The weather may be getting colder where you live, but several MLS products and US internationals have been heating up of late over in Europe.
Some of the 10 guys listed below got their pro start in Major League Soccer, some are in a United States or Canada player pool at some level, and half of them fit into both categories. We'll start off all the good news with an injury return for a very important USMNT figure, and then run down all the guys currently shining overseas.
To say that the RB Leipzig midfield ace has walked a frustrating recovery road from groin troubles is an understatement. The club thought he'd miss six weeks or so, and be ready to resume full training during preseason, but that didn't happen. And then it didn't happen through the entirety of autumn despite repeated pronouncements that the New York Red Bulls Homegrown product was a couple weeks away from returning.
And then, on Tuesday, it finally happened. No, really, for reals.
The key US cog almost certainly won't be available for selection until the Bundesliga title contenders (who are also leading their UEFA Champions League group) return from Germany's winter break in mid-January. Even so, just seeing Adams back in the training swing of things is reason enough for excitement.
It's much too early to tell if Bayern Munich intend to continue long-term with the Canada phenom as a left back. Davies could well be nothing more than a salve at the position with a bright future as a winger ahead. After all, the Bundesliga is actually a wide-open title race this season, and the Bavarians need all capable hands on deck.
Whatever happens down the line, the teenager has been making the tricky assignment look like kid's play.
Davies has now gone the distance at left back in Bayern's last nine games, including a pair of clean-sheet Champions League wins and a close shave DfB-Pokal advancement at Bochum. Perhaps his best performance of the run came in a 4-0 humiliation of Borussia Dortmund on Nov. 9. That day, he owned Jaden Sancho while chalking up seven of his 20 November tackles, a sum that led all Bundesliga players for the month.
The 19-year-old USMNT talent has experienced only the odd speed bump here or there since grabbing hold of the Ajax right back job back in August. For those who haven't been able to watch the Godenzonen this season, the proof of Dest's excellence is in the statistical pudding.
He's notched a goal and five assists (one out of the league top five) in 12 league games. He's passed at an 88% clip and averaged nearly two tackles per game for the Dutch leaders. In Dest's four whistle-to-whistle Champions League outings, Ajax have allowed just one goal. Meanwhile, he is currently ranked 20th in cumulative Eredivisie player ratings aggregated from the three leading newspapers in the Netherlands.
After suffering through 18 months of tough times that featured just four league starts for Besiktas, the Canadian striker has rediscovered his scoring boots on loan to Belgian battlers Zulte-Waregem. Despite going scoreless in his first six games for the West Flanders bunch, Larin now leads the team with seven league goals and added a Belgian Cup game-winner in September.
That may not surprise, but even Larin's biggest fans may gasp at the fact that he also stands tied for third on the Jupiler League assist chart with five. He's made the Team of the Week twice and, this week, Turkish reports are claiming that Zulte-Waregem are already trying to take up their buy option on the former Orlando City star.
Back in the 2017/18 season, the onetime FC Dallas trainee looked like he was going places fast. Having worked his way through the ranks at Levante, Moore earned five La Liga starts and eventually as many US caps. Then, he went off on an unfortunate second-flight loan spell at a club with a shady owner that wasn't much for paying employees, and his trajectory slowed to a halt.
Don't look now, but the 23-year-old is on the rise again following a summer move to Segunda Division survivalists Tenerife. Moore has started the Canary Islands club's last four matches, including two at left back. He went the distance as the Chicharreros held league leaders Cadiz to a 1-1 draw on Nov. 17, and then helped them post their first shutout win in over two months at Gijon five days later.
Coming off a nine-goal Eredivisie season and a 20-goal campaign in the Dutch second flight but unable to break through at Reading, the Wisconsin native opted for a summer move to relegated Italian side Frosinone. The Serie B learning curve got off to a slow start for Novakovich, to put it mildly.
Those struggles ended with a big bang last weekend, as Novakovich starred in a 4-0 rout of Empoli. After notching a pair of first-half assists, the 23-year-old's strong final-third running finally paid off shortly after intermission as he broke his Italy duck with a fine sharp-angle header.
Andrija Novakovich’s goal against Empoli from the weekend. Has 1 goal and 3 assists in 12 appearances with Frosinone in Serie B. Not great but this should give him confidence.— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) December 2, 2019
Speaking of tough starts in new environs, the US defender conceded a spot kick and saw straight red — the first of his pro career — on his debut with loan employers Austria Vienna. The visitors were protecting a late lead, and though their goalkeeper denied the resulting penalty attempt, they leaked the equalizer scant moments after Palmer-Brown was ejected.
That nightmare is long ago and far away at this point, as both Palmer-Brown and the Violet are playing much better these days. The Sporting KC product has marshalled the back for four clean sheets in his last seven starts, and his knockdown header teed up a 2-1 winner against Mattersberg on Nov. 11.
Chelsea's big summer splash was another player that experienced some bumps early in the season, but those are now long forgotten at Stamford Bridge. Since hopping off the pine to set up the Blues' 86th-minute lone goal winner at Champions League foes Ajax on October 23, Pulisic has been in torrid form.
The USMNT star man has six goals and three helpers from his last 10 outings to lead Chelsea's charge from mid-table to fourth place. Pulisic leads the squad in successful dribbles per game, and is only picking up his pace on the ball. He's averaging four dribble runs, four shots and two key passes since striking for a hat trick at Burnley six games ago.
Fulham were one of the top promotion favorites when the Championship season began, but didn't really play like it over the first couple months. In large part thanks to Ream's leadership at the back, the Cottagers are back in top form and have climbed from a low-water mark of 12th place up to third.
The USMNT veteran's efficient defensive positioning and positive play out of the back helped Fulham win their last four games of November. Ream leads the entire English second division in passing accuracy with a completion rate over 93%.
The way he's played this season, one has to wonder how long it will be before Claudio's boy is promoted to the Borussia Dortmund second team. Splitting time between left wing and the No. 10 position, Reyna has logged five goals and six assists in his first 14 competitive games for the BVB Under-19 side.
Though he just turned 17 last month, Reyna is exhibiting a cool in and around the area typically seen in much older attackers. He ended November by casually wiggling past Barcelona defenders to start Dortmund's rally for a vital 2-1 road win in UEFA Youth League group play.