Weekend preview

Miazga and Yedlin in huge relegations games, Weah eyes bigger Celtic role

Saturday and Sunday will be quieter for Americans as Sargent, Ream, & Green played on Friday, McKennie & Pulisic are out injured, Adams & Holmes won't play until Monday. Despite that, there will be some intriguing matchups and ASN's Brian Sciaretta takes you through it. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 22, 2019
5:00 PM
THE WEEKEND ahead won’t be all that busy for American players as several played on Friday or won’t play until Monday. Plus there are key injuries to Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic which should take some of the wind out of the sails.

This is also the final weekend which will be entirely based abroad as the MLS season is set to get going next weekend. ASN is set to have previews and predictions for the 2019 MLS next weekend. 

Friday was clearly a disappointing day for Americans abroad. Josh Sargent earned his first Bundesliga starter for Werder Bremen but was very quiet over his 61 minutes in a disappointing 1-1 draw against relegation battling VfB Stuttgart.

Elsewhere, Tim Ream got the start for Fulham in a 3-1 loss to West Ham. At this point, Fulham seems doomed to relegation as it sits eight point from safety. In the 2.Bundesliga, Julian Green got the start for midtable Greuther Furth in a 0-0 draw FC Heidenheim.

Also making this a bit of a lackluster weekend for Americans is that a bunch of intriguing players, such as Derby County's Duane Holmes and RB Leipzig's Tyler Adams, will play on Monday. 

While Friday was mostly uneventful, here are some games to watch this weekend.

Reading - Rotherham United
Saturday: 10:00am ET

In terms of importance, this is the biggest game of the weekend that will feature an American player. This game will go a long way to determining which team gets relegated out of the Championship as both are neck and neck on the edge of the drop zone. Both teams are even on points but Reading sits just outside of the zone based on goal differential. The winner of this game will move three points clear of the other.

Central defender Matt Miazga has done well since joining Reading on loan from Chelsea but last weekend was a tough step in a 4-0 loss to promotional contending Sheffield United. The New Jersey native was brought in to help carry the club to safety and this will be his biggest test since arriving in England.

Borussia Monchengladbach - Wolfsburg
Saturday 9:30am ET

Two German-Americans on the 2014 United States World Cup team could meet on Saturday in a matchup of teams aiming to secure spots in Europe next year.

Fabian Johnson, who used to play for Wolfsburg, is coming off a rare start for Monchengladbach in a 1-1 draw with Eintrach Frankfurt. Monchengladbach currently sit in third place but RB Leipzig is just two points behind.

John Brooks is a regular starter for Wolfsburg and is coming off an impressive outing last weekend as Wolfsburg shutout Mainz 3-0 to move into sixth place – which would send it to the Europa League qualifying rounds should it finish there.

Both teams are in tight races to secure spots in Europe next year and these games will be an opportunity for valuable points.

Newcastle United - Huddersfield
Saturday: 10:00am ET

If Newcastle United is going to avoid a relegation battle in the season’s final months, winning games against the worst teams in the league a must. Huddersfield is essentially a lock for relegation but Newcastle United is only one point clear of the drop zone.

Since moving to Europe, DeAndre Yedlin has been part of successful promotion and relegation battles before. It will be interesting to see if his experience helps him to perform in games like this. The U.S. national team right back is coming off a poor outing against Wolverhampton and will need to rebound quickly.

Celtic - Motherwell
Sunday: 10:00am ET

While Scottish leaders Celtic sit 22 points ahead of eighth place Motherwell, this game will be a matchup of the two hottest teams in the league. Celtic carries a six match league winning streak into this game while Motherwell has won five straight in the league.

Tim Weah, 18, has been a regular for Celtic and has played very well – typically coming off the bench. It will be interesting to see if the New Yorker will earn another opportunity to start. In his most recent game against Kilmarnock, Weah became a crowd favorite for his fiery attitude after the final whistle where he stood up to Kilmarnock players and took a yellow card.

Motherwell will also have American attacker Gboly Ariyibi, 24, who has made four starts for the club since arriving in January on loan from Nottingham Forest.

Sheffield Wednesday - Swansea City
Saturday: 10:00am ET

Cameron Carter-Vickers, 21, will continue to start for Swansea City which sits safely in midtable – neither a threat for promotion nor relegation. But Carter-Vickers needs solid performances in these games to secure a solid loan or transfer for next year. He is also aiming to boost his standing for both the U.S. national team and the U.S. U-23 team. The English-American has played well in his last two games – a win over Millwall and a loss to promotional contending Leeds United.

Only three points separate 13th place Swansea City and 15th place Sheffield Wednesday. But Sheffield Wednesday is coming off three straight draws.

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