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Aaronson scores off bench to boost stock in USMNT attack


Brenden Aaronson came into the U.S. Men’s National Team camp looking to keep up his good run of form from Red Bull Salzburg. The midfielder didn’t get the start on Thursday in Austria, but was able to boost his stock off the bench.

Aaronson was substituted on by head coach Gregg Berhalter at halftime and went on to score the second goal for the USMNT in a 4-1 victory over Concacaf rivals Jamaica. It was the second-straight international outing for Aaronson where he found the back of the net, and a lively performance from the midfielder overall.

“First of all I am really happy with the win, it’s great to play Concacaf teams like this, it’s awesome to have these moments before we go into the competitive matches,” Aaronson said. “Jamaica is a tough opponent, they are physical, they get after you so it was tough in the early going, but we stayed with it. For me it was coming off the bench and just making an impact as soon as I could.”

“I was super happy to bring that goal to the team which really separated it at 2-0. It’s tough coming off the bench because sometimes you could be mad at the coach, but for me it’s a great opportunity to be here. I wanted to take the chance as it came to me. My mentality before the game was relaxing and I wanted to make an impact when I was called upon.”

The 20-year-old replaced Christian Pulisic at halftime and didn’t need long to double the USMNT’s lead in Weiner Neustadt. Josh Sargent created room near the end line to hit a cross back in front of goal, allowing Aaronson to streak into the six-yard box and score.

It was a poacher’s finish from Aaronson, who helped close out the USMNT’s second win of 2021 and fourth-in-a-row dating back to last fall. After seeing most of his time in the past at the No. 10, Aaronson played on the left wing, a role he’s continued to grow into at Red Bull Salzburg.

Aaronson finished with two shots on goal while completing 14 of his 15 passes in the match from left wing. It was an impressive spark off the bench for Aaronson, who has continued to make an impact in his outings with the USMNT.

“I really liked his performance today,” Berhalter said on Aaronson. “When you win you are gushing about everyone, but I really think he had a strong performance. He gave us verticality on the wing, he gave us calm and composure. Made some really good plays offensively and his pressing was also very good. Being with Jesse Marsch and Red Bull Salzburg has had a positive effect on him. He’s battling with everyone, no matter if he is twice their size. He doesn’t hesitate and that also benefitted to his strong performance.”

“I’ve been playing on the left wing of late with Red Bull Salzburg so it was a bit of a change coming back into the No. 10,” Aaronson said. “I was learning new ways to get behind the backline and be a threat. Being a winger is something new for me, but Gregg helped get me ready for this moment. I feel comfortable with that position and you can always get better, which I will do. It was fun playing there today.”

Aaronson’s versatility is only going to be a benefit to him and the USMNT heading into a busy 2021 competitive schedule later this year. The former Philadelphia Union midfielder has jumped right into Jesse Marsch’s squad in Austria, playing a key role in the competitive Bundesliga schedule.

Up next for Aaronson and his USMNT teammates will be Sunday’s trip to Belfast for a date with No. 45 ranked Northern Ireland before returning to Red Bull Salzburg. After making a positive impression off the bench on Thursday, Aaronson will be keen to keep his form going for both club and country.

“The quality around this team right now is special,” Aaronson said. “The players around you get the ball into great positions which you saw tonight. As soon as I got onto the field I get a good pass from Sebastian and then I set up Gio who almost scores, it’s continuing to get into those situations. Salzburg is just helping me get into more dangerous areas when I get the opportunities with the National Team.”


  1. The thing Pulisic needs to learn from him is there is no “dramatic pause” when he gets the ball and he doesn’t “James Harden” the dribbling chance like only he exists. He gets the ball and attacks someone immediately then plays a throughball or into the space behind them. Dempsey used to have a similar problem when he first started where he wanted to get the ball and dance around. Meanwhile the defense settles back and everyone sees you coming.

    • Agreed, Aaronson knows when to push pace and when not too. This is the problem with the wingers (Lewis, Saucedo, Benji, Mihailovic) on the current Olympic squad. Aaronson rarely stops the balls‘ momentum, receiving a pass, unless a defender is right in front of him. Also, I noticed he’s doesn’t favor ball possession over an open pass. No one on you, keep it. Open man, pass it. BA has always had great movement off the ball. No ball watching, he keeps it moving. Keeps it simple. Hopefully, we beat Honduras and he’s in the Olympic squad.

      • I have always thought that if the other team gives you time and space, then take it and use it. Conversely, if you have nowhere to go, pass quickly and don’t wait for the defense to close on you and take away your passing options. Pretty simple rules, but I see them ignored all the time. I have always believed in speed of play on attack whenever possible.

  2. He played well and put away a great cross by Sargent. I saw no mention of how he got the goal in the article. Far too often all the credit goes to the guy that finishes the great work of another while the real reason for the goal gets ignored. No great move and cross by Sargent… no goal. Also, for once he didnt have Lletget in the way mucking things up

    • I think Sargent is pigeonholed and could probably play wide as well. He had a nice cross in an earlier game he was in. His value is technical and technical can be moved around.

    • As a former center mid, couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes you’ll see the great passer ignored while the guy with the tap in get all the adulation, getting praised for his movement off the ball or whatever. The assist man is often the one who creates space for the scorer by opening up the defense. Spain won a World Cup with basically 6 midfielders and no real striker.

  3. This kid is legit. Watch him be with RBL by this time next year.

    It is amazing that much of this team could be on our potential olympic team.

  4. Funny how someone laughed when I said Aaronson would be Pulisic back up during this camp. Glad he was able to show today he’d been rather lackluster in his other caps. He better keep improving because his brother is coming fast. Look up his preseason goal from this week dribbling through 3 Orlando defenders and then slotting it past the keeper.

    • Also, don’t forget Paxton Pomykal who missed much of last season due to injury. Before he was hurt he looked about as promising as Aronson. We certainly have a lot of options in midfield.

    • For sure from what I’ve been able to tell Pomykal hasn’t participated yet in any preseason matches for FCD I think they’ve had three. I’m sure they are bringing him along slowly. It’s really too bad he couldn’t play last year because he would have made a European move last January as well.

    • With Pomykal, Aaronson, & Clark as possibilities to back-up to our current allotment of creative talents the future is indeed looking very positive.
      The best part of this situation is that while we may have had a lost generation, our current talent pipeline looks to be well primed to keep producing options.

      • That reminds me that Chris Mueller of Orlando City had a breakout year and looked very good in his first games for the national team. For Orlando he had 10 goals and 7 assists in only 22 games. He could be a legit #10.

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