Top Stories

Americans Abroad Player of the Week: Weston McKennie


Weston McKennie and Juventus both were in need of good performances after recent struggles, and the American midfielder delivered, helping the Italian giants to a much-needed win.

McKennie helped set up Juventus second goal in a 3-0 victory over Bologna on Sunday, delivering a solid all-around game to go with his first assist of the Serie A season. The 24-year-old earned SBI’s Americans Abroad Player of the Week honors for his outing.

McKennie’s dangerous cross from the right wing was headed home by Dusan Vlahovic, doubling Juventus’ advantage at the Allianz Stadium. McKennie finished the match with three duels won, four recoveries, and one shot on goal.

McKennie’s fourth-straight start for Juventus came at a crucial time of the season as the Old Lady prepares to resume UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday. The Italian club sits seventh in the Serie A table through eight matches played and will also try to propel itself up the table during a busy October schedule.

Here is a look at some of the other top Americans Abroad performers from the past week:

Ricardo Pepi

Ricardo Pepi’s strong run of form continued for FC Groningen over the weekend with the American striker netting his second goal of the Eredivisie season.

Pepi’s goal came in the 42nd minute of Groningen’s 4-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar, the lone bright spot for Frank Vormuth’s squad. The 19-year-old picked up possession inside of the Alkmaar 18-yard box, before circling in the box and sending a shot into the roof of the net. Pepi also won two duels, made one tackle, and created one chance, totaling 81 minutes from his forward position.

He now has two goals and one assist in his last three league appearances.

Mark McKenzie

Genk’s current unbeaten run in Pro League action was extended to nine matches on Saturday with USMNT defender Mark McKenzie keeping the club within the top-two of the league table

McKenzie earned his seventh-consecutive start as Genk defeated Oostende 2-1 away from home, remaining two points back of league-leaders Royal Antwerp. The 23-year-old won six of his 11 duels, made two blocks, one interception, and logged a 93% passing completion rate.

After totaling 76 minutes during the USMNT’s September window, McKenzie will be pushing to stay healthy and high on confidence ahead of the World Cup.

Julian Green

Greuther Furth continued league action on Saturday with American midfielder Julian Green delivering his second goal of the 2. Bundesliga campaign.

Green’s header in the 48th minute helped Furth equalize in a 1-1 draw with Sandhausen, moving them to eight points this season. The veteran midfielder has made back-to-back starts Marc Schneider’s squad, fighting to remain a consistent starting XI player through the busy first-half schedule.

Green now has two goals and one assist in league action for 17th placed Furth.

Jeffrey Gal

Jeffrey Gal started the Allsvenskan season as Degerfors No. 2 goalkeeper, but following an injury to Alfie Whiteman, the 29-year-old has gelled right into the first-team mix.

Gal made two saves on Saturday as Degerfors defeated Djurgarden 3-0 at home, moving to 14th place in the league table. He has made back-to-back starts for the club and proved he can deliver some key saves with Whiteman’s status undetermined for the near future.

Upcoming tests against Sirius and Elfsborg won’t be easy for Gal and Degerfors though, especially with both sitting ahead of them in the Allsvenskan standings.

What did you think of the top Americans Abroad performances this past week? Who impressed you the most? Who didn’t make the list that you feel deserved a mention?

Share your thoughts below.



    I wanted to giving Pepi some flack about the league ( lack of tough defenses in the Eredivisie) but then you look at the way he scored…..”creating something out of nothing” goal….the fight….the never give up attitude…..awesome!!!

    I don’t know how the rest of the game went but scoring a lone goal, in the fighting fashion he did….is the kind of mental toughness and never-say-die attitude we need on the USMNT

    • Thanks for this, agree love the way he battled for that one. I feel like with 26 roster spots, there is enough room to bring all 4 of Ferreira, Pepi, Sargent, Pefok. Especially with it being our obvious weak spot. Especially with Sargent able to provide cover on the right wing also. If it means leaving off Morris or Arriola to me it’s worth it.

  2. Say this I like the form Pepi is getting into, but with that being said he is playing in a two striker formation like Pefok. I do think if Pepi keeps up this form he may very well pip Ferreira to the starter job at the WC. No I don’t have Sargent as a starter.

    • Groningen kind of switches around sometimes 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 I haven’t followed them enough to know if they changed based on their own players or if it’s based on the talents and tactics of the opponents.

    • Pepi & Sargent both have been cold for so long that it’s hard to believe that Gregg will give either of them the starting nod. After the abysmal performances of all USMNT players in the last international window, no-one should be inked into the starting XI. Gregg may even have to rethink his formation & tactics to get players into positions where they’d be comfortable and be able to play to their strengths.
      Almost since the beginning I thought our player pool was more suited to play a
      4-2-3-1 formation than the 4-3-3 Gregg has traditionally used. It would provide coverage for the weakness of our CB’s while providing more attacking freedom to our outside backs. I could also see using a diamond 4-4-2…but it doesn’t provide as much cover for the CB’s as I think we need…especially if Gregg continues to use Zimmerman & Long together.


Leave a Comment