Rough day for USMNT players as the Bundesliga resumes

Yahoo Sports

The Bundesliga’s return to action on Saturday was celebrated by sports fans who have been cooped up for last two-plus months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But for some German-based members of the United States men’s national team, the day was mostly one to forget. Here’s a look at how the nine of the 10 Americans on Bundesliga rosters — Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen face Bayer Leverkusen on Monday — fared as play resumed.

M Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund

Saturday’s Revierderby against local rival Schalke was supposed to mark the first Bundesliga start for Reyna, the 17-year-old son of two-time U.S. World Cup captain Claudio Reyna and former U.S. women’s national team winger Danielle Egan.

Instead, the prodigy picked up an undisclosed injury during warmups and was replaced in manager Lucien Favre’s lineup by Thorgan Hazard, who scored in Dortmund’s 4-0 win before he too limped off the field in the second half.

It’s too early to know how long Reyna might be sidelined. What’s clear is this wasn’t the way Reyna wanted (re)opening day to go. The news seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day.

An injury sustained in warmups prevented 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Giovanni Reyna from making his first Bundesliga start. (Alexandre Simoes/Getty Images)
An injury sustained in warmups prevented 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Giovanni Reyna from making his first Bundesliga start. (Alexandre Simoes/Getty Images)

M Weston McKennie, Schalke

The hard-running Texan made his seventeenth start of the season on Saturday, sliding into his preferred defensive role in central midfield. However, despite his best efforts, McKennie could do little to prevent Dortmund’s high-octane attack from repeatedly carving through the heart of Schalke’s defense.

Although he was in the vicinity for all four BVB goals, it’s hard to pin any of them on McKennie. Maybe he could’ve closed down Erling Haaland a little bit more quickly before the Norwegian teenage sensation set up Raphael Guerreiro for the game’s final tally. Let’s be real, though: at that late stage, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome either way.

M Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig

The 20-year-old might have been the bight spot by default. After missing much of the last year with lingering groin and toe issues, Adams made just his sixth league start of the season, going 68 minutes at right wing back and producing two near-misses offensively in a 1-1 tie with Freiburg.

D John Brooks, Wolfsburg

Things were going just fine for Wolfsburg, up 1-0 coming out of the dressing room at halftime at Augsburg. That changed shortly after the intermission, when the rangy center back Brooks jumped high to clear a corner kick and inadvertently directed the ball straight at his own goalkeeper, Koen Casteels, instead.

Casteels did enough to parry the deflection off the underside of the crossbar, but Augsburg defender Tin Jedvaj reacted quickly enough to nod the bouncing ball home and erase Wolfsburg’s lead. Brooks wasn’t charged with an own goal, but it was his mistake nonetheless.

Fortunately for Brooks, second-half sub Daniel Ginczek bailed out the visitors with a 90th-minute game-winner.

M/F Ulysses Llanez, Wolfsburg

The 19-year-old attacker was promoted to Wolfsburg’s first team a month ago, not long after his star turn for the USMNT in a February friendly win over Costa Rica.

That move prompted speculation that Llanez could make his senior debut on Saturday. In the lead-up to the game, though, coach Oliver Glasner indicated that the youngster isn’t quite ready for primetime. “We’re doing the lad no favors if we immediately throw him into cold water,” Glasner said.

Llanez’s next chance will come when Wolfsburg hosts Dortmund on May 23.

M Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf

Morales had been a starter for most of the season before losing his place in mid-February, just two games before the Bundesliga began its hiatus. The recently-turned 30-year-old — he celebrated his birthday May 12 — resumed that reserve role on Saturday, playing the final 22 minutes of Fortuna’s scoreless draw with fellow relegation candidate Paderborn.

G Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf

After injuring his knee in training late last month, it was no surprise that Steffen, 25 years old and the USA’s No. 1 goalkeeper, wasn’t between the sticks (or even on the bench) for Saturday’s clash.

M Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt

Despite starting nine of Frankfurt’s last 10 games before the COVID-19 suspension, Chandler had to settle for a supporting role in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach.

While the hosts did score their only goal after Chandler entered the match, he failed to make any real impact during his 18 minutes on the field.

D/M Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach

The 32-year-old 2014 World Cup standout has been limited to just three starts for Gladbach this season, in part because of injury. That was the case again on Saturday, with Johnson unavailable because of an undisclosed muscle problem.

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