Americans abroad analysis

Miazga shines, other Americans struggle, plus a busy day in the Europa

So far, it's been a tough midweek run for Americans abroad. ASN's Brian Sciaretta takes a look why but also notes that there are four big Europa League games on Thursday that could feature American players. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 14, 2019
12:10 AM
UP TO four Americans could play in the Europa League today and their success in today’s knockout opener could reverse what has been a really tough run of midweek games for Americans abroad. While Matt Miazga had another fine performance for Reading, he is the lone exception to what has been a rough run.

Miazga shines for Reading

Matt Miazga has been brilliant sine joining Reading FC in January. He has now played every minute of all four of his team’s games with Reading having conceded just two goals in the 360 minutes the New Jersey native has been on the field. With the 2-1 win over Blackburn on Wednesday, Reading finally moved out of the Championship relegation zone.

Miazga, 23, lead all players in aerials won with five. He also was the second highest in the game with six clearances. He was also credited with two interceptions, two tackles, and a pass completion rate of 77%. He’s also showing a lot of leadership qualities and heart with his play.

Reading beat writers are noticing that he’s playing as if he has been with the club for years instead of just weeks on loan. With a few more months of performances like this, his tough run at Nantes will quickly be forgotten.

Pulisic’s rough outing vs. Tottenham

There was a lot of anticipation among American fans when it was announced that Christian Pulisic was going to start for Borussia Dortmund against Tottenham in the first leg of its Champions League knockout at Wembley Stadium in London. Unfortunately, Dortmund had a very poor performance and Tottenham was brilliant in a comfortable 3-0 win for the Premier League squad.

Pulisic had a rough outing, but so did just about everyone on Borussia Dortmund including Jadon Sancho who did not have nice return to his native England.

It’s been a terrible week for Borussia Dortmund which squandered a 3-0 lead over Hoffenheim last weekend to see its Bundesliga lead reduced to just five points. But the loss to Tottenham probably means Dortmund will have plenty of time to focus on holding on to its precarious lead in the Bundesliga.

Can Yedlin rebound?

DeAndre Yedlin did not have a good performance for Newcastle United on Monday in its 1-1 draw against Wolves. While the late equalizer from Wolves was not Yedlin’s fault as Newcastle’s keeper should have held onto the cross (despite a legitimate claim he was fouled), Yedlin was unable to be effective on his side of the field.

Yedlin must be better and its next Premier League game won’t be until February 23 when it hosts last place Huddersfield. If Newcastle wants to avoid an intense relegation battle, it needs three points from these types of games. Hopefully the Seattle native will be able to put it behind him.

Holmes and Derby falter

For a team that is in a real push for promotion, securing three points against the worst team in the league is a must – even on the road.

That did not happen for Derby County which was unable to get anything going against Ipswich as the two teams played to a 1-1 draw. For long stretches, it seemed as if Ipswich was far closer to finding a winner.

American attacker Duane Holmes has been exceptional for Derby since the holiday slate of games but Wednesday’s draw was a step back. Offensively he couldn’t get much going and his best moment came in the 69th minute when he cleared an Ipswich shot off the line to keep the game even.

While Holmes wasn’t great, all of Derby share the blame for not being able to take the game to an inferior opponent. If Derby fall just short of the promotional playoffs, fans and players will look back on the two points squandered in this game.

Sunderland continues to fade

New father Lynden Gooch and Sunderland are desperately trying to find a way back to the Championship after two awful seasons where the club was consecutively relegated. It wasn’t long ago when Sunderland was in the top two fighting for automatic promotion.

But the club has one win and five draws in its last six League One games. That has seen it fall into fourth place and looking like any promotional effort will have to go through the playoff.

The latest setback was a 1-1 draw at home against Blackpool on Tuesday. Gooch started and left the game in the 52nd minute with his team up 1-0. Blackpool found the equalizer in the 75th minute.

Europa League ahead

It’s has obviously been a rough week for Americans abroad but Thursday could see up to four Americans in action in the Europa League.

Tim Weah and Celtic will host Spain’s Valencia at 3pm ET

Ethan Horvah and Club Brugge will host Austria’s RB Salzburg at 3pm ET

Romain Gall and Malmo FF will host Chelsea at 3pm ET

Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt will visit Shakhtar Donetsk at 3pm ET. Chandler has been injured all season but was added to Eintracht’s Europa League roster last week.

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