This was a heck of a weekend in European football, and the USMNT players abroad played their parts well.
Also a heck of a weekend for Borussias (Borussium? Plural police?), but that’s nothing compared to the vibes in Berlin.
Union Berlin remains first in the Bundesliga as USMNT man Jordan Pefok continues his dynamic duo with Sheraldo Becker.
Borussia Dortmund won a derby and sits first after Bayern Munich suffered a surprise loss.
Borussia Monchengladbach thumped RB Leipzig to move back within shouting distance of the top of the table.
Over in La Liga, Robert Lewandowski proved his shooting boots are still fine while the latest Barcelona teen to raise eyebrows picked up two assists.
Serie A saw another loss for Juventus, whose last season swoon might’ve been a harbinger of what’s to come for Weston McKennie and Co.
And Ricardo Pepi had a little more pep in his step after being called up to USMNT camp and bagged his first Eredivisie goal.
Bundesliga: USMNT youngsters play roles in major wins; Bayern loses
Giovanni Reyna in a Revierderby. Joe Scally In a top-four tilt (most years) versus RB Leipzig. Jordan Pefok (Siebatcheu) keeeping Union Berlin in first!!!!!?!?!?!?!111
Oooh, this is why we like our best and brightest sliding into historic club.
Reyna again had to come off the bench for injured Marco Reus, the latter part being a disheartening trend and a possibly World Cup-ending injury for the BVB bright light, but Borussia Dortmund won the first Revierderby in a few seasons by a 1-0 score at home to Schalke.
Reyna entered in the 32nd minute and went 52 minutes before Thorgan Hazard brought a more veteran presence to the field with BVB in the lead with six minutes to play at the Westfalenstadion.
He finished with a key passes, two completed dribbles, and two shots (neither was on target).
As for Scally, Borussia Monchengladbach seized a bit of momentum by putting a 3-0 beating on Leipzig. The right back won 7-of-10 duels and drew two fouls while registering a key pass
By the way, Bayern lost to Augsburg despite Manuel Neuer’s best efforts.
And Union Berlin won again, with uncalled USMNT striker Jordan Pefok continuing his electric introduction to the Bundesliga and an incredible partnership with Union forward Sheraldo Becker.
Becker had a goal and an assist in Union’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg, registering five shots and two key passes in a performance that would raise the eyebrows of any national team boss (though maybe any says too much, as Pefok’s only played 30 minutes for Gregg Berhalter since Sept. 9, 2021.
In a nice addition, Wolfsburg deployed 19-year-old American left back Kevin Paredes for the final 11 minutes. The diminutive DC United product has made three first-team appearances this young season.
Union sits first with 17 points, two ahead of Dortmund, and four clear of Freiburg. Bayern, Hoffenheim, and Gladbach follow with 12 each.
6 goals+assists in 6 Bundesliga games for Jordan Pefok.
Not sure how you don’t take him to Qatar if he keeps this up…pic.twitter.com/asEJtTy41z
— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) September 18, 2022
Serie A: What?!? 10-man Juventus loses at Monza
What’s more surprising:
- Monza has its first Serie A win after entering the game with a minus-11 goal differential through six outings
- Juventus has just two points and sits eighth going into the international break?
An early Angel Di Maria red card put Weston McKennie and Juve behind the 8-ball away from home but surely winless Monza’s only hope was a point, yes?
Outshot 17-10, Juve’s attack struggled despite McKennie’s best effort. The USMNT man was pretty good and registered two key passes in the loss.
La Liga: Lewandowski shines with latest Barcelona teenager
Robert Lewandowski is going to get a whole ton of headlines after bagging a pair of goals in La Liga following his chance-frittering day against former club Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.
But look at Xavi doing Barca things, bringing a teenage-year-old left back into the fold for a two-assist day in a 3-0 win over 10-man Elche.
Balde turns 19 next month and has made a handful of senior appearances in each of the last two seasons, but appearance No. 6 was a magic one on Saturday (video below).
La Masi-you later!
Elsewhere in La Liga, USMNT man Yunus Musah remained out through injury for Valencia and that meant we did not have USMNT vs USMNT when Luca de la Torre came off Celta Vigo’s bench late in Valencia’s 3-0 win.
Robert Lewandowski gives Barcelona the lead 👏 pic.twitter.com/lDOy4y1KtI
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 17, 2022
Americans Abroad: Ricardo Pepi scores first Eredivisie goal
Even as Augsburg scores a historic win over Bayern Munich, Ricardo Pepi is enjoying life on loan from the Bundesliga set.
Called up to the USMNT for friendlies versus Japan and Saudi Arabia later this month while in-form Union Berlin striker Jordan Pefok was not, his form is clearly joining his national team stock while on loan in the Netherlands.
An assist on debut in a draw versus Cambuur was nice and now the lone Groningen goal in a 2-1 loss to Sparta Rotterdam gave him goal contributions in consecutive games.
Look out Saudi Arabia and Japan? Look out Wales? Here’s where I embed the video at top of my questioning Pefok’s omission and Pepi’s inclusion. Because honesty is good.
Really classy header here:
RICARDO PEPI GOAL 🇺🇸 The 19-year-old from El Paso opens his FC Groningen account with this header in his very first start for the team. This comes just days after being called up to the USMNT’s latest camp. What a week he is having. ❤️🙌🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/SQYhADfJat
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) September 17, 2022