Leeds USA draw Brighton, but we need to talk about Brenden Aaronson’s poor form

Leeds United sit in the relegation zone after drawing Brighton 2-2 at Elland Road on Saturday. Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson started for Leeds while Weston McKennie came on as a second half substitute.

We’ll get to showing the highlights here in a bit, but first we need to discuss yet another lackluster performance from Aaronson. The American forward transferred to Leeds from Red Bull Salzburg before the 2022-23 season and he’s arguably been a bust.

Leeds reportedly paid $30 million for him and in return he has produced one goal and two assists in 29 appearances.

Aaronson lacks confidence in front of goal, gets outmuscled and shoved over by defenders numerous times every game and fails to make a real impact.

His best moment against Brighton came in the 48th minute when he forced a fingertip save from Jason Steele. 

There are three other Aaronson moments that need to be looked at, however not for positive reasons. All three moments happened early in the second half

Brenden Aaronson vs. Brighton

Incident #1: Shot goes into the 10th row

Aaronson vs Brighton

In the 47th minute Brighton gave away possession near their own penalty area as Adams intercepted the ball. He quickly passed to Aaronson who had a clean look at goal. His shot skied over the top of the bar and the opportunity was wasted.

Everyone misses shots, but it would’ve been nice to at least get this one on target.

Incident #2: Wasted chance

Aaronson vs Brighton

Adams again provides Aaronson with a lovely pass. Aaronson and Joël Veltman race to the ball and it looked like Aaronson had a step on him. The American can’t cut toward goal but still retained possession and had this look.

Aaronson vs Brighton

A poor touch saw Veltman poke the ball away from Aaronson and spilled to Jack Harrison who couldn’t score.

Incident #3: 1v1 and he passes it back?

Aaronson vs Brighton

This breakaway opportunity in the 51st minute was Aaronson’s worst offense of the game. A perfect layoff pass freed Aaronson who was then one-on-one against Brighton center back Lewis Dunk.

Attackers dream of scenarios like this. Dunk kept backing off and when Aaronson tried to cut inside the defender was able to turn around and poke the ball away. By then the rest of the Brighton defense had caught up and Aaronson could only pass it backward to Harrison.

Aaronson vs Brighton

This sequence annoyed Leeds fans to no end.

Aaronson would get the lowest FotMob rating of Leed’s front four with 6.5. He was substituted off in the 84th minute. He's had worse performances this season, but Saturday was nothing memorable.

Earlier this season Aaronson was sent down to play with Leeds’ U-21 squad to try to gain confidence. It has been a forgettable year for the American as relegation looms.

Here were the highlights from the game.

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