Big weekend for Americans in Europe: McKennie 'instant cult figure' at Juventus

It was a big weekend for Americans in Europe.

In Germany alone, Gio Reyna started and scored for 2020 Bundesliga runner-up Borussia Dortmund to earn kicker’s Bundesliga team of the week honors,  Tyler Adams was impressive in central midfield for RB Leipzig in its 3-1 win over Mainz, and Chris Richards saw action for champion Bayern Munich in its 8-0 win over Schalke 04.

Weston McKennie made his debut for Juventus and came close to scoring twice late in the second half for the Italian champion in its 3-0 win over Sampdoria. The Milan sports daily Gazzetta hello Sport gave McKennie a 7,5 rating and dubbed him an "instant cult figure" for Juventus fans.

Besides Reyna, Emmanuel Sabbi and Henry Wingo scored in Denmark and Norway, respectively, and Joe Efford added another assist for Belgian club Waasland-Beveren.

Besides McKennie, Reggie Cannon debuted for Boavista in Portugal and Eric Lichaj came on in the second half for promoted Turkish club Fatih Karagümrük, which rallied foe a 2-2 tie at Gaziantep.

Youth. Reyna was the youngest American to play this weekend in 13 major European leagues. He was one of 13 Olympic-eligible players who played.

17 (1).
18 (0).
19 (1).
20 (4).
21 (1).
22 (5).
23 (1).

Europe. Seven players who will be playing in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League group stage this fall played this weekend.

Europe 2020-21:
UCL=UEFA Champions League.
UCLQ=UEFA Champions League qualifying.
UEL=Europa League.
UELQ=UEFA Champions League qualifying.

Austria (Bundesliga)
Erik Palmer-Brown (23), Austria Wien, 90 minutes (2-1 vs. Reid)

Belgium (Pro League)

Joe Efford (24), Waasland-Beveren, 90 minutes, 1 assist (2-4 at Waasland-Beveren)
Ethan Horvath (25), Club Brugge (UCL), on bench (6-0 at Zuite Waregem)
Monday: Chris Durkin, St. Truiden, at Cercle Brugge.

Denmark (Superliga)
Emmanuel Sabbi (22), OB, 89 minutes, 1 goal (1-1 vs. Nordsjælland)
Haji Wright (22), SönderjyskE (UELQ), sub-15 minutes (1-4 at Vejle)
Monday: Michael Lansing, Horsens, at AaB.

England (Premier League)
Tim Ream (32), Fulham, on bench (3-4 at Leeds United)
Monday: Zack Steffen, Man. City (UCL), at Wolves.

France (Ligue 1)
Tim Weah (20), Lille, sub-13 minutes (1-1 at Marseille)

Germany (Bundesliga)
Tyler Adams (21), RB Leipzig (UCL), 90 minutes (3-1 vs. Mainz)
John Brooks (27), Wolfsburg (UEL), 90 minutes (0-0 vs. Bayer Leverkusen)
Tim Chandler (30), Eintracht Frankfurt, sub-3 minutes (1-1 vs. Arminia Bielefeld)
Gio Reyna (17), Borussia Dortmund (UCL), 77 minutes, 1 goal (3-0 vs. Bor. Dortmund)
Chris Richards (20), Bayern Munich (UCL), sub-18 minutes (8-0 vs. Schalke 04)
Josh Sargent (20), Werder Bremen, 90 minutes (1-4 vs. Hertha Berlin)

Italy (Serie A)

Weston McKennie (22), Juventus (UCL), 90 minutes (3-0 vs. Sampdoria)

Netherlands (Eredivisie)
Luca de la Torre (22), Heracles, 57 minutes (0-4 at Willem II)
Sergino Dest (19), Ajax (UCL), sub-12 minutes (3-0 vs. RKC Waalwijk)
Devesio Payne (24), Emmen, sub-2 minutes (1-2 at PSV)

Norway (Eliteserien)
Henry Wingo (24), Molde (UCLQ), 40 minutes 1 goal (1-2 at Valerengen)

Portugal (Primeira Liga)
Reggie Cannon (22), Boavista, 90 minutes (3-3 at Nacional)

Scotland (Premier League)

Ian Harkes (25), Dundee United, 90 minutes (2-1 vs. St. Mirren)

Sweden (Allsvenskan)

Aron Johannsson (29), Hammarby, 90 minutes (0-3 at AIK)
Nebiyou Perry (20), Ostersunds FK, 70 minutes (1-1 at Djurgarden)
Monday: Mix Diskerud, Helsingborg, at Varberg, Romain Gall, Jake McGuire, both Orebro, at Mjallby.

Turkey (SuperLig)

Tyler Boyd (25), Besiktas (UELQ), 90 minutes (1-1 at Antalyaspor)
Eric Lichaj (31), Fatih Karagümrük, sub-30 minutes (2-2 at Gaziantep)

11 comments about "Big weekend for Americans in Europe: McKennie 'instant cult figure' at Juventus".
  1. Ben Myers, September 21, 2020 at 6:58 a.m.

    Berhalter needs to select the USMNT from this list, at least most of the USMNT.  It's hard to tell which players in the treacly MLS deserve call-up, given the low quality of play there.

  2. Wallace Wade, September 21, 2020 at 7:32 a.m.

    Ben, you are correct. Let's see if that happens. Nothing would surprise me. 

  3. frank schoon, September 21, 2020 at 8:59 a.m.

    Ben, Wallace, on paper, what you guys state has merit but in real life it doesn't work that way.I remember a few years ago when dutch were going through their doldrums, lets say, had a similar problems. Mostly all of  their internationals played in different countries, which means they bring with them different influences of play and on how they train and practice. Keep in mind the national team is not club where all the guys follow and train acccording to some preconceived manner of play, EVERY DAY. For example Robben and van Persie, van Dyk, and a couple of others were playing in England some played in Holland and some in Germany and somewhere else. The problem was on the transistion where the dutch players are trained to go out at the opponents the others dropped back, causing the team to be split in half in their intentions. In other words it was their daily playing habits  and thinking that instantly took over....IT WAS A MESS. You guys  are coaches , you know how long it takes bring a certain style of play which is difficult to institute especially to a team that doesnt' play and practice much together.

    Realize these kids playing in Europe are not world class, Ronaldo types who set the tone of play for their teams. These kids are just happy to get playing time over there in Europe, some still are learning the game and when they come back to play for the USMNT they don't stand out or stand head and shoulder above the MLS products.

    I would suggest, to start out with a MLS core, than see how to improve and bolster this core in certain places with some of the foreign players. But to just throw in these foreing players together as representing the US team is not a path to success, we need  a consistency to do that....

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, September 21, 2020 at 9:13 a.m.

    To add to what Frank said, Concacaf qualifying is not like playing in Europe. In the past some have noted that we select 2 teams during a cycle: one for qualifying and one for the finals.

  5. Rey Phillips, September 21, 2020 at 10:22 a.m.

    Even so, unlike the Dutch league, MLS does not have a particular style, yet.  Coaches in San Jose, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Seattle have pretty distinct approaches to the game, so it's not like you can bring players from those four teams together and expect that they'll be on the same page in approach, though they will have an appreciation for a similar tempo, which helps.  But having players on such disparate teams the world over really emphasizes how important it is to have a USMNT coach that looks at his players and tries to find a system that brings out the best in his squad rather than a coach with a system that he tries to get his players to conform to. 

  6. frank schoon replied, September 21, 2020 at 10:39 a.m.

    Rey, true what you say about MLS, but don't kid yourself. We do know  what the make up of  the typical American player is what he is able or UNABLE to do...furthermore all our kids in America grow up developing a similar soccer style as a taught by the USSF coaching academy..Just look at all the colleges , in how they play...see any difference there? You see one game ,you've seen one game ,you've seen them all, the players are similar.   There is nothing new there ,they all follow similar type of playing, although a team in the MLS might differ here and there but it is very minimal the differences. 

    The US game might not have a specific style of play but I can tell you what they don't do, which is good ball possession, good build up or good ball control, good thinking, game savviness and great individual ball handling skills....So taking that in to account that only leaves a certain type of player we produce and a certain type of soccer we play, which is lots of hustle and hard work and some counter attacking soccer.

  7. Sean Guillory, September 21, 2020 at 1:54 p.m.

    These are by far our best players, so not playing them in qualifying is silly.  Look what happened last time we did that and instead of playing Geoff Cameron, we played Gonzalez and the rest is history.  The US should develop a team that can play quick, fast and use our athleticism to beat teams.  We cant play posession like a Mexico and guess what you dont have to.  We can still win without playing a pretty game and winning is all that matters.

  8. R2 Dad replied, September 21, 2020 at 5:22 p.m.

    i don't want to watch the Nats play kickball at the World Cup. Sure, vs CONCACAF park the bus and counter to protect our smaller skilled players, but didn't JK insist we needed to know more than one way to play?

  9. R2 Dad, September 21, 2020 at 5:17 p.m.

    The above video shows the highlights, but there is another clip out there showing all McKennie touches. On the balance he played well enough but still plenty of room for improvement. Early days for him in Torino but his accuracy of passes needs improvement (often behind the recipient, coming off the wrong foot), and he needs to avoid the Bradley/backpass preference he shows when in that Dmid position. He's always facing his own goal, which I would expect he should have learned NOT to do already.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, September 21, 2020 at 11:28 p.m.

    We are going to find out if McKennie is coachable or not.

  11. humble 1, September 23, 2020 at 1:15 p.m.

    Realities for USMNT Coach.  This is a very young generation of players, many of whom are still 'establishing' their pro careers.  This will be thier priority - establish thier pro careers.  There was an empty period where there were almost zero players produced.  Then you had the German phase were we picked 7 German born players to play in the 2014 World Cup.  Maybe this was best - but also - you did not season the next gen of players.  So there is a big gap.  Finally - two things.  MLS is not a proven platform to develop internationally effective MNT players.  It just has not done so. Maybe it will happen, for me not likely.  Look at all the leagues, ex-Mexico from south of the border - all have 80-90% local content, count Uruguay, Argenina and Brazil in this mix.  MLS is actually below even Mexico.  Not only is quality lacking, so is quantity.  Second, it was once the case that Americans had that physical edge, that menace when they played in CONCACAF, a la Beckerman, Coby Jones, even a Clint Dempsey.  Our last tough guy was Jermaine Jones, the German-American, but Germain Jones came from abroad, who is the MNT player now that puts in the effort, puts in the hard tackle, is the leader?  The memory of Trinidad-Tobago, players being carried over the puddle, the complete colapse, that is the current situation.  So, MLS is not proven and does not have enough quantity, the hard edge is gone and we have a bunch of young player who are just cutting their teeth.  Further, the just blew up our youth academy system, without a plan for something new.  We have a long long way to go.  Our coach will have his hands full for the dog-fight that is CONCACAF quals and Olympic quals where ever that is at.  We'll see.  

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