Swiss Pro League side Young Boys is in an unfamiliar situation after winning the last four league titles, but David Wagner will turn to fellow American Jordan Pefok to spark a surge up the table to kick off the second half of the season.
Young Boys sit in third place behind leaders FC Zurich and Basel through 18 matches played, knowing improvement is needed to claim a fifth-straight league crown. Pefok has excelled for Young Boys this season, scoring 11 goals in league play, which is good for a spot in the top three for the Golden Boot award. The U.S. men’s national team striker will feel frustrated he wasn’t included for the winter slate of World Cup Qualifiying, but can use the next month to boost his chances for involvement in March.
Pefok has had much success against Saturday’s opponent Lugano, scoring five goals in his last two meetings against them, including a four-goal outing back in mid-December. After slipping off the pace in the first half of the season, Young Boys will hope for a dominant start to the second half of the season this weekend.
In Brazil, Johnny Cardoso and Internacional resume their domestic schedule with a showdown against Union Frederiquense.
In England, Tim Ream and Duane Holmes headline the contingent in the English Football League Championship with both Fulham and Huddersfield looking to stay in the hunt for promotion.
In France, Nicholas Gioacchini and Montpellier face a stern test against Marseille as both clubs aim to advance in the Coupe De France.
In Scotland, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Ian Harkes will go head-to-head as Celtic hosts Dundee United. James Sands and Chris Mueller will also be in action for their respective clubs.
Here is a closer look at this week’s Americans Abroad:
Duane Holmes and Huddersfield host Stoke City on Friday.
Tim Ream and Fulham host Blackpool on Saturday.
Matthew Olosunde and Preston North End host Bristol City on Saturday.
Ethan Horvath and Nottingham Forest visit Cardiff City on Sunday.
Daryl Dike is OUT (Injury) for West Bromwich Albion.
Lynden Gooch and Sunderland visit Marlon Fossey and Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
Tobin Heath and Arsenal host London City Lionesses on Sunday.
Johan Gomez and FSV Zwickau visit Bryang Kayo and Viktoria Berlin on Saturday.
Terrence Boyd and FC Kaiserslutern host Hallescher FC on Saturday.
COUPE DE FRANCE
Nicholas Gioacchini and Montpellier visit Konrad De La Fuente and Marseille on Saturday.
LA LIGA 2
Shaq Moore, Samuel Shashoua and Tenerife visit Ponferradina on Sunday.
Cameron Carter-Vickers and Celtic host Ian Harkes and Dundee United on Saturday.
Christian Ramirez and Aberdeen host St. Johnstone on Saturday.
James Sands and Rangers visit Ross County on Saturday.
Chris Mueller and Hibernian host Sebastian Soto and Livingston on Saturday.
Sam Vines and Royal Antwerp visit Gent on Sunday.
Chris Durkin and Sint-Truiden host Sporting Charleroi on Friday.
Kyle Duncan and Oostende visit Cercle Brugge on Saturday.
Bryan Reynolds and Kortrijk host Owen Otasowie and Club Brugge on Sunday.
Jordan Pefok, David Wagner and Young Boys host Lugano on Saturday.
Henry Wingo and Ferencvaros visit Ujpest on Sunday.
Johnny Cardoso and Internacional host Uniao Frederiquense on Saturday.