Americans Abroad: It’s time to critique John Brooks

John Brooks
Dortmund's German midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud (R) controls the ball in front of Wolfsburg's US defender John Brooks during the German first division Bundesliga football match Vfl Wolfsburg vs Borussia Dortmund in Wolfsburg, on May 23, 2020. (Photo by Michael Sohn / POOL / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO (Photo by MICHAEL SOHN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Editorial — With the taste of the beautiful game back in everybody’s minds, the attention for USMNT fans now turn to performance for the many Americans in Germany, including Wolfsburg’s John Brooks.

Americans Abroad: It’s time to critique John Brooks

For U.S. Stallworth’s such as Weston McKennie and John Brooks, these next matchdays can be an opportunity to further anchor themselves as USMNT regulars.

For fringe players like Alfredo Morales or Timmy Chandler, it may give themselves a reason not to be ignored by a US talent pool which leans more towards MLS players by the day.

Following a Matchday 26 that showed promise, here’s how the Americans performed in Matchday 27.

Starters

John Brooks

Brooks played the full 90 at CB in Wolfsburg’s 2-0 loss vs. Dortmund on Saturday.

I’ve got a real problem with how USMNT fans portray Brooks’ recent form at Wolfsburg. It appears in every poor result Wolfsburg have, we see tweets defending his play like it wasn’t him responsible for the result.

Yes, he is still CB 1 for the national team, but here are the facts:

  1. He was completely out of position on the first goal.

2. He was completely out of position on the second goal.

It does not matter what Erling Haaland does or doesn’t do when there are 10 other players on the pitch legally allowed to score (which Dortmund didn’t have a problem doing.)

Brooks is playing like a fringe first-team player at best in the Bundesliga. The more excuses USMNT fans give him, the longer it will take for the 27-year-old to improve… if he does at all.

Stats

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Shots (On Target:) 1

Pass Accuracy: 92%

Interceptions: 2

Recoveries: 7

Match Rating: 6.2

Josh Sargent

Sargent played 63′ at ST in Werder Bremen’s 1-0 win vs. Freiburg on Saturday.

It’s important to have the right sort of expectations Sargent, who now only has one goal in his last 13 league appearances.

The Missouri native remains a raw prospect within the US pool and becoming a fringe first-team player in a Werder Bremen squad filled with injuries and dysfunction does not change that.

That said, Sargent showed the qualities that can make him Striker #1 in the pool. While his current form resembles a poor man’s Bas Dost, his distribution has improved, and it led to chances for Bremen early in the match.

He’s got a long way to go, but Saturday’s match is an indicator of his high potential.

Stats

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Shots (On Target:) 0

Pass Accuracy: 45%

Duals (Won:) 11 (5)

Match Rating: 6.4

Weston McKennie

Mckennie played 74 at CDM in Schalke’s 3-0 loss vs. Freiburg on Sunday.

There will be millions of Schalke fans, coaches, and personnel trying to find out the problem with a Schalke side that cannot buy a point in the league.

Now winless in their last nine Bundesliga matches (the longest active winless streak in the league,) there is a growing sense that the club is desperate for finding a culprit for their recent woes.

One thing should be apparent with this Schalke squad, it’s not because of Weston Mckennie. In fact, it can be argued that McKennie may be playing the best out of this inconsistent squad, which is more an indictment of Schalke’s performances rather than praise for the young American.

One thing’s for certain: Suat Serdar and Weston Mckennie can’t be your only players putting in a shift if you want success in this type of league. An out of form Freiburg team made an example of that fact.

Stats

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Shots (On Target:) 0

Pass Accuracy: 90% (Highest on the pitch)

Duals(Won:) 13 (7)

Interceptions: 2

Recoveries: 7

Match Rating: 6.8 (2nd on Schalke)

Alfredo Morales

Morales played the full 90 at CM in Düsseldorf’s 2-2 draw vs. Köln on Sunday

Morales put in a decent, if not an enigma of a showing in one of Dusseldorf’s biggest disappointments of the season. After a first-half performance where watching paint dry would be the preferred method of entertainment, Morales put in an exceptional shift as a box to box midfielder that was a factor in the relegation sides’ success.

Does this performance warrant a guaranteed spot in Dusseldorf’s XI? I wouldn’t say so. Even at 30 years old, the German American still appeared limited in attack, whilst at times struggling to get into the match. (Especially in the first half.)

That said, Morales does have some redeeming qualities to play at the highest level in Germany, whether or not that means a national team spot remains to be seen.

Stats

Goals:

Assists:

Shots (On Target:) 1 (0)

Pass Accuracy: 66%

Duels (Won:) 24 (12)

Key Passes: 0

Match Rating: 6.4

Off the Bench   

Tyler Adams

Adams played 30′ at CDM in Leipzig’s 5-0 win vs. Mainz on Sunday.

Yes, he was only on the pitch for the final 30 minutes. Yes, the match was already decided. Still, Adams performance was the most impressive one from last weekend’s matches.

I’ve been courting repeatedly for Adams to return to the middle of the park, and his performance vs. Mainz proved me right.

A Stallworth midfielder with a pacey side to him, Adams halted numerous last-ditch attacks and solidified the clean sheet in an important bounce back match for the Red Bulls.

Adams is on the “Off the bench” portion of this weeks article, but don’t expect that to be the case for much longer.

Match Rating: 6.3 (Another example of taking match ratings with a grain of salt.)

Timmy Chandler

Chandler played 44′ at LB in Eintracht Frankurt’s 5-2 loss vs. Bayern Munich on Saturday

This was a unique and important test for the German-American player, who was starting a poor run of form in midfield prior to Saturday’s fixture.

Now coming in at fullback for just the second time this season, Chandler more than proved his worth at that position in a match where every Frankfurt defender may still have been in quarantine.

While highlights of Alphonso Davies lighting up the right side of Frankfurt’s defense was the talk of the match, the left side, including winger Kingsley Coman, was completely taken out of the match thanks to Chandler.

I’ve always preferred seeing Chandler in defense, and with many critics against seeing him in midfield for the USMNT, a spot at fullback may be in the cards for the veteran.

Match Rating: 6.1 (But don’t let this fool you)

Gio Reyna   

Reyna played 11′ at LW in Dortmund’s 2-0 win vs. Wolfsburg on Saturday

The 17-year-old put on a forgetful performance that doesn’t warrant much discussion. He definitely didn’t appear 100 percent on the day, and if he gets an appearance against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, we may see the Gio Reyna we know and love.

Match Rating: 5.8

Not in Squad

Bobby Wood (Hamburg)

Last Appearance: Nov. 19

Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach) 

Last Appearance: Feb. 1

Injury List

Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf)

The ligament injury is still keeping Steffan out of the Dusseldorf squad. Expect at least 2 more weeks before the USMNT’s number one is fit.

The Abroad Top 20 (As of May 14th)

 

POS. Name Club Change
1. Cristian Pulisic Chelsea =
2. Tyler Adams RB Leipzig =
3. Weston Mckennie Schalke 04 =
4. Sergino Dest Ajax =
5. Zack Steffen Fortuna Dusseldorf ^ 1
6.  John Brooks Wolfsburg v 1
7. Timmy Chandler Eintracht Frankfurt =
8. Tyler Boyd Besiktas =
9. Antonee Robinson Wigan Athletic =
10. Gio Reyna Dortmund =
11. Deandre Yedlin Newcastle United =
12. Alfredo Morales Fortuna Dusseldorf =
13. Duane Holmes Derby County =
14. Tim Weah Lille =
15. Josh Sargent Werder Bremen  =
16. Matt Miazga  Reading =
17. Andrija Novakovich  Frosinone =
18. Tim Ream Fulham =
19. Cameron Carter-Vickers Luton Town =
20. Eric Lichaj Hull City =

 

We’ve got a “double-header’s” worth of matches for the next Americans abroad with every Bundesliga side playing both next weekend and in the mid-week. I’ll be looking forward to seeing who manages to step up, and who falls back to the subs bench. (Maybe Bobby Wood will even get a runout!)

Until next time, biz zum nachstan mal!

All stats via FotMob.

Embed from Getty Images

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