Alex Mendez - US Under-20s - November 21, 2018
Roy K. Miller / ISIphotos.com

MLS Exports: McKennie returns, Soto, Mendez score, Edwards celebrates title

Like clockwork, we're back again to catch you up on the exploits of all the Major League Soccer products kicking soccer balls around the globe. 

There was plenty of excitement for our boys playing in Germany, from Weston McKennie's fast return to continued offense outbursts from Sebastian Soto and Alex Mendez to the league crown celebrated by Michael Edwards. 

England

DeAndre Yedlin ended his season for Newcastle sidelined following groin surgery. | Reuters

DeAndre Yedlin
SEA: 2013-14
The Newcastle right back missed the last five games of the Premier League season, undergoing successful groin surgery last Tuesday, putting his Concacaf availability in doubt. As for the Magpies, they ended the term 11 points clear of the relegation mire in 13th place. Yedlin helped out by finishing with EPL career highs in both tackles and key passes despite playing five fewer games than he did last season.
Tim Ream
RBNY: 2010-11
Once Fulham were already relegated, Ream and the rest of the team's backline actually dug in for their strongest stretch of the campaign. They keyed 1-0 victories over Bournemouth and Cardiff City that allowed the Cottagers to close April with three straight clean sheet wins, something the club hadn't accomplished in 52 years. Ream and his back line buddies stretched their shutout streak to 360 minutes before leaking a late winner at Wolverhampton on May 4.
Emerson Hyndman
FC Dallas Academy
On April 20, the midfielder finally suited up for Bournemouth for the first time this season, but he did not feature in their 1-0 loss to Fulham. The following weekend, however, Hyndman enjoyed his first EPL outing in almost exactly a year, working 37 minutes of a 3-3 draw at Southampton. It was then back to the pine for the last two rounds of the season, as the Cherries finished in 14th place.
Geoff Cameron
HOU: 2008-12
Setting his injury woes aside, the veteran started the last three matches of QPR's season at center back, a position he hadn't played since September (spanning 15 games). After tough losses to Derby County and Nottingham Forest, Cameron and Queens Park Rangers closed the campaign with a solid 2-1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday on May 5.
Matt Miazga
RBNY: 2013-15
The Reading loan defender finished the Championship season with 18 consecutive full shifts. Miazga helped the Royals concede just six times in a 1-1-4 closing kick that clinched survival, and included clean sheets against West Bromwich Albion (April 22) and Birmingham City (May 5) among their last three matches. The US center back finished with an average of 7.2 clearances per game, placing him fourth on the league chart.
Matthew Olosunde
RBNY Academy

The Manchester United Under-23 right back continued his comeback from a long knee lay-off by working all 90 minutes of their season capper, a 3-2 defeat at Wolverhampton on April 26.

Germany

Weston McKennie has had an impactful return for Schalke from an ankle injury | Reuters

Weston McKennie
FC Dallas Academy
The US midfielder came back from an ankle injury earlier than originally expected to work 81 minutes in Schalke's galling 5-2 home loss to Hoffenheim on April 20. McKennie helped turn things around the next round, controlling the center of the park in a shock 4-2 derby triumph against Borussia Dortmund that secured their Bundesliga place for another season. He then slid back to central defense to pile up 10 total defensive stops in a scoreless stalemate against Augsburg on May 5 and followed that up with a dozen in last weekend's 1-1 share at Bayer Leverkusen.
Tyler Adams
RBNY: 2016-18
The RB Leipzig starlet has now missed six league games and two DfB-Pokal tilts with an adductor injury. In Adams' absence, the team has extended their unbeaten run to nine games across all competitions. Because of that, they've locked down both third place in the league table and the Champions League group stage invite that comes with it, as well as a May 25 cup final date with Bayern Munich. Whether or not the US midfielder returns in time remains to be seen.
Alphonso Davies
VAN: 2016-18
The Bayern Munich wing prodigy has made just one league appearance since returning from a knee sprain in April. Davies was on for the final 18 minutes of a 1-1 draw at FC Nürnberg on April 28. The Bavarians have but two games left to see action, but they are big ones: Saturday's potential Bundesliga title clincher against Eintracht Frankfurt and the DfB-Pokal final against RB Leipzig set for the following weekend.
Sebastian Soto
Real Salt Lake Academy
The Hannover 96 strike prospect made his third appearance for the first team with a cameo in their 0-0 draw at Hertha Berlin on April 21. Soto was back with the Reds' second side at the start of this month, and picked up where he left off before the promotion. He shot down home side Dynamo Dresden with a brace on May 4 and fired the early equalizer in last weekend's 4-1 rout of Osnabrück. The return outburst brought his A Junior Bundesliga Nord/Nordost season total to 17.
Chris Gloster
RBNY Academy
The Hannover 96 II left back really came into his own after the winter break, helping the fourth division side head into closing day on a 7-2-3 run that includes five shutouts. Gloster also posted an assist in each of his last two games before heading off to join the US for Under-20 World Cup prep camp. Unfortunately, it wasn't all happy news for the 18-year-old, who was also subject to racist abuse from traveling Lübeck supporters during the junior Reds' 1-1 draw on April 18.
Khiry Shelton
NYC: 2015-17
SKC: 2018
Having not appeared for Paderborn's first team since March, Shelton has spent most of the last month getting up to speed with the reserves. The attacker has now played five Oberliga Westfalen matches (all victories), with assists picked up in each of the last two.
Kianz Froese
VAN: 2014-17
Both the Canada international and his Fortuna Düsseldorf II side have cooled off over the last month. Froese has failed to make the score sheet, while his team have managed just one goal and one point from three games. Despite the spring swoon, they have clinched Regionalliga West survival with one game to spare.
Chris Richards
FC Dallas Academy
After observing a couple of games from the dugout, the Bayern Munich Under-19 center back went back into the lineup for all four games since the last update. The last two rounds saw Richards marshal the back for a 3-1 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt and a scoreless draw with Mainz 05, with the points gained ensuring a fourth place league finish.
Taylor Booth
Real Salt Lake Academy
The young attacking midfielder is fast becoming a lineup card fixture for the Bayern Munich Under-19's. Booth has now started four of their last five games.
Alex Mendez
Chivas USA Academy
LA Galaxy Academy
The Under-20 World Cup call-up has been growing in influence at Freiburg leading up to the tournament. Mendez heads off to join his US teammates after starting 10 straight for the Breisgau-Brazilians' Under-19 side, and his introduction to the lineup sparked a 3-1-2 run that lifted them up to sixth place in the A Junior Bundesliga Süd/Südwest. A couple days after our last update, he notched his first assist in Germany on the capper in a 3-1 win at Bayern Munich. This past weekend, Mendez scored a fine free kick for his third goal of the season with 10 minutes left to temporarily level matters in what would end as a 3-2 loss against Augsburg.
Michael Edwards
D.C. United Academy
The teen center back was recently promoted to train with the Wolfsburg second team after helping their Under-19's run away with the A Junior Bundesliga Nord/Nordost title. Since becoming eligible for official matches in January, Edwards has gone the distance 12 times. In those games, the baby Wolves are 11-1 with just eight goals allowed. Next up? Their national Under-19 Bundesliga semifinal tie starts away to Süd/Südwest champs Stuttgart on Tuesday night.
Ulysses Llanez
LA Galaxy Academy
Edwards' roommate has yet to gain eligibility to suit up in competitive games for Wolfsburg, limiting him to training and friendly action thus far.

Mexico

Omar Gonzalez
LA Galaxy: 2009-15
The Atlas defender fought back from another Clausura rough spell to regain a starting place. After five games on the sideline, Gonzalez returned to take up right back for a 1-0 defeat at Pachuca on April 28. On closing day, he was back in the middle to help secure a 2-0 victory over Monterrey that pushed the club up to 13th place. With his Foxes contract set to expire, rumors of an MLS return have intensified in recent weeks.
Rogelio Funes Mori
FC Dallas Academy
The Monterrey goal monster received a bit of a breather over the last few rounds of the Clausura season. Funes Mori worked a little less than an hour combined in the Veracruz win and Necaxa draw that closed out April, and then watched the club's 2-0 closing day loss to Atlas from the bench. He ended the regular season with 11 goals, good for third on the Liga MX scoring chart. However, his goal drought ran to four games during the opening round of the Liguilla, which saw the Rayados squeak past Necaxa to set up a headline semifinal clash with Tigres.
Rafael Baca
SJ: 2011-14
The Cruz Azul defensive midfielder went from whistle to whistle in back-to-back wins over Pumas and Lobos BUAP to finish off April, and then was pulled at halftime of their closing day draw with Monarcas. The club finished the Clausura regular season on a 6-0-3 run before being bounced in the Liguilla by Club America. Baca worked 88 minutes in the 3-1 opening loss, but stayed on the bench for their too little, too late 1-0 win in the home return.
Tony Alfaro
SEA: 2016-18
The Chivas defender dressed for their 3-1 home loss on April 21, but was left out of the selection for the final two Clausura matches. The Guadalajara side dropped seven of their last 10 games to finish 11 points adrift of a playoff place in 14th.
Lalo Fernandez
RSL: 2012-17
Fernandez is also spending his time spectating while his club fights for the title. The goalkeeper is still rotating in and out of the back-up job for Liguilla semifinalists Tigres. The club needed an 84th minute strike from Andre-Pierre Gignac to get past first round foe Pachuca, and will now square off against Monterrey for a place in the final. That tie kicks off at home on Wednesday night.

Spain

Ballou Tabla
Montreal Impact Academy
Nothing changed for the Barcelona prospect since we last checked on him. Tabla has remained out of the squad as loan side Albacete fights for promotion to La Liga. With four games left, the Southerners stand three points behind Granada — who visit on Monday — for the second automatic promotion spot. With the squad fully fit, it seems unlikely that Tabla is due for any action down the stretch.

Netherlands

Erik Palmer-Brown
SKC 2009-17
The Eredivisie home stretch has not gone well for the US defender and loan side NAC Breda, to say the least. A few days after our last round-up, Palmer-Brown was pulled at halftime of a 2-1 loss at Fortuna Sittard. The youngster was guilty of pulling down Lazaros Lamprou in the area and Mark Diemers converted the resulting spot kick to break the ice six minute before intermission. Three days later, a knee ailment forced Palmer-Brown to miss out on the 4-0 home loss to Feyenoord that sealed the Yellow Army's relegation fate. He returned to the lineup this past weekend for a 2-1 defeat at Heerenveen.
Richie Ledezma
Real Salt Lake Academy
The PSV Eindhoven winter signing celebrated his first start for their Under-19 side (and, it's worth noting, manager Ruud van Nistelrooy) by netting the early opener in a 1-1 home draw with NAC Breda on May 4. Last weekend, he kept his spot in the No. 10 role for another 1-1 share against the joint NEC Nijmegen/TOP Oss team.

Belgium

Andy Najar
DC: 2010-12
After a horrid start to the championship playoff hexagonal, things improved to an extent for both Najar and Anderlecht over the last month. First, the Honduras international worked the full 90 at right back in the scoreless home draw with Gent that snapped the Mauves' four-game losing streak. He played the last three matches (a 1-0 loss at Club Brugge, a 2-1 win over arch rivals Standard Liege and a 1-1 draw at Royal Antwerp) up the wing. Najar set up the early opener in the latter game, but the team's failure to hold that lead melted away all but the slimmest hope of finishing with a berth in the Europa League playoff final.

Turkey

Cyle Larin
ORL: 2015-17
The Canada striker failed to see any action over the last month, watching every minute of Besiktas' four games from the dugout. The Black Eagles won three times, only losing to local derby foe (and new Super Lig leaders) Galatasaray on May 4. It was a best chance lost, as they now stand four points off the top and as many shy of the second Champions League slot with but two rounds to play.
Eric Ayuk
PHI: 2015-16
After 13 straight starts for Osmanlispor, the winger finally missed out with a knock as the visitors ended a poor stretch by winning 2-1 at Elazigspor on April 19. Ayuk was quickly back in the fold for consecutive scoreless draws against Umraniyespor (full shift) and Afyonspor (12 minutes off the bench). He was back on the bench for Sunday's 3-1 home victory over Altay that clinched their place in the promotion playoffs.

South Korea

Sebastian Velasquez
RSL: 2012-14
NYC: 2015
Second flight promotion hopefuls Suwon FC have been extremely busy since our last update, playing six games. That means squad rotation, which has seen Velasquez start three and watch three from the bench. The third-place side lost all three matches played without the Colombian attacker, including their second round FA Cup tilt at Daegu FC. The good news is they won each contest that featured Velasquez, who has been a driving force for the club's offense.

China

Anatole Abang
RBNY: 2015-16
The Cameroonian forward is beginning to look like the main source of hope of second flight Nantong Zhiyun. Abang couldn't find the net in a 2-0 home loss to MZ Hakka on April 20 and a minor knock kept him sidelined for the following week's 2-1 defeat to visitors Guangdong Southern Tigers. The No. 9 shirt returned on May 4 to put on a two-goal, one assist Man of the Match show in a 3-0 triumph at fellow survivalists Shanghai Shenxin, but was back on the mend for their weekend loss at Guizhou Hengfeng.

Costa Rica

Denis Castillo
COL: 2016
A very promising Clausura campaign fell apart late for Castillo and Pérez Zeledón. After challenging for the top spot throughout the regular season, they settled for a third-place finish thanks to a 0-0 closing day draw at Herediano. After rallying for a 1-1 share in the home leg of their playoff semifinal against Saprissa, they fell 2-1 in the away decider. The tie was level on aggregate until a 'keeper gaffe allowed Michael Barrantes to fire Saprissa into the championship final with a quarter hour to play.

Israel

Aaron Schoenfeld
CLB: 2012-15
The Maccabi Tel Aviv striker has missed the champs' last four matches with a nagging foot injury, but manager Vladimir Ivic is hopeful he can be back before the season ends.
Jonathan Bornstein
CHV: 2006-11
The veteran left back played every minute as Maccabi Netanya enjoyed a 3-1 run since our last check that included home and away victories over nearby nemesis Hapoel Hadera. Bornstein and Co. will now put the league chase for second place on hold to do battle for the State Cup — a trophy they've won only once, way back in 1978 — in Wednesday's final against Bnei Yahuda.
George Fochive
POR: 2014-15
The week after our last update, Fochive opened his Hapoel Hadera account in a 3-2 loss at derby rivals Maccabi Netanya. The midfielder buried a charging corner kick header to start a visitors rally that fell just short. The club's losing streak would then reach four games following home losses to champs Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Netanya, but Fochive and friends would get well by defeating Monday guests Maccabi Haifa 2-0. Even with that win, Hapoel Hadera are locked into a sixth-place finish with two championship hexagonal rounds left.

Norway

Sam Adekugbe
VAN: 2013-17
Since going the distance per usual in a 1-all draw at SK Brann on April 22, the Canada left back has missed three straight games with a knee knock picked up in training the following week. The Bohemians have picked up seven of nine points since Adekugbe's injury to move up to fourth place.
Oyvind Alseth
TOR: 2017
The starting Ranheim right back was benched for the April 22 scoreless draw at Kristiansund that pocketed the club its first point of the Eliteserien season. Alseth quickly returned to the lineup, though, for consecutive wins over Viking and SK Brann. Their unbeaten run ended on Sunday with a 5-1 humbling by rude guests Valerenga.

Scotland

Timothy Weah
RBNY Academy
After missing Celtic's April 27 championship round tilt against Kilmarnock with back spasms, Weah made his first start in a month the following week at Aberdeen. The youngster went 73 minutes as the Hoops clinched their eighth straight Premiership crown with a 3-0 triumph. Those happy times didn't last long, however. After being named to Tab Ramos' US Under-20 World Cup squad, the forward rejected a chance to skip their opening group match against Ukraine to return to Parkhead to prepare for the May 25 Scottish Cup final against Hearts. This decision angered Celtic boss Neil Lennon, who responded by ending the American's loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
Matt Polster
CHI: 2015-18
The winter signing finally made his Rangers debut with a brief cameo in their opening game of the Premiership championship playoff, a 3-1 victory at Hearts, but has been left out of the squad for the three wins that followed. The Light Blues were already locked into a second-place finish before scoring a 2-0 victory over champs Celtic on Sunday. Meanwhile, starting right back James Tavernier is reportedly wanted by Southampton, and if he leaves Polster could battle for the lineup job next season.
Ian Harkes
DC: 2017-18
The Dundee United man kept his usual midfield place for matching 2-0 late April victories over Inverness and Falkirk that clinched the second place in the Championship regular season table. Harkes then remained a spectator for an essentially meaningless 1-0 closing day loss at Morton. The Tangerines will now begin a playoff tie at Inverness on Tuesday, with the winner heading off to play either St. Mirren or Hamilton for a place in the Scottish Premiership.
Ian McGrath
Chicago Fire Academy
The Queen of the South midfielder only managed one appearance from the team's last three regular season games, coming off the bench for the last 27 minutes of a 4-0 loss at table-toppers Ross County on April 26. After watching their promotion/relegation semifinal opening loss at Montrose from the bench, McGrath then worked the last 36 minutes of Sunday's 5-0 home leg cruise that pushed the club into next week's survival tie against Raith Rovers.

Sweden

Romain Gall
CLB: 2014-15
The Malmo winger has found playing time harder to come by early in the new Allsvenskan season. Gall has made three substitute appearances in the Sky Blues five games since last month. On Sunday, he worked 24 minutes and set up the capper in a 4-1 defeat of Elfsborg that moved the club clear at the top of the table.
Ben McKendry
VAN: 2016-17
McKendry was named in the lineup for all five of Nykoping's games since our last update, giving him seven straight starts. Unfortunately, the club are now winless in four, dropping them from third to 10th in the table.
Ian Garrett
Chicago Fire Academy
The young attacker got his first Nykoping start on April 22 and helped the club climb to third place with a 2-0 home win over Boden. Garrett again got the nod a few days later at Sylvia, but was pulled at halftime of a 3-0 defeat. After sitting out a game, he then made a late cameo in their scoreless May 1 draw at Karlslund and worked a 14-minute sub shift in Sunday's 3-0 loss at Vasalund.

Finland

Luis Silva
TOR: 2012-13
DC: 2013-15
RSL: 2015-18
The forward made his fourth straight start for FC Honka in a 3-0 win at KuPS on April 20 before coming off the bench 11 minutes from time of a 3-2 victory over FC Inter five days later. All was going great for Silva and his new employers at that point, but he's missed their last three matches with an injury and they've gone 0-2-1 without him to slip from second to sixth place.

Albania

Dilly Duka
CLB: 2010-12, 2016-17
CHI: 2013-14
MTL: 2014-15
RBNY: 2017
After starting in central midfield as league leaders Partizani Tirana settled for a pair of draws to end April, Duka was among the heroes in a 3-0 road win at Flamurtari on May 4. Sliding up to take the No. 10 role, he assisted on both of their second half insurance tallies to help the Red Bulls move to the brink of their 16th Albanian Superliga title. They finished the job on Sunday, notching a 2-1 derby win over Tirana to celebrate their first league crown in 26 years.

Canada

Amer Didic
SKC: 2016-18
FC Edmonton is one of the two remaining CPL unbeatens (1-0-1), and Didic marshaled their defense for every minute of both games. In the NASL transplant's league opener, the center back racked up 10 clearances and set up the winner by flicking on a corner kick serve for Oumar Diouck to knock it home. The Eddies have yet to allow a goal during the run of play, but will be tested when they visit perfect league leaders Cavalry on Saturday.
Ryan Telfer
TOR: 2018
The York 9 attacker scored the first goal in CPL history when he got loose up the middle to fire home just three minutes into the league's inaugural match. Unfortunately for the visitors, they were eventually forced to settle for a 1-1 share at Forge FC and suffered a 2-1 loss at Cavalry the following week. After nearly two weeks without a game, they'll travel to Blainville for a Canadian Championship qualifying opener on Wednesday before tackling the capper of a four-game road swing at Pacific on Saturday.
Emery Welshman
Portland Timbers Academy
TOR: 2013
The Guyana strike ace is off to a strong start for a 1-1-2 Forge FC side. Welshman deftly set up the late equalizer in their CPL opening day 1-1 share against York 9, and after being shut out in a 2-1 loss at HFX Wanderers that opened their May slate, expertly grabbed the team's second in a 3-0 defeat of Pacific last Thursday. This past weekend, he assisted on their lone goal in a 2-1 home loss to Cavalry.
Kyle Bekker
TOR: 2013-14
DAL: 2015
MTL: 2015-16
The Forge FC skipper worked all 90 minutes in each of the club's first two CPL games, creating four chances in the process. However, he was hit with a two-game ban for an incident in the opening draw with York 9. Though it went unpunished by referees at the time, Bekker's elbow to the head of Joseph Di Chiara eventually caught up to him during last week's Canada Soccer Disciplinary Committee meeting. He is due back for Thursday's trip to Valour.
Kwame Awuah
NYC: 2017-18
The uncapped Canada pool midfielder has played every minute of Forge FC's first four matches. Awuah has kept very busy in central park thus far, winning 28 duels to go with nine pass interceptions and five chances created.
David Choinière
MTL: 2016-18
Yet another Forge FC man with MLS beginnings, Choinière was a spectator for their first two CPL matches. The attacking midfielder saw his first action in last week's win over Pacific, setting up Welshman's goal just 14 minutes into a full shift. In Sunday's slim loss to Cavalry, he came on for the final 10 minutes.
Marco Bustos
VAN: 2014-17
Valour FC has made a point of grabbing as many hometown products as they can for their inaugural season, and last week they added another with the signing of Winnipeg native Bustos. The Canada attacking midfielder then quickly made his debut in a 1-0 weekend win over HFX Wanderers. Bustos helped the team climb into second place by passing impeccably over his full shift.
Louis Beland-Goyette
MTL: 2014, 2017-18
Helping Bustos point Valour in the right direction was fellow youngster Beland-Goyette. The former Canada youth international has played every minute of the club's 2-2 start, providing plenty of possession work and hard-nosed defense.
Matthew Baldisimo
Vancouver Whitecaps Academy
The young defensive midfielder has started Pacific FC's first four CPL matches, going the distance in two of them. Since posting a 1-0 home win over HFX Wanderers in the league opener, they've managed but one point in three games, which came via Sunday's scoreless draw at Edmonton. On Wednesday, the club will kick off Canadian Championship qualifying against visiting Cavalry.
Blake Smith
MTL: 2013-14
CIN: 2019
Baldisimo's teammate went the full route in the heart of defense in Pacific FC's first three matches, but struggled in their 3-0 loss to Forge FC last Thursday. As a result, the FC Cincinnati loan item watched Saturday's share at Edmonton from the dugout.

Guatemala

Nicolas Samayoa
NE: 2018
The Comunicaciones defender scored his first goal for the club with the early winner in a 5-0 rout of Deportivo Petapa on May 2. After finishing the regular season in third place, the Whites bowed out in the Clausura championship semifinals with a 2-1 aggregate loss to Guastatoya (the same team that bested them in the Apertura final). Despite the setback, Samayoa and Co. have qualified for the 2019 Concacaf League, which will give them a shot at making the field for the 2020 Champions League.

Thailand

Chris Cortez
CHV: 2011
The loan striker is currently slated to return to top flight middlers Chonburi FC at the end of May, but first he will try to help second tier Ayutthaya United reach the Thai League Cup sweet 16 for the first time. On April 24, Cortez entered into a tie game early in the second half and helped the visitors cruise to a 5-2 victory by setting up their fourth. Three days later, Ayutthaya posted a sorely needed 1-0 win at Thai League 2 foe Ubon and then climbed out of the drop zone with a scoreless home draw against Rayong this past weekend.

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