A number of young Americans playing abroad had a strong weekend as the ever-growing pool of professional players is threatening to make a spot on the US U-20 and U-23 teams a precious commodity.
At the top of the list is an old face who is enjoying newfound success in Turkey. Freddy Adu, who was recently loaned to Rizespor in Turkey's second tier, scored his first goal with the club, which proved to be the difference in a narrow 1-0 victory. Adu is attempting to revive a flagging career along the shores of the Black Sea and thus far has made three starts, his first action since last May with Aris Thessaloniki.
The road to the 2014 World Cup is about to get easier for the United States and all other CONCACAF teams according to a recent report that FIFA will award CONCACAF a fourth berth.
According to Canadian Soccer News, the Canadian Soccer Association has been informed that FIFA will award CONCACAF a full fourth spot for the 2014 World Cup as opposed to the 3.5 spots that CONCACAF had for the previous two editions.
With the US U-20 qualification tournament now a month away, the US team may have to be without their best player in Juan Agudelo who has pulled a muscle in his groin.
Agudelo, 18, is an emerging player for the US senior team and the U-20 team's top forward. BigAppleSoccer reported today that the injury to Agudelo is serious enough that New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe fears Agudelo may not be ready for the team's season opener on March 19th.
American left back Amaechi Igwe is putting the finishing touches on his long road to recovery from a knee injury as he played the first half for Ingolstadt in a friendly against the reserve team of Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Igwe, 22, signed with Ingolstadt last summer but has not been able to play for the struggling 2.Bundesliga club this season due to the injury.
After a handful of quiet weekends, the German youth leagues returned to action and USYNT-eligible players had a weekend full of breakthroughs and debuts.
The highlight of the week was Timothy Chandler's outstanding performance in his first Bundesliga start. Moving from right back to right midfielder, he opened eyes by scoring a goal and assisting on two others in Nürnberg's 4-1 romp over Stuttgart.
It was a relatively quiet week among the ranks of youth national team players as a number of regulars were out of action or injured and the German U19 and U17 leagues remain on winter break until next weekend.
The two most widely-known names at the U23 level -- Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu -- spent their first matchday with their new Turkish clubs watching from the stands. Having recently arrived on loan, they haven't had much time to integrate and therefore will wait another week to make their debuts. Nonetheless, the second half of the season promises to hold much more playing time for the duo than they received during the fall.