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Ricardo Pepi joins FC Groningen on season-long loan

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Ricardo Pepi struggles for consistent playing time with German Bundesliga side Augsburg have put his World Cup hopes in jeopardy, but he will now have a fresh opportunity to revive his U.S. men’s national team stock.

Eredivisie side FC Groningen has added Pepi on a season-long loan spell, the club announced Wednesday. Pepi leaves Augsburg still having yet to score a Bundesliga goal since his $20 million move from FC Dallas in January.

Pepi has totaled 16 appearances for Augsburg in all competitions, but has yet to score or assist following his move to Europe.

Pepi impressed with FC Dallas during the 2021 MLS season, scoring 13 goals in 31 appearances for the Texas-based club. His stellar club campaign earned Pepi his first international cap with the U.S. men’s national team in September, where he scored in back-to-back World Cup qualifying matches against Honduras and Jamaica respectively.

The 19-year-old has scored three goals and added three assists in 11 caps with the USMNT to date. He did not feature in June’s four-match schedule, which included a pair of Concacaf Nations League matches against Grenada and El Salvador respectively.

FC Groningen sits eighth in the Eredivisie table and will host Vitesse Arnhem on Sunday.

Comments

  1. I feel like he shouldnt have wasted time making a guest appearance in the movie Bullet Train.
    Heres hoping his goal scoring gets back on track. It be great if he and Sergent both peaked right before the World Cup

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  2. Personally, I have always had doubts about whether he is all that good. In a way he reminds me of Diego Fagundez when he was that age. He can get hot and score the occasional golazzo, but he’s not that consistent. Fagundez had one good season where he scored 13 in 31 games, but mostly he is in the 7 goal per season range. He seems to be doing a bit better with Austin, Pepi may have a career like that except for his foray in Europe means he is making more money.

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  3. holland tends to make US attackers look like statistical gods at which point the club form folks will do a 180. so it’s a good destination for him or about any attacker we have at a productivity position. but the fact club form advocates flip around like fish should raise basic questions on that “scouting” analytics approach anyway. some of these players have USMNT track records instead. his is top 2 of the strikers. QED. the people who need “scouting” type analytics are the uncapped, the ones who haven’t played or scored in the shirt in a while, or players who haven’t been as productive for the NT as we hoped. but the ones who produced for the Nats should be on the plane before we start worrying about the “club scouting arguments” among the ones who aren’t yet issued a ticket.

    personally if you’re concerned with pepi and ferreira getting waved straight on the team talk to the man who handed them all the minutes so that there wasn’t an open contest for the starter’s share of minutes, and a more broadly distributed opportunity to put up numbers. we gave most of the striker WCQ minutes to a couple guys, who scored some goals. short of throwing out what is usefully the most telling data for a world cup selection, it is what it is. he’s kind of committed. i wouldn’t go to qatar with people i wasn’t sure could score on a good team.

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  4. One cannot fault FC Dallas for cashing in $20m for Pepi. It’s a business, and Augsburg paid the fee. I’ll bet Pepi got a pay bump as well. The Championship (Dike, Morris) or the Netherlands were probably better destinations, but that is Augsburg’s problem now.

    What happens if he catches fire at Groningen ? He fits GB’s preferred playing style and meshes well with the team on the field. Guessing maybe a spot at 4th striker..

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    • I’d be surprised if we take 4 strikers.

      I think we take 3 F’s, 4 wingers, 7 CM’s, 5 CB’s, 4 FB’s, and 3 keepers. (26)

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    • re your not FCD’s fault comment, i see a general USMNT “eyes bigger than stomach” problem where they should perhaps be encouraging things, best they can, towards more calibrated choices. money and prestige seems to drive the process instead of fit. and i can’t believe the player couldn’t affect the process by either having some sort of contractual say, or by demanding so much in personal terms that a bigger team that can afford them but might not use them, passes.

      i see the problem here as rooted in we are no longer the cheap value pickups, we can be worth tens of millions in transfer. that and where big clubs used to stick their nose up on us, they are now open to signing us. to me the bigger a club gets the more likely they are to have the money. half the problem with US players on serial loan is having become chelsea property they get a chelsea valuation even if they should be playing for someplace else. that then makes it hard to land someplace. makes you expensive. teams on simpler budgets don’t have the money.

      re “catches fire,” wright quietly has several goals in turkey, as well. and vazquez is doing well. and and and……so it all kind of cancels out on the hot form players. i think we should be paying more attention to USMNT form and fit. if you have more than one candidate playing well in club then the tiebreaker doesn’t work and you have to go back to, who do you think looked better for the US. or who do you think fits the mold best in terms of skillset. personally i think one of the blindspots on form stuff is one can be “on form” in a way that doesn’t fit a NT role. which is why i prefer the “form” of how have you played for the NT itself. cause that is a product of being useful to the team in the desired role.

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  5. …..And the loan spell begins, which is going to have a direct effect on his confidence….smh. Damn, I really wish him well. Ricardo Pepi has not hit the ground running in the German Bundesliga is an understatement. I don’t know if, as a young player, it’s lack of confidence from the coach or lack of support / assisting from his teammate (as if they don’t give you the ball or make it a priority to find you in the box you cannot score!!!) but Pepi just flatlined after going to Augsburg. Lack luster performances, no spark, no hunger or hustle, no spirited display of character…….nothing. He cannot even be in the “striker convo” at this point. Union Berlin finished 5th during the 2021 – 2022 season yet in 2022 – 2023 Theoson Siebatcheu, A.K.A PEFOK!!!!!!!!, not only broke into an established team but he is one of the highest goal scorers currently on the team. I hope Pepi gets the ball rolling soon on his career but with the crazy competition we have now at striker (Weah, Wright, Pefok, Sargent, Vasquez, Ferreira) all of a sudden, I don’t think he’ll be on that plane to Qatar

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    • at a loss how the keepers moving someplace to play is “good” but a striker doing the same is some sin against “club form.” but then the club form folks often can’t seem to tell if they are club snobs or stats snobs. let me save you some time for tomorrow’s headline, ie, “pepi has 10 goals for gronigen, in-form candidate for USMNT.” silly up and down roller coaster using a club proxy for NT games.

      can we please go off talent instead. go off the NT games. as in the team they will play for. by that standard, in games since WCQ has started, the 2 “FCD” guys should already be on the team, and then if you want to audition wright vs vazquez for the final slot, fine. the final slot is usually the one for the “club hot hand.” but you want the people on the plane to be the ones who have scored US goals before, and hopefully often. sargent hasn’t had a US goal in years. and i say this as someone who was pro sargent but i think he might be more of a win.g and not enough an athlete and physical for a striker. personally i think with 2 FCD types we need a bona fide banger as the 3rd guy.

      personally, i would also be looking at simply playing pulisic as the striker instead. and i think we made a mistake handing pepi and ferreira the job so easy because we kind of jumped straight to picking winners, past making one forward earn the job over the other when treated as equals. but you have limited time to fix that now, so i would pencil certain people on the team for november, then audition this september a select group of players (no more than 2 or 3) for whatever slots remain. i wouldn’t waste any time playing pepi or ferreira as “prep,” i would find out who else can play striker in a serious game and score.

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      • I don’t know what you are getting at but I’ll indulge you.
        “Can we please go off talent instead.” Yes, lets go off talent like playing in the EPL or Bundesliga or Süper Lig and actually making an impact on your team or like being one of the top goal scorers in MLS (and having the physical attributes to play against world opponents) by scoring quality goals. To TRY and say a player doesn’t need to perform for club but can perform for country is absolutely ludicrous.
        And ” you want the people on the plane to be the ones who have scored US goals before”…….hmm, then how about we call in No-score Altidore from Puebla then for Christ sake!!!
        Talent, attributes and abilities makes a player stand out and have a direct impact that translates proportionally on the field of play. I’m not saying that Ricardo Pepi is not a good player or that he doesn’t have what it takes to be the striker the USMNT needs in the future. I’m saying that RIGHT NOW he is not on the level of Theoson Siebatcheu or Haji Wright or even Josh Sargent (right now!!!!), plain and simple, no matter how you look at it. Augsburg is struggling for goals and league status. On a team like that, most managers KEEP OR BRING IN players that are difference makers and game changers not GET RID of them. Just a little after 4 – 5 league games and Enrico Maaßen has seen enough to loan and cut Pepi, from a team like Augsburg no less…….and you think he can start for the USMNT (yes start, as any striker on the plane to Qatar should be ready to start)? Absolutely not.
        Ricardo Pepi might be the future of US soccer but right know, this very moment, he is not even in the top 5 as far as strikers for the national team

      • bizzy: all due respect, dude, there is no perfect sorting engine as you imply. a guy starring in MLS can be playing in germany next window. a guy struggling in europe can be back in MLS in 2023. we don’t have any? many? big league stars. i don’t assume big league squadies or bench or loan players are inherently better than the best in MLS or other small leagues. i also think trying to sort out which one is better, from analytics, is a mess. different leagues, different levels, maybe a coach who is or isn’t their fan. i can spend days trying to play with that knotty dilemma, or i can “scout” by who they play for, but “JUDGE” by how they play for the US. i get folks like you who want to favor big club players on resume, but that’s scouting. once you get on the team, you have a track record. you either do it for the US or not. some guys in name brand leagues look bad for the US. so what about where they play the rest of the year.

        the “scouting” stuff you adore should matter only for uncapped players or those away from the team a long time. if you have a “US track record,” that replaces all the politics and club analytics. long as you are playing well for the US — the best 23 we have — who cares where you play your weekends. that’s just snobbery. and it’s static snobbery because how many dudes slighted for being in MLS could be — or are — in europe the next window with a snap of their fingers.

      • bizzy: also, don’t talk nonsense. pretty obvious when i am talking wanting players with a productive track record for USA, i am not calling for jozy to come back because he scored a goal in 2019. my concerns are more recent, like, who scored in WCQ or the summer tournaments last year, or who hasn’t scored in years, or who has never played for the US at all to prove anything. i liked sargent but it’s been years since he scored for the senior team. and he got plenty of starts and could basically score on cuba. vs wright scored recently. vs pefok had a goal in a nations league semi.

        when england or wales show up i would kind of like that they have at least scored on trinidad or honduras or something. not just a complete leap of faith based on club numbers.

        some point the snobs need to realize this is not an all star team for stat numbers, or an award for being on the best club, it’s a working soccer team for the best players who can work together and get goals scored. the best test of that is doing for the US once or twice before. i don’t care if you are a demi-god in the english championship if you trip over the ball for the States.

      • Hah for a long time I thought IV and Bizzy were the same person! IV you say you obviously didn’t mean Altidore but you recently promoted Bobby Wood as being snubbed.
        ————————————
        Bizzy I really hoped Altidore would get hot in LigaMx just to watch you sweat. FYI they asked Jozy on the Crack podcast in Feb if he thought he’d get a shot if he played well for Revs and he laughed like even he knew he didn’t have a shot. Really interesting pod if you’ve got time.

      • TIV,

        “my concerns are more recent, like, who scored in WCQ or the summer tournaments last year, or who hasn’t scored in years, or who has never played for the US at all to prove anything.”

        Recent?
        That’s nonsense

        The last World Cup Q game was : March 30, Costa Rica
        The last Nations League game was: June 14, El Salvador

        So the last competitive USMNT game was 78 days ago.

        There’s no way that anything related to form and fitness can be called recent when you’re talking about a gap of 78 days or more.

        And it will be another 82 days between today and the start of the Wales opener.

        That’s a big black hole for anyone who does not consider club form when evaluating suitability for the USMNT.

      • “bizzy: all due respect, dude, there is no perfect sorting engine ”
        ….There absolutely is and that is if you are scoring goals, playing your position better than anyone else when you’re are given a shot, if you showcase your talent enough to be picked up by a top team in a top league AND ARE PRODUCING when your number gets called up. Simple.

        The Imperative Voice, with all due respect it is utter nonsense to think there is something like NATIONAL TEAM FORM and CLUB FORM, when in all actuality THERE IS JUST FORM. Are you good enough? Are you one of the best in that position? Do you have attributes that can give you an advantage against opponents? Do you fit the style of play of the team? This farce idea that somehow players can suck playing against inferior club opponents and somehow excel against the best of world is absolutely mind blowing.
        So Club form doesn’t matter? lets see what England thinks about that:
        England
        Kyle Walker – Man City
        John Stones – Man City
        Harry Maguire – Man U
        Kieran Trippier – Newcastle United
        Declan Rice – West Ham
        Kalvin Mark Phillips – Man City
        Bukayo Saka – Arsenal
        Mason Mount – Chelsea
        Raheem Sterling – Chelsea
        Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur
        Jack Grealish – Man City
        Jude Bellingham – Dortmund
        Jarrod Bowen – WestHam
        ………Where are most of the TOP ATTACKING PLAYERS / FORWARDS for England playing? Why are there not any bottom team players on their attacking squad? They have selected players that have SHOWN they can put the ball in the back of the net and they are playing in TOP leagues on TOP teams…..for a reason. So as a matter of fact there IS a “sorting engine” for top world class teams (especially when talking about offensive players!!!)……….and its their best in form players, playing for TOP teams in TOP leagues around the world. For the USMNT and our limited pool of attacking players, we have to take MLS into consideration but regular playing time, looking dangerous, scoring goals in double digits and scoring in almost every game in MLS beats riding pine for a bottom level Bundesliga team any day. If you are not good enough to start for a bottom Bundesliga team (and get cut) what makes you think you should be at the head of the line for the US Men’s National Team?!!!!!

      • “Hah for a long time I thought IV and Bizzy were the same person!”
        ……..Johnnyrazor you are wrong for that!!!!! lol

      • re wood, “recently” would be like a year and a half or two ago. we’re talking summer tournaments 2021 at the latest.
        not any time actually recently. i saw how he played for RSL when he came back. i moved on.

      • vacqui: i believe in Talent and think people worrying about what did they do last week tend to be either trying to rehabilitate MNT failures (eg people loved to talk club form on brooks) or obsessives wanting to flex how much soccer they watch or follow. there is abundant history of twellmans and wondos and dikes coming in with gaudy club numbers they cannot replicate for the US. conversely jozy and dempsey could score goals in bad club situations.
        so i don’t buy the logical leap being made from club to country. i also as i said think with players in a dozen or so leagues of varying quality the oranges to oranges gets hard to analyze correctly. how does German bench compare to MLS starter. so i say “scout” off club ball for no-caps players but “select” off US track records and talent.

        steffen is a perfect example of how being at City doesn’t mean you have any form at all. but like i said, club form folks can’t decide if they are prestige snobs or stats snobs. you can be playing poorly for an elite team.

        re the sorting machine, a player like gooch can decide he wants to be sunderland for life. can have a family and want to be in MLS at home. can be signed to sell shirts to americans. even when it’s about soccer, the decisions lag the information ie are on imperfect information. or there wouldn’t need to be transfers. or there wouldn’t be failed purchases. or there wouldn’t be loans. i think big clubs tend to have bigger checking accounts and that gives them the ability to buy more expensive payers. i think only some of those clubs can actually make better soccer players. i think the others just ride their spending. look at ManU or CFC right now, wrong manager, dumb spending, they don’t look so genius.

      • IV: probably 2020 GC for you wanting Wood. I like that you used his club form at RSL as your reason for moving on.

  6. Augsburg is at least doing him a service by allowing this loan for him. Hopefully he finds his footing with Groningen. Start scoring and he is on the plane to Qatar. And I am glad he understands he needs this loan as well.

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    • Start scoring and he gets back into the conversation for Qatar.

      I’d say Ferreira is pretty close to a lock, and if Pefok, Wright, Vazquez and Sargent all continue to produce, Berhalter’s going to have some tough decisions to make regarding striker.

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      • Sargent IMHO has the inside track because he presses so well and because he knows what Gregg wants so well and he’s very familiar with the group. Agree Ferreira’s close to a lock, for much the same reason, and because he combines with all the others so well.

        I think that leaves one big striker, and right now you’d have to say Pefok’s probably the hottest and playing at the highest level. Wright and Vasquez are probably elbowing one another for fourth.

        Pepi’s got some ground to make up, but he also has prior production with the USMNT in key games in qualifying on his resume, so it’s not a lost cause yet for him.

      • Ugh Ferreira’s finishing has been terrible for the nats. Other then the one game where he scored all those goals but missed just as many sitters.

  7. This strikes me as a better level and a better place to adjust to Europe for a guy so young. It’s an incremental step up in a defensively open league, and if ever there was a club known to produce selling talent that goes on to mucho success in Europe, it’s Groningen. I mean, the list of Groningen alums…like, wow.

    https://www.squawka.com/en/groningen-former-stars-van-dijk-suarez-koeman-blind/

    I like this move for Pepi a mile better than I ever liked his Augsburg move, and if he breaks through at Groningen he’s going to be well-positioned for a bunch of offers in Europe…and not for relegation-threatened clubs with no time or wiggle room to develop young guys or ease them by increments into the main roster while learning from their mistakes.

    You crawl before you walk, and you walk before you run. He got out ahead of himself, IMHO. This is where he should have gone to begin with if he was going to leave Dallas.

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    • Dallas priced out many teams with their valuation of Pepi. I was really surprised Augsburg made that move for him. I was one of the few that thought Pepi should have stayed in Dallas for another season. But hopefully he hits the ground running with Groningen. Obviously Groningen want and need him, so that’s a plus.

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      • 2tone,

        “I was one of the few that thought Pepi should have stayed in Dallas for another season. ”

        I can top that

        I was one of those who thought that Pepi ought do what he thought best for himself and his family.

        Right now it doesn’t look good for him, short term, but then again:

        1. He’s 19. With a little luck he has a shot at 2 more World Cups. And he may yet make it to Qatar.
        2. He’s 19. If one of his professional goals was to use his skills to help provide for his family, the Augsburg money would I hope have gone a long way to ease his mind on that topic. One less thing to worry about.

        3. He’s 19. He’s at an age where a hard year at Augsburg ought to humble him and give him many valuable lessons about what it means to be a pro. The fact that he’s being loaned shows you that he’s at least somewhat aware that he needs to be better.

        He needs to be with a team that know how to spell A-t-t-a-c-k. Augsburg clearly can’t spell.

        4. He’s 19. At the same age Gio and Pulisic were further along. But, really, P & G are a pretty unique pair. Do people really expect all our 19 year olds to equal them? That seems a bit much.

        Americans give up on their golden child soccer saviours way too early. There’s nothing about this kid that reminds me of Freddy Adu.

        Maybe if he had stayed at Dallas everything would have gone peachy keen and he’d be sitting on top of world right now as the leading scorer in MLS or the like but there’s no way to know that. Ricardo is doing just fine.

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