Americans abroad analysis

Pulisic, Dest, Weah, Sargent highlight busy weekend in Europe

It was a very busy weekend for Americans abroad and it is one that will be remembered for a long time as four players took big steps by getting on the field in important situations. But how did they do? ASN's Brian Sciaretta looks at that question plus more
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 12, 2019
4:00 AM
IT WAS AN interesting weekend for Americans abroad, to say the least. Christian Pulisic made his Premier League debut with Chelsea, Sergino Dest made his Eredivisie debut for Ajax, Timothy Weah started for Lille in its Ligue 1 opener, and Josh Sargent started for Werder Bremen in the German Cup.

So there was a lot of exciting opportunities for Americans abroad this weekend. And it is a massive accomplishment for young players just to get on the field in these situations. But when the excitement over participation wears off, how did each of these players do?

Well, it was a mixed bag as was the rest of the weekend for Americans abroad.

Pulisic’s Chelsea debut

It was exciting for American fans to see Pulisic come on in the second half for Chelsea at Old Trafford. The hopes were that he would be able to turn around a 1-0 deficit to Manchester United. But those hopes quickly dissipated as Manchester United scored three quick goals en route to a 4-0 win.

Pulisic had a few decent moments but was mostly ineffective. He wasn’t Chelsea’s problem on the day but he wasn’t the solution either. Chelsea was simply outclassed by a superior opponent.

“It was one of those games today where I felt it was better to start with Ross [Barkley] and Mason [Mount], who’ve been very strong in preseason, and bring Christian on,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said. “If the game carried on at 1-0 or we got back in the game as we should have been at that point, he would have been a great injection. In the end it was difficult for him because the game went away from us quickly...Christian Pulisic is 20 years old and has come across from Dortmund and he is going to be a fantastic player for the club, I believe,” Lampard said. “He has got great ability and you saw little moments of his acceleration on the ball today. But I’ve also got other options in midfield in those sort of areas and I don’t want to stick Christian straight into the fire without trying to help him along the way.”

It wasn’t really a fair test for Pulisic as the game was over soon after he came on but competition for minutes is so tight at Chelsea, he will have to perform very quickly.

Weah starts in Lille win

Timothy Weah earned the start for Lille against Nantes and overall performed well in the 2-1 win. He was invisible at times but there were times when he also showed quality. He will get opportunities with Lille due to its condensed schedule but moving forward, he will need to find a way to get involved more.

In his 67 minutes, Weah only managed to have 31 touches. That is not nearly enough for a team that should be at least on par with every team in the league – except for Paris St. Germain. Weah is very young and the club is invested in him, but at the top levels with young players, the leash is never that long.

Sargent shaky in German Cup

Josh Sargent got the start for Werder Bremen and played 62 minutes in the 6-1 rout over sixth tier Atlas Delmenhorst. It was 4-1 when Sargent was subbed out.

Sargent didn’t do nearly enough as he could have in the game and his replacement, Claudio Pizzaro (nearly 41 years old), scored twice within minutes of coming on. The games become more important next weekend as the Bundesliga season opens. Sargent will get minutes but is the team prepared for him to be the starter.

Dest makes Eredivisie debut for Ajax

Sergino Dest, 18, played the final 37 minutes for Ajax on Saturday in 5-0 rout over FC Emmen. It was the Eredivisie debut for the American who is a veteran of the 2019 U-20 World Cup and the 2017 U-17 World Cup. Overall, Dest was solid. He touched the ball 38 times and made a nice defensive play which started a possession which eventually resulted in a goal.

Dest has a lot of talent on the ball but the next step will be when he gets into a match where the opponent is not overly matched. He has all the skill to compete at a high level, but evaluating that while also having more defensive responsibilities will be the most telling. Dest’s defensive numbers were quite good with three tackles and two interceptions but the opponent was completely over its head. That won’t always be the case.

But this was a great start and Dest clearly should be given a look with the U.S. team sooner than later.

Rest of the German Cup

Elsewhere in the German Cup, former NYCFC and Sporting Kansas City forward Khiry Shelton came on as an 83rd minute sub for Paderborn as it defeated Rodinghausen on penalties after a 3-3 draw. It would be impressive if the Colorado-born Shelton can earn Bundesliga minutes to start the season.

In other positive news, Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales helped Fortuna Dusseldorf to a 3-1 road win over Villingen. John Brooks and Wolfsburg defeated Terrence Boyd and Hallescher FC 5-3.

In other news. Timothy Chandler and Fabian Johnson only made cameos, Julian Green started in Greuther Furth’s loss. Bobby Wood and Sebastian Soto did not play.

Reading Concern?

In the Championship, Tim Ream and Fulham won 2-0 over Blackburn and Geoff Cameron and Queens Park Rangers drew Huddersfield 1-1.

Antonee Robinson and Wigan had a setback in a 3-0 loss to Preston North End. This came after an impressive 3-2 win over Cardiff City in the opener.

The biggest cause for concern in the Championship was with Reading FC which fell to Eric Lichaj’s Hull City 2-1 and is now one of three teams without a point from the season’s first two games. The defense is tied for the worst in the league so far with five goals conceded. It is not a good situation for Matt Miazga and it is not a good situation for Andrija Novakovich – who scored a hat trick for the club’s U-23 team but is now far down the depth chart after Reading acquired strikers before the close of the transfer window.

It’s a bad situation at Reading right now and Miazga is going to have to find a way to make it work like he did when he joined last season in January.

Youth Report

In some notes from the youht levels in Europe. Gio Reyna scored his first goal in his first game for Borussia Dortmund's U-19 team in a 9-2 rout over Wuppertal. Meanwhile, Richard Ledezma played the second half for Jong PSV in his debut at that level. 

Goals and assists

In terms of who scored and who assisted.

Sunderland’s Lynden Gooch found the back of the net in a 1-1 draw against Ipswich. Gooch now has goals in each of the season’s first two weeks.

Aron Johannsson assisted for Hammarby in a 2-1 win over Helsingborg. The 2014 World Cup veteran forward made his first start for the club since joining in July and played 64 minutes. Hammarby now has five wins and a draw in its last six.

Michael Hoyos is continuing to play extremely well in Ecuador’s Serie A for Guayaquil City. On Saturday, Michael Hoyos scored his seventh goal of the season in a 3-0 win over CD Olmedo. He has wanted an MLS offer for quite some time and he is making himself hard to ignore there.

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