Joe Scally’s Bundesliga debut against Bayern Munich sends USMNT Twitter into overdrive
U.S. Soccer Twitter was abuzz on the first big day of the European soccer season after what fans saw in the opening Bundesliga match.
American Joe Scally, an 18-year-old right back who made just seven appearances while in Major League Soccer, started and shined for Borussia Monchengladbach against defending German champion Bayern Munich. It was his first start in the Bundesliga and he did the business against German internationals Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller, all while technically playing out of position at left back.
Scally even contended with the likes of Robert Lewandowski on a couple of occasions while playing the full 90 minutes in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
The Twitter crowd was ready to put Scally in the U.S. national team starting lineup after that effort.
Maybe the start shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise. Scally was in the starting XI for the club’s first official match of the season in Monday’s DFB Pokal German Cup victory against Kaiserslautern, and he was at left back for that one, too.
“It’s just wonderful. It’s a wonderful story,” former USMNT World Cup coach and German great Jurgen Klinsmann said postgame on ESPN. “And he played really well on top of that. He was very focused. He played a very concentrated game. He did nothing fancy. He did his job for the team.”
“We’re very happy. I thought it was a good team performance. Now we just build on that for the rest of the season,” Scally said in a Bundesliga flash interview. “The new coach [Adi Hutter] came in with some really good ideas. I think he’s a really good coach — what he did with Frankfurt last year. So I think we could have a great year this year. We want to win the cup, win the league and end in a Champions League spot, which is our goal every year.”
Scally has been in Germany for the past seven months since joining Monchengladbach in January 2021 after turning 18 — almost a year after the German club acquired him via transfer from New York City FC. He generally has been out of sight of fans during his time in Germany, but he showed his new coaches what he has by featuring for the club’s reserve team in the German fourth division.
The Long Island, N.Y., native has always been a precocious talent. He signed a pro contract with NYCFC as a 15-year-old in March 2018. He has been a member of the USA’s Under-15 and Under-17 national teams and played in the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup alongside compatriot and Bundesliga star Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund). Reyna always thought that Scally would excel in the Bundesliga:
“Gio told me that the Bundesliga is a difficult league, but he also told me I shouldn’t have any problems with it,” Scally told Bundesliga.com this summer.
Borussia Monchengladbach made the move to lock up Scally in November 2019, shortly after the conclusion of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. The reported transfer fee at the time was $2 million. The deal was consummated only after Scally turned 18 when the calendar flipped to 2021 (he was born on Dec. 31).
Scally doesn’t have any caps for the U.S. senior national team just yet and he has plenty of competition at both right back (Sergino Dest, Reggie Cannon, Shaq Moore, DeAndre Yedlin) and left back (Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson, Sam Vines, George Bello). The next potential opportunity for a call-up will come with September’s World Cup qualifiers.
There will be plenty more games this season for #USMNT Twitter to go wild over Scally, but fewer will be as high-profile as a debut against Bayern Munich. Here’s a sample of the reaction on social media:
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