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Zack Steffen and Manchester City reach UEFA Champions League final

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The UEFA Champions League final will have at least one American in uniform, though Christian Pulisic will be hoping to make it two on Wednesday, after Zack Steffen’s Manchester City eliminated Paris Saint-Germain to book its place in the final.

Steffen was on the bench for City’s 2-0 victory over PSG on Tuesday, a result that gave the Premier League leaders a 4-1 aggregate victory to book the team’s first trip to the Champions League final.

Manchester City will face the winner of Wednesday’s Chelsea-Real Madrid semifinal in the May 29 final in Istanbul. Pulisic scored Chelsea’s goal in the 1-1 first-leg draw.

If Chelsea advances to the final, it would set up a final with a U.S. Men’s National Team player on each team. As thing stand, Steffen could become the first USMNT player to be in uniform for a UEFA Champions League final, and second to earn a UEFA Champions League winner’s medal.

Jovan Kirovski is the only USMNT player to earn a UEFA Champions League winner’s medal as part of Borussia Dortmund’s 1996-1997 team, though he was not in uniform for the final (he appeared in a pair of group stage matches).

Steffen has appeared in one Champions League match during Manchester City’s run to the final, starting in a group stage win against Marseille in December.

Comments

  1. Awesome experience for Zack and would be great to go for the triple. But is anyone worried about his shaky form in the few chances he’s gotten? Back in the day, GK would be as close as USMNT would get to world class talent and now it seems like it may be a weak spot…. regardless of how awesome the depth of talent developed in the outfield…

    Maybe he’s just nervous playing against Chelsea, considering the indirect free kick gaffe in league play and the howler in cup play…

    Would be cruel irony for USMNT to be undone in crucial moment by a GK mishap

    Reply
    • It’s a reasonable concern, but I think he has the faith of Guardiola and his teammates in cup play and has gained some valuable experience —— and I can’t imagine he’s not learning from training day in and day out with one of the top teams in the world. It certainly is right to ask, though, when a player playing behind a top keeper like Ederson is best positioned to go looking for a starting role somewhere else. It’s a lot different than with field players, isn’t it?

      I’ve casually checked in on the Zack Steffen threads on the Man City forums and it seems like opinions vary wildly depending on the week, from, “He’s rubbish and should never see another minute of match time ever again,” to, “He’s too good to be a backup keeper and will surely leave us for a starting role elsewhere.” So pretty much what you’d expect.

      Reply
      • Maybe he goes out on loan to Palace or Brighton or Southampton or one of the promoted teams and sees if he can nail down a starting role. It should be an interesting summer for him.

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