Just six days after scoring in his U.S. Men’s National Team debut, Ulysses Llanez could have the chance of making his first-team debut with Wolfsburg in the UEFA Europa League.
Llanez was one of three additions to Wolfsburg’s first-team roster for the upcoming Round of 32. The Bundesliga side meets Swedish Allsvenskan club Malmo in the knockout stage, which could also see Llanez lineup against fellow American Romain Gall.
The 18-year-old scored the game-winning goal for the USMNT in a recent 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in California, a match that saw Llanez turn in a Man of the Match-worthy performance, causing problems for the Costa Rican defense with his quickness and creativity.
Llanez joined Wolfsburg in April of 2019 when he turned 18, but wasn’t officially registered until last July. He endured some early struggles at the German club, but after an impressive showing at the Under-20 World Cup, Llanez went on to become a regular for the club’s Under-19 team. In 11 league appearances this season, he has scored 10 goals and added three assists in just over 800 minutes of action.
A former L.A. Galaxy Academy player, Llanez is one of three Americans under contract at Wolfsburg, joining senior centerback John Brooks and Under-23 defender Michael Edwards. He joins Mamoudou Karamoko and Marin Pongračić as the additions made by manager Oliver Glasner this month.
Llanez has yet to make his first-team debut with Wolfsburg, but if he does become a regular first-team player it could keep him from taking part in Concacaf Olympic qualifying in March (though Gregg Berhalter’s relationship with Wolfsburg could help facilitate his inclusion). Llanez is one of the top winger prospects in the Under-23 age group, and is actually still eligible for the next Under-20 cycle.
Wolfsburg snapped a four-match winless streak on Feb. 2nd in a 4-2 Bundesliga win over Paderborn. The club is currently in ninth place in the German top flight and faces Fortuna Dusseldorf this weekend in league play.
Wolfsburg’s two-legged Europa League tie with Malmo will see the German side heavily favored against a Malmo side just returning to domestic action after a two-month break.