Hallelujah, footy is back. After...*checks notes*...basically a 7 day break. The "Summer of Soccer" was a huge success all around, especially for the US Men's National Team. But there's no time to bask in the glory that was winning two trophies in 2021. The Premier League, La Liga, and the Bundesliga open play this weekend, joining Ligue 1 which started last week, and plenty of Americans will be in action. All of them looking to get off to a good start with World Cup Qualifying set to begin less than a month from now.
Here are some of the top USMNT players who could be on the pitch this weekend in Europe, and how to watch:
The La Liga opener features one of my favorite USMNT players in Yunus Musah. The versatile midfielder/winger will look to continue his good run of form from last season, which saw him play in 32 of the 38 league games in his first season at Valencia. It will be interesting to see where Musah is deployed, right wing or in central midfield. He will provide those same options for the national team, but USA manager Gregg Berhalter has preferred to have the Arsenal youth academy product in the midfield.
The grizzled veteran of the USMNT backline, at just 28 years old, John Brooks is set to begin his 9th season in Bundesliga. It's his 5th season with Wolfsburg and he's become a regular in the starting eleven. Although he has shown some inconsistencies, he's the most reliable center back in the American player pool and he'll be looking to get off to a good start to the season after finishing 7th in the table last season.
What a summer for the face of American Soccer. Becomes the first American to win the Champions League, followed by an international trophy, winning the Concacaf Nations League with USA in that ridiculous extra-time final against Mexico. Christian Pulisic opens his season with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge against Crystal Palace, and may definitely be in the starting lineup following the injury to Hakim Ziyech in the Supercup on Wednesday, which saw Pulisic get subbed on in the first half.
Tim Weah and the current Ligue 1 and French Super Cup Champs Lille, play their second game of the season following a 3-3 draw at Metz in the opening weekend. The American has come on as a substitute for Canadian striker Jonathan David in the second halves of both the league opener and the French Super Cup.
After completing his move from relegated German side Werder Bremen, it may be too soon for Josh Sargent to feature for his Premier League debut this weekend against Liverpool. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on with Norwich struggling with some injury and Covid related issues. This is a very important season for the 21 year old, as he looks to lock in a spot at his new club and the USMNT.
The exciting 18 year old Gio Reyna enters another year with Borussia Dortmund with confidence and with an international trophy. It was a spectacular last season for the son of USMNT legend Claudio Reyna. The chemistry with the star of the team Erling Haaland seems to be there and that can only help. More importantly, even with new manager Marco Rose now in charge, he seems to have the belief of the coaching staff and the club, and looks poised to be selected week in, week out, in the very demanding Bundesliga.
It's a new look Barcelona, with the obvious absence of club legend Lionel Messi. (It will never not be odd to see him in a PSG jersey) Sergino Dest recently spoke about how "weird" it is without Messi at the club and he added, "He's the best player in the world. It was a shock for everyone -- we wish he could have stayed. Unfortunately, he couldn't." Still it was a good opportunity for the USMNT fullback to have that experience playing with someone like Messi. This is an important season in which Dest has the opportunity to prove himself even more at one of the biggest clubs in the world. (Even while in a financial crisis) And he gets to open the season with the first La Liga game ever on ABC.
The possible future captain of the USMNT Tyler Adams opens his Bundesliga season with a new and familiar coach. American Jesse Marsch makes his debut as RB Leipzig manager this weekend, making this his 3rd stop under the Red Bull organization. The former New York Red Bulls and RB Salzburg boss has stated that despite Adams playing several positions during his time at Leipzig, that he will play almost exclusively in the holding/defensive midfielder role, which is music to USMNT ears, as he's viewed as a starter at that position for the national team.
The 20 year old made an excellent Ligue 1 debut with his new club Marseille, in last weekend's 3-2 opening win against Montpelier, in which he recorded an assist. His quality is there and he is going to get opportunities following his move from Barcelona. De la Fuente is one to watch all season, as the USMNT search for more depth at the winger position.
We'll have a wrap up of this weekends action on Monday as well as a look at the MLS national team players. Raise a glass and enjoy a soccer filled weekend!