Americans Abroad: McKennie provides light, Brooks blushes sparred

Weston McKennie Bundesliga Americans
Dortmund, Germany — May 16: Thorgan Hazard of Borussia Dortmund falls down between Matija Nastasic (L) and Weston McKennie (R) of FC Schalke 04 during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 at Signal Iduna Park on May 16, 2020 in Dortmund, Germany. The Bundesliga and Second Bundesliga is the first professional league to resume the season after the nationwide lockdown due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All matches until the end of the season will be played behind closed doors. (Photo by Martin Meissner/Pool via Getty Images).

Editorial — Soccer in Europe is finally back. As Matchday 26 commenced in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2., six (or seven let’s see Sargent) Americans took the pitch in what was known as the day global soccer hit the reset button.

Here’s how the American representatives in Germany fared.

Starters

Weston Mckennie

McKennie played the full 90 at CDM in Schalke’s 4-0 loss vs. Borussia Dortmund

In a match where nothing could go right for Die Knappen, McKennie provided the only bit of quality for the losing side. While his lack of creativity in the attack remained apparent, his role as a ball-winning midfielder gave Schalke a glimmer of light throughout the first half. In the second half, it proved to be the only positive to take out of the match as a whole.

Frustratingly inaccurate diagonals aside, McKennie proved his worth in a match where no other Schalke player could. He did his job, while the other 10 players on the pitch did not.

Stats

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Shots (On Target:) 1 (0)

Pass Accuracy: 81%

Duals (Won:) 5(3)

Interceptions: 5 (Most on the pitch)

Recoveries: 14 (Most on Schalke)

Match Rating: 7.0 (Schalke’s MOTM)

Tyler Adams

Adams played 68′ at RM in Leipzig’s 1-1 draw vs. Freiburg on Saturday

McKennie isn’t the only USMNT midfielder to have undergone numerous position changes for his club this campaign. RB Leipzig have tried defensive midfield, center back,right back and now as a right midfielder for his first match back from injury in the weekend.

While credit should be given for the 21-year-old’s ability to make a starting XI for one of Europe’s top clubs, there is no doubt that there is a clear talent differential between his peers and Adams, who looked like a chicken with its head cut off at times during an attack.

Taking a look at the heat map for Leipzig, it’s clear that the attacking direction wanted little to do with Adams as possible.

Leipzig attacking from Left to Right

We have all seen glimpses of what Adams could become as a player from way back at the New York Red Bulls. However, Adams career could potentially halt if he is misused as a wide midfielder by Julian Nagelsman.

Stats

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Shots (On Target:) 2(0)

Pass Accuracy: 82%

Key Passes: 0

Crosses: 0

Duals (Won:) 7(4)

Match Rating: 6.3 (2nd Lowest on Leipzig)

John Brooks

Brooks played the full 90 at CB in Wolfsburg’s 2-1 win vs. Augsburg on Saturday

The life of a centre back is a brutally honest one in comparison to a striker or forward. While a forward can be putrid for 89 minutes before scoring in a 90th minute goal to much applause, the opposite goes for a centre back.

This is the dichotomy of John Brooks. Time and time again we see an absolute anchor of a defender in Brooks. Then, he has these out of nowhere lapses in judgement that characterize his entire performance.

This reality bared fruit once more. Not only did Brooks lose his marker on the first goal, but completely fell asleep for the second, had it not been for a foul away from the play.

The reality for Brooks is that he is now 27, supposedly entering the prime of his soccer career. If he is to maintain a starting role for a Bundesliga club, these types of mistakes cannot be duplicated. 

Stats

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Pass Accuracy: 93%

Duals (Won:) 5(3)

Aerials (Won:) 3(1)

Interceptions: 1

Recoveries: 7

Match Rating: 7.1 

Julian Green

Green played 57’ at CM in Greuther Furth’s 2-2 draw vs. Hamburg on Sunday

Be honest with yourselves USMNT fans. Did you know Julian Green was in the form of his life prior to getting injured this season? That’s why you need to read this weekly article. (LWOS bosses agree.)

Alas, Green was turning heads in the second tier of German soccer as a pacey attacking midfielder prior to his ligament injury in November. He responded in January by rupturing his ankle in his first match back.

Now finally back on the pitch in some capacity on Sunday, Green struggled to get into the match in his more subtle center role. Whether it be from a lack of fitness or the ankle not being 100 percent healed, it showed that Green was a shadow of what he was when at 100 percent match readiness.

Still, a 24-year-old attacking midfielder making the XI of a Bundesliga 2. club battling for promotion means USMNT can’t forget about the German-American for now. Even if they still don’t forgive.

Stats

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

Shots (On Target:) 1(1)

Pass Accuracy: 90%

Key Passes: 1

Duals (won:) 4(2)

Match Rating: 6.5

Off the Bench      

Timothy Chandler

Chandler came on in the 83′ at RM in Frankfurt’s 4-1 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach

Timmy Chandler looked a shadow of his former self that took the Bundesliga by storm at the beginning of 2020. However, he looked the part of a poor decision making wide midfielder who never saw a chance to cross an inaccurate ball he didn’t like.

Basically, he put off a performance USMNT fans know well rather than what Bundesliga fans may know.

Match Rating: 5.9

Alfredo Morales (Not Morelos)

Morales came on in the 68′ at CM in Dusseldorf’s 0-0 draw vs. Paderborn

While Morales remains another German-American that was promised to never be heard of again, the Fortuna Dusseldorf midfielder continues to provide reasons to be remembered with his continued ability to make Dusseldorf’s XI.

Morales was rumored not to be fully fit for the weekend. That became apparent when he came on for the last third of the match. He couldn’t complete a pass to save his life.

I’ll give him a pass due to the unforeseen circumstances and the fact that his teammates weren’t much better. However, with another six-pointer this weekend vs. Koln, expect Morales to be dealt with higher standards.

Match Rating: 6.1

Josh Sargent

Sargent came on in the 71′ at ST in Werder Bremen’s 4-1 loss vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Sargent was on rocky form heading into the lockdown. He just snapped a 10-match streak without a goal just days before the pandemic hit.

That said, the best word to describe the young American’s first appearance back is… null. By the time Sargent came on, Bremen was already 3-1, soon to be 4-1, down with a match long past done and dusted by momentum alone. This reality was made worse with the fact that you could barely tell Sargent was on the pitch at all.

The few touches Sargent did had been the right ones. Winning a header, bringing the ball down, holding the defensive line; all were exceptional play when he had possession.

The main problem in Sargent’s appearance was once he came on, the match already felt decided. Sargent had no confidence in changing that fact.

I’ll happily be hopping on the ‘Ulysses Llanez to the first team’ bandwagon as every USMNT fan should.

Match Rating: 6.0

Not in Squad

Bobby Wood: Not in Squad (Last Appearance: Nov. 19)

Fabian Johnson: Not in Squad (Last Appearance: Feb. 1)

Injury List

Gio Reyna: Injured in warmups prior to Dortmund’s match vs. Schalke. Was set to start.

Zach Steffen: Out an additional 3-6 weeks to a ligament injury.

The Abroad Top 20 (As of May 18)

This list will provide a weekly updated list of my Top 20 Americans playing either south of the border or across the pond. Potential does not matter, but run of form will be favored.

POS. Name Club Change
1. Cristian Pulisic Chelsea =
2. Tyler Adams RB Leipzig =
3. Weston Mckennie Schalke 04 =
4. Sergino Dest Ajax =
5. John Brooks Wolfsburg =
6. Zach Steffon Fortuna Dusseldorf =
7. Timmy Chandler Eintracht Frankfurt =
8. Tyler Boyd Besiktas =
9. Antonee Robinson Wigan Athletic =
10. Gio Reyna Dortmund =
11. Deandre Yedlin Newcastle United =
12. Alfredo Morales Fortuna Dusseldorf =
13. Duane Holmes Derby County =
14. Tim Weah Lille =
15. Josh Sargent Werder Bremen  =
16. Matt Miazga  Reading =
17. Andrija Novakovich  Frosinone =
18. Tim Ream Fulham =
19. Cameron Carter-Vickers Luton Town =
20. Eric Lichaj Hull City =

 

Hope you guys are learning your German. Bis nächste Woche!

 

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