The soccer news starts with USMNT player Andrija Novakovich signing a new deal with Reading. He will play for Eredivisie club Fortuna Sittard on loan this season. Novakovich has a breakout season with Dutch second division club Telstar, scoring 19 goals and helping them make the promotion playoffs. Fortuna Sittard finished second in the 2017-18 Eerste Divisie, but took the automatic promotion slot since champions Jong Ajax is a reserve team and can't win promotion to the topflight.
Novakovich said his decision to accept the loan to Fortuna Sittard was based on the club's plans. "Fortuna is ambitious and so am I," he said.
Another loan to a Dutch club is an interesting situation for Novakovich considering that his parent club plays a league down in England's Championship. Comparing a newly promoted Dutch topflight team to a Championship team that finished 20th last season is difficult. The Dutch second division isn't strong, but struggling to avoid relegation in the Championship doesn't exactly make the case for Reading. Novakovich has shown he can score, the job of a target forward. That earned him two appearances with the USMNT, part of the youth movement we've seen since the November friendlies.
He's not the only USMNT player to spend time on loan in the Eredivisie. Defender Matt Miazga now has 55 appearances with Vitesse Arnhem, an established Dutch topflight club that finished 6th in the table and qualified for the Europa League through the Eredivisie playoff system. Miazga is a Chelsea player, with the expectation that at some point he'll either move to a stronger league on loan or return to the Premier League team. This preseason may be his opportunity to prove to Chelsea he doesn't need another season on loan.
At stake in both scenarios is playing time. Miazga has proven he's a top quality Eredivisie player, but that was the expectation with the initial loan. Chelsea is a super club, moving players around Europe to get them playing time they probably wouldn't see in London. Which raises an interesting scenario for Novakovich. Should he light up the Eredivisie the way he did the Eerste Divisie, why would a struggling Championship club not want him in their lineup?
USA Today's Martin Rogers questions the quality of Concacaf at this World Cup. SI.com's Brian Straus explains what Senegal's win means for CAF as a whole. The Telegraph's James Ducker reports on Germany's internal issues after losing to Mexico.
Tony Meola called Senegal-Poland yesterday, did the World Cup Tonight show until 3 am last night and is now calling the first game today (Portugal-Morocco). Impressive from the former US keeper.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 20, 2018
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