CONCACAF Nations League

Pulisic, Álvarez & 6 Other Europe-Based Concacaf Players To Watch This Year

Pulisic, Álvarez & 6 Other Europe-Based Concacaf Players To Watch This Year

With the Nations League quickly approaching, we take a survey of some of Concacaf's notable Europe-based players who you need to watch this year.

Jul 23, 2019 by Wesley Davidson
Pulisic, Álvarez & 6 Other Europe-Based Concacaf Players To Watch This Year

The new European season is quickly approaching, and teams are scrambling to solidify their rosters as current players are busy training and competing in preseason friendlies, both domestically and abroad. 

The 2019 Gold Cup may have wrapped up at the beginning of July, but there will be plenty more regional action to follow with the new Concacaf Nations League — shown right here on FloFC — returning in the fall. 

Here are eight Concacaf players to keep tabs on as they suit up around Europe in the 2019-20 season.

1. Edson Álvarez | Mexico | AFC Ajax

Ajax completed one of the better signings of this transfer window last week when they acquired Mexican international Edson Alvarez last week for a reported €15 million. He was dealt a blow when he was cut from the 2018 World Cup roster, but he rebounded in a big way with a standout season for Club América and was an integral part of Mexico’s Gold Cup triumph.

Able to play both defensive midfielder and center back, Alvarez is thought to be the successor to Matthis de Light following his blockbuster move to Juventus. At just 21 years of age, he looks set to be an integral part of El Tri for many years to come. 

How’s this for rolling out the red carpet for a new player?

2. Anthony “Choco” Lozano | Honduras | Girona FC

Those familiar with Concacaf know that Honduras is always near the top of the group of nations trying to keep pace with Mexico and the United States. It was a case of too little too late at this year’s tournament — as they fell to Jamaica 3-2 and were subsequently shocked by Curacao 1-0 — before blanking El Salvador 4-0 in the final group stage match with their exit already secured.

Forward Anthony Lozano played the full 90 in the first two matches and netted the first Honduras goal in their comeback attempt against Jamaica. At 26 years of age, Lozano should be taking his game to new heights in his second full season at Girona. 

The Catalan club may have been relegated last season, but they have set a fine example for clubs looking to punch above their weight. Lozano failed to find the back of the net in 20 league appearances last season and scored just twice in the Copa del Rey, so he will need to amp up his production in the final third if they are to make a hasty return to the big stage in Spain.

3. Alphonso Davies | Canada | Bayern Munich

Canada garnered plenty of attention heading into the Gold Cup, and rightfully so given the way they’ve produced quality players in recent years. The 18-year-old phenom Alphonso Davies is the most talented player on their roster, and his development across the pond will be key to their chances of taking down Mexico and the U.S. in the future.

Davies became the first player born in the 2000s to feature in Major League Soccer and quickly capitalized on his standout play up top for Vancouver with a move to Bayern Munich in January of this year. He went on to make six league appearances and scored in March against Mainz — not bad for an 18-year-old newcomer in a star-studded lineup. 

This season will likely see him play a larger role for the German champions.

4. Christian Pulisic | United States | Chelsea FC

There are so many unknowns with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard taking over following Maurizio Sarri’s departure, but Pulisic already made an impression on his new boss when he cut his vacation short to begin training with the Blues. The 20-year-old put in a strong performance in a friendly against Barcelona on Tuesday.

Many familiar with Sarri’s system were excited to see how Pulisic might develop under the Italian, but there should be no less optimism about how far the U.S. star can go in the Premier League.

5. Leandro Bacuna | Curacao | Cardiff City

Curacao joined Haiti as the surprises of the tournament, and they gave the United States all they could handle in a narrow 1-0 loss in the quarterfinals. Midfielder Leandro Bacuna was at the heart of everything the small island nation did well at the tournament and etched his name in the history books when he scored their first-ever Gold Cup goal in the 1-0 win over Honduras.

Bacuna joined Cardiff in January and went on to feature 11 times as they failed in their attempt to avoid plummeting back into the English Championship after one year in the Premier League. Twelve goals in 28 appearances for his nation is an impressive return for a midfielder, and he will need to channel that sort of play to help Cardiff return to the top flight.

6. Héctor Herrera | Mexico | Atlético Madrid

Atlético Madrid may have lost stars Diego Godín and Antoine Griezman, but they continue to bring in quality reinforcements and got a steal in Mexican international Héctor Herrera on a free transfer from FC Porto. While Herrera may not have carried near the price tag of Portuguese youngster João Felix or even Spanish midfielder Marcos Llorente, he is a terrific signing who should play a significant role in their quest to be crowned La Liga champions for the first time since 2013-14.

With Herrera taking the summer off from international duty to sort through his transfer, he should be rejuvenated and ready to plow forward in a stout midfield. El Tri supporters in the States will soon get to see him in action with his new club while they compete in the International Champions Cup and take on the MLS All-Stars in Orlando.

7. Cyle Larin | Canada | Zulte Waregem

The Canadian striker burst into the scene in MLS when he scored 43 goals in 87 appearances for Orlando City SC. Reports surfaced that he was set to move to Everton to replace Romelu Lukaku, but he landed instead in the Turkish Süper Lig at Besiktas in January of 2018.

Larin had quite a disappointing 2018-19 season with a single goal in 12 appearances. With new head coach Abdullah Avci not appearing keen on Larin’s services moving forward, a season-long loan move to Belgian outfit Zulte Waregem is the next move for the 24-year-old. He will need a big year if he is to get his career back on track.

8. Tyler Boyd | United States | Besiktas J.K.

Tyler Boyd came out of nowhere at this summer’s regional tournament, even for some of the most dedicated U.S. Soccer supporters. A one-time switch from New Zealand was completed less than a month before his call-up, and he went on to score twice in his first five appearances for the Yanks.

His noteworthy play on the U.S. wing was enough to garner the attention of new suitors, and he ended up putting pen to paper with Besiktas. The 24-year-old is already putting in work ahead of their friendly against Eibar, which will be shown on FloFC.