Since the October international break, Brenden Aaronson has anchored the attack at Red Bull Salzburg, Mark McKenzie has slipped down the depth chart at Genk, and Jack de Vries went from a red card suspension to finding the back of the goal.
In the wake of the USMNT’s massive 2-0 win over Mexico and their lackluster 1-1 draw at Jamaica during this recent World Cup qualifying window, let’s check in on the fortunes of the Union’s homegrowns in Europe.
Aaronson put up strong performances at Salzburg this past month, with two assists in league play and another in an Austrian Cup match. With three goals and six assists in all competitions for Salzburg this year, he continues to mature as an attacking midfielder, and a move in January is certainly a possibility.
Manuel Veth reported for Transfermarkt that Salzburg is currently scouting D.C. United’s Kevin Paredes as a possible replacement for Aaronson, if AC Milan’s reported interest turns into an offer or if RB Leipzig decides to bring the youngster up to rejoin his former coach Jesse Marsch.
If Aaronson stays in form for club and country, it’s likely that other teams will come calling as well.
This past month began well at Genk for McKenzie. On October 16, he started against Charleroi in place of Carlos Cuesta, who was coming off a heavy playing load during Colombia’s World Cup qualifying matches. The young American showcased his passing skills, orchestrating play from the back and hitting 12 of 13 accurate long balls. With Genk trailing 1-0, he was subbed off for striker Ike Ugbo, but Genk went on to lose 2-0 after giving up another goal.
Unfortunately for McKenzie, he had few other chances to impress. When Cuesta went down with a hamstring injury against West Ham in the Europa League, Genk brought in Mujaid Sadick rather than McKenzie. Sadick took hold of the center back spot next to Jhon Lucumi, and the two have been the main pairing while Cuesta recovers. McKenzie now appears to be fourth on the center back depth chart. He started in a 6-2 win at Winkel Sport in the Belgian Cup, going 64 minutes, but did not otherwise feature for Genk.
Jack de Vries
After a two-game red card suspension, de Vries came back into the starting lineup with Venezia U19 on October 23, playing the full 90 at right wing against Cittadella U19. On November 5 at Alessandria U19, de Vries started again at right wing and scored a goal, bringing his total so far this season to three goals in five matches in the Campionato Primavera 2.
He is currently Venezia U19s second leading goal scorer, behind defensive midfielder and captain Damiano Pecile, who is on loan from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Aaronson will return to Austria to help Salzburg continue their unbeaten run in domestic play and their top-of-the-group performance in the Champions League, McKenzie will look to break into the starting XI at Genk, and de Vries will work on extending his strong run of form for Venezia U19.
Auf Wiedersehen, tot ziens, arrivederci!