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USMNT standouts poised for sweep of top European domestic cups


When FC Barcelona pulled off its dramatic comeback against Sevilla on Wednesday to secure a place in the Copa Del Rey final, it secured Sergino Dest a potential place in his first final with the Spanish giants, and also helped him join an impressive list of Americans poised to play in domestic cup finals throughout Europe.

As things stand, U.S. Men’s National Team players could feature in the domestic cup finals in Europe’s top four leagues. Along with Dest and Barcelona’s spot in the Copa Del Rey final, Weston McKennie and Juventus have already secured their place in the Coppa Italia final.

This week also saw a pair of Americans move closer to a potential place in the DFB Pokal final in Germany, with Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig defeating John Brooks and Wolfsburg on Wednesday to book a place in the semifinals. Gio Reyna and Borussia Dortmund secured a semifinal berth on Tuesday with a 1-0 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach.

The USMNT could have players on three of four DFB Pokal semifinalists if Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen can defeat Jahn Regensberg in their quarterfinal, which was scheduled for Tuesday before being postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests. No make-up date has been set yet.

The most high-profile of all European domestic cup competitions is the English FA Cup and two USMNT standouts are still in the running to secure a winner’s medal. Zack Steffen and Manchester City are riding high, on a historic winning streak, and will be favored to add the FA Cup to their trophy case. Steffen has started all three of City’s FA Cup victories, and is in line to start the quarterfinal visit to Everton on March 20, though Pep Guardiola could turn to first-choice goalkeeper Ederson at some point in the cup run.

Christian Pulisic is also still in the FA Cup competition with Chelsea, which faces Sheffield United in the quarterfinals on March 21. Pulisic was a part of Chelsea’s run to the 2020 FA Cup final, scoring Chelsea’s opening goal in the final before suffering a hamstring injury in an eventual Arsenal victory. Chelsea is a good candidate to win the FA Cup, though what sort of role Pulisic will have in that potential title run under new manager Thomas Tuchel remains to be seen.

The potential for European domestic cup glory isn’t confined to the top European leagues. In Belgium, the Belgian Cup semifinals could feature Americans on three of four teams if Mark McKenzie’s Genk and Ethan Horvath’s Standard Liege can win their respective quarterfinals on Thursday. Matt Miazga and Anderlecht have already secured their place in the Belgian Cup semifinals.

In Austria, Brenden Aaronson and Jesse Marsch helped Red Bull Salzburg book its place in the OFB Cup final on Wednesday, with Aaronson scoring in a 4-0 victory. Salzburg will face LASK in the Austrian Cup Final on April 30.

In Denmark, Emmanuel Sabbi and Odense, and Haji Wright and Sonderjyske are in the Danish Cup quarterfinals, with Odense facing Midtjylland on March on Wednesday, and Sonderjyske taking on Fremad Amager on March 11.

In France, Tim Weah and Ligue 1 leaders Lille are in the early stages of the Coupe De France, and will meet Ajaccio in Round of 32 action on Sunday.

Overall, the Americans Abroad contingent is enjoying a strong collective showing on the domestic cup front, and by the end of the spring we could see several Americans donning winner’s medals and lifting trophies across Europe.

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