Rough night for young Americans in Champions League

Sergino Dest and Tyler Adams made history on Tuesday when they became the first pair of Americans to start the same day in the UEFA Champions League's knockout stage.

At 20, Dest is the second youngest American, after Christian Pulisic, to start in the knockout stage. Adams was starting his first game in the tournament. (All seven previous appearances came as sub, including the 2020 quarterfinal game in which he scored the winner against Atletico Madrid.)

But their teams were both badly outplayed and lost their home legs.

Dest will be seeing Kylian Mbappe in his dreams for a while. The Frenchman scored a hat trick to lead Paris St. Germain to a 4-1 win over Barcelona at the Nou Camp. he flew past Dest at will in the second half and scored two of his three goals with Dest still on the field.

On Mbappe's first goal that tied the score five minutes after Lionel Messi's opening penalty kick, winger Ousname Dembele was as much or more to blame as Dest for not getting to Layvin Kurzawa, whose pass found Mbappe. On the second goal, Dest lost sight of the Mbappe in the middle of the penalty area but had no chance to getting to a deflected ball that the French star easily put away.

Dest looked bedraggled as he left the game in the 71st minute. If there was any solace for the young Dutch-American, Mbappe added a third goal after Oscar Mingueza entered the game in Dest's place.

L'Equipe, the French sports daily gave Dest a rating of "2" (scale 1-10), the worst rating of any player on the field. Dest was one of three Barca players Barcelona sports daily Sport gave a "3" (same 1-10 scale). Mundo Deportivo, the other Barcelona sports daily, said Mbappe “ate him up” and Dest "was probably relieved" when he was taken out.

After the game, Barca coach Ronald Koeman admitted that his team has been struggling.

"You always have to aspire to win everything," he said, "but we have to recognize that we're short in certain areas."

But Koeman went out of his way to protect Dest and Pedri, the youngest Barca starter at the age of 18.

"I have said several times that we're on the right path," he said, "but we lack things. Dest at 20, in four years will be better. Pedri, at his age is already brilliant, but in five years he will be better than any PSG midfielder. It's tough, especially with the [demands] from the press. But I am realistic. I always defend my team. We did everything. We can defend better; we can be more aggressive and we're going to change that and work on it."

Feb. 16 in Barcelona
Barcelona 1 Paris SG 4. Goals: Messi pen. 27; Mbappe 32, 64, 85; Kean 70.
Barcelona -- Ter Stegen; Dest (Mingueza 71), Pique (Riqui Puig 78), Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Sergio Busquets (Pjanic 78), Pedri (Trincao 78); Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite 84), Dembele.
Paris SG -- Navas; Florenzi (Kehrer 89), Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Paredes, Gueye (Herrera 46); Kean (Danilo 84), Verratti (Draxler 73), Mbappe; Icardi.

Adams' RB Leipzig fell to Liverpool, 2-0, in a match moved to Budapest because travel restrictions prevented Liverpool from entering Germany.

Adams was something of a surprise starter, lining up at right wing back while Frenchman Nordi Mukiele started on the right side of the backline. Both Liverpool goals were gifts by Leipzig players, Marcel Sabitzer and Mukiele.

Adams, who played in a role since to his first start with the U.S. national team under Gregg Berhalter, was involved in the Leipzig attack, setting up South Korean Hwang Hee-chan for a chance at the end of the game.

Feb. 16 in Budapest
RB Leipzig 0 Liverpool 2. Goals: Salah 53, Mane 58.
RB Leipzig -- Gulacsi; Mukiele (Orban, 64), Upamecano, Klostermann; Adams, Haidara (Poulsen 64), Kampl (Hwang, 73), Sabitzer, Angelino; Dani Olmo, Nkunku.
Liverpool -- Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72), Curtis Jones; Salah (Williams 90), Firmino (Shaqiri 72), Mane.

5 comments about "Rough night for young Americans in Champions League".
  1. frank schoon, February 17, 2021 at 9:22 a.m.

    Making history doesn't put the ball in the net or contributes to a win. I think it is more important to see how are boys are doing. Dest is simply not good enough to play for Barcelona. One of the problems is that he is too slow. The Spanish papers this morning are seriuously questioning his abilities.. The only reason why he is at Barcelona is becuase the coach is Dutch, otherwise he would not have on the screen for Barcelona...

    Dest should have stayed a couple of years longer with Ajax to learn the ropes better and gained more experience.

    Barcelona is NO LONGER  the Barcelona we came to admire by how they play. As a matter of fact I quit watching Barcelona 5years ago for the style they became famous for basicly became watered down along with not staying with the 'principles' that made them so good. I am impressed though with the 18 year old Pedri, who I think is the best 18 year old in the world. When you see him play ,you don't even realize he's 18.

  2. Seth Vieux, February 17, 2021 at 1:03 p.m.

    I think the press is being quite unfair to Dest. Like the entire Barca lineup, he shouldn't be up for any high praise, but watching the entire match he played ok and the issue was primarily that PSG ran and Barca's midfield and wingers did not, like at all. 

    Mbappe's first goal was not 'just as much or more' on Dembele, it was completely on Dembele. Dest did the right thing to pinch in and mark the center to prevent his CB from being down 2v1 with a clear opportunity to play the ball into the middle, Dembele complete quit defending and allowed a completely unmarked right flank that the ball was played on the full cross to with 25 yards of time and space even as the ball was played Dembele made zero effort and Dest had to do his best to go back out to regain some defensive shape, but just like in Mbappe's second goal, is trying to cover two in a large amount of space. 

    You'll see more than a few scornful looks from Pique to teammates, all of them to midfielders and wings who consistently left his back line significantly outnumbered.

    As to Dest's speed, I'll agree he's not the fastest fullback on the planet, but that is a measurable ability that I'm sure Barca were well aware of before signing him and comfortable it is more than sufficient for LaLiga. I'll hand up and listen for the list of fullbacks that can run with Mbappe for 40+ yards of open space.

  3. frank schoon replied, February 17, 2021 at 2:25 p.m.

    Seth, Obviously Barca is not up to snuff. I found Messi, not effective. Dembele is not good enough, he makes to many mistakes, although I like  his 1v1 move. Barca wants to get rid of him and I can see why for he blows a lot chances offensively and defensively.

    Barca should never have bought Griezeman. He doesn't fit in Barca ball style of game. It is too structured for him to play this way. That frontline doesn't gel. There is little or no connection between Messi and him, unlike with Suarez.

    Dest is simply not good enough to play for Barcelona. It was always puzzling to me for him to go to Barcelona when he hasn't even done anything or established a bona fide of sorts at Ajax. He just simply should have waited a couple of years first in order to get his feet wet.  It is not about what he did in this game , good or bad, he just is not to play with the big boys, and that is Koeman that it will take about 4years....

  4. Sean Guillory, February 17, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.

    Dest had a bad game but so did his replacement and everyone else.  Not sure you can place the blame all on him.  I agree he should have stayed at Ajax longer but how long but last I checked, Ziyech at Chelsea has been just as bad and he can't get off the bench at Chelsea.  Maybe it's an Ajax issue?

  5. frank schoon replied, February 17, 2021 at 4:34 p.m.

    Sean , it is coaching issue, not an Ajax issue. Frank lampard was told by his players when they played against Ajax a year ago, to get ziyech. Obviously the players know a little more than you do of what is needed for this team. Lampard being a player himself knows what good soccer is and what Chelsea lacks. He wanted to make Chelsea play a more sophisticated soccer. Lampard was not given enough time to get to play he wants. Higher level of sophistication takes a lot longer construct than Turbo soccer soccer.

    The current coach is German ,prefers Turbo for it is easier to put together a defensive, counterattacking  game.

    As far as Dest goes, who is blaming him for everything? I mentioned Messie, Dembele and Griezeman as well. As a matter of fact this whole team sucks. That's why I quit watching them 5years ago....

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