Adams, McKennie, Yedlin, and Dike among many Yanks in games this weekend
February 26, 2021
THE UPCOMING WEEKEND for Americans abroad comes on the heels of an interesting couple of weeks where several players like Brenden Aaronson, Daryl Dike, DeAndre Yedlin, Chris Richards, and Mark McKenzie have all adjusted very well into new settings. This is also the last weekend in February, so as we head into March, title races, pushes for European spots, and battles in promotion and relegation heat up.
Here is a quick look at Americans fighting for top division silverware that are currently in first or within three points of first place.
- Zack Steffen: Premier League with Manchester City. Currently first
- Tyler Adams: Bundesliga title with RB Leipzing. Currently second
- Tim Weah: Ligue 1 title with Lille. Currently first
- Ethan Horvath: Belgian Pro League with Club Brugge: Currently first
- Brenden Aaronson: Austrian Bundesliga with Salzburg. Currently first
- DeAndre Yedlin: Turkish Super Lig with Galatasary. Currently first
- Jordan Siebatcheu: Swiss Super League with BSC Young Boys. Currently first
- Henry Wingo: OTB Bank Liga in Hungary with Ferencvaros. Currently first
Then you have the top-flight relegation battlers and here is a list of players whose teams are currently in the relegation zone of their respective leagues.
- Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream: Premier League with Fulham
- Matthew Hoppe: Bundesliga with Schalke
- Reggie Cannon: Primeira Liga with Boavista
- Andrew Wooten: Austrian Bundesliga with Admira Moedling
- Joe Efford: Belgian Pro League with Waasland-Beveren
- Matthew Olosunde: English Championship with Rotherham United
- Mix Dikserud: Turkish Super Lig with Denizlispor
The list of those chasing European berths next season, is also long and that will crystalize in the weeks ahead. But this weekend will be revealing for a lot of Americans.
Here is my notebook and what I’ll be watching for:
Werder Bremen – Eintracht Frankfurt
Friday, February 26: 2:30pm EST
This season has not gone according to plan for Josh Sargent who has just two Bundesliga goals in 1610 minutes this season. Yes, there are things that he has done well and some aspects of his game are very strong. At some point, however, forwards needs to score goals and provide assists. Werder Bremen is not a great team and its offensive game plan is scrappy – but it has worked. The team has improved since last season and it is not in a relegation battle and there is no hope for Europe. So it just is limping through.
For Sargent, he has the ability to be a good striker in Germany but he needs to perform better and he needs some breaks to go his well. He might also benefit from a better offensive plan than the one at Werder under Florian Kohfeldt. He remains a key national team player and perhaps he can find a way for more momentum.
Eintracht Frankfurt, meanwhile, is having a great season and is pushing for a Champions League spot – sitting in fourth. American right back Timothy Chandler is a seldom used sub and probably won’t play in this one.
Vitoria de Guimaraes - Boavista
Friday, February 26: 3:30pm EST
It’s been a tough season in Europe for Reggie Cannon as his Boavista team struggled from the onset and is now battling relegation – sitting in the relegation zone, second from the bottom.
The good news, however, is that Boavista is slowly trending up and a few wins in the upcoming games could pushing it almost into midtable. Boavista, with 18 points in 17th place, trails ninth place Rio Ave by just three points.
Cannon, 23, has been trending up and his performance in a draw with Porto and a 1-0 win over Moreirense were two of his best performances since arriving in Portugal. A visit to sixth-place Vitoria de Guimaraes will be a tough test, but a great opportunity.
On another level, Reggie Cannon is in a battle for his national team spot. If Sergino Dest is the starting right back, the back-up position is wide open and DeAndre Yedlin’s move to Turkish leaders Galatasaray has opened that door for him.
Sporting Charleroi - Genk
The Belgian Pro League
Friday, February 26: 2:45pm EST
After completing his sale from the Philadelphia Union to Genk, U.S. national team central defender Mark McKenzie has hit the ground running with a bunch of positive performances. Unfortunately for McKenzie, his team has struggled and has now lost three games in a row (winless in four). McKenzie hasn’t been part of the problem, but he must be part of the solution.
Genk currently sit in third and have a lot to play for. Club Brugge is running away with the league but Genk trails Antwerp by only third. A top four place would see it qualify for the Europa League but Genk only has a one-point lead on that position.
Genk is under pressure now to reverse their skid. A visit to 11th place Sporting Charleroi is tough but manageable and Genk will need to find a way.
Barnsley – Millwall
Saturday, February 27: 10:00am EST
Daryl Dike, 20, has been solid for Barnsley since arriving on loan from Orlando in January and Gregg Berhalter said it best in December ahead of Dike’s first call-up when he said he could allow the team to use the striker in a different way. Barnsley are doing just that and Dike is proving to be a handful to defend.
Even in the Championship where defenders are used to getting involved in physical play, Dike is eager to take that to another level. But he’s also technical and makes solid runs. On Wednesday, Dike scored his first goal coming off the bench and scoring the final goal in a 2-0 win over Stoke City. That win moved Barnsley just one point out of the playoff positions and Barnsley has won its four league games since Dike’s arrival.
Another win gives Barnsley a good chance of making the key move inside the top six and this is a big game. Its opponent, Millwall, is comfortably midtable and hasn’t lost in eight games. Five of those eight games, however, have been draws – including the last two against Luton Town and last-place Wycombe Wanderers.
Seville - Barcelona
Saturday, February 27: 10:15am EST
Just two points separate third place Barcelona and fourth place Sevilla with the latter also holding a game in hand. Something will have to give in this one as Seville are looking for their seventh straight win while Barcelona in unbeaten in 14 games in the league.
After a rough start in its 4-1 Champions League loss to PSG, Sergino Dest came back and was solid in a 1-1 draw against Cadiz. This past midweek, he came off the bench for the final 14 minutes to see out a comfortable 3-0 win over Elche.
Dest will probably start in this one and this will be one of his biggest La Liga games so far. If Barcelona wants to have a chance at catching leaders Atletico Madrid, which it trails by five points, it needs this one.
Borussia Dortmund - Arminia Bielefeld
Saturday, February 27: 9:30am EST
The past two months have been the first rough spell of Gio Reyna’s very young career and it will be interesting how he responds. He’s so talented that eventually he will return to the level he was at the start of the season but watching how he does it and when he does it will be interesting.
Lately Reyna has been mostly reserved to coming off the bench as sixth-place Borussia Dortmund looks to close its sixth-place gap on fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt for a Champions League spot. For now, however, a fight for a Europa League spot looks most realistic.
Borussia Dortmund has performed well with Reyna on the bench – a huge 3-2 away win over Seville in the first leg of its Round of 16 clash against Sevilla and then a 4-0 win over Schalke where Reyna played just the final 10 minutes.
If Reyna plays, he will need to produce to make a case to return to the starting lineup. Relegation battling Arminia Bielefeld is winless in four and Dortmund had a good chance of winning this one to continue its positive momentum.
VfB Stuttgart - Schalke 04
Saturday, February 27: 9:30am EST
American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo and his 10th-place Stuttgart team host last-place Schalke which should feature Matthew Hoppe from the starting lineup.
VfB Stuttgart has had a strong season in the Bundesliga fresh after earning promotion. The New Jersey native Matarazzo has earned rave reviews for both his promotional efforts and the style which has his team playing in the Bundesliga. Last weekend, Stuttgart snapped a three-game winless skid with a 1-0 win over Koln.
For Schalke, the current season is hopeless and relegation is all but certain. While Schalke is unbeaten in its last nine games against Stuttgart, this Schalke team is one of the worst teams in recent Bundesliga history and is coming off a brutal 4-0 loss to Dortmund last weekend.
Matthew Hoppe has cooled off since last month’s incredible five goal/three game run. But he hasn’t been quiet. He still continues to make dangerous runs and crafty moves to get past defenders. The problem is that he is the only decent scoring option for Schalke at the moment and defenders focus in on stopping him.
Hoppe, 19, has already said he is going to stay with Schalke next season, even if it is in the 2.Bundesliga. He’s gaining a lot of valuable experience right now and remains a very promising a American prospect.
Wolfsburg – Hertha BSC
Saturday, February 27: 9:30am EST
John Brooks is the top American central defender right now and he is in the midst of the best season of his career as he is a big reason why Wolfsburg currently sits third in the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg is in the hunt for a Champions League spot next season and has a good chance of getting it based on its defense – which as conceded just 19 goals in 22 games. Brooks has been consistently strong the entire season in his ability to clear the ball from danger, clog passing lanes, mark attackers in the box, and pass out of the back.
In this game, Brooks will get to take on his former club – the club he developed from a very young age broke into the first team. In his first full season at Hertha in 2012/13, he helped the team earn promotion into the Bundesliga. This Hertha team, however, is in trouble and it is even on points with the relegation playoff spot. Last weekend they dropped a 3-0 decision to Leipzig and are winless in eight Bundesliga games – with just two points in that stretch.
RB Leipzig – Borussia Monchengladbach
Saturday, February 27: 12:30pm EST
Tyler Adams and second place RB Leipzig have been thrown into an unexpected Bundesliga race thanks to Bayern Munich’s two recent games where it has just one point. Leipzig now trails Bayern by just two points in the table and is within striking distance.
Borussia Monchengladbach is a good team but has just one point from its last four and is falling out of the picture of qualifying for Europe. It needs to win this game to remain in that hunt
Tyler Adams is coming of a solid outing last weekend in a 3-0 win over Hertha. On the team’s second goal he forced a key turnover which also turned out to be an assist. He improved significantly in the second half as he moved into the middle of the field. It will be interesting to see if he gradually gets shifted to his preferred position in this one.
Hallas Verona - Juventus
Saturday, February 27: 2:45pm EST
Weston McKennie is coming off his best game in a 3-0 win over Crotone where he scored a big goal and was a presence in his return to central midfield. That win move Juve into third place on 45 points through 22 matches. They are eight points behind first-placed Inter and four points behind AC Milan, but Juventus has played one fewer game. With Milan visiting Roma this weekend, this might be an opportunity for Juventus to make a move to close the gap.
This could be a tricky game for Juventus who played to a 1-1 draw at home with ninth-place Hallas Verona back in October. McKennie should be in the starting lineup for this one and he has continued to be instrumental to the team’s midfield. While Cristiano Ronaldo remains key to everything Juventus does, McKennie serves as the glue where he wins balls, makes key passes, and does a lot of dirty work while also getting offensively involved in big chances throughout games.
Heracles - FC Twente
Saturday, February 27: 3:00pm EST
Luca de la Torre, 22, remains one of the most “under the radar” American players in Europe and the midfielder is settling in nicely into Heracles’ starting XI in what is his first season as a first-team starter.
At first this season, the San Diego native was being deployed as a winger but now he is shifted centrally in recent months. Two weeks ago, he was very impressive in a 2-0 loss to leaders Ajax. Last week, however, was a big step back for everyone on Heracles in a 3-0 loss to RKC Waalwijk.
Sitting in 11th place, Heracles will host a tough FC Twente team that is coming off a tough 2-2 draw with Feyenoord. De la Torre has developed nicely this year but he cannot afford to tail off as the season enters its final third.
SM Caen - Paris FC
Saturday, February 27: 1:00pm EST
SM Caen came into this season with promotional hopes, but those have subsided with midseason struggles. The club has begun to find its footing recently with three draws and a win in its last four. That has moved it into eighth place – but still 10 points shy of the promotional playoff spot. Its opponent on Saturday, Paris FC, is in sixth place and just three points out of the playoff positions.
For SM Caen forward/winger Nicholas Gioacchini, he has mostly been playing out on the wing and that has made it tougher for him to score goals. He’s played well and has handled the physical side of the game well as well. But for him to force a transfer, he will need to boost his value. But given his age, skill, and athleticism, he should have suitors this summer but his performances now will dictate how high in the pecking order he can climb.
As for the national team, the striker position is getting tighter and while Gioacchini scored two goals against Jamaica last November and was the MOTM in that one, future call-ups will be tougher. Josh Sargent, Jozy Altidore, Daryl Dike, Matthew Hoppe, Jesus Ferreira, Gyasi Zardes, Sebastian Soto, and now Jordan Siebatcheu are all pushing for call-ups as well – and that counts Tim Weah as a winger.
Galatasaray - Erzurum BB
Saturday, February 27: 11:00am
DeAndre Yedlin is coming off his best game in years last week when his stunning pass set up Emre Kilinc's 18th minute goal in a 1-0 win over Alanyaspor. That win moved Galatasaray three points past Besiktas into first place (although Besiktas has a game in hand).
Yedlin’s transfer from Newcastle in January has been terrific. He has gone from sitting on the bench in England to starting for the Turkish leaders in Istanbul. On Saturday, Galatasaray will host an Erzurum BB team that is in 16th place and just one point clear of relegation.
With his promising transfer, Yedlin has made a huge step back into the national team equation in a crowded right back field. After Sergino Dest, Yedlin’s resume is stronger than Reggie Cannon and others who are playing well at that position. It has indeed come at the right time and everyone has benefitted – Galatasaray, the U.S. team, and Yedlin.
Crystal Palace - Fulham
The Premier League
Sunday, February 28: 7:00am EST
After being dropped from Fulham’s starting lineup for a pair of games, Antonee Robinson returned to the starting lineup last weekend and delivered a solid effort in a 1-0 win over last-place Sheffield United. Due to that effort, it should be expected that Robinson returns to the lineup on Sunday in a trip across London to visit Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, Tim Ream is likely on the bench for the Cottagers.
Fulham is on a nice upswing right now and is trying to claw its way to safety. Heading into Sunday, it has two wins and two draws from its last four games. That push has it now within three points of overtaking Newcastle United and climbing out of the relegation zone.
Crystal Palace is 10 points ahead of Fulham and comfortably in midtable. This is a tough game to predict as the Cottagers now have momentum and are on the verge of climbing out of a relegation hole that was once eight points deep.
Chelsea - Manchester United
The Premier League
Sunday, February: 11:30am EST
While winning the Premier League is out of the question, the goal for Thomas Tuchel right now in the Premier League is to qualify for the Champions League. In fifth place, it needs to leap-frog at least one more team to push into the top four. Trailing West Ham by two points, A win on Sunday might do the trick depending on West Ham’s result against leaders Manchester City.
But Chelsea has a huge task if it wants to earn three points in this one. Its opponent, Manchester United, currently sit in second place and are unbeaten in five games. Manchester United is unbeaten in its last six Premier League against Chelsea.
Will Christian Pulisic see minutes in this one? He hasn’t played much under Tuchel, his former manager at Borussia Dortmund, in recent weeks. He played just the final three minutes in Chelsea’s big 1-0 away win over Atletico Madrid. What is clear, is that if the Hershey native gets into the game, he needs to play well to earn more minutes moving forward.
Union Berlin - Hoffenheim
Sunday, February 28: 7:30am EST
Chris Richards has done well since joining Hoffenheim on loan and was very good last weekend in a 4-0 win over Werder Bremen. Then on Thursday he started in a 2-0 loss to Molde that saw Hoffenheim bounced out of the Europe League.
But the young American central defender should be a regular starter for Hoffenheim the rest of the way and the club sits safely in mid-table. This will be a key period in his development as he gains needed experience either to compete for regular minutes at Bayern Munich next year or to earn another loan.
Sunday’s game against Union Berlin will see Hoffenheim take on a team that needs a result to remain in a hunt for Europa League. Richards has had a strong start and has taken some big steps in recent weeks.
Lille - Strasbourg
Sunday, February 28: 11:05am EST
United States national team forward/winger Tim Weah has started just three Ligue 1 games but has made 20 appearances for Lille this season and is a regular off the bench. In just 487 minutes, he has been productive with three goals. His sub appearances have generally yielded an increasing number of minutes in recent weeks as well.
It comes at an exciting time for Weah as Lille has moved three points clear of the top of the table. On Thursday, it was eliminated from the Europa League by Ajax but that will only allow it to focus more on winning Ligue 1. While Weah had been starting in the Europa, it remains how elimination in that tournament will affect his minutes the remainder of the season.
But being part of a Ligue 1 title race is an exciting time for Weah. On Sunday, Lille hosts a 15th place Strasborg team it should be favored to beat. But Lille’s goals are now so ambitious that there is no margin for error.
Standard Liege - Anderlecht
Belgian Pro League
Sunday February, 28: 7:30am
Anderlecht sit in fifth place but its season has been defined by lost opportunities. It generally performs well against the league’s best teams but is winless in its last five games against the bottom six teams.
United States national team central defender Matt Miazga has been a regular starter since joining in October but was on the bench last weekend in a brutal 2-0 loss to lowly Kortrijk. With that loss, Miazga’s return to the starting lineup seems likely.
Despite all the blown opportunities, Anderlecht is in fifth place but trails third and fourth place Genk and Oostende by just a point. On Sunday it will travel to face 10th place Standard Liege that is winless in its last five Pro League games and Anderlecht is under pressure to not play down to the level of its opponent again.
Sturm Graz - Salzburg
The Austrian Bundesliga
Sunday, February 28: 11:00am EST
Last weekend, Red Bull Salzburg won the biggest game of the Austrian Bundesliga season when it downed second place Rapid Vienna 4-2 to move six points clear atop the table while also having a massive edge in goal differential. That win put significant distance for another title for Jesse Marsch and a win over fourth place Sturm Graz, coming into the game with two straight losses, would keep that momentum going and perhaps extend the lead.
Salzburg comes into this game on the heels of a 2-1 loss on Thursday to Villarreal to seal elimination from the Europa League.
Young U.S. national team midfielder Brenden Aaronson has played very well last weekend in the loss to Rapid Vienna but was quiet and rarely on the ball in the loss to Villarreal. Thus far, Aaronson has lived up to expectations but hasn’t been a lock starter. Given the suspensions and injuries to a number of Salzburg players, Aaronson will likely remain in the starting lineup. If he can continue to deliver like he did against Rapid, he will stay there.
Luzern - Young Boys
Swiss Super League
Sunday, February 28: 10:00am EST.
Since December, Washington, DC-born Jordan Siebatcheu, 24, has excelled on his loan with runaway Swiss leaders BSC Young Boys and midweek he helped his club, yet again, in a 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League. Siebatcheu scored in that one and he scored two goals in the first leg for a total of three goals in a 6-3 aggregate win. Along with his eight Super League goals, he now has 11 in all competitions.
Siebatcheu has expressed an interest in receiving a call-up to the United States national team and perhaps his efforts of late earn him the call. In games like the one against seventh-place Luzern on Sunday, it will be important for Siebatcheu to continue to progress in the weeks leading up to the March international break to earn the call-up.
On another note, Young Boys is now 18 points clear in first place and is coasting to the title. Siebatcheu is at the club on loan and perhaps Rennes and Young Boys will negotiate a permanent transfer. But with Siebatcheu also playing well, maybe a club from one of the bigger leagues in Europe comes knocking. It will be an interesting few months ahead.
Elsewhere around the globe
In Spain’s top flight on Saturday, Getafe host Yunus Musah and Valencia at 3pm EST. Musah, 18, has seen his playing time decrease in recent weeks and will hope to reverse that trend.
In Spain’s Segunda on Sunday, Shaq Moore and Tenerife host Alcorcon at 12:15pm EST.
In the Premier League on Saturday, backup goalkeeper Zack Steffen and leaders Manchester City host fourth place West Ham at 7:30 am EST. Then at 3pm EST, Owen Otasowie and Wolves visit Newcastle United. The U.S. U-20 midfielder is likely to be on the bench for this one.
In the Championship on Saturday, Cameron Carter-Vickers and AFC Bournemouth look to climb back into the playoff positions with a win over Watford at home. That game kicks off at 7:30am EST. Then at 10am EST, Geoff Cameron, Charlie Kelman and Queens Park Rangers host Birmingham City. Duane Holmes and Huddersfield visit Preston North End. Matthew Olosunde and Rotherham United host Reading.
In League One, Lynden Gooch and Sunderland visit Crew Alexandre. In League Two, Scunthorope United host Indiana Vassilev and Cheltenham Town. Both games at 10am EST.
In the Turkish Super Lig on Friday, Mix Diskerud and Denizlispor visit Besiktas at 11am EST. Then on Saturday, Tyler Boyd and Sivasspor visit Rizespor at 8:00am EST
In the 2.Bundesliga, Jann George and Jahn Regensburg host Paderborn at 12:30pm EST. On Saturday at 7am EST, McKinzie Gaines and Hannover hosts Julian Green and promotional contending Greuther Furth. Green missed Furth’s last game after testing positive for COVID-19. On Sunday, Alfredo Morales and Fortuna Dusseldorf visit Heidenheim at 7:30am EST.
In Poland’s top flight on Friday, Ben Lederman and Rakow Czestochowa host Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biala at 12pm EST. Then at 2pm EST, Aron Johannsson and Lech Poznan visit Warta Poznan. Johannsson scored a goal last weekend in his club debut. On Saturday, Stal Mielec hosts Kenny Saief and Lechia Gdansk at 9:00am EST.
In Belgium’s top flight on Saturday, Joe Efford and last place Waasland-Beveren visit Cercle Brugge at 10:15am EST. Brenden Hines-Ike probably won’t be with Kortrijk when it hosts Zlute Waregem on Saturday at 2:45pm EST. The Colorado native is reportedly close to joining DC United. On Sunday Gent hosts Club Brugge where Ethan Horvath should be the backup goalkeeper. That game kicks off at 12:15pm EST. Later that day, Chris Durkin and St. Truiden hosts Eupen at 2:45pm EST.
In the Scottish Premiership on Saturday, Ian Harkes and Dundee United visit Kilmarnock at 10am EST. Dillon Powers is likely out injured for United. Livingston - St. Johnstone. In the Scottish League Cup on Sunday, Scott Pittman and Livingston host St. Johnstone at 9:00am EST.
In the Austrian Bundesliga, Andrew Wooten and Admira Moedling host WSG Swarovski Tirol on Saturday at 11am EST. Taylor Booth, Brandon Servania, and St. Polten host Austria Vienna on Sunday at 8:30am EST. Erik Palmer-Brown is out injured for Austria Vienna.
In Italy’s Serie B, Giuseppe Barone and Salernitana visit AC Reggiana on Friday at 1pm EST. The former Long Island University midfielder makes the bench regularly for Salernitana but is still awaiting his pro debut. Andrija Novakovich and Frosinone visit Cremonese on Saturday at 8am EST.
In Argentina Copa Diego Maradona on Saturday, Joel Sonora and Talleres de Cordoba host Newell’s Old Boys at 3:10pm EST. Joel’s older brother Alan Sonora and Independiente host Gimnasia at 5:20pm EST.
In the Danish Super Liga, Emmanuel Sabbi and OB Odense host Randers on Sunday at 8am EST. Haji Wright and Sonderjyske host Lyngby on Monday at 1pm EST.
In Hungary’s OTP Bank Liga, Henry Wingo and runaway league-leaders Ferencvaros visit MTK Budapest on Saturday at 1:30pm EST.
In the Greek Super League on Sunday, Gboly Ariyibi and Panetolikos visit AE Larissa at 10:15am EST.