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How Memphis’ new Argentine addition can bolster its playoff drive | Young Player Spotlight

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 09/18/23, 2:50PM EDT


Samuel Careaga’s second-half performance against Hartford helped tilt the game in 901 FC’s favor, produced first goal for club

Midfielder Samuel Careaga has had positive impacts in his first two appearances for Memphis 901 FC, including his first goal for the club against Hartford Athletic on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Memphis 901 FC

For almost two seasons, Memphis 901 FC has boasted two consistently high-performing midfielders in its squad. The duo of 2022 Championship MVP Finalist Aaron Molloy and Jeremy Kelly have been crucial to the side’s success, dictating play from the center of the park.

So, what if the club just added another player with maybe less experience, but just as much potential?

In Argentine 21-year-old Samuel Careaga, 901 FC might have found a piece that could prove extremely useful this postseason.

Careaga has made two appearances so far since his arrival on loan from Lanus earlier this month. He made a strong first impression against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on September 6, coming on as a late substitute and helping fuel a remarkable 3-2 comeback victory.

On Saturday, he was part of 901 FC Head Coach Stephen Glass’ halftime reshuffle, coming into the center of midfield to play alongside Molloy and Kelly, and he delivered a blistering 45 minutes that saw him record his first goal for the club, hit the woodwork with another chance, and record four shots overall. It helped Memphis overhaul a halftime deficit in a 4-2 victory against Hartford Athletic and keep the side in contention for a top-four finish and home game to open the playoffs.

“He was brilliant,” said Glass of Careaga. “We’ve worked a lot this week on getting in the box late, on crosses and deliveries. I won’t claim any responsibilities for Rodrigo [Da Costa]’s goal, but Samuel was magnificent when he came on. His use of the ball, his energy was good, and he told me he could’ve scored three goals. He’s disappointed with one.”

As the roster deadline closes, teams are always looking to find a piece that could provide quality depth for a playoff run. The way Careaga has sprung out of the traps, he could be a starter for Memphis when crunch-time arrives next month.

Here are some other young players who’ve impressed us in the past week…

- Miles Lyons, El Paso Locomotive FC – A composed finish earned the 20-year-old right back his first pro goal for the winner against Las Vegas Lights FC on Wednesday night, part of a solid display overall.

- Chris Hegardt, Loudoun United FC – The chemistry Hegardt and his new teammates showed in just his second game on loan from Charlotte FC was impressive and rewarded with a goal and assist for the 21-year-old against the Charleston Battery.

- Nathan Worth, FC Tulsa – Another smooth on-ball performance by the 16-year-old as he completed 56 of 62 passes in Tulsa’s 1-0 win against Oakland Roots SC on Saturday night, recording the most touches on the team with 74 and winning 7 of 13 duels overall.

- Carlos Moguel Jr., Louisville City FC – The 20-year-old rebounded with another good performance against San Diego Loyal SC, doing a little bit of everything well – 2/3 tackles, 3/4 duels, 2/3 aerial duels – and notching four chances created overall.

- Daniel Ríos, Las Vegas Lights FC – The 20-year-old continues to contribute in the final third for Lights FC, notching an assist and four chances created against Monterey Bay F.C. on Saturday night, connecting on 2 of 2 crosses and completing 24 of 30 passes overall.

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