green is now 23, four years removed from his World Cup goal against Belgium but mere months from his friendly goal against France. Is the next step now?
  5. Emerson Hyndman, Bournemouth — The 22-year-old’s former club, Fulham, is now in the Premier League, and Hyndman sure is hoping to face them. He spent all of 2017-18 with the Cherries but only found the pitch in the final match, a year after making an impact on loan to Rangers. He may be set for another loan, but needs to break through wherever he ends up (and if he gets playing time, he’s a good bet for it. Smart player).

Key newcomers for USMNT friendly

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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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Digging into the USMNT roster

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The United States men’s national team will roll young for this month’s friendly against Paraguay in Cary, North Carolina.

Interim head coach Dave Sarachan named 17 players under the age of 24 for the match and that list does not include Christian Pulisic, who is getting needed respite.

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It’s an interesting list, with DeAndre Yedlin‘s 49 caps the most followed by Bobby Wood’s 36 and Darlington Nagbe’s 24.

And there are a bunch of “Who?” names for those who aren’t elbow deep in their knowledge of the U.S. player pool, so let’s dance with the ones Sarachan is bringing to North Carolina.

Andriya Novakovich is destroying the Netherlands second-tier, netting 18 times including six goals in his last five matches. Keeping in mind that even the country’s top flight is free-scoring, that’s impressive stuff from the former Reading man, a tall 21-year-old striker.

Shaq Moore became the first American to make a La Liga start since Oguchi Onyewu in 2013. The 21-year-old Levante right back got the playing time due to injury, making eight total appearances, but is back on the bench in recent weeks.

Antonee Robinson left Everton for a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers, and the 20-year-old could maybe, possibly, hopefully, please-sir-please be a long-term left back. It’s his first appearance in the U.S. set-up since 2014, and the English-American could start a recruiting battle should he continue his growth at Everton. He has five assists in more than 2,400 minutes between left back and left mid for Bolton.

Cameron Carter-Vickers is a name many in this space will know, but in case you don’t: The Spurs center back, 20, suffered through fits and starts in a Championship loan at Sheffield United, much like the club itself, which was cut short. Sent to Ipswich Town, “CCV” has been one of their finer players over the second half of the season.

And, just for fun, how might we see the Yanks line up in North Carolina?

Bono

Yedlin — Carter-Vickers — Miazga — Lichaj

Nagbe — McKennie — Adams — Saief

Wood — Novakovich