Americans Abroad: McKennie, Chandler on the scoresheet; Richards rising for Bayern II

Weston McKennie

Welcome to Americans Abroad, the weekly segment where I discuss the performances of USMNT players outside of the states, from South America to Europe.

Editorial — It was a huge test for the yanks in Germany, as fixture congestion forced some players to play 180 minutes over the course of six or seven days. However, this congestion would also bring newfound opportunities for some Americans not normally in the 11 or 18 of their respective clubs.

For the first time since the restart, we also saw Americans back on the scoresheet. We also saw multiple other leagues in Europe kick-off for the first time, with more soon to come.

With that said, let’s see how the yanks performed last week.

Bundesliga

Weston McKennie

McKennie played the full 90 at CDM in Schalke’s 2-1 loss vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf
McKennie played 55 minutes at CDM in Schalke’s 1-0 loss vs. Werder Bremen

If the past two fixtures say anything about Schalke, it’s that Die Knappen is in a free fall. However, Weston McKennie is one of the only bright spots.

In hindsight, the fact that a 20-year-old American that plays the role of a ball-winning midfielder is your best player is more a telling of how disastrous Schalke has been rather than a credit for McKennie’s performances.

The American was still performing well in both losses. He even garnered a rare appearance on the scoresheet in the form of a headed goal vs. Dusseldorf.

McKennie’s role as a key player for a Bundesliga side has been long apparent. If Schalke doesn’t get better next year, don’t be surprised if the young American tries to climb the ladder for a better Bundesliga club. Maybe even in the premier league.

Stats (vs. Fortuna)

Goals: 1
Assists: 0
Shots (On Target:) 2 (1)
Pass Accuracy: 58%
Key Passes: 0
Duals (Won:) 8 (3)
Interceptions: 6
Recoveries: 6
Match Rating: 7.4 (Best on Schalke, 3rd best on the pitch)

Stats (vs. Werder Bremen)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Shots (On Target:) 2 (0)
Pass Accuracy: 66%
Key Passes: 0
Duals (Won:) 8 (4)
Interceptions: 0
Recoveries: 6
Match Rating: 6.0

Timmy Chandler

Chandler was subbed on in the 81’ at RM in Frankfurt’s 3-3 draw vs. Freiburg
Chandler played in the full 90’ at RM in Frankfurt’s 2-1 win vs. Wolfsburg

From one American on the score sheet to another. While McKennie’s proved to be only a consolation, Timmy Chandler scored the late equalizer in a ruckus of a match.

Even with his late-game heroics, it’s still apparent that the 30-year-old’s peak is at fullback even with his scoring success further up the pitch. This was proven in the weekend vs. Wolfsburg, where Chandler more than struggled to get into the match.

Still, Chandler still sees himself as a Bundesliga regular. When compared to other German American veterans like Fabian Johnson or Bobby Wood, it seems that Chandler has carved out a nice career in Germany.

As for the case of Chandler to the national team, it’ll take more performances to climb the ladder in a pool that goes stronger and stronger on the right side of the park.

SMatch Rating vs. Freiburg: N/A (Only 9’ played)

Stats (vs. Wolfsburg)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Shots (On Target:) 1 (0)
Pass Accuracy: 61%
Key Passes: 0
Duals (Won:) 16 (8)
Interceptions: 1
Recoveries: 0
Match Rating: 6.8

John Brooks

Brooks played the full 82’ at CB in Wolfsburg’s 4-1 win vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Brooks played the full 90 at CB in Wolfsburg’s 2-1 loss vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

I’ve spent the last two articles attacking John Brooks for his performances. It’s safe to say he spent the last two match days proving what his ceiling could be.

Brooks was world-class versus Leverkusen in one of their most impressive wins of the season, halting numerous attacks and completely silencing Kai Havertz, who was deemed unstoppable in the weeks prior.

And for roughly 85 minutes vs. Frankfurt, Brooks was still at that world-class level. But once again, it was his poor marking that got ahead of him.

There’s little shame in losing a duel with Bas Dost of all people. However, for that level of poor marking to occur so late into a match Wolfsburg should have won makes the mistake emphasized.

Still a good week for Brooks. It was one that may lead to a much needed positive run of form for the American.

Stats (vs. Leverkusen)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Shots (on target:) 0
Pass Accuracy: 77%
Duals (won:) 8 (5)
Interceptions: 3
Recoveries: 9
Match Rating: 7.5

Stats (vs. Frankfurt)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Shots (on target:) 1 (0)
Pass Accuracy: 76%
Duals (won:) 13 (9)
Interceptions: 2
Recoveries: 3
Match Rating: 6.7

Josh Sargent

Sargent played 74’ at ST in Werder Bremen’s 0-0 draw vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Sargent played 70’ at ST in Werder Bremen’s 1-0 win vs. Schalke

Outside of the pen and parchment, I host a weekly-ish international soccer podcast that has turned into a Bundesliga special for the time being. In that podcast, my co-host, (and Portsmouth England’s finest), Matthew Drabble probably made the best ever analogy regarding the young American’s performance vs. Mönchengladbach.

“Josh Sargent… he’s pretty poor, but you know he’s going to throw himself about and put a lot of effort in.”

Nothing more really needs to be said, does it?

Stats (vs. Mönchengladbach)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Shots (on target:) 1 (0)
Pass Accuracy: 61%
Key Passes: 0
Duals (won:) 14 (9)
Match Rating: 5.5 (Worst in the XI)

Stats (vs. Schalke)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Shots (on target:) 0
Pass Accuracy: 60%
Key Passes: 2
Duals (won:) 17 (10)
Match Rating: 7.1 (4th highest on the pitch)
*Was also most fouled player on the pitch (5 times)

Tyler Adams

Adams played the full 90 at RM in Leipzig’s 2-2 draw vs. Hertha Berlin
Adams was subbed on in the 59′ at CM in Leipzig’s 4-2 win vs. Köln. 

Stop. Playing. Adams. Out. Wide.

I refuse to even indulge in seeing Tyler Adams play as a wide midfielder. His best position is in the center of the park. His growth as a defensive midfielder will plummet if he isn’t properly used in that role.

The 21-year-old’s appearance off the bench vs. Köln proves my point. Though the result seemed nearly certain when he came on, Adams was consistently stifling the little attack that The Billy Goats still had.

Stats (vs. Hertha Berlin)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Key Passes: 1
Duals (won:) 11 (6)
Match Rating: 6.7
*Adams also had the most tackles on the pitch (5.) It’s almost as if he should play the role of a ball-winning central midfielder.

Match Rating vs. Köln: 6.6

Alfredo Morales

Morales was subbed on in the 81’ at CM in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 2-1 win vs. Schalke
Morales played 57’ at CM in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 5-0 loss vs. Bayern Munich

There can be a frustrating reality when analyzing Alfredo Morales’s performances in the Bundesliga. On the outside looking in, he’s a versatile, box to box midfielder that gets consistent minutes for a Bundesliga club.

So why is the never mentioned in the ranks of the national team pool? Because he represents a past era of the USMNT that refuses to be looked at. The “German-American” complex that resembles the failed experiments of the Jürgen Klinsmann era remains a cloud above many American fans and personnel.

That, and he is also 30. The reality that this may be the peak of his career brings the realization that this may be the best we see from him: A fringe player on a Bundesliga team in a relegation battle.

Pending a late-career resurgence, the only thing that looks to connect Morales to the national team may be this segment.

Match Rating vs. Schalke: N/A (only played 9 minutes)

Stats (vs. Bayern Munich)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Shots (on target:) 1 (0)
Pass Accuracy: 70%
Key Passes: 0
Duals (won:) 7 (2)
Interceptions: 0
Recoveries: 2
Match Rating: 5.6

Gio Reyna

Reyna was subbed on in the 72’ at LM in Dortmund’s 1-0 loss vs. Bayern Munich

Reyna was subbed on in the 80’ at LM in Dortmund’s 6-1 win vs. Paderborn

Gio Reyna continues to impress in small doses for Borussia Dortmund when the match isn’t up for grabs. When playing Bayern, Reyna was a lot more passive, playing backwards balls and relaying the pressure and chances to other players rather than himself.

When against Paderborn, we saw the spark of creativity that garners Reyna all the potential and hopes that have been dawned on him.

More of the latter is a necessity for continuous Bundesliga minutes.

Match Rating vs. Bayern: 5.6
Match Rating vs. Paderborn: 6.4

Ulysses Llanez: Unused Sub

A special moment occurred last week in Wolfsburg when 19-year-old starlet Ulysses LLanez made the 18 vs. Bayer Leverkusen. While he wasn’t able to grace the pitch for the first team yet, it remains a big accomplishment.

Zack Steffen: Injured 

The ligament injury is still keeping Steffan out of the Dusseldorf squad.

Fabian Johnson: Not in Squad

Last Appearance: Feb. 1.

Bundesliga 2.    

Julian Green

Green was subbed on in the 46’ at CAM in Greuther’s 2-0 loss vs. Osnabrück
Green played 84’ at LM in Greuther Fürth’s 1-1 draw vs. Darmstadt

Geuther’s Swiss army knife was unsuccessful in rescuing a point vs. Osnabruck; then failed to shine when given a rare start vs. Darmstadt in a key match in the race for promotion.

As unofficially the American that has watched the most Geuther Fürth minutes the season, I can vouch that Green’s creativity alone deserves a nod in the XI. His creativity in midfield paired with his knack for creating chances (three vs. Darmstadt) helped shine some light on what Klinsmann saw in Green in 2014.

Don’t get me wrong, he still has a long way to go before a call-up.

Match Rating vs. Osnabrück: 6.6

Stats (vs. Darmstadt)

Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Key Passes: 3 (most on the pitch)
Duals (Won:) 11 (4)
Match Rating: 6.2

Bobby Wood: Not in Squad

Last Appearance: Nov. 1.

Rest of Europe

With Covid-19 restrictions being lifted in other countries, many other European leagues began action last weekend. With continuous coverage on leagues opening domestically from the LWOS team, let’s see how the Americans Abroad faired.

Chris Richards (Bayern II; 3. Liga)

Richards played the full 90 at CB in Bayern II’s 2-1 win vs. Ingolstadt.

AMERICAN SCORING THE MATCH WINNER ALERT!

The versatile defender played another key role in a Bayern II side that No 3. Liga club wants to face. Starting every match for the reserve side, Richards is slowly making the push for a call-up nomination. While still not at the level of Brooks and company playing in the top flight, the Alabama native shows he has potential on the level of Miles Robinson in Atlanta.

His rise up the tiers of Germany will be coming very soon.

No stats are provided for this league.

Ben Lederman (RKS Rakow; Polish Ekstraklasa)

Unused sub.

It was the 20-year old’s first-ever appearance on the bench for the mid table side. It’s important to keep an eye out for the former La Masia academy member even if he is a long way from a call-up.

Jonathon Amon (FC Nordsjaelland; Danish Superligaen)

Not fully fit. 

An unfortunately common theme for the 21-year-old, who’s only appeared in two matches this season.

The Abroad Top 20 (As of May 18)

John Brooks and Josh Sargent both earned upgrades in the table for recent performances. Reyna’s inability to make an impact on the pitch consistently sees him dropping a peg.

(Reminder: This list is not based on potential, only performance).

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 ^ 1
6. Zach Steffen Fortuna Dusseldorf V 1
7. Timmy Chandler Eintracht Frankfurt =
8. Tyler Boyd Besiktas =
9. Antonee Robinson Wigan Athletic =
10. Deandre Yedlin Newcastle ^ 1
11. Gio Reyna Dortmund V 1
12. Alfredo Morales Fortuna Dusseldorf =
13. Josh Sargent Werder Bremen  ^ 2
14. Tim Weah Lille =
15. Duane Holmes Derby County  V 2
16. Matt Miazga  Reading =
17. Andrija Novakovich  Frosinone =
18. Tim Ream Fulham =
19. Cameron Carter-Vickers Luton Town =
20. Eric Lichaj Hull City =

 

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