Brenden Aaronson, pictured in a USMNT friendly in June, scored on Sunday. (© Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Head coach Thomas Tuchel might not like to play one American, but another helped make life miserable for his Chelsea FC team on Sunday.
U.S. men’s national team midfielder Brenden Aaronson connected for the Leeds United’s first goal of its 3-0 stomping over an embarrassed Chelsea side at Elland Road in the English Premier League in Leeds, England.
Aaronson took advantage of a major brain fart by Blue goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the 34th minute. The 21-year-old rushed in on Mendes, who was taking his time clearing the ball out of his penalty area. Aaronson stole the ball and had an easy tap-in for his first goal of the season.
This is a classic #WPIOOTBGW from Chelsea. It has everything
1) cockiness of controlling the ball close to your own goal
3) panic (we LOVE panic)
5) visible anger
– textbook example of all the #WPIOOTBGW elements pic.twitter.com/nWtFp0GMqA
— When Playing It Out of the Back Goes Wrong (@wpiootbgw) August 21, 2022
Coached by former Red Bulls boss Jesse Marsch, the newly promoted Leeds side improved to 2-0-1 and seven points as it moved up to second place while underachieving 12th-place Chelsea dropped to 1-1-1.
Christian Pulisic, relegated to the Chelsea bench by Tuchel, came on in the 64th minute, although he could not find the net in what transpired in a poor performance for the visitors.
Former Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams, another USMNT on Leeds, did not score, but made life difficult for Chelsea players in the middle of the pitch, whether he was knocking the ball away, stealing it or blocking passes.
"Welcome to the Premier League!" 🤩
Leeds' Brenden Aaronson and Jack Harrison can't stop smiling…😅 pic.twitter.com/QaEUbYBHqN
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 21, 2022
The Blue played the final six minutes of regulation and stoppage time a man down after Kalidou Koulibaly incurred his second yellow card in the 84th minute. By then, the hosts enjoyed a three-goal advantage and except for trying to secure a goal to avoid a clean sheet, his absence did not affect the outcome of the match.
Former New York City FC midfielder Jack Harrison set up Leeds’ second goal on a free kick and scored the final tally.
An interesting bit of information: Aaronson and Harrison participated in EDP activities early in their careers.
Harrison played in EDP for Manhattan Soccer Club. Aaronson played in EDP’s Talent ID Program (TIP) while competing for Real New Jersey.
"Just goes to show people around the world that Americans can play football too."
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 21, 2022