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Americans Abroad Player of the Week: Sergino Dest


It isn’t often that a defender in a 3-1 loss is the subject of heavy praise, but Sergino Dest is the exception to that rule after his impressive showing for FC Barcelona in El Clasico.

Dest became the first American to ever play in El Clasico, and while Real Madrid wound up with a 3-1 victory, Dest was one of the few bright spots for the Catalans, which helped earn him SBI Americans Abroad Player of the Week honors this week.

Starting at right back for the first time since his transfer from Ajax, Dest looked very comfortable playing in his natural position, and helped shut down dangerous Brazilian winger Vinicius Jr. Dest contributed solid defending while also getting forward and serving as an effective threat in the attack.

Dest’s performance came after he turned in a solid shift in Barcelona’s Champions League rout of Ferencvaros, and now he heads towards this week’s Champions League clash with Juventus looking like a solid bet to remain in Ronald Koeman’s starting lineup.

Dest wasn’t the only American to play well this past weekend. Here are the other Americans Abroad in contention for Player of the Week honors.

2. Andrija Novakovich

The 24-year-old striker registered a goal and assist in Frosinone’s 2-0 win against Pescara on Saturday, a win that moved Frosinone into fourth place in Serie B.

The match marked the first full 90-minute match for Novakovich since May, and also saw him score for the second time in four matches.

3. John Brooks

Wolfsburg is off to an unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season, but finally earned its first win of the new campaign and Brooks was a big part of the 2-1 victory against Arminia Bielefeld.

Brooks completed 53 of 61 passes and delivered a game-high eight clearances and eight aerial duals to keep Wolfsburg among the ranks of the unbeaten.

4. Haji Wright

Sonderjyske is one of the biggest surprises in Denmark this season and Haji Wright is a big part of the reason why. The 22-year-old forward is off to a dream start at the Danish side, and his excellent run of form continued on Sunday, as he scored the winner in a 2-1 win against Randers.

Wright has five goals so far this season, tied for the most in the Danish Superliga, and Sunday’s victory moved Sonderjyske into first place.

5. Aron Johannsson

There isn’t an American scoring goals at a better rate than Johannsson, who is in the midst of a career renaissance at Hammarby. He notched his 10th goal of the Swedish season, helping Hammarby to a 3-1 win against Ostersunds.

Johannsson has scored eight goals in his past nine matches, making a very strong case to be included in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s November friendlies.


  1. that his man with a chance at 85′ all alone. and on the chance at 23′ he’s slow to close down the ball, which is then played behind him for a cross and his keeper has to dive to save the shot. that about evens out a couple passes for chances that don’t cash in.

    • Ok but what RB do we have that wouldn’t make 2 mistakes in 90 minutes vs Real Madrid? Or that would create as many chances?

    • Dest got his ankles broke by Tecatito, who just won Portuguese player of the year. Robinson got embarrassed by Douglas Costa, who was just playing for Juventus and is back with Bayern Munich. Those players ain’t garbage!! Both US players weren’t of drinking age to put it in perspective. I think, both players used those experiences for the better. For example, Hamid has made some serious errors, only against Ireland. I don’t think Hamid sux, you just don’t play him against the Irish. Dest & Robinsons development is trending in the right direction. I think it’s good to be skeptical, but being pessimistic all the time has got to be exhausting.

      • i find this attitude lame. i guarded conference players of the year and the hermann award winner in college and held them to zip. the idea that it is ok to be beat by elite players is basically accepting inferior status. the sales pitch is we are trying to raise our level to elite. you do not become elite making excuses for getting burned by elite teams. if you start the people who helped us lose to brazil or mexico you will lose to them next time as well. freaking quitter mentality.

      • IV, so u are comparing college award winners to pros playing in the top leagues in the world on the best teams in the world. Well I played high school soccer and held the district player of the year to zip. Everyone has gotten beat by a better player and a worse player before. Let’s wait and see a larger sample size before we judge any of these younger guys. Are some of them better at one thing than the other maybe but overall who is the better fit for the system that they want to play. This fanboy stuff u bring up is gonna happen no matter what. People get excited but u can’t knock them for it, Barca, Juventus, BVB, Chelsea and RB when has that ever happened to USMNT before and they all play and aren’t just riding the bench.

      • You can mock my college experience but me holding their good guy is the foundation on which Pulisic or Reyna can go win the game other end. At some point we have to pick a 6 and several backs who can mark or this goes nowhere. We can’t pretend Dest is there for offense and someone else will take his load if no one is actually picked for marking skill. The pendulum has swung too far down this road. It needs to swing back to at least 3/4 of the backs can actually mark or we will lose 4-3 or 3-2 even if the offense is great.

      • Not mocking your college career, just saying people get beat no matter how good they are. It happens let’s give these young kids a chance before people say let’s try someone else.

    • Look across the top 4 clubs in each of the Big 5 Leagues. How many of those clubs are fielding 20 yr old outside backs?
      I bring it up because Dest is not a finished product. He’s a work in progress at a new league and club. As he improves as a player and gains familiarity with his teammates his performances will improve drastically. Dest is also a very intelligent player who over time will learn the tendencies of opponents which will help his performances against them the next time he faces them.

      It’s one of the reasons most of us are so excited about this young crop of USMNT players (Dest, Pulisic, Reyna, Adams, McKennie, etc…). This is a core that will potentially be around for the next 10 years. As we add players (Richards, Foster, Cardoso, Otasowie, Konrad, etc…) the team will only get stronger. We may have to rely on “Raw Talent” during this cycle, But over the next 4 years that raw talent will become highly experienced and able to push/challenge for real international success.
      I just hope we hire a coach worthy of the players after 2022.

      • I’d agree….you almost have to leave room for young players to make mistakes, it’s apart of the deal when trying to develop younger players with tremendous upside bc you know it will better serve the player and the team for it down the line. This is a great time to be a fan of the USMNT considering all of the up and coming young talent domestically and abroad, and although there will be some growing pains because there is so much youth in the pool, the end product in 1.5 years in WC 2022 and more specifically in 2026 will hopefully bear fruit with this new golden generation continuing to grow together!

      • i take a different perspective. we have several young talented players per position. you are assuming only one is the right choice when that one is raw and has issues. cannon is not much older. richards is younger and can defend. ever considered you bet on the wrong horse?

        part of what you are displaying is an incumbency bias and tendency to parrot whatever the coach says. i think there are clear logical and science issues with assuming that the guy who started last game MUST BE the best choice. i think that begs the question. we had a backfield that held france to 1 goal and mexico to nothing and got a win and a tie from them. most of those players have been marginalized in favor of people who couldn’t beat canada consistently or mexico at all. like that makes any sense.

      • i believe in playing the best player, period, and i think y’all have assumed a disputed conclusion where cannon, richards, and others might want their shot and have similar “i play in europe at a big club” or “i was youth national team” pedigree claims. so why am i favoring one over another with this “give him room to grow” indulgence? i should play the best one now, giving each a chance initially, subject to adjustments for growth. based on how richards looked for bayern, he can also get forward, and his team didn’t lose, and he wasn’t trading off some defense for offense. americans have become such status quo fanboys attached to the present. what if your guy is never quite what the buzz thought, and we have more quality coming up the talent pike behind him?? does he get the job for a decade because he got their first, even if the results remain “raw” and sometimes costly?

      • last point, i think we have a great 2026 offense, i am not sold the defense is equal to the task unless we start picking some people who can defend. otherwise the US through 2018 cycle was a great offense and crap defense and missed the world cup despite positive goal difference. i don’t think we would get that bad but i do believe an absence of defense would be an anvil dragging behind the team against serious opponents. soccer is based not just on scoring but on holding neymar the other way. we put 2 in on colombia. they won 4-2. without defense we won’t make a dramatic move in terms of stature — we probably won’t even win concacaf.

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