The rise of Brenden Aaronson has been well documented throughout the 2020 season, but the 19-year-old Philadelphia Union prodigy may have done his finest work yet in his team's 3-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
Aaronson's 36th-minute opening goal was a stunner, as the Homegrown product wound up and uncorked a perfectly placed distance strike that glanced off the post and into the net to get the Union rolling.
"Brenden Aaronson obviously finds a good pocket in what we call the green zone and obviously the shot he hits is a special one," Union head coach Jim Curtin said after the match. "I was mad at him because he was in that green zone a couple times earlier and his first touch let him down. But overall now to finish that one from distance is something we’re proud of and all the hard work he’s put in in front of goal is paying off for him and our team. He deserves the credit there."
Aaronson is now up to three goals, two assists in 10 games, which equals the statistical output he managed in 28 MLS appearances as an 18-year-old rookie last season. It's evidence of the upward trajectory that has resulted in the hype about his potential US men's national team future and a move to Europe that, at this point, feels inevitable.
Aaronson has pointed to being more consistently goal-dangerous as one of the biggest skills he wants to continue to hone, adding that he believes his latest tally can partially be attributed to the extra work he's been putting in on the training ground with teammate Alejandro Bedoya, who delivered the cross that led to the highlight-reel strike.
"There’s been a lot of work in my final third and I think that I give myself a lot of credit because after training I’m always getting that ball from Ale, we’ve worked on that a lot recently and I was in the green zone and made up my idea, decided to shoot," Aaronson said. "I need to shoot more, I think people see that. I shot it and I scored and I was really proud of myself for that.
"We’ve been talking about that cutback ball, we’ve done it a few times in the past games. I think just getting repetition in those spots really helps. It makes you more confident. The more I get that repetition, I think I’m going to get better and better in that position. …Seeing it on film, last week against Columbus I had the same chance where maybe I should could shoot a little earlier, but for me it's on the first touch and that sets up everything. In my head when I saw [that ball crossed] there was only one thing in my head, and that was to shoot it. That’s what I want to keep doing, I want to keep working on it because I think a great 10 has that goal-scoring capability. I want to keep adding that to my game and keep shooting whenever I can."