Weston McKennie shines for floundering Schalke 04

In his 70th Bundesliga game, the 21-year-old FC Dallas product Weston McKennie  gave Schalke 04 a fleeting lead with a brilliant goal in a 2-1 loss to Fortuna Dusseldorf. The bad news: Schalke is winless in 10 straight Bundesliga games.

The defensive midfielder  has been a bright spot during a miserable spell for a Schalke team coached by David Wagner, who played for the U.S. national team -- for which he was eligible thanks to his American stepfather -- in 1996-98. McKennie has scored Schalke's only two goals in its last seven games. In Schalke's last Bundesliga game before the COVID interruption, he struck in a 1-1 tie with Hoffenheim.

Schalke has since lost to Borussia Dortmund, 4-0, and FC Augsburg, 3-0. On Wednesday, McKennie's header gave Schalke a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute but relegation-zone Fortuna equalized in 63rd minute and got the gamewinner in the 68th minute. The loss dropped Schalke to ninth place

McKennie, who was sidelined for nine games because of injuries, has started in 20 Bundesliga games this season. He made his Bundesliga debut in May of 2017 after joining Schalke upon his 18th birthday in August of 2016 -- having turned down an MLS Homegrown contract from FC Dallas, which he joined at age 11.

Schalke reached third place in late November -- and then went south. Pre-COVID results after winter break included 5-0 losses to Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig. Even more painful were subsequent the losses to teams in the lower half of the standings -- FC Cologne, Augsburg and third-to-last Duesseldorf, which dominated possession. (McKennie led Schalke with two of its five shots.)

Wagner signed a three-year contract with Schalke, with which he spent two seasons of his playing career, last May. He had guided Huddersfield to English Premier League promotion in 2017, kept it up for one season, but Huddersfield was headed toward relegation when he got the sack in January of 2019.

Wagner got the dreaded vote of confidence after the loss to Duesseldorf from Schalke general manager Jochen Schneider:

"We cannot present ourselves as we have in the last three games. It's not right to put it all on the coach. It's on all of us at the club. The criticism is for us all. We have to do better. The requirement is a better effort on Saturday."

On Saturday, Schalke faces 17th-place Werder Bremen, whose 20-year-old Josh Sargent has scored three goals this season.

2 comments about "Weston McKennie shines for floundering Schalke 04".
  1. frank schoon, May 28, 2020 at 1:14 p.m.

    The goal Weston made was nice, and well deserved. Noticed though his defender didn't tackle or attempt to for he was left-footed.

    But the most BEAUTIFUL action of this video was the pass. You don't see passes executed like that anymore. There was so much feel behind that pass. The ball almost floated downward for you noticed that Weston  allowed it to come down on his foot. The ball simply had no extra energy, which requires so much feel and caring. It simply had no energy to ricochet a little off of the foot. It looked like a leaf falling downwards off of the tree...

    This was poetry in motion, for the ball to travel such a short distance just high enough to go over a defender and drop. What was so important is it needed just enough spin on the ball to be able to execute such a beautiful pass.

    The problem is that 99% of the fans , which is standard for even the announcer totally overlooked what just happened and only raved about the scoring of the goal. It is like throwing pearls before swine.  I would recommend all the coaches to show this pass to the kids,especially the older ones.  This is a pass kids can practice for I would spend a lot of time in private clinics doing this.  What you is place a line of flags about 10 steps away and place someone behind the flags to receive the pass. You do it first standing still, than try it employing the outside of the foot and the later allow him to dribble employing the inside and outside of the foot. In the beginning the will all have difficulty with it in order to get the right touch on it. I would recommend watching these videos for these two have such TOUCH on the ball.  

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  2. R2 Dad, May 28, 2020 at 6:24 p.m.

    WM has been making noise about going to England, but I don't know that doing so would help him at this time (especially with WC in 2 years). He's not Bayern quality, though, and Dortmund don't really need him at the pivot as they're fully stocked there right now. Might be a decent match with RB Leipzig, together with Tyler, though Sabitzer and Laimer would be ahead of him. Certainly would help USMNT chemistry if they played for the same club. And WM is still young. He needs playing time and a more competitive club environiment and a couple of years under Nagelsmann would be good for his development. A Premier league move after 25 would be better timing, as a peak to his career, as he'd be fully mature and stand the best chance of holding up to that grind. 

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