American media react to Leeds United duo Weston McKennie and Brenden Aaronson in hard-fought win v El Salvador
Leeds United midfielder Weston McKennie stunned the United States media with his performance for the USMNT in the 1-0 win over El Salvador, while Brenden Aaronson looked bright in his late cameo from the bench.
It was the Whites’ January signing, McKennie, who was the architect of the game’s solitary goal, combining well with substitute Ricardo Pepi in the second half to set up the winner.
With a win, the U.S. topped Concacaf Nations League A, Group D, earning a spot in the Nations League semifinal thanks to the hard-fought single-goal victory in the early hours of Tuesday morning (28 March).
According to MLS Soccer, McKennie received the highest rating of 8.5 in their player ratings and was praised for his versatile passing range in attack.
They wrote: “McKennie more than made up for missing a chance to score at the end of the first half with his perfectly weighted through ball to assist Pepi’s go-ahead goal. In addition to the assist, McKennie was the US’ most consistent player in build-up play, doing well to find passing lanes and linking the team from back to front.”
Aaronson, meanwhile, earned a 6.5 rating for his late cameo that was full of “top-notch work rate” and helped the U.S. side close out the gritty win.
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Goal weren’t quite as complimentary of McKennie but still rated the Juventus loanee a 7/10 in their player ratings while giving Aaronson a 6/10.
On the former, they wrote: “On the end of several chances from set pieces, including one he seemingly played across the box rather than putting on frame just before halftime.
“His big moment, though, was his assist to Pepi. A Pirlo-esque pass from the Leeds United star.”
Hearing that McKennie has been lighting up the international scene over the last fortnight will be a frustration to Leeds fans because they are yet to see this from their winter recruit at Elland Road.
After netting a brace of goals in the 7-1 demolition of Grenada, it was the 24-year-old who once again stepped up for his country and provided the finishing touch to get them over the line.
Although against far inferior opposition than he would face in the Premier League, McKennie’s performances in a slightly more advanced position could leave Leeds manager Javi Gracia with food for thought.
If the Whites can unlock this attacking upside to McKennie’s game, it could go a long way to helping the club avoid relegation to the Championship.
Aaronson, meanwhile, continues to look bright and energetic, as per usual, but lacking that game-changing impact many thought he would possess when the West Yorkshire club signed him last summer.
In other Leeds United, the Whites are now in pole position to seal their first signing under Javi Gracia despite interest from a Premier League rival.
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