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Aaronson’s stock keeps soaring after latest standout performance

Scouts from across Europe tuned in to Thursday night’s MLS is Back Tournament quarterfinal between the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City to see some top young American talent on display. Not every youngster in action impressed, but Brenden Aaronson made the most of the spotlight, showing once again why his stock is soaring right along with the stock of the Union.

Sergio Santos was the star of the night for the Union, recording two goals and an assist, but Aaronson’s confident display in midfield, capped by a jaw-dropping assist to make the score 3-0 on the way to a 3-1 victory, cemented his status as one of the most exciting young prospects in the American talent pipeline.

“Brenden, I thought was dominant,” Union coach Jim Curtin said of Aaronson. “He was active. His movement off the ball to find space was really good. The ball he plays on the third goal, that’s a top ball in any league. In any league in Europe that’s a pass that not many people see. His confidence is very high right now.”

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“Sergio’s commitment to get in the box is always there,” Aaronson said of his assist to Santos. “I think it’s just finding him. He made a great run back-post and it was just up to me to find him, and that’s my role on this team. I want to get assists for them, and try to help them out as much as I can (with) scoring goals.”

Multiple reports have linked Aaronson to interest from European clubs, including Bundesliga clubs, and with teammate Mark McKenzie also being pursued by European suitors, along with Sporting Kansas City’s Gianluca Busio, it was Aaronson who stood out the most among the top prospects on display on Thursday.

“There were a lot of eyes on tonight’s game with all the other leagues being pretty much finished up right now, and a good showcase for our young players,” Curtin said. “When some players tend to shrink in the occasion, he tends to raise his level, and raise his game.

“I don’t know how long I’ll get to coach him for, how much longer, but I’m going to enjoy every day,” Curtin said. “He’s going to continue to push and try to get better.”

The 19-year-old playmaker is well aware of the growing interest in his services, but he has tried to stay focused on the Union’s tournament run, which now has them into the semifinals.

“I’ve seen some of the stuff going around, but I don’t really like to pay attention to that stuff because I’m in a tournament and I want to play the best that I can and that stuff can get to young kids, but it didn’t for me,” Aaronson said. “I just went out and tried to play my game, I didn’t worry about that kind of stuff. All I wanted to do was win for the team and help my team win.”

The Union were an underdog heading into Thursday’s match against Sporting Kansas City, but the resounding 3-1 victory should earn the Union more respect and consideration as a title contender. Given the team’s confidence, and Aaronson’s form, the many scouts keeping tabs on the Union playmaker just might bear witness to a title run.

“I think right now the team’s very high confidently, and I think that as a team we’re playing at a high level and we’re grinding out results,” Aaronson said. “Like Jim said, we still haven’t hit our 90 minutes of playing great soccer, but in the conditions that we’re playing in it’s pretty tough and we’ve been really, really good as a team.

“It’s just been a really good experience for the team. We’ve been winning a lot of games and we want to keep going with it and win this tournament.”


  1. I watched the last 25 minutes of this match, so I can’t comment on this match. I did see the Revs match on Saturday. I think, his off the ball moves, are like a forward. If he can build on his scoring, false9, 10, 8, winger, he’ll have a lot of options. ‘This dawg can hunt!!‘

  2. Aaronson is an interesting player…..
    He seems to have good field vision, positional awareness, quick feet, and is decent in tight spaces. I’ve been particularly impressed with the development of his defensive play since last season.
    His performance so far during the MLS Tournament has been very promising. If he maintains this level through the season I think he’ll have proved that he’s ready for a greater challenge.
    Where he fits into the USMNT picture will depend on a lot of factors…
    1) His competition, in particular Ledezma. If Ledezma continues to progress to PSV’s 1st Team….it’ll likely push Aaronson to a depth player roll. (Not concerned w/ Reyna who’s just as able to play on the wing)
    2) His next step…when & where he goes when he transfers to Europe needs to be at least a mid-table club in EPL, B-1, or Holland; where he’ll be given ample minutes. If his defensive development continues he could end up being developed as an 8. Remember Bradley’s first EURO club had him as an attacking CM before transitioning him to deeper positions as his club level increased.

    The USMNT is developing some nice options at CM. Adams, McKennie, Ledezma, Aaronson, Pomykal, Yueill, Durkin, Booth, etc…. Most are still young prospects but all are progressing well.

  3. Gotta move to Europe. gotta move to Europe. He is competing for a championship, but everyone is trying to get him to move, to what? Maybe join Yedlin at Newcastle? Waiting for a call up from a real team, who is trying to win a championship. That call up isn’t happening ( for Yeldin ) So he will play again next year on a 11-16 team, in low intensity games. Newcastle management will be very jazzed to finish 13th next year. Or 16th, that is fine too. Yedlin’s salary can probable be brought down though, but replacing him with a younger guy.

    How is it working out for Sargent? Scores 4 goals on the season, still starts. Touches the ball 3 times a game.
    Let’s just get MLS to a point where we don’t have to make those sacrifices that haven’t worked out for US soccer in any way, shape or form.

    • Tyler Adams played for NYRB II for 2 years and then RB for 2 years and joined RBL where he competed for Bundesliga title (like 6 pts out at the shutdown) and is still competing for the Championship of Europe. Aaronson 2 years for Union II in USL in his 2nd years in MLS. Yedlin was pure athleticism with little technique or tactical awareness, that’s why he hasn’t progressed beyond mid-table teams. Aaronson like Adams has technical skill and tactical awareness. There’s no sure thing, but Aaronson has the tools to be another success story in Europe even if he never lifts any hardware.

  4. I’m not so quick to anoint Aronson. He certainly has potential, but I think he needs more polish and consistency. I think he needs another full season with the Union, then a good spot in Europe where he can play regularly against better competition.

    • I think what people get excited about is the upward trajectory. He seems to just get better from week to week. The final product needs to get better and he still has room to improve defensively, but the US produces so few true #10 it’s exciting.

  5. Aaronson’s quick feet and skill on the ball are immediately seen by any half-aware observer. But what most impressed me was his movement without the ball and his awareness of his teammates’ positions. Like I said in an earlier post, watch out when he grows up.

    Pulisic, Reyna, Aaronson, Adams and perhaps Sargent all have shown they can move to good spaces without the ball. That makes the game easier for teammates. With a couple more players who can be open for teammates (in either attacking or defensive support positions) the USMNT will be greatly improved compared to the 2015-2019 versions. Of course all those guys need to stay relatively injury-free and to continue to improve as expected.

  6. As a possible # 10 for the national team, I’m curious how he stacks up against Gio Reyna. He looks very comfortable with the ball at his feet, and very confident. In addition to the great assist, he absolutely skinned a defender in 1 v 1 situation to get free in the box, but mishit the shot a little. It would be nice to see him in Europe, but as always, he’s got to go to a situation where he gets time.

  7. Damn this Aaronson guy is good. He stood out all throughout the match. He belongs in a European league. I really enjoyed watching him and I am not a fan of Union


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