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Brenden Aaronson scores first Premier League goal as Leeds United routs Chelsea


Brenden Aaronson has gelled right into Leeds United’s squad following his move to England this summer and after being denied his first league goal on opening weekend, the American attacker finally got to celebrate that achievement on Sunday.

Aaronson scored his first EPL goal in Leeds United’s 3-0 home win over Chelsea, setting the tone for a historic day for Jesse Marsch’s squad. It was Leeds United’s first victory over Chelsea since 2002 and its second through the opening three weeks of the new league season.

“That’s a special player making a great individual effort,” Marsch said postmatch about Aaronson. “He’s ruthless, he’s relentless. It’s amazing to see him continuing to grow week-to-week. I have seen this from him before. He’s so grounded, he’s so calm with himself. He’s been great for us so far.”

Aaronson’s pressure in the 33rd minute helped force an error from Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and open the scoring at Elland Road. The former Philadelphia Union homegrown poked possession away from Mendy in his own box before tapping into an empty net for a 1-0 Leeds United lead.

Leeds United continued to pressure in the first half and doubled its advantage on the verge of halftime through leading-scorer Rodrigo. Jack Harrison set up the Spanish forward for his third league goal of the season, extending the Lilywhites’ lead to 2-0.

Harrison added his first league goal of the season in the 69th minute to pad Leeds United’s advantage at 3-0.

Aaronson logged 83 minutes in the win while fellow American midfielder Tyler Adams went the distance. Aaronson won four fuels and completed one dribble while Adams won six duels and made three interceptions for Jesse Marsch’s squad.

Leeds United next hosts Barnsley in EFL Cup midweek action while Chelsea hosts Leicester City in league play on August 27.


  1. USA players are tearing it up pretty much everywhere when they get the chance. Sort of puts Berhalter’s 3rd place by goal differential in CONCACAF into perspective.

    • What put the 3rd place finish in perspective is that the players are finishing off goals, something they weren’t doing in wcq. How else do you explain having the most shots on goal and the besr percentage of chances created, but not tops for goals scored? Peolpe need to actually look at the games and do some research before making absurd, narrative based comments. The inability to hold players accountable has become silly at this point

  2. quozzel,

    “Right this second, though, Aaronson has seemingly emerged as the USA’s best player, period, and the argument is probably about who sits or moves so he can play in his best spot.”

    Brenden has certainly had the best performance this week.
    But I’m not sure it was better than what Tyler did.
    Certainly more high profile.

    But it was for Leeds not the USMNT and there are a lot of games between now and the Wales game in Qatar.

    We can debate whether the rest of the Leeds players are a good as the rest of the USMNT players ( is Ferreira better than Rodrigo for example) but there is no debating that Leeds is better drilled and more cohesive than the USMNT.

    If only because Jesse has a ton more time to work with these guys than Gregg has to work with his guys.

    Brenden and Tyler are playing in their best positions and being asked to do what they do best in a system that suits them, emphasizing their positives and minimizing their negatives.

    Both are managed by the man who taught that system to them.
    Both are playing with a team that is well suited to playing that system and to supporting them.

    Maybe Pulisic, Weston and Timo, just to name three, would shine as brightly as Tyler and Brenden just did if they had the same situations at their clubs as Brenden and Tyler have at Leeds.

    • No we must be prisoners of the moment. Vazquez didn’t score for Cincinnati and Ferreira didn’t even play for Dallas kick them out. I’m guessing Wes has a goal and assist today and then everyone will bench Aaronson. Last week Marsch subbed too late and blew a 2-0 lead, maybe he’s in over his head. This week beats Chelsea and he’s winning us the 2026 WC.

      • I’ve thought Aaronson was becoming our best player at the end of last year, when Bayern was eyeballing him after that Champions League matchup.

        He doesn’t look the part. He’s kind of ungainly and awkward looking in his movements, looks a little goofy with that headband, doesn’t look the prettiest doing it.

        But if you just concentrate on results, the guy just plain produces, and produces some more. And he’s seemingly at his most productive at that 8/10 tweener spot he so likes, what he calls the “eight and a half.”

        I’ll stand by it: I think Aaronson’s become our best – or at least most valuable – player over the last few months, the first name on the team sheet.

    • @ Vacqui

      yes, you are beginning to see ;->

      but Tyler played better, Brendan played better…whatever, they both excelled and have been all season, so far. I called Brendan as the player we are all seeing way back when, when you said he was just a hard worker, remember? of course being in a system and situation that suits is important.,…for Messi too, eh? (hello Argentina)

      CP at Leeds would be sweet where, for the 1st time in the PL, he’d be playing for a coach who truly believes in him, as an American in the PL, like what both Brendan and Tyler are enjoying. Tough to break in for anyone, anywhere when the coach doesn’t truly believe in you. I’m sure you get that, yes?

  3. 2tone,

    “Why would you start him at center mid?”

    Because that’s where he played most of the time at Salzburg. and that’s where he played in the game you just saw. Center mid is his best position which is why Jesse starts him there.

    • But is a 10 and an 8 the same? Look where Brenden was in this game and where Musah or McKennie are for the NT. I think if you looked at Brenden against Morocco the heat map would be similar to the Chelsea match, but that required a FB to stay home like Cannon.

      • excellent point JR

        Marsch plays with 2 6’s in Roca and Adams, then Foreshaw. Aaronson plays a hybrid 8/10 in this system. It’s very similar to Klopp except Klopp plays with 28s and 1 6 whereas Marsch inverts the midfield shape

      • Kind of interesting Marsch used a 4-4-2 empty bucket at RBS with Aaronson as a wide midfielder. Then when Jesse left they used the 4-4-2 Diamond (like Philly) with BA as a 10. He hasn’t really played much 8 recently, unless with NT and those performances haven’t been his best.

  4. Adams getting his swag back is a huge boost for the USMNT. Towards the end of WCQ (when he wasn’t seeing the field much for RB), Adams looked disjointed (jumping in, poor angles, etc…), with his confidence and PT growing he’s becoming the dominant CDM we need.
    The USMNT Trio of Pulisic, Weah, and Aaronson are going to be difficult for teams to plan against. They all bring something different to the table. Regardless of which 2 start a game we’ll still have a difference maker available to come in off the bench to face off against tired legs. If somehow we get all 3 on the field at the same time then our opposition will still struggle when Reyna & Musah entering the game.
    This is honestly why I think the 4-2-3-1 formation best suits our player pool. With Adams & McKennie sitting deeper (McKennie still making late runs into the box) and a foursome of Pulisic, Reyna, Weah, Aaronson to chose from for the attackers….I believe this will give many opponents fits. Especially since we’d have 2-3 players (Musah, DeLaTorre, xx) in reserve if needed.

  5. Just an awesome game to watch, congrats to Leeds and our US boys! Someone said it below, Tuchel’s days are numbered. At the end of that game, he just looks like a guy who knows that his end is coming, almost disengaged. The list of talented attackers who have “failed” under Tuchel is getting really long. And how many have succeeded?

    Feel really bad for Pulisic, who through no fault of his own is really in limbo right now. He’s been there 3 years and has never got a consistent run at his best position. Yeah injuries, but c’mon, he’s played well enough when given the chances that he has deserved more than he’s received. I’m not even sure myself what his best move would be. I guess if he has a good club situation to move to, take it. If not, wait it out, see if Tuchel gets canned and hope a new manager finally gives him a real chance.

  6. Pulisic should just wait out Tuchel. Tuchel will be gone soon and Pochettino hired. Borglum isn’t going to sit back and let Tuchel continue to destroy Chelsea. What a boring system Tuchel employs. Oh and Sterling is not an upgrade over Pulisic. English fans and media are so jaded when it comes to their players.

  7. Well, I know who SHOULD be the next USMNT coach. Not just a great performance by Aronson and Adams, Marsch totally out coached Tuchel. I like the style of payer he uses and I think it fits the US players, using our physical tools, high energy and high spirits to constantly press on both offense and defense.


    Jesse Marsh’s coaching, planning and execution today was just brilliant. The constant pressure, the closing down of the opposition, the refusal to sit back after a lead (like most little clubs do) and let Chelsea get back in the game……absolutely brilliant.

    Aaronson is making waves as these opposition players think he is just this young skinny kid…..but are quickly learning that he barks and “bites” lol. Kalidou Koulibaly didn’t respect him…….and got educated, Édouard Mendy didn’t think Aaronson was a threat…..and got schooled!!!!
    The quickness to the ball, blocking off passes, closing down players, maintaining a high paced rate of play…..Tyler Adams and Brendon Aaronson (not to mention the whole team!!!!) were just simply relentless all game long.

    The soccer analysts were all about Thomas Tuchel, his approach and his plan heading into this game……little did they know.
    And Tyler Adams, draped in the US flag, walking around the field after a historic win……priceless.

  9. Reyna seems a ways away from being 90 mins fit. Weah is out for at least a few more weeks. There will be plenty of minutes for Brenden without benching other players.

  10. Marsch failed at Leipzig because the plodding, methodical Germans cannot thrive with pressing tactics he values. Marsch got the Leeds players to buy into his system, and we’re seeing the results. Well done!

    Adams was MOTM for me..USMNT MIP/MVP.

    While. Aaronson will compete for PT with many others, Adams has only Acosta. Please stay healthy

    • I think that’s an over simplification. Marsch’s system comes from RBL, he just had Nagelsman before him who moved them to a more possession based strategy. Red Bull had success under Rangnick and Hassenhuttl using the same style that Marsch tried to employ. It just didn’t fit the players after 3 years under Nagglesman. Coming to Leeds although the systems are different the aggressive energy demanded by Bielsa and Marsch are similar so players are more prepared. I think Marsch does not overwork the club in training which likely led to many injuries and loss of belief for Leeds at the end Bielsa’s reign. It also helps that 3 of the big signings are Marsch players in Rasmussen, Tyler, and Aaronson.

      • JR – I saw that as well with Marsch and Leipzig. Also, he sort of got orphaned when they let Nagelsman do his own thing and Red Bull itself sort of broke with its own model – which is, everybody in the RB system from Leipzig on down uses the same scheme and we teach it to the players, staff, and coaches at every level to maintain continuity. Marsch was as Red Bull as Red Bull gets, coaching first with New York then with Salzburg then onto the bigs with Leipzig…and then they went and gave their own product no support, sold off all his players, and then canned him before he could even get to a transfer window to get reinforcements. It’s like: what are you DOING? Your farm-league affiliates across the world are your best asset, and you’re throwing all that away? And out went the talent drain and here’s Leeds profiting hugely…off the Red Bulls’ player and coaching development they just tossed aside for no apparent reason. Thanks, Red Bull. Which just got beat by Union Berlin and Pefok yesterday and has two points in three games.

      • Q- I think Nagelsman sold them that a modified approach with more possession and less counter pressing was the way to surpass Bayern. Basically if we want to beat Bayern we have to play Bayern’s way. Of course then Julian said if you can’t beat them join them and left Marsch with players that didn’t fit.

      • Good points.

        It remains to be seen if Jesse’s preferred style can last the whole season. Leeds do not have the deepest roster. Properly utilized the 5 sub rule can really help a team like Leeds

        Leeds have 7 points after 3 games. They need another 33 points, 11 more wins, to hit the fabled 40 points and be reasonably certain of safety from relegation.

    • Appreciate the feedback. Recall it was Marsch who approached the RBL front office and told them he didn’t think the personnel were a good fit for his coaching plan. He did not change his coaching philosophy to align with the team he inherited. RBL right now is plodding and methodical, and were taken apart by Pefok & Union Berlin. RBL is a feeder team, with corporate owner Red Bull open to selling for any profit, so no surprise.

  11. Look at that an American soccer coach out coaching Portuguese, German coaches etc…. That must really be pissing those guys off. Keep up the good work Marsch! Really enjoy seeing Adams and Aaronson playing for Leeds and playing extremely well. Aaronson for me is a starter for the USMNT on one of the wings.

    • Love it. I’m even more excited for the excuses the Tuchels and Euro pundits will make in the course of overlooking what Marsch is putting together. Still early in the season… but lots to be excited about.

      • Are there Tuchel pundits? He’s had success everywhere he’s been but also worn out his welcome everywhere too. I’m guessing his next big tactical switch is to add another defensive player. When he needed goals he added Chilwell a LB to play as a wing!

      • Tuchel’s presser was more of the same- accepting no accountability- acting like the multi-zillion pound Chelsea were hard done. After being out-coached and out-worked, gave zero respect or credit given to the opponent/Leeds- just that Chelsea were the better team. Delusional arrogance.

  12. Holy crap.

    Are we sure Pulisic may not want to reconsider Man U and maybe jump to Leeds instead?

    You should see the comments section over on The Guardian, it’s priceless. And Aaronson is probably the most popular guy in northern England right now. I’m sure he’ll be the goat tomorrow because, well, England, but for now it’s amazing to see.

    Hard to see how we don’t start Aaronson at C-mid, even if it means we have to take one of the MMA guys off.

    • Why would you start him at center mid? He should be starting on the wing. And if Pulisic can’t get his head right Aaronson may start over him. Weah and Aaronson on the wings would be fun to watch. They both have higher work rate and just as much skill as Pulisic.

      • hey 2tone, I used to think like that, but he looks pretty good in the freedom role underneath is one reason I like the idea, that’s what he did with Salzburg too so well. and with Tyler behind him (who was the MOTM for me among numerous excellent choices for it) that helps make the case too with them working together. But Brendan’s awareness and technique underneath is sweet breaking lines , doing more than that, and he does it in many ways.

        hey quozzel,
        Yeah baby, jump on that train! Leeds the choice, and not just to avoid the OMG going on at MU. Don’t know if Leeds would buy him at that price at this point tho frankly. CP needs out of there tho unless Tuchel is gone. the difference between Jesse’s players intention and execution vs. Tuchel’s was, well, 3-0 and Koulibaly now out for a spell. Jesse starting to trust his bench more and their effort in the last 10 minutes up 3-0 spoke as loudly as the insane Elland Road fans. Total buy in to step on the opponent and not let up (some lessons maybe from coughing it up last week?) and their effort and belief was revealing juxtaposed next to Chelsea’s. And Tuchel pouts, blechhh

      • 2tone-

        Sort of agree with beachbum here. You play your best players in their best positions…and sorry, Aaronson has likely become America’s best player at the moment, and he favors that “eight and a half” position that is also occupied by McKennie. His close control and touch are awesome, his work rate is even better, he puts knifelike passes through packed areas, and he Just. Does. Not. Stop. And his confidence and split-second decision-making are as good as I’ve ever seen from an American midfielder.

        He does his best work right up the spine.

        I love McKennie and he’s a legit Champions League level guy…but he’s just not quite as good and does not have as complete a skillset (though he’s better in the air and more athletic) and he’s probably too much like Musah…who IMHO is better than McKennie with the ball at his feet. Honestly another thought is you could push Weah to left wing over Pulisic and play McKennie as a right wing, since that’s what Juve is doing with him a lot.

        What do you do with Pulisic and Reyna then? That’s what you call “Uptown Problems.”

        Right this second, though, Aaronson has seemingly emerged as the USA’s best player, period, and the argument is probably about who sits or moves so he can play in his best spot.

      • 2tone,

        “Why would you start him at center mid?”

        Because that’s where he played most of the time at Salzburg. and that’s where he played in the game you just saw. Center mid is his best position which is why Jesse starts him there.

    • Leeds can’t afford him even on loan. His weekly salary is really high. Leeds fans were quickly dismissing the rumor last week. I could see Pulisic waiting out Tuchel at this point I don’t see Thomas lasting much longer. Boehly didn’t get rich by accident. He can see Lukaku, Werner, Pulisic, Ziyech, even Mount are guys who put up good offensive numbers at high levels before they played for Tuchel, then they all quickly dried up. He can spend big on a forward at the end of the window or he can spend on Tuchel’s buyout and use the offensive talent that’s already there. Simple business decision really.


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