Gedion Zelalem

Getty Images

Busio scores again, Zelalem starts as Sporting KC ties FC Cincinnati

Leave a comment

Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes rotated his squad for its match at FC Cincinnati, and it paid off in a point on the road.

One of the stars of the show was 16-year-old Gianluca Busio, who looked calm and composed in his central midfield role on the ball and even came away with a goal, even though it was a bit of a gift after a mixup by FC Cincinnati’s defense. In addition, Gedion Zelalem made his MLS debut starting in Sporting KC colors, going 57 minutes alongside Busio as Zelalem builds match fitness. Busio’s goal set a new MLS record for the teenager.

[WATCH: Watford completes stunning comeback v. Wolves]

Busio’s goal cancelled out Darren Mattocks’ first half penalty kick, and the MLS expansion side had multiple chances in the second half on counter attacks to pull out all three points.

Cincinnati took the early lead in the 19th minute after Roland Lamah was taken down in the penalty area. Darren Mattocks stepped up and sent Adrian Zendejas the wrong way to give the hosts the lead. It was Mattocks’ first of the season and seemed to give him an added boost of confidence.

Both teams had chances to score later in the half, with Kelyn Rowe missing a great opportunity in the box and Mattocks blasting a strike off the post.

In the second half, Kekuta Manneh was put through on goal but put his shot wide, and Cincinnati was made to pay. With the ball off on the left wing, Busio made a run through the middle of the park and was nearly picked out by Rowe. However, with Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey and left back Greg Garza approaching the ball, the two collided and failed to clear the ball, leaving Busio to finish into an empty net.

In a game that finished at 1-1, it will be remembered by both sides for all the missed changes to both. One of the other bright spots, related to the U.S. Men’s National Team, was the play of Kenny Saief. In his first start since joining FC Cincinnati, the American-born, Israeli-raised attacker floated into the middle from the wing and dribbled at defenders, creating plenty of chances for Cincinnati in the attacking third.

Ultimately though, it was Busio who stole the show. Just 16, it’s a bright sign for the future for both Sporting KC and the USMNT as he develops in the professional game.

USMNT’s Zelalem leaves Arsenal for Sporting KC

Getty Images
1 Comment

Gedion Zelalem is looking to get his career back on track, and the USMNT midfielder has landed in Major League Soccer with Sporting Kansas City.

The club announced on Monday that Zelalem has signed a deal for the rest of the 2019 season, “with club options for 2020 and 2021.”

Zelalem, 22, was born in Germany to Ethiopian parents and moved to Maryland as a youngster. Former USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann spoke highly of Zelalem after he chose to represent the U.S. over Germany, while Arsene Wenger took him to Arsenal at the age of 16 and raved up his potential.

Zelalem will now be pushed on by Peter Vermes at Sporting KC, and this signing is a huge coup for MLS as it proves that yet another young player sees a pathway to develop their game and improve in North America.

“Gedion is a talented player and we are excited to welcome him to the club,” Vermes said. “We look forward to his integration into the squad as the team competes in multiple competitions throughout the season.”

Since bursting onto the scene with Arsenal and the U.S. youth national teams, Zelalem has struggled to kick on. After joining the Gunners’ academy in 2013, he made just four first team appearances under Wenger.

Loan spells at Glasgow Rangers and VVV Venlo were okay but not great, while injuries impacted his development in north London and he just hasn’t quite lived up to expectations after being billed as one of the most skilful youngsters to be nurtured at Arsenal’s academy.

There is no doubting Zelalem’s talent, especially with the ball at his feet, but there are some question marks around his physicality and even his drive to succeed at the next level.

We are about to find out if he can rip it up in MLS as he will finally push for regular minutes as a professional. That is something that has never happened, and was unlikely to happen, at Arsenal.

USMNT’s Gedion Zelalem out 6-9 months with knee injury

Photo by Alex Livesey - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
1 Comment

Following much fanfare as he rose through the ranks of Arsenal’s youth academy system, and even more after officially pledging his international allegiance to the U.S., Gedion Zelalem‘s progress stalled a fair bit this season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | U-20 World Cup ]

After failing to force his way onto the fringes of Arsenal’s first team, the 20-year-old was sent out on loan to VVV Venlo, where he made just nine league appearances (one start) in the Dutch second division. Now, with the U.S. U-20 national team at the U-20 World Cup in South Korea, his tournament is over after just 34 minutes.

Zelalen suffered ligament damage to his left knee during the first half of the Americans’ tournament-opening draw with Ecuador. The Washington Post received confirmation on Wednesday, from Zelalem’s family, confirming that he’ll be sidelined for at least six months. An earlier report, from Football.London, pinned the recovery time at up to nine months.

[ MORE: Pogba, Mkhitaryan fire Man United to Europa League trophy ]

“For Gedion, this was his second U-20 World Cup, so his experience was invaluable for us,” said U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos. “His passing ability is second to none in this tournament, and we’ll miss that. He was running the team from his position.

Arsenal, USMNT’s Zelalem joins VVV Venlo on loan

Photo by Alex Livesey - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s. Transfer. Deadline. Day. (Finally.)

Following the conclusion of seven Premier League fixtures (at roughly 5 p.m. ET) on Tuesday, be sure to tune in to the live transfer roundup show, on NBCSN and online via

For the second straight season, Gedion Zelalem has a new (temporary) home.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundupMonday | Sunday | Saturday ]

Arsenal have loaned the 20-year-old midfielder to Dutch side VVV Venlo until the end of the current season. Playing time has been harder to come by at this point of Zelalem’s career than many — including the player himself — might have hoped, thus another loan for a young player still with a long way to go in his development.

Venlo currently sit top of the Netherlands’ second division, four points clear of second, with promotion to the Eridivisie very much the target this season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

The last six months have seen momentum behind Zelalem dissipate quickly. Following a mostly successful loan spell to Rangers last season, the German-born American international has failed to make the next step in his career, which would be to push for a place in Arsenal’s first team. A permanent move away from the Emirates Stadium seems likely this summer.

Report: Arsenal’s Zelalem primed for Borussia Dortmund move

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Our interest was piqued when Gedion Zelalem‘s name was missing from the bench for Arsenal’s FA Cup outing at Preston North End on Saturday.

And now perhaps we know why Zelalem didn’t appear and names like 18-year-old Chris Willock and Josh Da Silva were on the list.

[ MORE: Ronaldo named “The Best” ]

ESPN reports that Zelalem could be primed to leave the Emirates Stadium for a deal with Borussia Dortmund, where he would join their stable of promising wingers including USMNT star Christian Pulisic.


The attacking midfielder is out of contract at Arsenal in the summer and Dortmund believe they can land Zelalem for a cut-price fee this month.

Zelalem has been limited to two EFL Cup appearances for the first team this year, making 7 appearances with an assist for the PL2 side.

It’s always good to move where you’re wanted, and the report suggests that BVB sees him as a First Team player. If that’s the case, we’re all for it.

Follow @NicholasMendola