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Americans Abroad Player of the Week: Sergiño Dest


It has been a roller-coaster season for FC Barcelona, and Sunday’s win against Levante helped the Catalan snap a three-match winless skid in all competitions, with Sergiño Dest playing an integral role in the victory.

Fresh off an impressive showing in a midweek draw against Cadiz, Dest turned in his best match of the season on Sunday, recording an assist and dominating from his left back position in a much-needed win for Barcelona, a performance that earned Dest SBI Americans Abroad Player of the Week honors.

Dest finished the Levante win with five successful dribbles, three key passes and the assist on Luuk De Jong’s first Barcelona goal. Dest also contributed a game-high four tackles while completing 60 of 65 passes.

The match was Dest’s second strong showing at left back, with Ronald Koeman shifting the USMNT fullback to the left side in recent weeks, a move that has helped Dest show that he is still very much an option on either side of the field despite his lackluster showings at left back for the USMNT in the past.

Dest wasn’t the only American to enjoy a strong week. Here are the rest of the top Americans Abroad performers for the past weekend:

Tim Weah

Turned in a Man of the Match performance in Lille’s 2-1 win vs. Strasbourg on Saturday. Weah set up Lille’s opening goal with an impressive effort, then drew the penalty kick that Jonathan David converted for the winner. Weah finished with a game-high five key passes, while winning three aerial duels and completing two successful dribbles.

Chris Richards

Richards turned in an impressive two-way performance in Hoffenheim’s 3-1 win against John Brooks and Wolfsburg. He recorded his first assist of the season on a day when he completed 50 of 58 passes, and defensively Richards contributed a game-high seven clearances to help contain Wolfsburg’s high-powered attack.

Matt Miazga

Miazga helped Alaves pull off one of the upsets of the weekend, earning their first win of the season in a 1-0 upset of reigning La Liga champion Atletico Madrid. Miazga registered a game-high nine clearances and four aerial duels won, while completing 15 of his 16 passes to help shut down an Atletico attack featuring Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann.

Jordan Pefok

Riding the momentum from his memorable Champions League winner against Manchester United, Pefok scored on both of Young Boys’ matches this past week, including a third-minute finish in Saturday’s 2-1 win vs. St. Gallen. Pefok also scored on Wednesday in a 6-1 romp over Lausanne.

Emmanuel Sabbi

The Odense BK forward scored in both of his team’s matches this past week, a 3-0 win vs. Helsingor in the Danish Cup, and then an equalizer in Odense’s 1-1 draw with Viborg on Sunday.


  1. Maybe the US should figure out how to join UEFA or CONMEBOL since we seem to have problems playing down to the competition. No idea if that is even possible but it would force us to improve our level a whole lot and force us to take player and coaching development to a whole new level.
    Also, I think we fans underestimate how much the games mean to Central American teams… We see Mexico as our main rival. They see the USA as their rivalry match. With maybe the exception of Honduras/El Salvador, their home match with the US is the most hyped up match of the cycle. That’s the match they want to win most and not just for football reasons. I know because I have lived and worked or studied in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica and attended matches in those places.

  2. I’m note sure what the problem has been with Sergino of late at LB for US, he was average to good in 2019 as US LB and against Jamaica in March. He’s been poor since. I watched the match yesterday, he had absolutely no pressure from the defense until he got near the box and it was generally 1 defender. ES and Mexico (NL) were doubling or even tripling him as soon as he got the ball. So maybe it’s just a case of he’s not comfortable with pressure on the left. He did have a tense moment late when the other team played direct and he put in challenge and the CF just nudged him off and was in on goal. It came to nothing so it was kind of unnoticed but he’d catch heat like crazy for US Twitter if he did it in NT match.

  3. It’s not just him. We can always speak of effort and heart- and very rightly so. Sometimes though- it comes down to players not being clear or comfortable with what they are being asked to do. Thinking too much rather than flowing, reacting. At some point- when you have a whole boatload of players merely revealing glimpses- but not consistently playing as dynamic or at the same level as they do with club, you have to think it has something to do with cohesion- tactics.

  4. Regarding some of the comments at SBI that Dest shouldn’t be played out of position at LB are not quite accurate. Dest’s poor performances during the past few USMNT’s WCQ outings, IMHO, are partly due to Dest’s failure to give his all to the national team, partly poor attitudes, partly not understanding (coach’s responsibility) his LB/LWB’s role actually include defending for the team. When Dest first got promoted to the Ajax first team, he was deployed at the LB position. In addition, Dest’s La Liga debut for Barca against Real Madrid was also at LB. Dest’s technical abilities and potentials will have no problems at all playing competently at the LB position. The question is whether Dest is willing to bring the same heart & grit when he puts on the USMNT’s jersey.

    • There is another possibility, something I have seen with other players. While I can’t say for sure since I don’t read minds, but from behavior I have observed sometimes I think high level players coming into a situation vs. lower level players assume they basically just have to show up and not put forth maximum effort. I think that was true of most of the US team vs. T&T and I’ve seen it with some players coming into MLS from other leagues. Perhaps Dest completely underestimated the level of play and difficulty he would face in CONCACAF.

    • 100%. His “performance issues” had nothing to do with ability or position. That was clear by the third minute of the first game, when he had already been dispossessed three times. He and a few other european-based players just thought they were too good for this. You could see it all over the field. How do you expect a 20-year old star who grew up in holland and plays for barcelona to reeeallly listen to Berhalter? ALL of these guys secretly believe that whatever they’re doing for their club is just way better. I think for this team this is the real challenge of concacaf, not the “grit” and the bad fields etc. It’s: how do you buy in to a regional competition with a history of tactically brain-dead soccer with opponents and teammates that you think are beneath you, and still do well and win? Honestly, for this reason, and I never thought I’d say this – we’re better off with the MLS guys. For now at least.

      • Let’s say you are right about Dest. He has 13 caps, 8 this year alone.
        Why hasn’t the manager seen this “problem ” with Dest before and fixed it?

        Every single player in the pool, no matter where they play, has a huge ego. They have, to have one to have gotten so far.

        The job of the USMNT manager is to build a program that gets our player pool to buy into it. If he can’t do that then what you see from these kids is what happens. Confusion, tentativeness, frustration.

        He’s the manager, not Dest. He’s supposed to lead not Dest. He’s supposed to show them where to go and what to do if they are lost or can’t figure it out.

        What Dest did the other day with Barca proves his quality. Koeman, not a renowned coaching genius, knows how to get it out of him. So did the manager at Ajax. Why can’t the USMNT manager do the same?

        It also shows you what the USMNT manager is incapable of getting the best out of his players. Like it or not, his job is to get the best out of the Euro players as well as the MLS players.

        From Day one this manager has had a leaderless team with no identity. Zack Steffen said that to the media about a year ago. If you don’t agree, go back and watch the 38 games in question.

        What you are seeing is nothing new. It’s just exacerbated because prior to the qualifiers, most of the opponents weren’t all that good or that interested.
        Now all our opponents are all in and fully committed. And the USMNT are playing a lot of away games.

        So they and the management staff, are being tested in a way they have not been. And it is not going well. Pulisic said as much with his “new ideas” comment.

        It’s not just Dest. Over the course of 38 games we’ve seen this inability to produce their best not just from him but from many other players, including, Pulisic, Reyna, McKennie and Adams, etc.,etc.

        We’ve seen guys like Reyna and Pulisic get visibly frustrated when a guy like Lleget gets the ball in midfield, doesn’t know what to do with it and passes it back to the center back.

        Pulisic, more than anyone in this pool, knows exactly what it means to miss out on a World Cup. It’s really obvious he’s terrified that it’s happening again.

        It’s the manager’s fault.

        His job is to get the best out of what he has. He’s clearly not doing that. It’s not like USMNT managers haven’t had so called selfish, big ego players from Europe (Jermaine Jones??, Clint Dempsey) in the past and managed to integrate them with their domestic players. USMNT fans took a while to warm up to Clint because a lot of them thought he was selfish and saving himself for his Fulham games.

        If this manager can’t integrate the Euros into the USMNT why is he even there?

        From a talent perspective they could certainly go with an MLS/only squad and still qualify. But he wasn’t hired to just field a MLS/USMNT team to qualify, though they would certainly be capable of that. It would be grind it out, hit them on the break (maybe Jordan is back) and play a lot of tall trees to take advantage of set pieces. Just don’t let Lletget be your dead ball specialist.
        I’d be in favor of that in order to save the Euros from the wear and tear. But it would certainly be a different playing style from what this manager promised he would go for. So what did they hire him for then?

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