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Pulisic, McKennie guaranteed knockout berths in Champions League


Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie both have contributed to their respective clubs during the current UEFA Champions League campaign. Now the pair will be able to take the next step in their growth as they continue on European Football’s biggest stage.

Borussia Dortmund and Schalke both clinched berths in the knockout round, despite not earning victories in Wednesday’s group stage action.

Pulisic started and played the full 90 minutes for Dortmund in their scoreless draw at home against Club Brugge. The 20-year-old had one shot on goal, which was saved by U.S. Men’s National Team keeper, Ethan Horvath.

Despite being shutout for the first time at home all season, Dortmund saw Pulisic put in a strong performance as their best player on the pitch.

Dortmund now needs a victory against Monaco on Matchday 6, paired with an Atletico Madrid loss to Brugge to claim the top spot in Group A.

McKennie has been battling a hamstring injury, which he suffered on international duty two weeks ago. He last appeared for Schalke in a Bundesliga defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Nov. 11th, but has appeared four times in the UCL scoring and assisting once.

He did not appear in Schalke’s 3-1 road loss to FC Porto on Wednesday, but Galatasaray’s defeat in Moscow clinched Schalke a runners-up place in Group D.

Pulisic and McKennie are the first American duo to play in the UCL knockout stage since Tim Howard, DaMarcus Beasley, and Landon Donovan all participated in 2004.

With tougher matches on the horizon, the pair will need to prepare quickly if they want to continue what has been a solid campaign.


  1. I didn’t see the Dortmund game. If anyone did see it, how did CP do? This article says he was Dortmund’s best player. In the other write-ups that I saw, the only comment on CP was that he missed what seemed to be a pretty easy chance, and one of only two good chances at goal that Dortmund had.

  2. re the article it’s probably more real for pulisic than for mckennie going forward. mckennie and horvath were playing because the early rounds are treated more like cup games. but we can only talk about the players because in a couple days we’ve had a GM for 4 months and still no NT coach. USSF spokesman said Oct 1 the internal goal was Nov 1. will soon be 2 months since he suggested our aim was to do it in 1 month. what a shambles.

    • McKennie has started 6 out of 8 league games in which he was healthy for, he has not had any dressed but did not plays, if he has been fit he has played. Horvath has started Brugge’s last six matches across all competitions. Letica the starter at the beginning of the season has dressed the last 5 but not played. Brugge has only 4 pts in Horvath’s 4 league matches though so who knows how long Ethan’s playing run will last.

    • Yeah I def share your anger IV about this situation. “Absurd” is now an understatement. I would disagree with you a bit about McKennie and how a club like Schalke treats the CL. It’s not like how English teams treat the FA Cup. Qualification for the knockout rounds of the CL is a BIG deal. Per the public disclosures, mere qualification for the round of 16 guarantees an incremental 9.5 million Euros. Teams that are in the hunt for qualification almost always play their Best XI for these games. If McKennie is good enough for these, he’s good enough for the knockout rounds. And as razor says above, he’s effectively been a regular when healthy, anyway.


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