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Keeping up with young Americans in Europe, Oct. 26

Keeping up with young Americans in Europe, Oct. 26: Ethan Horvath, Sergiño Dest, Gio Reyna

October 26, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
Last weekend was one to remember regarding USMNT presence in Europe after five Americans appeared in the UEFA Champions League on the same day for the first time in history.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, five Americans started on the opening day of the UEFA Champions League for five different European clubs. Sergiño Dest featured in Barcelona's starting lineup, Christian Pulisic started for Chelsea, Ethan Horvath started in goal for Club Brugge, Giovanni Reyna came on as a substitute for Dortmund and Tyler Adams played 30 minutes for RB Leipzig.

These players made history, becoming the first five USMNT members to make appearances in the Champions League on the same day.

Here is a rundown of what American soccer players were up to last week all-around Europe.

Ethan Horvath – Club Brugge 

Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath had not appeared for Club Brugge in a little over a year until Tuesday last week. Regular starter Simon Mignolet tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Club Brugge's Champions League opener, which meant that Horvath would go up against Russian powerhouse Zenit St. Petersburg. The game played out like a Disney film. 

Brugge was able to hold on to a 0-0 draw at halftime in St. Petersburg. The deadlock was broken in the 63rd minute when Nigerian international Emmanuel Bonaventure found the back of the net, giving the Belgian side the lead. However, it all came crashing down on Horvath when a shot from long range deflected off the ball off the post hitting his back and ending in the back of the net. But in added time, Club Brugge crafted a nice play that gave them the winning goal. Emotions overcame the 25-year-old after the game leaving him weeping on the ground.

A truly magnificent story for the American to be a part of as Club Brugge went on to win its first UEFA Champions League game in two years.

Sergiño Dest – Barcelona 

Sergiño Dest became the first American to feature in "El Clasico" at only 19 years of age. Dest played the entirety of the game and displayed a respectable performance in the process. 

Earlier last week, Dest also played a full 90 minutes in Barcelona's 5-1 win over Hungarian side Ferencvarosi in Champions League action. The ex-Ajax fullback has become one of Ronald Koeman's most reliable players. 

Dest will be looking forward for Wednesday's Champions League matchup against Weston McKennie's Juventus.

Giovanni Reyna – Borussia Dortmund 

Borussia Dortmund went down 2-0 early in the first half of their UEFA Champions League match against Serie A side Lazio last Tuesday. As a result, manager Lucien Favre turned to his resourceful 17-year-old attacking midfielder Giovanni Reyna to change things on the pitch, subbing him into the game at halftime.

What happened next is something Dortmund and American fans have seen numerous times throughout this season. Reyna picked-out a pixel-perfect pass through four Lazio defenders toward his favorite target man Erling Haaland, who smashed the ball into the back of the net with ease.

"The American Dream", as Haaland likes to call Reyna, has two assists in just 86 minutes of Champions League play over the last two seasons.

Christian Pulisic – Chelsea

Christian Pulisic started for Chelsea in both its UEFA Champions League group stage game against Sevilla at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday and its Premier League marquee matchup against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday. This is good news for the 22-year-old, who had not yet solidified a starting position in Frank Lampard's preferred XI. 

The games did not go Chelsea or Pulisic's way as both games ended goalless draws. It is safe to say that Pulisic performed well in both matches and it is more of a chemistry problem amongst attacking players. Expect more rotations in Lampard's first XI in the coming weeks, as attacking midfielder and winger Hakim Ziyech is fit to play and Callum Hudson-Odoi is chasing a starting position.

Tyler Adams – RB Leipzig

Last Tuesday, Tyler Adams came in as a substitute for Kevin Kampl in the 58th minute of RB Leipzig's Champions League match against Istanbul Basaksehir. At that point, Leipzig already had a 2-0 lead and Adams helped secure the clean sheet from his defensive midfield position.

The 21-year-old did not feature in Leipzig's roster for their Bundesliga match against Hertha Berlin on Saturday after suffering a knee injury to his lateral ligament in training. He will be assessed this week and it is unlikely that he will travel to Old Trafford on Wednesday to face Manchester United. This injury will add to his long list of injuries that have kept him away from playing for 191 days since joining RB Leipzig in January 2019.

Antonee Robinson – Fulham 

Antonee Robinson took over the left-back position ever since his arrival to Fulham from Wigan Athletic on August 20, 2020, starting and playing the entirety of six games. However, Fulham has not been up to par with Premier League level. 

All in all, Robinson is one of the few players in Fulham's squad who are up to pace with the league. On Saturday, Fulham lost to Crystal Palace, but the 23-year-old fullback created four goalscoring chances.

Josh Sargent – Werder Bremen

Werder Bremen are in sixth place in the German Bundesliga after a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim on Sunday. Joshua Sargent started for the fifth time this season and played 90 minutes. Despite getting many minutes, the 20-year-old forward was not satisfied with the result, expressing that he expects more from himself and his forward teammates

Reggie Cannon – Boavista 

Right-back Reggie Cannon played all 90 minutes with Boavista in a 2-2 draw against Familicao. The 22-year-old had another solid performance, but a frustrating result as Boavista conceded in added time, losing out on all three points.

Boavista, which is in 17th place in Primera Liga, will face league leaders Benfica on Monday, Nov. 2. 

Matt Miazga – RSC Anderlecht

Center back Matt Miazga helped Anderlecht to its fourth win in the Belgian Pro League this season in his second game with the club. Anderlecht's next opponent will be league leaders Antwerp on Sunday, Nov. 1.

Ulysses Llanez – SC Heerenveen 

Ulysses Llanez played two minutes in Heerenveen's 4-0 win over FC Emmen on Saturday.

Chris Richards – Bayern Munich II

Center back Chris Richards has not appeared in Bayern's first team since dishing out an assist in a 4-3 win over Hertha Berlin on Oct. 4. The 20-year old has been playing in 3. Liga (Germany's third division) since Oct. 21, playing the entirety of two matches.

Weston McKennie – Juventus 

Center midfielder Weston McKennie was an unused substitute this weekend in Juventus' 1-1 tie with Hellas Verona Serie A. McKennie will hope to get his first Champions League minutes on wednesday against Barcelona.

Zach Steffen – Manchester City

Manchester City's second-choice goalkeeper Zach Steffen did not play this weekend as Ederson is fit to play. Steffen will start for Man City if Ederson picks up another injury. If not, he will be set to start on Dec. 22 in the EFL Cup quarterfinals against Arsenal.

Timothy Weah – LOSC Lille 

Timothy Weah did not travel to Nice with the Lille squad on the weekend. The forward has only played 30 minutes over four Ligue 1 matches this season. 

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