USMNT, European review: Pepi stars on debut; great weekend for Belgian contingent

·6 min read

USMNT players are in action across Europe this weekend but it was a disappointing few days for Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah and their respective teams.

In the Netherlands Ricardo Pepi grabbed an assist, while Mark McKenzie, Sam Vines and Bryan Reynolds all got wins in Belgium’s top-flight.

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With the 2022 World Cup fast approaching (just over two months to go, everyone), the scramble for spots in Gregg Berhalter’s squad is well and truly on and that is leading to some really good performance from USMNT youngsters all across Europe.

From Germany to Italy and Spain to Turkey, there is a lot going on with these American talents.

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Below is a look at how things are going for the USMNT players in Europe, plus a general roundup up of the top-flight leagues they’re playing in.

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World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
Group stage game kick off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
Location: Qatar
TV channel in English: Fox
TV channel in Spanish: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock

Yunus Musah plays 90 but Valencia stumble

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After grabbing two assists in the win against Getafe last week, U.S. midfielder Yunus Musah started but couldn’t stop Valencia losing 2-1 at Rayo Vallecano. Musah was his typical self, buzzing around and making forward runs to try and help get Valencia back in the game. His cross led to a huge chance early in the second half but Nico Gonzalez couldn’t convert and moments later scored an own goal to seal the win for Rayo. Musah, still just 19, was booked in the second half and played the full 90 minutes. Valencia have lost three of their first five games in La Liga and Musah has started all five and played the full 90 in four games.

Gio Reyna, Dortmund lose at Leipzig; Bayern’s record-breaker

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Marco Rose got off to the perfect start as RB Leipzig’s new manager, as he saw his new side thump his former side Borussia Dortmund 3-0. Two first half goals from Willi Orban and a stunner from Dominik Szoboszlai put Leipzig in a commanding position as substitute Amadou Haidara scored a late goal to clinch it. USMNT attacking midfielder Gio Reyna, 19, came on in the second half as he continues his recovery from long-term injury issues. Reyna (who grabbed two assists in their midweek Champions League win) was subbed on in the 59th minute and had a shot blocked and tried to get his side going, but they finished the day with zero shots on goal. Not great.

Elsewhere in Germany’s top-flight, Mathys Tel made Bayern history as the 17-year-old made his first Bundesliga start against Stuttgart and became their youngest-ever goalscorer in the Bundesliga. He also became the fourth-youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history. What a moment. Bayern did cough up a stoppage time equlalizer, though, as Matthijs de Ligt gave away a penalty kick and Stuttgart snatched the 2-2 draw. Bayern have won three and drawn three of their opening six games this season.

Pefok misses PK, McKennie starts in draw; Dest, De La Torre unused subs

Jordan Pefok missed a first half penalty kick but he continues to help Union Berlin as they secured a 1-0 win against FC Cologne and they sit top of the Bundesliga table on 14 points after six games. With Union already 1-0 up, Pefok hit his penalty kick straight at goalkeeper Marvin Schwabe in the 10th minute. It was a very poor penalty kick. Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Joe Scally started at right back and played the full 90 as Borussia Monchengladbach drew 0-0 at second-place SC Freiburg.

In Serie A, Weston McKennie started and played 85 minutes for Juventus who were 2-0 down at home to Salernitana but Juve fought back to make it 2-2 in the 93rd minute. They thought they had won it when Arkadiusz Milik scored late on but the goal was chalked off by VAR and Milik was then sent off as he was shown a second yellow card for taking his shirt off in celebration. Oh dear. Juve sit in 8th place on 10 points, while Napoli, Atalanta and AC Milan all have 14 points atop the table. Speaking of AC Milan, Sergino Dest was an unused sub as 10-man Milan battled to a 2-1 win at Sampdoria, as Olivier Giroud was the hero for the reigning champs.

In La Liga, midfielder Luca de la Torre, 24, was an unused sub as Celta Vigo were smashed 4-1 by Atletico Madrid. Their crosstown rivals Real Madrid continue to set the early-season pace as they roared back from 1-0 down at home to Real Mallorca and won 4-1 thanks to a stunner from Federico Valverde, plus a Vinicius Jr go-ahead goal and goals from Rodrygo and Antonio Rudiger. Barcelona also continued their fine start to the new season as they won 4-0 at Cadiz and sit in second-place, two points behind Real Madrid.

Wrapping up the best of the rest

Bryan Reynolds started and played the full 90 at right back for Westerlo as they beat Belgian giants Anderlecht 1-0, while elsewhere in Belgium Sam Vines played the full 90 at left back as Royal Antwerp won 2-0 against Cercle Brugge to remain perfect at the top of the table with eight wins from eight this season. Staying in Belgium’s top-flight, center back Mark McKenzie put in another fine display as Genk won 2-1 at Union Saint-Gilloise.

Across the border in the Netherlands, Ricardo Pepi marked his first appearance for new club Groningen with a lovely assist on their winning goal against Cambuur. The FC Dallas product left Augsburg on a season-long loan to Groningen and it looks like the striker may get on pretty well in the Eredivisie. Coming on as a half time sub, Pepi set up the winner with 20 minutes to go.

In Greece, Konrad de la Fuente came on as a second half sub for Olympiacos as they drew at home to Volos and sit in second place in the table. While in Turkey, Haji Wright started up top and played the full 90 minutes for Antalyaspor but they lost 1-0 at Kayserispor. Finally, in Portugal Reggie Cannon started but was subbed off at half time as Boavista came from behind to win 2-1 at Arouca. Benfica lead the way in Portugal’s top-flight with six wins from six to start the season.

USMNT, European review: Pepi stars on debut; great weekend for Belgian contingent originally appeared on NBCSports.com