As the 2022-23 seasons of European soccer leagues across the continent begin, players from countries that have qualified for the upcoming 2022 World Cup must perform well in the next three months to impress their national team coaches. This is especially true for Americans playing abroad, and several players hoping to make or play significant roles on the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) in Qatar began to make their case this weekend.
USMNT athletes in Europe
David Rogers/Getty Images | Brenden Aaronson (L) and Jack Harrison
With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar less than three months away, American players in Europe are vying for the attention of USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter. Here’s how several potential (or guaranteed) USMNT players performed this weekend.
Leeds United’s Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams
Leeds United and American manager Jesse Marsch began the 2022-23 Premier League season with a resounding victory over Wolves.
Tyler Adams of the USMNT started for Leeds, as did forward Brenden Aaronson. After a relatively quiet first half, Adams was good and played better in the second half. Aaronson, on the other hand, was named Leeds’ Man of the Match.
In the win, the New Jersey native was his team’s best and most dangerous player. Wolves defender Rayan At-Nouri was eventually given credit for an own goal on Leeds’ winner, but Aaronson was the one who made it happen.
If Aaronson continues to play like this, he may get more USMNT playing time in Qatar than most national team observers anticipated.
Fulham’s Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson
Fulham played an excellent first half, particularly off the ball. All ten outfielders are working hard. Salah, among other key LFC players, has been largely ineffective. Antonee Robinson is holding his own in this one. A fantastic 45. August 6, 2022 — Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray)
Tim Ream at left center-back and Antonee Robinson at left back for Fulham had one of the most difficult jobs in all of soccer this weekend. They had to keep Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah at bay.
The pair did a good job overall, which was a big reason Fulham were able to steal a point against last year’s Champions League finalist.
Salah did set up Liverpool’s first goal and later scored one himself, and Ream was involved in both of those plays. In the first half, the 34-year-old CB also botched a great run on a set piece. Overall, Ream and Robinson had good days with an extremely difficult assignment.
USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter must be overjoyed with how well the 25-year-old Robinson handled a world-class player like Salah. In the World Cup, he’ll see a lot more players like that.
Union Berlin — Jordan Pefok
The hottest competition on the USMNT is for the No. 1 striker spot. Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok added to his resume for the position with a goal in his Bundesliga club’s 3-1 win over Hertha Berlin.
The 26-year-old from Washington D.C. is making a major step up in competition this season, moving from Young Boys in the Swiss Super League to the German Bundesliga, one of the best in the world. If he continues to perform like this at that level, the USMNT No. 9 spot could follow.
Christian Pulisic — Chelsea
NBC’s Robbie Mustoe says Christian Pulisic should ‘knock on the manager’s door’ and ask to start after Chelsea’s poor attacking performance against Everton https://t.co/Sr7INC1Va8— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) August 6, 2022
Not every American in Europe had a great first weekend. Christian Pulisic was one of those players. The USMNT superstar couldn’t crack the Chelsea starting lineup over Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, and Raheem Sterling.
The good news for Pulisic and USMNT fans is that the Chelsea attack struggled mightily against Everton and might be due for a shakeup. Pulisic didn’t set the world on fire when he came in for the final 25 minutes, but if Thomas Tuchel does want to make a change up front, “Wonder Boy” should be in line for a start.
Zack Steffen — Middlesbrough
Maybe the worst day of all the USMNT players abroad went to goalkeeper Zack Steffen. The keeper got a summer loan from Manchester City in the Premier League to Middlesbrough in the EFL Championship.
In his second start, Steffen had a horrific day, letting in three first-half goals, including a soft goal on a set piece that was entirely his mistake. Even though Steffen’s USMNT counterpart Matt Turner isn’t going to get a ton of playing time at Arsenal, he might win the job by default if Steffen keeps playing like this.
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