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Young Americans in Europe: Quiet weekend

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: March 19, 2019

Welcome to a weekly feature tracking young Americans playing for Academy teams in Europe. Each week, we will provide a roundup of minutes played and performances from U.S. youth national team players around the continent competing in youth sides. Once players move to the first team, they will no longer be tracked, as other outlets provide those rundowns.

U.S. youth international Konrad de la Fuente had quite the week over on the continent.

Starting and playing the full 90 minutes last Tuesday for FC Barcelona’s 3-0 win against Hertha Berlin in the Round of 16 in the UEFA Youth League kicked things off. Then, de la Fuente earned his first call-up to the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team for this week’s camp in Spain.

Capping off the week, he started and went the distance on the weekend, helping the Juvenil A side to a 2-1 win against Gimnástic de Manresa on Sunday.

De la Fuente wasn’t the only American getting run in youth action in Spain. Akil Watts came in off the bench for RCD Mallorca U19s, helping them see off the challenge from Miralbueno Stadium El Olivar in a 3-0 victory.

Also coming in from the bench was Mukwelle Akale, who entered in the game’s final minutes of a 2-1 loss for Villarreal B against Atlético Baleares. Jack Imperato, part of Villarreal’s Juvenil B squad, grabbed a goal on Saturday in a 1-1 draw.

Elsewhere, Jude Burst played the full 90 minutes in central midfield for Unificación Bellvitge UD, which drew 0-0 with Sant Andreu. Midfielder Patrick Cassagnol entered in the second of for IPC La Escuela against Zaragoza, drawing a penalty and converted it to tie the game at a 1-1 score. La Escuela conceded a late goal and fell by a 2-1 score.

Quiet in Germany

It was a relatively quiet weekend in Germany for the bulk of the young Americans.

Alex Mendez was one of only a couple of Americans to play a competitive match. His SC Freiburg A-Junioren side lost 4-0 to VfB Stuttgart in a DFB-Pokal der Junioren (German Youth Cup match). Mendez played 70 minutes before coming off in the defeat.

While last Wednesday’s friendly against Eintracht Braunschweig may not have been a competitive fixture, Michael Edwards remained a fixture in Wolfsburg’s U19 lineup. The center back played just 45 minutes in a 5-0 victory.

Pynadath helps Ajax U17s see out win

Dutch-based U.S. U17 winger Joshua Pynadath came in off the bench as the Ajax Under-17s defeated FC Groningen by a 4-1 score. Pynadath continues to be monitored closely as he recovers from a minor injury, although there's a chance he could be in contention for the U.S. U17 MNT training camp set for Florida in April.

Like de la Fuente, Ajax Academy defender Sergino Dest competed in the UEFA Youth League Round of 16 prior to getting a U.S. U20 call-up. Unlike his compatriot, Dest and his Ajax U19s fell to Lyon, after drawing 2-2 and exiting on penalties. Dest missed his penalty, although he performed brightly on the day, as seen in the video below.

Liverpool U18s advance to Youth Cup final

While American midfielder Matteo Ritaccio didn’t get off the bench, Liverpool Under-18s secured a spot in the FA Youth Cup final, defeating Watford 2-1 on Sunday in the semifinals.

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