Americans abroad analysis
Adams, Siebatcheu, & Pulisic stand out in quiet weekend abroad for Yanks
April 26, 2021
THE PAST WEEKEND for Americans abroad saw two players win silverware in Europe but overall, the weekend was extremely uneventful. In terms of performance, few players stood out either positively or negatively. In terms of results, however, the past weekend helped shaped the races for promotion, relegation, European competition qualification, and championships.
In France, Tim Weah was injured for Lille and didn’t play but Lille remained atop Ligue 1 after a dramatic 3-2 win after falling behind 2-0. The victory kept Lille one point ahead of Paris St. Germain.
In Spain, Sergino Dest started for Barcelona away at Villarreal but was subbed out at halftime. Barcelona was up 2-1 when Dest left and that was the final score. Combined with Real Madrid playing to a 0-0 draw with Real Betis and Atletico Madrid falling to Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona is just two points behind those two but has played one fewer game. It is now in the drivers seat to an improbable La Liga title after many figured the club was rebuilding.
Staying in Spain, it was a quiet performance as well from Yunus Musah who started for Valencia against Deportivo Alaves and played 61 minutes. He left with the game 0-0 and it finished 1-1.
In Germany, Julian Green and Greuther Furth dropped a 2-1 decision that could be extremely costly in its promotional race to qualify for the Bundesliga. Greuther Furth is in second place and has a three-point lead on Hamburg. Holstein Kiel is five points back but has three games in hand. This will be a close one.
In Italy, Weston McKennie played the final 20 minutes for Juventus in a 1-1 away draw with Fiorentina. That loss could be costly as earning a spot next year in the Champions League is not guaranteed. Juve is now in fourth, but it has just a three point lead on Napoli (who has a game in hand and could bump Juve out of the Champions League spots on Monday with a win over Torino).
Relegation battles await many Yanks
Relegation battles are always difficult situations and while this season has been successful for Americans abroad, there are numerous Yanks who are now in difficult relegation battles. Matthew Hoppe and Schalke have already sealed their relegation out of the Bundesliga and that situation turned ugly when supporters attacked Schalke players on Wednesday following the loss that clinched relegation. Hoppe was not injured in the disgraceful incident but it will be interesting what is next for the club.
Also in the Bundesliga, Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen are no longer safe – after it appeared as if it was coasting to a midtable finish. Instead, however, it dropped its seventh straight Bundesliga game on Saturday in an ugly 3-1 loss to Union Berlin. Sargent struggled to get involved in his 88 minutes of action. Its final three games are against Bayer Leverkusen, Augsburg, and Borussia Monchengladbach – that is not an easy haul. It is only one point clear of the relegation playoff position – which is where it finished last year.
In Portugal, U.S. national team right back Reggie Cannon and Boavista dropped a potential devastating 1-0 loss to Maritimo on Saturday to send back into the relegation playoff position with five games remaining. Cannon played 77 minutes in the loss.
In France’s Ligue 2, United States national team forward Nicholas Gioacchini and SM Caen lost again on Saturday in a 1-0 defeat to Sochaux. Gioacchini played the final 28 minutes. Caen has just one win in its last 19 Ligue 2 games and is now just one point clear of the relegation playoff position with three games remaining.
In Turkey’s Super Lig, relegation seems a certainty for Mix Diskerud and Denzilispor. The former U.S. international scored on Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Sivasspor but the club is in dead last place and nine points deep in relegation hole with five points to go.
In Austria’s Bundesliga, it is not clear yet if any club will be relegated due the fact that poor financing at Austria Vienna might automatically relegated that club. But if that gets worked out, either St. Poelten, with American loanees Taylor Booth and Brandon Servania, or Andrew Wooten and Admira Modeling will get relegated. Ried defeated Booth and St. Poelten (Servania is injured) by a 2-1 margin on Saturday and it is now in last – two points behind Wooten and Admira which lost 2-0 to Austria Vienna. There are five games remaining in the season for each team.
In the Championship, Matthew Olosunde and Rotherham United lost to Daryl Dike and Barnsley 1-0 on Saturday. It has played two fewer games than other teams in the league due to a COVID suspension but is four points deep in the relegation hole. It has four games remaining while other teams have two games remaining. Still, having lost four straight, there shouldn’t be much confidence in the club making up that ground.
In Belgium, Joe Efford and Waasland-Bevern face Seraing in a two-game playoff to determine relegation. The first leg will be May 1 and the second will be May 8.
In Greece's Super League: Gboly Ariyibi and Panaitolikos defeated PAS Giannina on Saturday but still are one point deep in the relegation zone with two games remaining. Ariyibi was an unused sub in this game.
Finally, Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream and Fulham are unlikely to survive in the Premier League. With four games remaining in the season, Fulham are seven points behind Brighton & Hove Albion for the final survival place. The London club did not play this past weekend.
Steffen & McKenzie win Silverware
Two American players won silverware over the weekend and it started with the English League Cup as Manchester City defeated Tottenham 1-0 on Sunday. After a rough outing in the FA Cup semifinal loss to Chelsea, Zack Steffen earned the start in this one for the League Cup final and played well. It wasn’t the busiest of days for Steffen who only had to make one save (and it was a nice one) as Manchester City dominated possession. Steffen also handled crosses into the area well and earned his first major silverware since heading to Europe.
Incredible to see our fans again! This one is for all of you ???????? pic.twitter.com/ALcuPT8sop— Zack Steffen (@zacksteffen_) April 25, 2021
In Belgium, RKC Genk defeated Standard Liege 2-1 in the Belgian Cup final. Mark McKenzie came into the game in the 87th minute (shortly after Liege cut Genk’s lead to 2-1) to help Genk preserve the Belgian Cup win. For McKenzie, he did not have a lot to do but his should be a boost of confidence for him as he is still in the early steps of the European leg of his career after transferring from the Philadelphia Union. Next season was always going to be the big test for McKenzie but he now has momentum heading into his first full season in Belgium.
Siebatcheu goal helps Young Boys win
Jordan Siebatcheu started and scored for BSC Young Boys on Sunday in a 2-1 win over Sion. He now has 11 goals in the Swiss Super League on the season (all since December 19) along with another three he scored in the Europa League – which all came against Bayer Leverkusen.
Goal Jordan Siebatcheu! The #USMNT forward puts BSC Young Boys up 2-1 on Sion. He now has 11 in the Swiss Super League to go along with 3 in the Europa League - all against Bayer Leverkusen. 14 in all competitions pic.twitter.com/F6LV8uHHiV— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 25, 2021
The big takeaway in this win is that Siebatcheu is still playing significant minutes for Young Boys after the club clinched the title last weekend. The Washington, DC-born, French raised Siebatcheu is at Young Boys on loan from Rennes (where he was out of favor). Young Boys have little incentive to play Siebatcheu right now, unless there are either plans or hopes for him to stay next season. That would seem to be the case.
For Siebatcheu, it is interesting to see where he winds up next season but returning to Young Boys wouldn’t be a bad move.
Aaronson and Salzburg win
Brenden Aaronson started and played well for Red Bull Salzburg in a 2-1 win over Wolfsberger. With five games remaining, Salzburg now has an eight-point lead atop the Austrian Bundesliga.
In this game, Aaronson played well in a full 90 effort and was particularly strong the final 18 minutes when Salzburg was down to 10 players and Aaronson covered a lot of ground to keep up the press.
When you look at Aaronson’s stats, what stands out most is that he had 50 touches in this one. That is higher than most. It shows that either his teammates were looking for him more frequently or that Aaronson was doing better to get into open places.
Brenden Aaronson: raw # for Salzburg in 2-1 win at Wolfsburger— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 25, 2021
3 key passes
0/1 long balls
5/12 duels won
2 blocked shots
- solid outing for Aaronson, closing in on title#USMNT
Of course, Aaronson has played well since moving from Philadelphia to Austria and he deserves the respect.
Sweet moves from Brenden Aaronson pic.twitter.com/nbaciUl0lX— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 25, 2021
Adams very strong in Leipzig win
Tyler Adams started for RB Leipzig and was generally very solid on Saturday in a 2-0 win over Stuttgart playing on the right side of the midfield – but still with freedom to cut centrally. American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo and his Stuttgart team have tumbled down to 10th place with four straight losses.
Adams was able to get on the ball a healthy number of times (more than once per minute) and his passing was well over 90%. While his duel winning wasn’t great in this one, he was primarily focused in possession as Stuttgart suffered a 14th minute red card.
The numbers reflect that Adams fit himself into the situation the game demanded.
Tyler Adams: raw # for Leipzig in 2-0 win over Stuttgart— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 25, 2021
3 key passes
1/2 long balls
1/5 duels won
With three games remaining, Leipzig is coasting into second place in the Bundesliga.
Pulisic’s big win
It’s a disappointing season at Chelsea whenever it doesn’t compete for a Premier League title but given the situation at hand, a top four finish is critical to maintain its Champions League spot next season. With that in mind, Sunday’s matchup against West Ham pitted two teams even on points four fourth place.
Christian Pulisic earned the start in this London Derby at West Ham’s London Stadium. He was pretty good throughout but like all classy players, he was able to raise his game at a critical moment and tilt the balance for a win. In the 1-0 victory for Chelsea, Pulisic delivered the critical “hockey assist” pass that resulted in Timo Werner’s 43rd minute goal.
In total, Pulisic continues to raise his game the past two months after dealing with sporadic injuries for most of the first half of the season. He’s been one of the team’s best players since March.
Dike & CCV clinch playoffs
In the English Championship, Reading drew over the weekend to Swansea and, with Barnsley defeating Rotherham United, both Daryl Dike & Barnsley along with Cameron Carter-Vickers and AFC Bournemouth have secured a spot in the promotional playoffs. With two games remaining in the regular season, it is all about placement for the four teams in the playoffs.
Dike played well despite not scoring in a 1-0 win over relegation battling Rotherham United. Cameron Carter-Vickers and AFC Bournemouth, meanwhile, saw their eight-game winning streak snapped with a 1-0 defeat to Brentford. Carter-Vickers started in this one and was solid, despite the loss.
One interesting note about this is that Orlando City holds an option to recall Dike from its loan starting on May 3. I doubt that Orlando will prevent Dike from finishing the job with Barnsley but it will be interesting to see if they ask Barnsley for more money. Orlando has started off the 2021 season with two draws and has scored just one goal. The team desperately misses Dike up top.
Brooks & Wolfsburg fall to Reyna & BVB
In the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund came a way with a massively impressive 2-0 away win over Wolfsburg that has shaken up the race for the league’s final two Champions League spots. Reyna started and played 69 minutes in this one for Dortmund and Brooks went the distance in the loss. Dortmund was reduced to 10 players in the 59th minute after Jude Bellingham picked up is second yellow.
Neither American player stood out for better or for worse in this one but clearly Reyna is on the upswing this season while Brooks hasn’t had the best month in April.
Wolfsburg still sits in third place but has now lost three of four. At this point, however, anything can happen in the Bundesliga for Champions League qualifying.
Wolfsburg has 57 points, fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt has 56, and fifth-place Borussia Dortmund has 55. There are three games left for each team. Borussia Dortmund has the hardest remaining schedule as Leipzig and Leverkusen are in their final three games.
Richards injured for Hoffenheim
In a bit of unfortunate news, Chris Richards “tweaked” his hamstring on Saturday for Hoffenheim against Freiburg and had to be removed in the 78th minute. The Alabama native has been having a very nice loan from Bayern Munich to Hoffenheim and has been starting weekly in central defense. In this one, he was playing well and left with Hoffenheim winning 1-0. Unfortunately for the club, Freiburg equalized via a penalty two minutes after Richards left and the game finished 1-1.
Richards’ numbers were solid.
- 77 minutes
- 53 touches
- 38/42 passing
- 2/3 long balls
- 1 key pass
- 2/6 duels won
- 5 clearances
- 0 tackles
- 2/6 aerials
- 1 interception
Richards took to twitter following the game to thank supporters and also to downplay the severity of the injury.
thanks everybody for the messages of support !!! it’s just a little hamstring tweak so hopefully i’ll be back soon ????? #ykn— chris richards (@eastmamba) April 24, 2021
With three games remaining, Hoffenheim has no real threat of relegation or qualifying for Europe. It makes little sense to risk Richards unless he is completely back to 100%. Otherwise, that would anger Bayern Munich and hurt chances of future loans between the two – which also might include another loan for Richards should Bayern want to send him out again next season.
Elesewhere across the globe
In the Bundesliga, Timothy Chandler played the final 13 minutes for fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt in a 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
In Hungary, Henry Wingo started and played 90 minutes for Ferencvaros in a 2-1 win over Fehervar. Ferencvaros has already clinched the HN 1 title.
In the relegation half of the Danish Super Liga, Haji Wright started and scored a goal for Sonderjyske in a 1-0 win over Vejle Boldklub.
In the Eredivisie, Luca de la Torre and eighth-place Heracles suffered a bad 3-1 loss against relegation-battling FC Emmen on Saturday.
In England’s Premiership, Owen Otasowie went as an unused sub for Wolverhampton in a tough 4-0 loss to Burnley.
In the Championship, Duane Holmes picked up a consolation assist for Huddersfield Town in a brutal 5-2 loss to Blackburn.
In third-tier League One, Lynden Gooch picked up an assist for Sunderland in the opening goal of a 3-3 draw with Accrington Stanley. Sunderland should finish third in the league and head to the promotional playoffs.
Gooch’s assist https://t.co/yiDGwxGj33— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 24, 2021
In Argentina's top flight, Joel Sonora started and played 84 minutes for Talleres de Cordoba in a 3-2 away win over Atletico Tucuman.
In Brazil's Gaucho State Cup, U.S. U-20/23 midfielder Johnny Cardoso played the final 26 minutes for Internacional in a 5-0 win over Esportivo.