Paxten Aaronson was one of four newest players to earn their U.S. men’s national team debuts on Saturday and the Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder walked away as one of the key bright spots against Colombia.
Aaronson logged 90 minutes in Anthony Hudson’s squad, helping the USMNT earn a 0-0 draw against its CONMEBOL opponents. The 20-year-old’s lively showing in midfield helped him earn Man of the Match honors in the match, giving fans an early glimpse of his long-term potential.
Aaronson ran endlessly at Dignity Health Sports Park, having two positive offensive opportunities. His shot in the sixth minute was repelled by Colombia goalkeeper Alvaro Montero after the Eintracht Frankfurt man found room just inside of the 18-yard box.
Aaronson continued to make himself available in the first half, also coming close in the 14th minute to scoring his first senior goal. Andres Llinas key block in the box kept Colombia from falling behind in Carson, California.
The USMNT worked hard to not only keep its first clean sheet since the FIFA World Cup, but also pester Colombia for the entire match. Aaronson was at the forefront of that hard work, drawing three fouls, winning nine duels, and completing 82% of his passes.
Aaronson edged out Kellyn Acosta, John Tolkin, and Matthew Hoppe for Man of the Match honors.
What did you think of Aaronson’s performance? Do you expect him to be in the mix for a March call-up ahead of Concacaf Nations League play?
Share your thoughts below.
I thought both Tolkin and Aaronson did well, but it was clear they need to hit the weight room and eat more. Both were fearless and often successfully challenged bigger, stronger Colombians, but too often they came away second best in the physical confrontations. Aaronson in particular would temporarily win the ball only to be shrugged aside, lose the ball and find himself on the ground.
Ariola did surprisingly well, he was let down by Hoppe on what should have been a tapin had Hoppe passed rather than shoot.
I thought Hoppe was mixed he often collected difficult long balls and won possession against 2 or 3 Colombians. But except for the pass to Aaronson and the pass he didn’t make to Ariola he was unable to turn those difficult plays into much. (Maybe teammates could be faulted for not offering more support, but …).
Tolkin did well defensively but was not perfect.
Of the subs, I was most impressed with Neil, he is very young for an international CB, but assuming his decision-making grows and there is no reason it won’t, he will be one of the top choices in only a couple years. He never looked panicked or got flustered even after his bad mistake in the Serbia game. That shows he can put mistakes quickly behind him, a quality that is absolutely necessary in a defender.
Overall, the team’s combination play was better than I anticipated, but still needs work.
Tons of potential in Aaronson, but he does need to bulk up some, was pushed off the ball all game long. Hoppe looked dangerous early, should have had the assist on the first Aaronson chance. Liked both outside backs quite a bit. Kinda hard to pick a motm, I would probably go with Arriola although people won’t want to hear that. The team actually played well together, better than the sum of parts. And that was a good Colombia, don’t care if it’s their 2nd stringers. It was a fastpaced fun game to watch, far higher quality than the previous game.
Thank goodness these two friendlies were not evaluating our “starters” but just collectively assessing players for the first time (on the pitch and in camp) and trying to see what players can improve on and who we could possibly incorporate in the future.
Lol, paxten Aaronson was FAR from MOTM…..by a long shot. You can applaud his effort, tenacity and his resilience, but he was CLEARLY a boy playing in a man’s world, as he was being physically manhandled, bumped off the ball, pushed around and always seemed to be finding the ground against this Columbia B/C team. He didn’t have the strength or physique to hold up the ball or to power away from the opponent after a dribble or during counters. The beauty is he’s going to have time to grow in Bundesliga.
For me this game didn’t really have a MOTM….
Maybe an unused sub that showed great “team spirit” would be a better choice.
Totally agree. Pax looked like a boy among men, constantly bullied off of the ball. He may have potential, but he should be confined to U-20 play now.
If he put on a bow tie, Paxton Aaronson would look just like Tucker Carlson
For this game, no need to pick a MOTM. The game was disjointed, and truly was nothing more than a listless exhibition. The positives were starting roles for Aaronson, Tolkin, and Jones, and debuts for a few new callups, but no one stood out.