Rangers head coach Mark Warburton said earlier this week that he thought Gedion Zelalem played his best game for the club last weekend, and the youngster will surely be looking to repay that vote of confidence with another strong showing this Saturday.
This time, however, there will be the pressure of playing to reach a tournament final.
Rangers returns to action in the Scottish Challenge Cup by hosting St Mirren in the semifinals, and Zelalem is likely to start in the intense affair given that he put forth a solid outing in last week’s 1-1 league draw with Livingston. The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team midfielder has been the subject of plenty of talk this week due to Rangers’ desire to keep him on loan until the end of the season, but he will have to push past those distractions in order to deliver once again. Should he be able to do that and help Rangers comet on top, the club would face Cinderella story and third-division side Peterhead in the championship bout on April 9.
Another intriguing bout will take place over in the English Premier League, as there is potentially a good, old-fashioned American duel on tap on Saturday. Sunderland welcomes Stoke City in a clash of two clubs that posted 1-0 victories in their last games, and the fixture could see U.S. Men’s National Team defenders DeAndre Yedlin and Geoff Cameron go at it. Yedlin lost his starting spot for Sunderland and was an unused substitute in Monday’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, but the short turnaround could see him back in the relegation-threatened club’s lineup as it attempts to pick up three points against Cameron and Co.
If you are wondering what other match might be worth watching, look no further than Jose Torres and Tigres UANL’s Saturday affair with Jaguares de Chiapas. Tigres won the first leg of its Liga MX playoff series, 2-1, on Wednesday, and will aim to close things out and advance to the semifinals when it travels to Estadio Zoque VMR. Torres did not feature in that opening game, but will be keen on earning at least substitute minutes as Tigres continues to make a run at the Apertura title.
Here is who the Americans Abroad square off with this weekend:
Caleb Stanko and SC Freiburg play Heidenheimer SB.
Tim Howard and Everton play AFC Bournemouth
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Watford.
DeAndre Yedlin, Lynden Gooch and Sunderland play Geoff Cameron and Stoke City.
Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City play Brighton & Hove Albion.
Tim Ream, Emerson Hyndman and Fulham play Preston North End.
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Danny Williams, Andrija Novakovich and Reading.
Cody Cropper and Milton Keynes Dons play Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Gedion Zelalem and Rangers play St Mirren.
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play Bayern Munich.
Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play Hannover 96.
Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt play Mainz 05.
Fabian Johnson and Borussia Moenchengladbach play TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Aron Johannsson and Werder Bremen play Hamburg SV. (Johannsson is out injured.)
Bobby Wood and FC Union Berlin play Arminia Bielefeld.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Bastia.
Gabriel Farfan and Jaguares de Chiapas play Jose Torres and Tigres UANL.
Miguel Ibarra, William Yarbrough and Club Leon play Ventura Alvarado and Club America.
Shawn Barry and FSV Frankfurt play Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Andrew Wooten and SV Sandhausen play MSV Duisburg.
Desevio Payne and FC Groningen play ADO Den Haag.
Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht play SC Heracles Almelo. (Rubin is out injured.)
Joe Corona and Veracruz play Pumas UNAM.
Terrence Boyd and RB Leipzig play Karlsruhe. (Boyd is out injured.)
Which of these matches are you most looking forward to? Do you see Zelalem topping his performance from last week? Who will come out on top, Yedlin and Sunderland or Cameron and Stoke?
Share your thoughts below.