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Sergiño Dest impresses in wing role to help Barcelona earn first Champions League win


Sergiño Dest made his second straight start as a right winger for FC Barcelona and the U.S. men’s national team standout looked even more comfortable in the role the second time around.

Fresh off his standout showing in Sunday’s La Liga win against Valencia, Dest impressed once again in an attacking role, helping Barcelona earn a 1-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday.

Dest didn’t have a hand in Gerard Pique’s winner, but he was active throughout, generating chances while also contributing quite a bit on the defensive side. The 20-year-old finished with a game-high 13 duels won, as well as eight recoveries and three tackles, while on the attacking front he was successful on all seven of his attempted dribbles, and took three shots, including one that forced a tough save.

The victory wasn’t the convincing one Barcelona was hoping for against the underdogs from Ukraine, but it was the result the Catalans needed as they look to rebound from starting the group stage with consecutive lopsided defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica.

Dest has been in top form over the past month, gaining confidence for both club and country. He earned SBI Americans Abroad Player of the Week last week for his efforts in Barcelona’s win against Valencia, which came just three days after he earned SBI USMNT Man of the Match honors for his outstanding performance in last week’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying win against Costa Rica.

and the recent shift into an attacking role for Barcelona has allowed him to show off his offensive capabilities while Barca copes with injuries and a lack of attacking options.

Dest and Barcelona take on Real Madrid on Sunday at the Camp Nou in the season’s first installment of El Clasico.


  1. This is a good thread (With some old school posters!)
    Two schools of thought:
    1- Do whatever you have to do to get your best 11 on the field when it comes crunch time vs some better teams that we’ve faced..
    In this case, that probably puts Dest at RB.
    The issue here is we don’t have Chielinni & Bonucci or Pique & Puyol at their primes playing CB..
    2- Dest is still young, but still a question mark defensively – and he WANTS to attack – I think someone said a winger playing RB & it shows.
    I’d like to see what he can do without having to defend first..

  2. Well, HOPEFULLY this will put an end to Arriola being named starter at RW for three consecutive games…and usher in the Scally Era at RB.

    If Dest is indeed the real deal at RW we could wind up with epic upgrades at both spots since his defending has always been a bit suspect and he seems good for 1-2 Real Serious Gaffes in every game, that often become goals for the opposition.

    This would also have the added bennie of shuffling Reyna inside to the position he now plays for HIS Champions League squad, the position his father so ably helmed for the USA for years…and likely give us upgrades at three different spots.

    Those saying “Musah, Musah!” have not paid attention to the attrition Team USA suffers seemingly every camp. Yes, Gio and Musah likely fill the same role for Team USA. This is called “depth” and we need far more of it.

    • Take emotion out of the situation, look at Reyna’s heat maps for both US and BvB they’re almost exactly the same. The difference is in the lineup graphic not roll. Then look at Musah’s heat map from Jam. and CR it’s much wider and deeper than where Reyna plays. Playing Dest as a RB gives you a player capable of breaking pressure in the build out phase with his dribbling and passing and when in possession adds an extra attacking piece that Scally does not. You don’t need to move a bunch of guys around to get rid of Arriola just stop playing Arriola.
      RB: Dest, Scally
      RCM: Musah, Busio
      RW: Reyna, Weah
      It doesn’t have be difficult. There you have the roster depth you’ve been talking about and getting rid of Arriola with out significant changes to formation and tactics.

      • Hmm. Actually I had not looked at the heat maps, I’d be interested to. While we’re quibbling a bit over where they might be best played it’s fascinating we seemingly have very little quibble over who the best players actually are.
        Gregg seems to disagree with us, though. Like, a lot. And it’s not like I hate Arriola. The dude hustles his butt off and will give you absolutely 100% of what he has and will run through a brick wall to win. That heart can get you results, sometimes…if the ugly way. It’s just, his skill is so limited compared to some of the others. I don’t want him out of the shirt, necessarily, I just want him for Gold Cups and the like and not World Cup Qualifiers, and certainly not on the World Cup roster.
        I’d still at least LIKE to look at Gio as a CM, and if we’re not going to play him there, we definitely need to start seeing if Luca de la Torre can help us there because Musah is right now the only guy we’ve established at CM who can really advance the ball and combine we have. I love McKennie but slick passing and operating in tight spots is not really his game.

  3. also today, Aaronson played underneath 2 strikers and just keeps doing his thing, makes all around him better with his constant intelligent movement literally all game long, excellent first touch, vision, creativity and willingness to do whatever it takes until the final whistle blows, playing all 95′ in Salzburg’s 3-1 win. He is blowing up too, just saying. Brooks struggled today. Nice to have so many versatile options playing high level, not just a couple

  4. Against top 20 competition, I would love to see a 4-2-3-1 lineup like below. Play with a real 10 for attacking creativity, and Reyna could be that guy. US needs different ways to breakdown top teams. I could also easily swap Pepi for Sargent or McKennie for Musah or Miles Robinson in at CB as well.

    —– Sargent —–
    Pulisic — Reyna — Dest
    —- Adams Musah —
    A.Robinson – Brooks – Richards – Scally

      • Jamie…my hope is that Busio can become that second 6. He does play that position for Venezia. I know we’re keeping him at the 8 for the moment because of defensive concerns but he’s REALLY amped that element of his game up even in the brief time he’s been in Italy…honestly I think he was just so young, and such a prodigy, he just didn’t really…worry…about it that much. But you could see being called “soft” at Gold Cup stung him and he really has seemed to put an emphasis on it since.
        I think he can give Adams a run at the 6…and soon. The kid is REALLY TALENTED, and seemingly superlatively professional in his commitment to improving. People just forget how young he is. (Not that Adams is that old either.)

    • We really don’t need to consider a starting 11 so much as who’s On The Plane…we’re looking at the 23, really.
      The one thing these three-game windows persistently show us is that a deep roster is everything if you want to keep kickin’ in all three games, and the World Cup we actually WANT isn’t just about the three-game Group Stage, it runs a lot longer than three games. We want a deep run. Which means you’ve gotta have a deep and capable bench when injuries and fatigue invariably happen, or your quality falls off a cliff.
      We have to think in terms of: “how do we get two impact guys everywhere at every position” if we’re really serious about not just getting out of Group but actually doing something worthwhile once we do.
      That means having a Pulisic AND and Aaronson at EVERY POSITION like we do at LW needs to be the goal and we aren’t there yet.
      The starting 11 really isn’t the consideration anymore. It’s actually: can we find 22 good ones to fill the plane with, and not bring dead space this time, so no matter who’s on the field there’s little or no drop-off?
      Those are the teams that go deep while the pretenders flame out. The World Cup is a marathon, and it puts your whole program to the question.

      • Busio does not play the 6 for Venezia, he played there once against Udinese in August. They also used a double pivot once but he had a guy who is normally a CB next to him for cover. He cannot play the way Adams plays he does not have the instinct or bite. If we change formation and play to DMs yes he can a line DM of Busio would be catastrophic.

      • Wow that was bad should be “if we change formation and play two DMs yes he can. Busio as a line DM would be catastrophic.”

      • quozzel,

        “It’s actually: can we find 22 good ones to fill the plane with, and not bring dead space this time, so no matter who’s on the field there’s little or no drop-off?”

        Hard to live up to that with Lletget, Ariolla, Roldan, and Zardes and maybe Long on the WC roster.

      • Johhnyrazor

        Dest started out in November of 2017 as a right fullback with the Ajax U-17’s. And he mostly played right back as he moved up the ladder. But he also played a handful of games as a right wing and as a left wing w/ the U-19’s.

        He’s played right, and left fullback, right and left midfield and right and left winger for the various Ajax sides as he came up.

        The Fabian comparison is an apt one. I’ve seen Fabian switch from right midfield to left back after the half in a Champions League match.

        It’s likely that the manager of the USMNT has known this about Dest all along. So if he keeps playing Dest at fullback, either side, there’s a reason.

        Usually when you put a guy with Dest’s versatility and talent at fullback it’s because they have more space there to exercise their creativity.

        For example look at Alphonso Davies, Marcelo, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luke Shaw, and earlier, DMB, Ashley Young, Ashley Cole, Roberto Carlos, etc., etc.

        If the USMNT wants to utilize Dest’s offensive talents they are better off leaving him at right back and figuring out what Klopp, Nagelsmann and those guys do with their attacking fullbacks.

        The USMNT has more “winger” options who are worth a damn than they have right back options.

        No sense “strengthening” right wing by weakening right fullback.

    • I think before he moved up to U17s he was winger but there’s no records of games at that age level. I know it says that in his Wikipedia page but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
      As good as the triangles that Dest, Musah, and Weah were making against CR I think it would be silly to change that if we don’t have too.


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