USMNT Stock Watch: Weston McKennie plays for Juve after shortened USA stint; Reynolds makes Roma appearance

It was a quiet weekend for Americans in Europe when it comes to a production standpoint, and part of that was because of the numerous absences. Both Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna missed their club games over the weekend due to injury, while Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen is recovering from COVID, though he likely wasn’t going to play. 

There weren’t a lot of major minutes earned but there were some significant appearances over the weekend that could potentially impact what the United States men’s national team’s roster looks like in October. Let’s recap.

1. Weston McKennie, Juventus72 minutes in 2-1 loss to Napoli25 touches70 percent pass completionxG of 0.030 tackles50 percent duel success rate

After getting booted from the USMNT camp during World Cup qualifying due to breaking COVID protocols, McKennie quickly returned to Juventus and got back into the team, earning the start against recent rival Napoli on Saturday. And for McKennie, it just wasn’t his day. First, he saw the ball little despite getting himself in good positions, touching it just 25 times in 72 minutes. By comparison, midfielder Aaron Ramsey touched it 12 times in just 18 minutes, and every midfielder who started touched the ball twice as much as McKennie. 

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His passing wasn’t sharp enough, he didn’t get in on a tackles (which is surprising considering Napoli dominated the ball), and it was just a game that wasn’t quite suited to his strengths as he was subbed off. 

2. Bryan Reynolds, AS RomaOne minute in the 2-1 win over SassuoloThree touches1-for-1 passing

Yeah, I know. He didn’t get much time. He came in as a late sub and got some additional minutes of added time. He didn’t get much of a chance to do anything, but he really showed off that burst of speed with a run down the right flank, trying to get in behind, and it was also evident by defending, pressing defenders well. But it is still significant that he played because it was his first appearance of the league season, earning his first appearance under Jose Mourinho. Hopefully he can continue to get appearances, get a tad more time to make an impression and earn more minutes down the road. And how cool that must have been to see his team win it late and celebrate like they did. This is a team to watch.

3. Yunus Musah, ValenciaThree minutes in the 4-1 win over OsasunaSix touchesTwo pass attempts, completing oneOne shot

Musah began the season injured but made his second appearance for Valencia on Sunday in the team’s big win at Osasuna that moved them atop the table with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. And while you won’t see anything noticeable in his stats, let me tell you about one specific moment. As a Valencia supporter, I was glued to the TV during this match with Los Che continuing their surprisingly good start to the season (amazing what you can do with a proper manager). Musah came on and played right midfield, as usual, and he had one run down the right where he carried the ball from midfield to the end line, kept the ball in, traveled along the end line from the corner toward the goal, cut in and fired an underwhelming shot. Now, the run was incredible, showing his ability to keep the ball close to his feet, evade defenders and create a chance for himself from nothing. Had he scored it, it would have been La Liga’s goal of the week, surely. 

Now, I don’t think there are going to be many minutes for him moving forward as Valencia’s best player and goalscorer Carlos Soler plays the same position, though Soler, like Musah, was a center midfielder during his youth days with the club, with either potentially moving back there. But that run certainly has to have shown coach Jose Bordalas what this kid can potentially offer. 

Additionally, ahead of this week’s live Champions League group stage openers, here are the three Americans to watch. Keep in mind, Pulisic, Gio Reyna and Sergino Dest are all dealing with injuries. As always, you can see every Champions League game on Paramount+.

Weston McKennie, Juventus

McKennie’s Juve go to Malmo on Tuesday, and it’s going to be interesting to see what role McKennie plays. As we mentioned above, he got the start at the weekend but was hardly involved. Does Massimo Allegri go back to him here or does he begin this match on the bench? If he gets the start, it would be quite telling that Allegri counts on him as the team needs momentum. If he doesn’t start, it’s going to be a chance for others to solidify their spots in front of him. 

Brenden Aaronson, RB Salzburg 

The top scorer for the USMNT during the World Cup qualifiers, the 20-year-old American travels with RB Salzburg to Sevilla on Tuesday. He continues to impress for club and country but faces a stiff test against a rested side that didn’t play over the weekend. Aaronson himself was held out of Salzburg’s game and should be fresh for this match with his club looking to once again make some noise on the biggest stage.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig

The American midfielder was the captain for the USMNT during the recent qualifiers and played every single minute. He was rested at the weekend in the 4-1 loss against Bayern Munich, and one would think he would be fresh enough to go here. The task at hand? Facing Manchester City, a team in form and expecting to bounce back from a one-goal outing over the weekend. If Adams starts, he’ll have his hands full and need to be at his very best for Leipzig to have much of a chance of getting something from this game. It’s time to get things going for Leipzig as they’ve lost three of four games to kick off Bundesliga play.

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