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Young Americans in Europe: USYNT clash

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: March 12, 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.

In something of a rarity in Europe, two U.S. youth internationals faced off against each other over the weekend.

Konrad de la Fuente’s Barcelona side took on Akil Watts and RCD Mallorca on Saturday, as the two Juvenil A teams continued their Division De Honor campaigns.

It was a big win for Barcelona on the day, which scored four times in the game’s first half, cruising to a 4-0 win. Watts played 62 minutes before getting subbed off, while Konrad played the duration.

De la Fuente returns to the field this week for the UEFA Youth League knockout stage matchup against Hertha Berlin.

Watt wasn’t the only American to line up against a Barcelona side over the weekend. Mukwelle Akale earned the starting nod for Villarreal B, which defeated their Barca counterparts by a 2-1 score. Akale logged 60 minutes, and nearly setup a goal in the first half with the game knotted at 1-1.

Patrick Cassagnol played 70 minutes for IPC La Escuela, the U19 side for his club Sarinena. He played just north of 70 minutes in a 3-1 loss against Casablanca.

Edwards, Wolfsburg continues to find success

Far from the most notable American to join a youth Bundesliga side at the end of 2018, Michael Edwards continued to enjoy early success, both individually and as a collective at Wolfsburg U19s. The A-Junioren side defeated FC Magdeburg by a 2-0 score, with Edwards playing the full 90 minutes once again. In five games so far in 2019, Wolfsburg has four wins and a loss with the former D.C. United Academy defender in the lineup. Perhaps they should consider the American for the first team after conceding six without reply against Bayern Munich.

Like Edwards, U.S. Under-17 MNT center back Mason Judge is getting a regular look in the starting lineup for Eintracht Frankfurt’s B-Junioren squad. That continued, and Judge played the entire game of a 1-0 win against FC Heidenheim.

Forward Sebastian Soto continued to find the back of the net for Hannover Under-19s, scoring the consolation in a 2-1 loss against FC St. Pauli. Soto now has 14 goals from 20 games over the course of the 2018-19 season. Fellow Hannover Academy player Chris Gloster earned the start and played the entire game in Hannover II’s 1-0 victory.

One week after scoring the lone goal for Schalke A-Junioren squad, Zyen Jones was back in the starting lineup, coming out in second half stoppage time of a 1-0 victory.

It was a big day for the American contingent at Bayern Munich. While the result wasn’t ideal for the Under-19 squad – Bayern drew 4-4 with Stuttgart after leading 4-2 at the half – both Christopher Richards and Malik Tillman logged the full 90 in the result. Along with that, U.S. midfielder Taylor Booth entered the game in the 79th minute to make his full debut for the Under-19 squad.

Alex Mendez made a start for SC Freiburg, but he was pulled at the half in a 1-0 loss against FSV Frankfurt.

Dest returns to Ajax U19

With one eye on a Ajax’s return to UEFA Youth League action this week, Sergino Dest was back in the starting lineup for Ajax Under-19s on Saturday. The right back continues to make a case for inclusion in the U.S. Under-20 World Cup squad, helping the Dutch power to a 5-0 win against Sparta Rotterdam.

Ritaccio starts for Liverpool

Midfielder Matteo Ritaccio returned to the starting lineup for Liverpool U18s on Saturday. He played 76 minutes as the Reds fell 3-1 against Derby County in the U18 Premier League North clash. Ritaccio was named to the bench in a mid-week FA Youth Cup match as well.

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