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Weston McKennie wins Best Player Award of Concacaf Nations League

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Weston McKennie played a major role in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s triumph in the inaugural Concacaf Nations League and was recognized appropriately by the federation.

Concacaf announced Monday that McKennie won the “Best Player of the Tournament” award after helping Gregg Berhalter’s side claim its first trophy since 2017. The Juventus midfielder scored four goals across the competition, including the fastest hat trick in USMNT history in a 7-0 group stage victory over Cuba in 2019.

McKennie also found the back of the net in Sunday’s Nations League triumph over Mexico, and came close on a pair of other occasions in the match against El Tri. The midfielder went the distance in both Final Four matches, helping spark the USMNT past Honduras and Mexico.

The 22-year-old was joined on Monday by Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez and Suriname’s Gleofilo Vlijter, who also claimed awards for their performances in the tournament.

Lopez allowed just four goals over the course of the CNL and CNL Finals and saved two penalties in Honduras’ 5-4 penalty shootout win against Costa Rica in the CNLF Third-Place Match.

Vlijter collected the Top Scorer Award after scoring 10 goals in six matches in League B, helping Suriname clinch a berth in the Concacaf Gold Cup for the first time.

Barbados finished atop their group in League C and and also claimed the Fair Play Award.

The USMNT returns to action on Wednesday in a friendly against Costa Rica before taking time off ahead of July’s Concacaf Gold Cup.

 

Comments

  1. I had a lot of misgivings about McKennie staying at Juventus under Pirlo. I thought he wasn’t getting the instruction necessary to fine tune his game and build him into a more complete midfielder. I thought he might benefit more from playing in the Premier League in an environment that suited his strengths.
    But I’m reevaluating my stance now that Juventus have brought back Max Allegri. While there is certainly going to be a massive summer overhaul and McKennie’s standing with the new manager is not yet known, I think there’s *potential* for this to be a hugely beneficial situation for Wes’ development. Not only does Allegri have a clearly defined system that prizes some of McKennie’s attributes, it requires a refinement of his overall game and will ask much more of him. Allegri has experience working with (and getting the most out of) some of the best midfielders of the past twenty years at Juventus. If Wes can rise to the challenge, we could have our own Arturo Vidal in the heart of midfield for the next decade.

    Reply
    • I’m not sure how you could’ve doubted him learning under Pirlo….McKennie plays Pirlo’s position…perhaps it was fair to wonder the playing time…as far as preferring Premier League…we can count on one hand the success US field players have had in the last 5 years….there is far more American bias in the Premier League than in any of the European leagues (though we seem to be good enough for the Championship)….

      Historically the US spent too many years modeling the English game, it wasn’t until US Soccer started following Dutch, German and French models that improvements were happening….(even MLS academies are modeled this way)…I think the country would have been further along if we hadn’t followed the English….now we need to get the coaching to have other models besides the english too…..

      Reply
      • The same way I would question a young midfielder learning under Lampard as opposed to Tuchel. The best players don’t always make the best managers, and if you watched Juventus last year, they were just abysmal at times and lacked any sense of cohesion or clear intent. Pirlo may come good yet as a manager, but I feel much better about McKennie continuing his development under Allegri.

    • Regardless of who the coach is, McKennie benefits by playing in Serie A, which I think is a more technical league than the Bundesliga and by also playing with one of the all time greats Ronaldo.

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    • Serie A is a good fit for McKinney compared to the premier league. It’s a technical league that plays at a slower more deliberate pace. This allows his work rate to stand out and for him to recover when his touch lets him down (which is his weakness). Being so technical it is also improving his off the ball movement and vision. The premier league by contrast is a pressing league built on speed of movement. Turnovers kill you there and the press, managers, and supporter groups are absolutely brutal on Americans that cause turnovers or give away the ball cheaply.

      Who knows if we will stick with Juventus as that is a team that wants to win everything and always is looking to improve the squad. They won two trophies this year but because they struggled in the League and had an earlier than wanted exit from Champions league they fired a first year club legend. Who knows if the new manager will take to him but given the financial issues they face, they would probably like to keep an American star around until at least the WC. Either way he has proven to be a Champions league level player with qualities that can help a top team even though he is probably not a truly top tier player. If it does not work out he will be able to get another spot on a champions league level team in a top 4 league.

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