Americans abroad analysis
Dest, Siebatcheu win silverware, Richards, Adams, & Cannon star in Weekend abroad
April 19, 2021
THE WEEKEND FOR AMERICANS abroad wasn’t as monumental as the weekend before, or some of the highpoint weekends we had midseason but there was high points – such as Gio Reyna’s outstanding performance – and we also saw two players win impressive silverware.
On the flip side, however, we saw the announcement of the new Super League which will see the breakaway of 12 top European teams from England, Spain, and Italy to form their own midweek competition. There are so many issues in both the creation and backlash of this that we’ll look at this in a separate piece.
With regards to Americans abroad, there were a lot players in action as most leagues head into the final stretch.
Here are my notes and thoughts on, maybe not all, but the top stories from the weekend.
Sunday saw two Americans win major silverware as Sergino Dest and Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the Copa de Rey final. Dest was certainly decent although unspectacular in this one but overall it was reflective of a strong season for him in moving to one of the world’s most valuable teams – now amid the controversy of the Super League formation.
In Switzerland, Jordan Siebatcheu started and played 66 minutes for BSC Young Boys which received a Jean Pierre Nsame hat-trick en route to a 3-0 win over Lugano. The victory clinched the Swiss Super League title for BSC Young Boys. It is unknown if Siebatcheu will remain with the club as he is there on loan from Rennes. Nsame’s numbers for BSC Young Boys remain stellar: 4 seasons, 7672 Minutes, 118 appearances, 86 starts, 78 goals and if he remains with the club, would Siebatcheu be able to start as much as he wants?
Sadly, it could have been three Americas winning silverware but Henry Wingo and Ferencvaros could not clinch the Hungarian title on Saturday againt Varda. The 0-0 draw delays their title, which is inevitable. Wingo started this one but will hopefully be on the field for the eventual clincher.
The best American player of the weekend was Gio Reyna who helped lead Borussia Dortmund past Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen 4-1 at home. Reyna has been improving in recent weeks and is now playing his best soccer since the firing of Lucien Favre in December. It is certainly welcome news for both Dortmund and the United States national team.
Reyna’s goal in the 29th minute equalized for Dortmund and opened the floodgates for three more goals from his team. But Reyna was strong in all areas. His 77 touches and 51/54 passing was much higher than normal. Overall it was a massive effort.
As for Sargent, he showed improved 1v1 dribbling but was still too quiet in this one.
For Americans abroad fans, perhaps the most anticipated moment of the weekend came in Wembley Stadium when Chelsea and Manchester City met in the semifinals of the FA Cup. The result, however, was pretty disappointing. Pulisic was on the bench for this one and he came on for the final 20 minutes and only had seven touches. His biggest moment came on goal he scored past Steffen that was very nice, but ultimately called offside. Hakim Ziyech scored the games only goal for City on a play where Steffen showed poor positioning.
On Friday, Chris Richards and Hoffenheim visited Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig and the two teams played to a 0-0 draw. Despite the rather dull game, both U.S. internationals played really well and Chris Richards was probably the best defender on the field for either team over the 90 minutes – completing 91% of his passing (39/43) including 3/6 of his long-balls. Tyler Adams was feisty in the midfield – also completing 91% of his passes (59/65) including going 5/7 with his long balls. Defensively, he was strong as well. It wasn’t a great game, but both American players acquitted themselves well.
In Spain, Yunus Musah took advantage of a frustrating situation to improving his standing at Valencia. In the past few months, the New York-born Musah has been coming off the bench for Valencia and that was the case on Sunday against Real Betis. But due to an injury, he came into the game in the 9th minute and had his best outing in a long time in a 2-2 draw against Real Betis. In this game, he showcased strong passing, duel-winning, and dribbling which reflected his very high ceiling. Over 81 minutes, he had 44 touches, was 5/6 in dribbles (drawing two fouls), 15/20 passing, and taking one shot.
For Musah, this will certainly keep him in the lineup.
On Friday, Julian Green scored a big goal for Greuther Furth to help it rally from a 2-0 deficit against Darmstadt and finish the game even at 2-2. This is going to be an extremely close promotional race and with six games remaining, Furth sits in second but is just one point ahead of Hamburg SV and three points ahead of fourth place Heidenheim. First and second earn promotion, third-place goes into a playoff, fourth-place and below remain in the 2.Bundesliga.
Julian Green continues his excellent season for Greuther Furth with another goal in a 2-2 draw vs. Darmstadt.— Concacaf in Europe (@ConcacafE) April 16, 2021
The American now has 8 goals in the 2. Bundesliga this season, which is tied for the 4th most in the league by a midfielder ????????????pic.twitter.com/01zsfEnjG8
Weston Mckennie returned to the starting lineup for Juventus and was one of his team’s few bright spots in a 1-0 loss to Atalanta. The good news is that he was very dangerous in attacking positions while playing out wide. He was confident on the dribble and is dramatically improved offensively. He came off in the 78th minute and looked tired and also appeared to be in discomfort as he has been dealing with hip and leg injuries.
Brenden Aaronson and Red Bull Salzburg defeated LASK 2-0 to move nine points clear of second place Rapid Vienna with seven games to go. Aaronson started in this one but was fairly quiet in this one as he played 74 minutes and left with the game still 0-0. It wasn’t as sharp as Aaronson as looked at Salzburg but will have another opportunity on Wednesday.
The situation was far better for Reggie Cannon who played very well for Boavista on Friday in a very impressive 2-0 win over fifth-place Pacos de Ferreira. Cannon, himself, drew the penalty which resulted in the second goal.
Reggie Cannon’s drawn penalty today for Boavista in a huge 2-0 win pic.twitter.com/2rdF652O2a— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 16, 2021
Reggie Cannon: raw # for Boavista in 2-0 win vs Pacos de Ferreira— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 16, 2021
1 key pass
0/2 accurate long balls
0/1 accurate crossing
6/9 duels won
- huge win in relegation battle
- touch map, attack?? pic.twitter.com/Ropp2Qd1YZ
With the win, Boavista moved four points clear of the relegation playoff in Portugal – after sitting in last place in March.
In the Championship, the quest for promotion involves two American players with Daryl Dike and Barnsley along with Cameron Carter-Vickers and AFC Brournemouth both trying to qualify for the playoffs. Both players and drastically different results and performances over the weekend.
On Sunday, Daryl Dike uncharacteristically struggled in his worst outing for Barnsley to date. The American forwards was easily contained by Coventry in a 2-0 loss. Meanwhile, Cameron Carter-Vickers was very strong in a 3-1 win over a Championship leading Norwich which came into the game already having secured promotion. These two teams take up the final two spots in the promotional playoffs but Barnsley has seen its form dip lately and the more reliant it is on Dike, which the system seems to revolve around him when he’s on the field, the more other teams come in focused on stopping him.
It’s going to be close, as Barnsley holds just a four point lead on seventh-place Reading with four games remaining.
In the Bundesliga, Matthew Hoppe and Schalke continue to coast into relegation. Schalke dropped a 4-0 lost 4-0 to Augsburg with Hoppe playing just the final four minutes. Schalke now has a -57 goal differential on the season.
It was slated to be a big matchup between Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg – two teams slated to represent the Bundesliga next year in the Champions League (assuming that is still a thing). While John Brooks and Wolfsburg gave it a fight, they eventually fell 3-2 at home. Wolfsburg remained in third, however, and have a five-point lead on the Champions League spot).
In another race for silverware, Tim Weah earned the start for Lille against Montpellier. The New Yorker played 68 minutes and left with Lille down 1-0. He was not on the field when Lille pushed for a late equalizer for a 1-1 draw. Weah played relatively well in this one and was very active – 47 touches in 68 minutes, 26/30 in passing, 5/9 duels won, and one key pass. He played mostly on the right side and while he was not on the field for any Lille goal, he was still an asset for his team. Unfortunately, Paris St. Germain won this weekend and now trails Lille by just a point.
In Belgium, Matt Miazga and Anderlecht defeated Chris Durkin and St. Truiden 1-0 and with the win, Anderlecht advanced into the playoff round of the league with a third-place finish in the regular season. Overall, it was a extremely positive performance for Miazga who put up some exceptional numbers.
- 93 touches
- 77/82 passing
- 8/11 in long balls
- 3/5 duels won
- 6 clearances
- 3 interceptions
In the Premier League, Antonee Robinson is another player who had a good outing in a result that just wasn’t satisfactory. While normally a 1-1 draw for Fulham against Arsenal would be acceptable, Fulham had put itself in a position where it needed a win. Until the seventh minute of stoppage time, it looked like Fulham would get what it needed, but a late equalizer from Arsenal cost them two points. It is now six points deep in the relegation zone with a tough schedule remaining.
Robinson’s athleticism is first-rate and while his season hasn’t been perfect, he’s shown plenty of upside and there should be enough big teams monitoring him who probably see him being a good fit should Fulham go down.
Antonee Robinson nearly landed a 8-figure transfer to Milan while playing at Wigan - bottom half of the Championship. He’s playing even better this season in the Premier League and he’s playing a position always in demand. Draw your own conclusions... #USMNT https://t.co/7p1u6PbhPa— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 18, 2021
In the Austrian Bundesliga relegation half, Taylor Booth scored in the 29th minute and Brandon Servania also started and played well for St. Poelten. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for St. Poelten which dropped a 2-1 decision to Austria Vienna (Erik Palmer-Brown was out for this one) and is now only avoiding last place on goal differential.
In France’s Ligue 2, Nicholas Gioacchini came off the bench for SM Caen in the 56th minute but was unable to prevent a 1-0 loss to Troyes. Once midtable, SM Caen is just two points clear of the relegation playoff line.