There's been a flood of players who got their starts in MLS academies and left for Europe in recent years, with many quickly proving to be important cogs for their new teams in the Old World.
The international break will soon be over, sending players back to their day jobs, so it seems a good time for a quick rundown of those MLS products who have started the campaign well overseas.
As you'd expect we'll start by serving up a few honorable mentions:
- Vancouver Whitecaps on-loan forward Theo Bair (three goals in nine games for Norwegian second flight side Ham-Kam)
- Former Real Salt Lake academy standout Sebastian Soto (a goal and assist in 192 minutes for loan side Porto's reserve team)
- Seattle Sounders homegrown product DeAndre Yedlin (who helped Galatasaray blank Lazio 1-0 on his European cup group stage debut)
- Seattle homegrown product Henry Wingo (fueled a UEFA Champions league run that ended against Switzerland's BSC Young Boys)
- And a US men's national team trio, that through injuries or other struggles, have encountered a stop-and-start first chapter of the 2021-22 season: Gio Reyna (NYCFC, Borussia Dortmund), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls, RB Leipzig) and Weston McKennie (FC Dallas, Juventus)
- MLS club: Philadelphia Union
- Current club: RB Salzburg (Austrian Bundesliga)
Red Bull Salzburg's playmaker has pretty much picked up where he left off last term, despite taking on a different role. Aaronson was a "left No. 10" under Jesse Marsch last season but now works centrally behind a two-striker set. The 20-year-old has three goals and three assists in 14 games across all competitions. Two of those strikes did in Champions League playoff round victim Brondby, and the Philadelphia Union product has since gone all 90 in good group phase results against Sevilla and Lille.
- MLS club: Sporting Kansas City
- Current club: Venezia (Serie A)
From an individual standpoint, the Sporting KC transplant has been quite solid in his first six Serie A matches (which were six consecutive starts to be exact). More importantly to early relegation bait Venezia is that the team just runs so much better with Busio in central park. The 19-year-old is learning on the job and having fun with it. Just before the break, he bagged a last-gasp equalizer at Cagliari, a team they could well be battling for survival down the line.
- MLS club: FC Dallas (academy)
- Current club: Brondby (Dutch SuperLiga)
The summer pick-up was just starting to break into Brondby's lineup when COVID-19 put him on the shelf. Cappis was forced to miss their Champions League playoff round defeat and a couple of league games, but he's now back to impressing the locals. The 22-year-old central midfielder is showing a bit more offense this season, with a late road leveler in Superliga action and a Danish Cup double already on his 21/22 ledger.
- MLS club: Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- Current club: Bayern Munich (German Bundesliga)
The Canada star may have experienced a slight regression last term, but that can happen when you star for a treble winner. Have no fear, because Davies is now playing even better than he did during that breakout 2019-20 campaign. He's being more aggressive than ever about breaching the opposing area and getting results, with three helpers in the first seven league games. Simply put, the Vancouver Whitecaps homegrown alum has been among the very best Bayern players in their dominating start.
- MLS club: New York Red Bulls
- Current club: Alaves - loan (La Liga)
Now on his fifth loan stint away from Chelsea, Miazga is fighting the uphill battle of keeping Alaves in La Liga. Points have been hard to come by early, but the Red Bulls product has quickly gained notice in Spain as an ace air marshal. The 26-year-old is the early league leader in clearances per 90 minutes with 9.02 – his career-best is 7.20 with Reading in 2018-19.
- MLS club: FC Dallas
- Current club: Hoffenheim - loan (German Bundesliga)
The Bayern Munich defender is on his second loan spell at Hoffenheim, where he's become an immediate contributor under manager Sebastian Hoeness. Most of Richards' defensive numbers are up, and he earned Team of the Week honors after a monster showing in their late September win over Wolfsburg. Now, how soon can he start climbing the USMNT depth chart?
- MLS club: New York City FC
- Current club: Borussia Mönchengladbach (German Bundesliga)
Few expected the 18-year-old to walk right into Borussia Moenchengladbach's starting lineup, but that's precisely what he did after an impressive preseason. Scally debuted with a good effort in a draw against Bayern Munich before a couple of rougher outings. The transition game prodigy has proven to be a quick study, and narrowly missed making the Bundesliga Team of the Week for each of the last two rounds.
- MLS club: LA Galaxy (academy)
- Current club: Antalyaspor - loan (Turkish Super Lig)
Like Miazga, the power forward has opted for a loan to a relegation bait side in a league better than the one he played in last season. Like Aaronson, Wright has continued producing in a new situation. The 23-year-old has four goals in his first eight outings with Antalyaspor, including a hat trick that powered their first win of the Turkish Super Lig season.