Of the five Americans on first teams of clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League, only the youngest, 18-year-old Sergino Dest,
is pretty much assured of starting on Matchday 1, which begins
Dest, who made his U.S. debut 10 days ago against Mexico, is slated to start at right back on Tuesday against France's Lille. He started the second Champions League playoff
game against APOEL in place of Dutch-born Moroccan Noussair Mazraoui
Other Ajax newcomers expected to start against Lille are 21-year-old Mexican Edson Alvarez
20-year-old Argentine Lisandro Martinez
in midfield and 27-year-old Dutchman Promes
on left wing.
On Friday, Ajax granted Dest a one-year contract extension through the
2021-22 season. He signed his first pro contract less than a year ago.
Dest, who was born in Almere to a Dutch mother and Surinamese-American father, remains eligible to play for the USA
or the Netherlands despite his two starts against Mexico and Uruguay.
"I keep both options open," Dest told Ajax TV on Friday. "I will continue to do so until I am at a moment when I
really have to decide." Ajax projected XI --
Onana; Dest, Veltman, Blind, Tagliafico; Alvarez, Ziyech, Martinez; Neres, Tadic,
The other Americans in the Champions League are Christian Pulisic
(Chelsea), Ethan Horvath
(Club Brugge), Tyler Adams
(RB Leipzig) and Tim Weah
Pulisic and Horvath, who both have previous Champions League experience, were reserves over the weekend.
Pulisic was dropped in favor of Brazilian veteran
in Chelsea's 5-2 win at Wolves but could return to the starting lineup against Valencia.
Horvath faced Pulisic when the latter was at Borussia Dortmund last season, but he
was relegated to the bench when Brugge signed veteran keeper Simon Mignolet
Adams and Weah are rehabbing and won't dress on Tuesday. Alex Mendez
(Borussia Dortmund) are listed on the rosters their respective clubs submitted to UEFA for the Champions League but aren't yet first-team players