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Dest, Horvath advance to Champions League group stage

Sergino Dest and Ethan Horvath have respectfully advanced into the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage.

The pair of American players have booked their places in the next round after second leg qualifying wins on Wednesday. Dest played the full 90 minutes for Ajax in a 2-0 success over Apoel Nicosia in Amsterdam.

Dest was a lively performer for Ajax, getting down the right wing on numerous occasions. He helped spring Klass-Jan Huntelaar on Ajax’s second goal, playing the forward in before he then assisted on Dusan Tadic’s goal.

The 18-year-old won nine of 11 individual duels, while also winning two tackles. He finished the match with a 92% passing completion rate in the club’s win. Dest will now head on international duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team for the first time in his career.

Horvath continued as Club Brugge’s No. 2 keeper with Simon Mignolet continuing in goal. Brugge earned a 2-1 second leg win over LASK, advancing on a 3-1 aggregate scoreline.

With Mignolet taking the reigns in goal, Horvath may need to start looking elsewhere for consistent playing time if he wants to see no stall in his club career.

Both players will find out their group stage fates on Thursday when the Champions League draw takes place. Ajax is in Pot 2, while Club Brugge is in Pot 3.

Dest and Horvath are two of five American players who will take part in the Champions League this season. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea, Pot 1), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, Pot 4), and Timothy Weah (Lille, Pot 4) are the other three.


  1. Thought I’d add something to the last sentence: There is a 6th team featuring a former US international in the UCL this season: RB Salzburg, with coach Jesse Marsch!

  2. Now it’s understandable why Horvath has been relegated to bench duty. Mignolet has tons of EPL experience, including being a starter at Liverpool for almost 5 seasons. Plus he has 20 caps with Belgium.

  3. Keep pushing…

    I believe there is a strong correlation between a nations WC success and the number of minutes played (within the past 2 years) your WC roster has in UEFA CL. I think you can see this correlation play out in Belgium’s rise to the Semi finals last cycle, but it was brewing for two previous cycle before that. They had the good fortune of a golden generation but the percentage of players within their roster playing significant minutes in UCL has increased dramatically over the past decade and built up to the semi final success at WC.

    Obviously we have a long long way to go but we need our best players to be pushing for UCL minutes and minutes for in top leagues. Settling for a cush spot on a MLS roster where your ‘the guy’ needs to be over, one day maybe but we need guys fighting for spots and that competition and attitude that come with it. Good on these players for fighting their way in and hoping to see more soon.


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