Weston McKennie -- celebration - Schalke 04

MLS Exports: Gall, McKennie among Yanks, Canucks chasing European dreams

It's time again for another check-up on all the Major League Soccer products currently scattered across the soccer globe.

Though some of the leagues in question are on pause, the last month has seen a decent amount of good news. Ballou Tabla and Aaron Schoenfeld snapped goal droughts, while the lucky pair of Romain Gall and Weston McKennie are off to the UEFA Europa League and Champions League knockouts, respectively.


DeAndre Yedlin
SEA: 2013-14
After a hot November, Yedlin and Newcastle have cooled off quite a bit in December. The Magpies closed last month with a win at Burnley, but have gathered a single point from their last three outings. Yedlin's run of 14 straight nods at right back will end at Huddersfield Town on Saturday because he was sent off near the hour mark of a tie game in last weekend's home defeat to Wolverhampton. The American quickly launched a public apology to teammates and fans for the rough challenge's large role in the loss. Even with the setback, they're three places and three points clear of the drop zone.
Tim Ream
RBNY: 2010-11
The veteran defender ended a four-game string on the pine with a late cameo in Fulham's 1-1 share with Leicester City on Dec. 5. Ream followed that up with a full shift in last Saturday's 4-1 humbling at Manchester United. The Cottagers sit in the EPL basement, but are but four points from safety.

Tim Ream | Reuters

Geoff Cameron
HOU: 2008-12
The Queens Park Rangers defensive midfielder (we can call Cameron that now, he's played his last 12 games there) missed their Thanksgiving weekend draw at Stoke with a hamstring nag. Before he sat that one out, the Hoops were on a roll. He's started the three games since then, from which QPR pocketed a lone point. The four-game winless slide has dropped the club to 14th, eight points back of the promotion playoff zone.
Matthew Olosunde
NY Red Bulls Academy
The US right back remains in recovery from knee troubles at Manchester United.


Weston McKennie
FC Dallas Academy
A thigh complaint kept the US midfielder out of Schalke's last two November games, but McKennie returned with a 20-minute shift in the draw at Hoffenheim that opened December. After then watching the capping win of a successful Champions League group phase from the bench, he got back in the line-up for a 2-1 derby loss at Bundesliga-leading derby rivals Borussia Dortmund. Starting Saturday, the Miners will have three games in eight days before putting their feet up for the holiday break.

Carlos Salcedo | Reuters

Carlos Salcedo
RSL: 2013-14
Fully recovered from an ankle injury, the Mexico defender made his first Eintracht Frankfurt start since Bundesliga opening day in Saturday's 1-0 loss at Hertha Berlin. There should be plenty of work ahead for Salcedo. Eintracht hold down fifth in the league table through 14 games, and they mowed a 6-0 path straight through Europa League Group H to reach the tournament's knockout round for the first time in five years.
Kianz Froese
VAN 2014-17
Now just about two years into his time at Bundesliga battlers Fortuna Dusseldorf, the Canada midfielder is still waiting on his first-team bow. Operating mainly as a No. 10, Froese has four goals in 11 games for the fourth-tier second team.
Chris Richards
FC Dallas Academy
The teen center back's rise with the Bayern Munich Under-19 squad continued over the last month, and word is he'll soon see his loan deal turned into a full transfer. He even suited up for a Bayern U-23s match on December 1. Richards worked whistle-to-whistle in their 2-2 UEFA Youth League draw against Benfica (on Nov. 27) and a Group-E closing 2-1 win at Ajax that left the junior Bavarians short of advancing by one goal in differential.


Omar Gonzalez
LA: 2009-15
After re-establishing himself as a team leader down the Apertura stretch, Gonzalez and an improving Atlas group appear primed for the 2019 Clausura season, which begins on Jan. 4.
Rogelio Funes Mori
FC Dallas Academy
The Argentine striker finished with seven goals in 17 games when Monterrey's Apertura run ended in the Liguilla semifinals. Funes Mori netted in both games as Los Rayados swept Santos, but came up empty in their narrow semifinal defeat against Cruz Azul.

Rogelio Funes Mori | Reuters

Rafael Baca
SJ: 2011-14
The veteran defensive midfielder is suddenly finding it difficult to hold a lineup place for Cruz Azul, who only need a closing-day point at Morelia on Nov. 24 to ensure they finish the Apertura on the summit. He's come off the bench in two of their last three league games, and stayed on the bench as La Máquina celebrated their first title of any kind since 2013 with a 2-0 Copa MX final triumph against Monterrey two weeks ago. Despite this, Baca recently told Mexico's version of SportsCenter that he hopes the club's success will help him catch the eye of the next Mexico manager.
Lalo Fernandez
RSL: 2012-17
The Tigres netminder is expected to battle for the back-up job in 2019.


Ballou Tabla
MTL: 2017
The young Canada hotshot has started three straight Barcelona B games since our last pop-in. Last Saturday, he scored his first goal since opening day to take the points in a 2-1 win at Badalona.


Matt Miazga
RBNY: 2013-15
Still in the Nantes doghouse, Miazga made his second reserve start in a 2-2 draw with C' Chartres on December 1. Meanwhile, the Canaries' senior side ended a three-game win drought to climb to 13th place last weekend.

Tim Weah with PSG | Reuters

Timothy Weah
NY Red Bulls Academy
The teen US attacker is still waiting for another chance with Ligue 1 steamrollers Paris Saint-Germain, who are also on to the Champions League sweet 16 with a favorable seed. He hasn't suited up for the first team since August, and hasn't played for the reserves in nearly three months.


Erik Palmer-Brown
SKC: 2013-17
The Eredivisie learning curve has been bumpy at times, but the NAC Breda loan defender did make it to four straight starts before sitting Sunday's sorely-needed win over Vitesse. The Yellow Army are next to last, four points from the safety zone, as the Dutch first division nears the turn.


Eryk Williamson
POR: 2018
The Timbers have announced they'll recall the midfielder from his loan at Santa Clara (where he made no first-team appearances) in time for the start of 2019 preseason camp.


Andy Najar
DC: 2010-12
Knocks kept Najar out of three of Anderlecht's four league tilts during November, but he's gone the full 90 on the right side of a three-man back line in their first two games of December. Unfortunately, the Mauves managed just a point from those two games and stand eight points back of the league lead in fourth place through 18 rounds. Najar did not take part in their last two Europa League matches, where they bowed out after closing out a winless Group D run.


Cyle Larin
ORL: 2015-17
Rumors of an MLS return have died down over the past month, which saw Larin make two brief league appearances and a pair in the Europa League. He started the 3-2 Group I win over Sarpsborg late last month that put the Black Eagles in position to advance to the knockouts, and then worked 18 sub minutes to no avail as the Turkish giants fell out of the tourney with a 1-0 home loss to Malmö on Thursday.

Cyle Larin | Reuters

Eric Ayuk
PHI: 2015-16
The Osmanlispor winger has now started 11 straight second-flight matches, going the distance in all but one. Though his counting stats haven't moved since the last update, Ayuk has did help the club push their unbeaten run to four with a draw followed by consecutive wins. The Ottomans have moved up to mid-table and sit three points out of the last promotion playoff place.

Costa Rica

Dennis Castillo
COL: 2016
As they get set to watch Costa Rica's Liga FPD Apertura grand final on television, Castillo and his Perez Zeledon mates are also getting set for the 2019 Clausura kickoff that will arrive after the holidays.


Aaron Schoenfeld
CLB: 2012-15
It took nearly five months for the Maccabi Tel Aviv striker to open his campaign account for the 11-points clear Ligat Ha'Al leaders, but he sure did it in style. In a strong first league start of the season, Schoenfeld first made the boxscore by giving up his body on the counter to make the assist pass for the home side's 36th-minute second. On the other side of intermission, he halted an 11-month goal drought with a clinical header from near the spot.
Jonathan Bornstein
CHV: 2006-11
The Maccabi Netanya made his fifth straight start in a 1-1 draw against Hapoel Tel-Aviv on December 2, but has been resigned to bench duty the past two games. Unbeaten in three, the Europa League chasers are but four points out of second place through 13 rounds.


Sam Adekugbe
VAN: 2013-17
With 29 total outings under the belt from his first season with Valerenga, the Canada left back will soon start prepping for their March 31 new season opener. Shortly after that, NM Cupen action will kick off.
Oyvind Alseth
TOR: 2017
The hometown boy was a solid depth piece across the back line during his first campaign with surprise package Ranheim. The Eliteserien slate for 2019 will be released by month's end.
Sean Okoli
SEA: 2014
DC: 2015
NYC: 2017
Now out of contract, it seems as though Okoli will not be returning to second-flight FK Jerv. He netted once in 12 OBOS-Ligaen appearances this past season.


Emerson Hyndman
FC Dallas Academy
After missing four games with an ankle ailment, the Hibernian loan midfielder returned as a halftime sub in Sunday's game at Hamilton. Hyndman set up a pair of chances that begged better finishes, and was on as the visitors bagged a lone goal winner that poked the team's head above break-even for the season. They do remain eight points adrift of the last Europa League place.
Andy Rose
SEA: 2012-15
Though he's set to make an MLS (and Cascadia) return with Vancouver in January, the midfielder remains busy with Motherwell for another couple of weeks. Having sat out a pair of matches, Rose reclaimed a starting place for a 1-1 home draw with mighty Celtic on Dec. 5 and then shifted to the right side of midfield for this past weekend's slim loss at Hearts. Currently winless in three, the Steelmen stand six points above the trap door.
David Norman Jr.
VAN: 2018
Queen of the South's Canada youth midfielder saw his run of five straight Scottish Championship starts end on Nov. 17, but after a pair of sub shifts, returned to the line-up for Sunday's 1-1 share at Ross County. The win not only knocked their hosts off the league perch, it lifted the Doonhamers to fourth place, which comes with a promotion playoff invite.


Romain Gall
CLB: 2014-15
Though Malmo's league campaign ended prior to our last check-in, Gall & Co. are still going strong in the Europa League. Thanks to Thursday's surprise 1-0 defeat of group phase Matchday 6 hosts Besiktas (which the American watched from the dugout), the Sky Blues are on to a UEFA knockout round for the first time since they lost the 1979 European Cup final to Nottingham Forest. As a second-place finisher, Malmo will find out their round-of-32 foe during Monday's draw.
Kofi Sarkodie
HOU: 2011-15
SJ: 2016-17
After starting 11 games as Trelleborg finished last in the Allsvenskan, the right back and his mates will try for the bounce back when the second-flight Superettan schedule kicks off in April.


Kekuta Manneh | USA Today Sports Images

Kekuta Manneh
VAN: 2013-17
On Dec. 8, Manneh finally made the scoresheet for Europe chasers St. Gallen. Starting alongside fellow MLS alums Tranquillo Barnetta and Jordi Quintilla, the winger set up the early equalizer in a 3-2 rally win over Neuchatel Xamax. Coming in his ninth appearance for the club, his first Swiss Super League assist helped snap a three-game losing streak. St. Gallen stand fifth, two points shy of the last Europa league slot and just five out of a Champions League place.


Brian Iloski
LA Galaxy Academy
The young winger has stayed stuck to the bench since our last update, as loan employers Michalovce won three straight to extend their winning run to four games. This streak has the club level on points with the all-important sixth spot, with four games left until the league splits in two for the championship and relegation hexagonals.


Ben McKendry
VAN: 2016-17
The young Canada midfielder and his TPS teammates are busy doing an offseason regroup from their top-flight relegation. McKendry (who started 29 of 31 league outings in 2018) and friends will begin the new Ykkonen season in April.

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