Ligue 1

USMNT, European review: Pepi stars on debut; great weekend for Belgian contingent

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USMNT players are in action across Europe this weekend but it was a disappointing few days for Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah and their respective teams.

On a more positive note, in the Netherlands Ricardo Pepi grabbed a debut assist, while Mark McKenzie, Sam Vines and Bryan Reynolds all got wins in Belgium’s top-flight.

[ MORE: Global soccer scoreboard ]

With the 2022 World Cup fast approaching (just over two months to go, everyone), the scramble for spots in Gregg Berhalter’s squad is well and truly on and that is leading to some really good performance from USMNT youngsters all across Europe.

From Germany to Italy and Spain to Turkey, there is a lot going on with these American talents.

[ MORE: USMNT player pool rankings ]

Below is a look at how things are going for the USMNT players in Europe, plus a general roundup up of the top-flight leagues they’re playing in.


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
Group stage game kick off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
Location: Qatar
TV channel in English: Fox
TV channel in Spanish: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock


Yunus Musah plays 90 but Valencia stumble

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

After grabbing two assists in the win against Getafe last week, U.S. midfielder Yunus Musah started but couldn’t stop Valencia losing 2-1 at Rayo Vallecano. Musah was his typical self, buzzing around and making forward runs to try and help get Valencia back in the game. His cross led to a huge chance early in the second half but Nico Gonzalez couldn’t convert and moments later scored an own goal to seal the win for Rayo. Musah, still just 19, was booked in the second half and played the full 90 minutes. Valencia have lost three of their first five games in La Liga and Musah has started all five and played the full 90 in four games.


Gio Reyna, Dortmund lose at Leipzig; Bayern’s record-breaker

[ MORE: Bundesliga scores, schedule

Marco Rose got off to the perfect start as RB Leipzig’s new manager, as he saw his new side thump his former side Borussia Dortmund 3-0. Two first half goals from Willi Orban and a stunner from Dominik Szoboszlai put Leipzig in a commanding position as substitute Amadou Haidara scored a late goal to clinch it. USMNT attacking midfielder Gio Reyna, 19, came on in the second half as he continues his recovery from long-term injury issues. Reyna (who grabbed two assists in their midweek Champions League win) was subbed on in the 59th minute and had a shot blocked and tried to get his side going, but they finished the day with zero shots on goal. Not great.

Elsewhere in Germany’s top-flight, Mathys Tel made Bayern history as the 17-year-old made his first Bundesliga start against Stuttgart and became their youngest-ever goalscorer in the Bundesliga. He also became the fourth-youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history. What a moment. Bayern did cough up a stoppage time equlalizer, though, as Matthijs de Ligt gave away a penalty kick and Stuttgart snatched the 2-2 draw. Bayern have won three and drawn three of their opening six games this season.


Pefok misses PK, McKennie starts in draw; Dest, De La Torre unused subs

Jordan Pefok missed a first half penalty kick but he continues to help Union Berlin as they secured a 1-0 win against FC Cologne and they sit top of the Bundesliga table on 14 points after six games. With Union already 1-0 up, Pefok hit his penalty kick straight at goalkeeper Marvin Schwabe in the 10th minute. It was a very poor penalty kick. Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Joe Scally started at right back and played the full 90 as Borussia Monchengladbach drew 0-0 at second-place SC Freiburg.

In Serie A, Weston McKennie started and played 85 minutes for Juventus who were 2-0 down at home to Salernitana but Juve fought back to make it 2-2 in the 93rd minute. They thought they had won it when Arkadiusz Milik scored late on but the goal was chalked off by VAR and Milik was then sent off as he was shown a second yellow card for taking his shirt off in celebration. Oh dear. Juve sit in 8th place on 10 points, while Napoli, Atalanta and AC Milan all have 14 points atop the table. Speaking of AC Milan, Sergino Dest was an unused sub as 10-man Milan battled to a 2-1 win at Sampdoria, as Olivier Giroud was the hero for the reigning champs.

In La Liga, midfielder Luca de la Torre, 24, was an unused sub as Celta Vigo were smashed 4-1 by Atletico Madrid. Their crosstown rivals Real Madrid continue to set the early-season pace as they roared back from 1-0 down at home to Real Mallorca and won 4-1 thanks to a stunner from Federico Valverde, plus a Vinicius Jr go-ahead goal and goals from Rodrygo and Antonio Rudiger. Barcelona also continued their fine start to the new season as they won 4-0 at Cadiz and sit in second-place, two points behind Real Madrid.


Wrapping up the best of the rest

Bryan Reynolds started and played the full 90 at right back for Westerlo as they beat Belgian giants Anderlecht 1-0, while elsewhere in Belgium Sam Vines played the full 90 at left back as Royal Antwerp won 2-0 against Cercle Brugge to remain perfect at the top of the table with eight wins from eight this season. Staying in Belgium’s top-flight, center back Mark McKenzie put in another fine display as Genk won 2-1 at Union Saint-Gilloise.

Across the border in the Netherlands, Ricardo Pepi marked his first appearance for new club Groningen with an assist on their winning goal against Cambuur. The FC Dallas product left Augsburg on a season-long loan to Groningen and it looks like the striker may get on pretty well in the Eredivisie. Coming on as a half time sub, Pepi set up the winner with 20 minutes to go as he won the ball back and set up a counter.

In Greece, Konrad de la Fuente came on as a second half sub for Olympiacos as they drew at home to Volos and sit in second place in the table. While in Turkey, Haji Wright started up top and played the full 90 minutes for Antalyaspor but they lost 1-0 at Kayserispor. Finally, in Portugal Reggie Cannon started but was subbed off at half time as Boavista came from behind to win 2-1 at Arouca. Benfica lead the way in Portugal’s top-flight with six wins from six to start the season.


Tottenham vs Marseille: Richarlison bags late brace, Spurs win in UCL return (video)

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Tottenham vs Marseille recap: Spurs left it rather late before Richarlison scored two goals in three minutes to make it a successful UEFA Champions League return in north London.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

The Brazilian, making his own Champions League debut from the start on Wednesday, was yet to score a goal since moving to Tottenham for $73 million this summer, though he had positively impacted the side in every other conceivable way. The fans had long since taken kindly to him. All that was missing was the goals, but no more.

It was anything but pretty — at times, it was a downright slog from a Tottenham perspective — but they were rock solid defensively (outside of a wobbly period midway through the first half), and the result felt inevitable when Chancel Mbemba was sent off for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity in the 47th minute. Still, Tottenham needed another 29 minutes, but the patience and self-belief which Antonio Conte has instilled in his side is paying dividends.


What we learned from Tottenham vs Marseille

Slow starts becoming the norm for Spurs

The line between Tottenham looking awful and performing exactly as Conte wants has become so thin that it’s not quite clear it still exists. It’s clear that Conte’s top priority every game is to limit his side’s exposure to truly dangerous scoring chances. On one hand, Spurs have done exactly that this season (0.92 xG against per game, 3rd-lowest in the Premier League). On the other hand, it’s been anything but champagne football and abundant scoring chances at the other end of the field.

The pattern of allowing inferior teams to hang around too closely for too long, only to (usually) eek out the right result in the end, will eventually come back to bite them. They’ll drop points against a mid-table side when they’re just in range of keeping pace for the title, or they’ll lose 1-0 to a relegation-threatened side whose only chance comes on a penalty after the ball was kicked directly at a defender’s arm. More than it’s classic Spurs, it’s classic “club pressing up against the glass ceiling, ultimately unable to break through.”

It’s easy to see that the Tottenham squad has the mental strength to battle all the way to the final whistle, but it’s not entirely clear why they feel they must do so every game.

 

Follow @AndyEdMLS


How to watch Tottenham vs Marseille live and start time

Date: Wednesday, September 7
Kick off time: 3pm ET
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+


Key storylines

This will be Tottenham’s first UCL match since bowing out to RB Leipzig in the 2019-20 tournament. Since then, Spurs went to the Europa League Round of 16 and bowed out of the Europa Conference League in the group stage.


The lowdown on Marseille

Marseille qualified via a second-place finish in Ligue 1, 15 points behind Paris Saint-Germain and two clear of third-place AS Monaco. Les Phocéens are off to a brilliant start this season, with five wins and a draw to match PSG. The club is owner by former Los Angeles Dodgers boss Frank McCourt and is loaded with names familiar to the Premier League: Eric Bailly, Alexis Sanchez, Nuno Tavares, Dimitri Payet, and Matteo Guendouzi amongst others. Marseille will likely play a 3-4-2-1 formation.


Tottenham Hotspur team news, injuries, lineup

Spurs’ lone injury concerns are Lucas Moura, who is out, and Bryan Gil, who is training again.

USMNT, European review: Messi still Messi, Sargent shines again

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It wasn’t simply a great weekend for Leeds’ USMNT trio of Jesse Marsch, Tyler Adams, and Brenden Aaronson, but for others in the USMNT as well, and that’s where we’ll begin our review of Americans in the top tier of European football and the title races within those leagues.

A couple of USMNT strikers in Europe, Jordan Pefok of Union Berlin and Josh Sargent of Norwich City, made their cases for the World Cup roster with goal contributions.

[ MAJOR ‘LEEDS’ SOCCER: Aaronson post-match reaction | Marsch interview ]

Sargent scored a brace in a nice win for the Canaries when Norwich City beat Millwall 2-0 to join the Lions with a 2W-1D-2L record.

Sargent, 22, started over Teemu Pukki and built off the goal he scored against Huddersfield Town in Norwich’s first win of the Championship season. He is feeling good about his play up top.

“I naturally press the goalkeeper, it’s something I have inside of me,” Sargent said. “I’m hungry for the ball, so I like pressing. Huge credit tonight as well to Dowell and Nunez, they have great vision with the ball and put me in great positions to be able to finish them.”

Norwich gets Bournemouth next in a League Cup match, and Sargent’s role there will be worth watching, as will the USMNT players and European leagues we monitored this weekend. Dig into that, below.

[ MORE: 10 things we learned in the Premier League’s Week 3 ]


Ligue 1: Messi, Mbappe and PSG preen; Balogun scores for Reims

Talk about a message-sending win: Paris Saint-Germain smashed Lille, scoring in the first minute and four times before halftime of a rout. Lionel Messi assisted Kylian Mbappe’s opener and then scored in the 28th minute before Achraf Hakimi and Neymar got in on the action. Mbappe finished with a hat trick and an assist while Neymar finished with a brace and two assists in the 7-1 win.

Lille’s USMNT forward Timothy Weah missed the game through injury as PSG improved to a perfect 3-0 on the season. Elsewhere, USMNT eligible English youth international Folarin Balogun scored for Reims on loan from Arsenal, while Erik Palmer-Brown and Troyes were thrashed by Lyon.

La Liga: Villarreal, Real Madrid lead the way; Musah starts, sees yellow

There are still several 2-0 teams in La Liga and could be more before the end of the match week, but as of kickoff there are two who have really caught the eye. Villarreal improved to 2-0 by beating Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, while Real Madrid clobbered Celta Vigo 4-1 away.

As for USMNT players in Spain, Yunus Musah had a solid game in a 1-0 Valencia loss at Athletic Bilbao but was on a yellow card had to be withdrawn with a half-hour to play. Luca de la Torre had a decent, very short cameo in Celta Vigo’s 4-1 loss to Real Madrid. Sergino Dest wasn’t even in Xavi’s 23-man matchday squad vs Real Sociedad.

Bundesliga: Bayern scores 7 as the lone perfect side; Scally second

Bayern Munich scored seven goals for Julian Nagelsmann to give it 15 goals to go with a lone concession, a big win over Bochum leaving it the only 3-0 team in the German top flight.

There are USMNT players on two of the three teams to sit tied for second with seven points. We detailed Jordan Pefok’s Union Berlin heroics on Saturday — his goal and assist led Union — and Joe Scally went 90 minutes as Daniel Farke’s Gladbach improved to 2W-1D on the young season with a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin. Ricardo Pepi was a sub in Augsburg’s loss at Mainz.

PSG sacks coach Pochettino, hire ex-Lille manager Galtier

PSG
Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images
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PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked with Christophe Galtier confirmed as the new coach on Tuesday.

Pochettino had one year left on his contract and is the fourth straight coach to be fired by PSG.

VIDEO: Transfer chat: USMNT players potentially on the move this summer ] 

“Paris Saint-Germain confirms it has ended its collaboration with Mauricio Pochettino,” the club said in a statement. “The club wishes to thank Mauricio Pochettino and his staff for their work and wish them the best for the future.”

Pochettino won the French league but ultimately paid the price for the club’s humiliating exit from the Champions League to Real Madrid in the round of 16. PSG led 2-0 on aggregate and conceded three goals inside 20 minutes.

Galtier led Lille to the French title in 2021 and joined Nice last season, finishing fifth but knocking PSG out of the French Cup.

Fans invade pitch, throw flares as French giants Saint-Etienne relegated (video)

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SAINT-ETIENNE, France — Angry fans invaded the pitch and set off flares as Saint-Etienne, one of the most storied soccer teams in France, was relegated from the top tier on Sunday after losing 5-4 on penalty kicks to Auxerre in their promotion-relegation playoff.

[ MORE: Ligue 1 scores, table

The second-leg game was 1-1 after 90 minutes with no goals added in extra time at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. That left the aggregate score at 2-2 after the sides also drew 1-1 in the first leg.

Saint-Etienne fans invaded the field immediately after the last penalty kick with flares being set off. Players from both teams rushed into the locker room as fans ran across the pitch.

L’Equipe newspaper said the supporters were then dispersed by police. No injuries were immediately reported.


Video of fans invading pitch, throwing flares in protest of relegation


How were Saint-Etienne relegated?

Auxerre went ahead early in the second half Sunday with a goal from Hamza Sakhi before Mahdi Camara got Saint-Etienne’s equalizer. In the shootout, Ryad Boudebouz missed a penalty for Saint-Etienne as Auxerre clinched its place next season in Ligue 1.

Auxerre goalkeeper Donovan Leon delivered a stellar performance. He denied Boudebouz’s effort in the shootout and made a total of eight saves

“I was there when we were demoted in 2012,” Leon said. “Nobody believed in us in this playoff, it was really tough but we managed to go up.”

Saint-Etienne, which owns a record-tying 10 league titles, hosted the second leg as coach Pascal Dupraz’s side unsuccessfully fought relegation after finishing 18th in the French league. It last played in the second tier in the 2004-05 season.

“We will in a while announce important news concerning the future of the club and our own,” said Saint-Etienne shareholders Bernard Caiazzo and Roland Romeyer in a statement published just after the game.


How big of a deal is this?

Saint-Etienne dominated the league during the 1960s and ’70s. A city with a strong industrial past, Saint-Etienne lost its past luster in the wake of a financial scandal that rocked the club in the 1980s, but the passion for soccer remains intact.

In addition to the grim picture on the field, the club is also going through financial difficulties that have deteriorated during the pandemic and the French soccer TV deal crisis. The club is officially on sale.

Auxerre finished third in the second division. The victory ended its decade-long absence from the top tier.