Soccer

USMNT Stock Watch: Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Konrad de la Fuente off to fast starts in Europe

The European season started off with a bang for a good amount of Americans with the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga beginning last weekend. Now more than ever, Americans are playing pivotal roles and some of the world’s most important clubs, while others are looking to make a name for themselves and bring lesser-known clubs into the spotlight. But who were the Americans that helped themselves the most this past weekend? Here’s a look at the ranked:

1) Konrad de la Fuente, Marseille

The former Barcelona man and Miami native is really fitting in nicely at Marseille in his first season at the club. Through two matches, he’s earned starts under Jorge Sampaoli and has paid the manager back with some fine performances. After getting an assist on the opening day, he was again lively in this past weekend’s 2-2 draw with Bordeaux, helping set up a goal. His passing his been instrumental, he leads the squad in expected assists (a metric which measures the likelihood of all passes becoming assists) with 0.48. He also did everything he could to win a penalty kick with a fine run in the box before being taken down, but shockingly the referee and VAR did not award it. 

The fact that he has come in and earned a start spot in a great sign, and he’ll continue to if he keeps up this level of play. 

2) Gio Reyna, Borussia Dortmund

Jadon Sancho’s move to Manchester United could be key to Gio Reyna’s development. With more minutes available in attack now, expect him to continue to play. So far, it’s been at a high level. Reyna got a goal in the 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt this past weekend and continues to impress. New manager Marco Rose has continued to work on Gio’s defensive side, but he’s got things going in attack, forming quite the bond with superstar striker Erling Haaland. Here’s the goal:

We may just see Reyna again on Tuesday when Dortmund face Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup.

3) Christian Pulisic, Chelsea

Pulisic started Chelsea’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace and is off the mark with his first goal of the season. An attentive finish on a lose ball in front of goal, Pulisic was the only attacker for the Blues to find the net in a 3-0 win. Here’s the goal:

Him scoring isn’t a surprise any more for the Blues, but it’s good to see so early on in the season. With the reigning Champions League winners having even higher expectations this season, it will be intriguing to see how his minutes look going forward with the acquisition of Romelu Lukaku at striker. Having the Belgian could mean Timo Werner moves to winger, so Pulisic could find minutes harder to come by soon. And during the preseason he was deployed more frequently at wing back in what could be a sign of things to come. But, after getting a goal here, another start is certainly deserved. So we can all expect him not to start again until after the international break … 

Honorable mentions

Tanner Tessmann, Venezia: Tessmann made his debut for Italian club Venezia as a substitute on Sunday in the Coppa Italia (you can find all the Coppa Italia matches, as well as Serie A matches exclusively on Paramount+). Venezia beat Frosinone in penalty kicks, with the former FC Dallas man missing his. While he will be upset about missing from the spot, getting some minutes is encouraging.

Josh Sargent, Norwich City: Sargent didn’t do a whole lot on Saturday in his Norwich City debut as the Canaries lost to Liverpool, but there were some positives. He looked energetic as usual, got back and defended, and let’s be honest, getting minutes less than a week after arriving is a good sign. We’ll have to see if he features this weekend against Manchester City.



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