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Americans Abroad Player of the Week: Zack Steffen

Zack Steffen left the U.S. Men’s National Team’s September camp early to rejoin Fortuna Dusseldorf for its Friday showdown with Wolfsburg and he made the most of that opportunity with another strong start for the Bundesliga club.

Steffen recorded five saves in a 1-1 draw with Wolfsburg, a result that helped Fortuna Dusseldorf snap a two-match losing streak and solidified Steffen’s hold on the starting role. It also helped Steffen earn SBI’s Americans Abroad Player of the Week honors for the week.

It was a tough week for the biggest Americans Abroad names, with Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie both left out of their respective team’s starting lineups, though with Pulisic you would imagine he could be in line for a start when Chelsea kicks off UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday against Valencia.

There was good news in the Bundesliga, with Timmy Chandler returning to action after having missed the past year with a major knee injury. Duane Holmes also made his first league start of the season, in Derby County’s 1-1 draw with Cardiff City.

Here are the other top Americans Abroad performers of the past weekend:

Ventura Alvarado

Necaxa is off to a flying start in Liga MX, and Alvarado continues to play a major role. He helped anchor the Necaxa defense in a big road win against Monterrey that helped move the club into first place in Liga MX.

Alvarado has yet to earn a USMNT call-up from Gregg Berhalter, but with his form continuing to impress, and with the current stable of USMNT central defenders not exactly lighting it up, a return is a good possibility for the 27-year-old defender.

Emmanuel Sabbi

When Sabbi’s long-rumored departure from Hobro didn’t materialize, we were left to wonder how that would impact him. Sabbi showed he’s going to continue producing, with his goal on Sunday providing the winner in Hobro’s 2-1 victory against FC Copenhagen.

The 21-year-old striker helped Hobro snap a four-match winless slide in the process, while continuing to boost his stock as one of the top USMNT Under-23 prospects in Europe.

Matt Olosunde

Rotherham’s 6-1 thrashing of lowly Bolton featured plenty of standout performances, but Olosunde’s overall showing was among the best. The 21-year-old right back delivered an assist, completed 35 of 38 passes, and registered four tackles in the victory.

Lynden Gooch

Sunderland’s clash with Accrington Stanley got off to a nightmare start after an early Accrington goal, but Gooch responded just two minutes later with a goal that eventually helped propel the Black Cats to a 3-1 victory. The goal is Gooch’s third of the season.

Richie Ledezma

The 19-year-old midfielder put in an outstanding shift for Jong PSV, registering two goals and an assist in a 3-2 win over Jong AZ on Friday, Jong PSV’s first win of the Eerste Divisie season.


Which Americans Abroad standout impressed you the most this week?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Alvarado plays left CB, which after Brooks(often injured) is a position USMNT need quality & depth. As much as Aaron Long has impressed me this year, I have to agree with people who view him as R-CB. I think, Alvarado would be a nice addition, if he gets the call.

  2. I’m glad to see Alvarado get a mention since it certainly looks like he deserves at least a call up and evaluation. When a US player is a consistent starter in a league better than MLS, he should at least get some consideration. As for Steffen, I missed most of that game, but I think it’s interesting that he gets a shout out for player of the week after several posters here said he shouldn’t play again for the USMNT because of the Mexico game. Perhaps Ives disagrees with that assessment.

    • Wow, ppl said that about Steffen? Talk about knee jerk reaction. Distribution is not his strong suit and def needs to improve upon (if he any shot to even make the bench for Pep) but is our best and still young.

      Im glad Holmes is back. I was really bummed he got injured the summer.

    • I got the impression there were times against Mexico that players weren’t where they were supposed to be and that was part of Steffens problem. I don’t know that that covers why he hit several 35 yd diagonal balls out of bounds. Dest was new, Morales new, McKennie new position, Pulisic new position certainly effected his ability to pick out passes. When I watched a 2nd time I realized how much the conversation was formed by the 2nd goal. We had been much more effective building out and hitting balls over that front line of defense to open up space. They weren’t hopeful balls but intentional balls. It took 50 minutes to get there and then after 15 minutes Steffen plays a bad pass after receiving a bad pass it’s 2-0 and we have to completely open the game leading to the third.

    • Watching Necaxa v Monterrey, through the first half Alvarado hasn’t done much but hasn’t had too Layun and Gallardo on the other side. He’s had a couple moments were he missed tackles that left his teammates in tough spots but Monterrey couldn’t capitalize. Good enough to try to see more but hasn’t been good enough that I’m sold either.


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