American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath’s UEFA Champions League run ended prematurely.
Horvath’s Club Brugge was eliminated in the third round of Champions League qualifying following a 5-3 aggregate loss to Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir.
Horvath started both legs of the tie. He conceded three goals in the first leg at home and allowed an additional two when the team traveled to Turkey yesterday. Brugge will now head to the Europa League playoff round for the right to play in the Europa League group stage. They will learn their opponent on Friday.
It hasn’t been all doom and gloom for Horvath, though. He started and kept a clean sheet in Brugge’s Jupiler League opener against Lokeren on Saturday.
Horvath joined Brugge last January and is the first American to play for the club. He took over the starting job in May and helped seal their spot in Champions League qualifying. He made his U.S. Men’s National Team debut in October 2016, when he kept a clean sheet in a friendly victory over Cuba.
I think it’s dubious to suggest a home and away loss against some Turkish team I’ve never heard of is really more edifying for one’s career than Houston vs FC Dallas or second division England or something.
The argument only really gathers steam when it’s, say, Fulham vs Juve in the final with Dempsey, or Pulisic playing well into the tournament with Borussia Dortmund, but then how much of that is really the big club experience anyway. If it’s not ManU in Champions League, for teams like this it would be Bayern Munich in their domestic league. So are we really just double-bookkeeping the big club value.
And then x% of the big club signings either end up loaned out or sit the bench. Miazga nominally is Chelsea which is EPL and CL, but in reality they ship him out to Vitesse and Europa. And then there’s the perennial list who don’t play and don’t get loaned. Does Julian Green still exist?
And Americans mostly sit on the bench in MLS, not even 50% of starters most nights, and if you look at opportunities for 22-year-olds it’s even less.
A meaningful home and away series against the 2nd place team in Turkey, which is better than MLS or The Championship does seem like a better move for your career than playing in Houston. Adebayor who scored the first goal has played for Monaco, Man City, Real Madrid, Arsenal, and Spurs, scoring over 100 goals for those clubs combined. Clichy one of their defenders played in the EPL for Arsenal and Man City for almost fifteen years and has 20 caps for France, so just because you haven’t heard of this team doesn’t mean they are bad. They have a couple other Turkish players who have played in France and England as well. They will most likely lose the next round series with someone like Napoli or Liverpool, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good squad, what MLS team would have a chance against Napoli or Liverpool.
Horvath is the starter for one of the top teams in the 8th best league in Europe, that is good for a career. By going to Norway he played in Europa League knockout matches against Ajax, Sevilla, and Celtic now that’s not ManU or Bayern, but those are three really good clubs. Had he stayed in the states he would have spent the last couple years playing in the USL and maybe have gotten a chance to start somewhere this season.
Not to mention, I should think it enhances his prospects of joining a bigger club in Europe in the future to stay in a traditional feeder league, particularly if he is starting. European clubs have not exactly been banging down MLS doors for GK’s…. I can think of exactly zero transfers ofMLS keepers to Europe since ManU bought Howard from the Metrostars back in the Stone Age.
“But he’ll get Champions League experience….”
Which he did (just not group stage experience). They should still qualify for the Europa League which means more high-pressure games, Molde where he was, didn’t even make the qualifying rounds for either.
injury news: yedlin to miss 2-3 weeks with ankle injury