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Llanez to travel with Wolfsburg first team for Leverkusen match

Ulysses Llanez is one step closer to making his Bundesliga debut for VfL Wolfsburg.

Wolfsburg manager Oliver Glasner confirmed Monday that Llanez will travel with the first team for Tuesday’s league match at Bayer Leverkusen. Llanez has yet to debut for the first team in competitive action, despite training with them in 2020.

Due to injuries and suspension, five Under-23 players will also be making the trip to Leverkusen. The club is aiming to bounce back from a 2-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund this weekend, one that luckily kept them in the European qualification spots.

“We shouldn’t get carried away,” Glasner said prior to Wolfsburg’s first match back on May 16th. “He’s doing things very well and you can see what a big talent he is. But of course in training he has noticed things are different. The fact is he still hasn’t had a game in adult football. We’re doing the lad no favors if we immediately throw him into cold water.”

Llanez scored 11 goals and registered six assists in 16 matches with Wolfsburg’s U-19 side, playing in just over 1,200 minutes of action. He will join international teammate Giovanni Reyna as the latest American player to make their Bundesliga debut, should he play on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old is one of many young and exciting talents in U.S. Soccer, moving through the ranks rather quickly. After featuring for the U.S. Under-20 team 13 times over the past year-and-a-half, Llanez was rewarded with his first senior cap for the USMNT in January.

The 19-year-old scored the lone goal in a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in Carson, Cali. Llanez has since been unable to represent the USMNT since then due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forcing a halt in international matches and tournaments.

Wolfsburg will take on a Leverkusen side who are fourth in the league table and 14 points clear of them. Led by the individual playmaking ability of Kai Havertz, Leverkusen have won both of their league matches since the Bundesliga resumed including a 3-1 triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.


  1. With the emergence of players like Uly & Reyna our options at the wide attacking positions have drastically improved for the USMNT. While they may not be finished products, and will still have growing pains….their inclusion to the player pool makes the team better. The further additions of Weah & Saucedo we are looking very competitive at the wide attacking positions.
    Pulisic, Reyna, Weah, Uly, Saucedo, Boyd (if he ever gets back on track) should be a strong enough stable of wide attackers to see us through WC Qualifying….and could be something special in the future.

    This would also enable us to move Morris further up the pitch to help strengthen our weakest position….Forward where we very thin.
    Jozy – the injury prone, Sargent – The hair apparent, Morris – Poacher, Ferreria – Latest option. Again should be enough to get us through WC Qualifying….but still needs something else to take it to the next level.

    Adams & McKennie should be every bit the dynamic duo that Bradley & Jones were in 2014. Unfortunately, with the same problem, no back-up/depth. Hoping that some combination of Cappis, Green, Pomykal, Yueill, & Aaronson will take the necessary steps to fill the back-up rolls.

    The Defense looks to be well stocked (especially at CB). Brooks, Dest, Yedlin, Miazga, Cannon, Long, A. Robinson, M. Robinson, EPB, CCV, Gloster, etc….

    • Has anyone heard has Antonee Robinson had his operation to fix his irregular heartbeat. I know it was postponed because of quarantine but don’t know if UK has allowed non-emergency surgeries to resume.

    • I enjoy your optimism, but am incapable of sharing it. I think all your “should be” talk should be “might be” talk. We need a playmaker, we need a serious scoring threat, & our depth is mediocre and filled w/ prospects…Our “identity” has yet to be established.

      But about Uly, I’m very excited for him. I hope to watch him tomorrow, but even if he doesn’t get a minute it’s good he’s getting the attention.

      • Amphib- good to see you around again. Lost is always optimistic about our prospects. It wasn’t that long ago that people were heralding Joe Gyau, Josh Gatt, and Sebastian Lletget who were about to breakthrough in Europe or longer ago how Kenny Cooper and Jonathan Spector at ManU.

    • Johnnyrazor – I think this is the first time in 20+ years someone has called me “optimistic”.
      The players I listed are slightly ahead of where Gyau, Gatt, Lletget or the older group Cooper & Spector. 2 of your referenced players suffered what basically amounted to career ending knee injuries….never really recovering (Gyau & Gatt). Since that could happen to anyone at any time it’s not really a fair comparison.

      Lletget….was a highly thought of player who failed to pan out in Europe and may have missed his window of opportunity when he was chopped down against Honduras. Would have likely been a Feilharber type player if he’d stayed healthy and we’d qualified for 2018. Now he’s being overtaken by the next generation and at best is a Transitional player from what we are to what we will become. I don’t expect him to be on the 2022 team if we qualify.
      Spector actually had a decent run with the USMNT. He may not have ever developed to a full-time starter, but he was a fair back-up for a period of time (2009-2012).
      Cooper was never highly thought of by anyone other than his father/agent.

      Reyna is 4 yrs younger than Gyau was when he started seeing minutes for BvB. Has already seen the field in more games and has registered a goal & assist.
      Saucedo – plays in a better league than Gatt ever did and has been a major contributor for his club since joining them last summer. If not for COVID-19 shutting everything down his statistics would likely be even better.
      Weah & Uly – yes I’m reaching a little with both, but in both cases they have shown greater promise & ability than anyone else (not named Pulisic) we’ve had on the wing since our failed qualifying run in 2017. Uly performed well against CR’s veteran squad in January…and will hopefully be seeing minutes down the stretch for his club. Weah was a good performer during the year before Berhaulter’s hiring. Has been sidelined with a muscle issue this year, but was getting starts in League 1, which is a higher level that Gatt or Saucedo played/play in. We’ll see if he returns to full health.

      Yes I’ve thrown out a bunch of young players who have only recently started seeing real minutes at the professional level. And yes there is always the possibility of them failing or getting injured. But the fact remains that these young players are better talents and are in better club situations than any of the players who should be leading this team. Everyone else is either too old (Bradley, Cameron, etc…) or are part of the “Lost Generation” (Diskerud, Morales, D. Williams, Gyau, Shea, etc….) that failed to see us qualify for WC 2018.
      I’d much rather transition using these young players who have the potential than continue to trot out a Mediocre group of players like Diskerud, Bedoya, Morales, etc….

      • Lost- it’s not that I don’t like the players you mentioned it’s just that our sample size on most of them is pretty small. Doesn’t mean they won’t be great players, but doesn’t mean they will either. Agudelo might be an example.

      • Rubin and Gooch two more examples. Youth success, first team minutes in high Euro leagues at young age but no real impact on the NT and fallen off league levels.
        I also think the only person who wants to see Mix on the NT is Mix.

  2. So many Yanks in the Bundesliga, these are exciting times. And what good fortune its also the league that comes back first in the pandemic??

    Premier League…who?

    Congrats Uly!!


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