DIE AMERIKANER

4 American players to watch in the Bundesliga

Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images.

With a return to Bundesliga play so highly anticipated, I thought it might be time to re-visit those Americans that are playing in Germany.

German clubs have taken a large interest in economically viable U.S. players who are coachable, versatile and have a high work ethic. These qualities, along with an ability to adapt in the high pressure league, have increased German interest in the American player and I profile some of the younger players below.

For those new to the Bundesliga, and looking to take a rooting interest, any one of these players might move you towards a specific team:

Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig)

Adams rise has been remarkable.

In five years, after signing as a pro at 16 with the New York Red Bulls, he is playing in one of the top three leagues in the world. Sadly, injuries have robbed him of much consistency starting this season – with groin and calf problems – but his is fully fit now.

He is an "all action" midfielder that is mature "beyond his years" and highly positive at 21 years of age. The ability to move into different positions make him coveted and his pressing style fits perfectly, tactically at his German club who play a high energy, adrenalized style of play.

He has played a part in the UEFA Champions League debuting in their win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Adams is among other youthful players as the future of the U.S. national team and I can attest to his maturity having had him on my radio show a few times and interviewing him. [INTERVIEW]

Adams is studying psychology at an online university and has donated money to charity to help fight the Coronavirus.

Weston McKennie (Schalke 04)

How about a Texan at Schalke? His story is legendary as he would play soccer and American football as a youth in the same day growing up in Texas.

McKennie is in his third season at only 21 years of age at Schalke and is a starter. Schalke are pushing for a Champions League place heading into the re-start of the Bundesliga in 6th place.

McKennie rejected a contract from FC Dallas and headed to Germany in 2016. It took him only a year to jump from the Schalke Academy team to the first team.

He is a U.S. international and a similar to Adams in that his work ethic and versatility is coveted. His coach at Schalke is former U.S. international David Wagner, who has mentioned that the "box to box" midfielder can be one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga.

He does pop up with the odd goal now and then.

Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)

The 20 yr old red-headed striker from O'Fallon, Missouri is another that U.S. fans are pulling for to continue to rise in the future.

He joined Werder Bremen on his 18th birthday, per FIFA Rules. He has 3 goals and 2 assists, starting nine times and appearing in 18 matches.

Sargent has a strong tactical acumen for a young man who is playing in one of the top leagues in the world. He gives you the feel of a more traditional center forward.

He scored on only his second ever Bundesliga start with that memorable "flick and finish" against Augsburg. His challenge for playing time increased in the "cutthroat" Bundesliga, with the arrival of Davie Selke in the winter on loan from Hertha Berlin.

Sargent was added by current Houston Dynamo coach Tab Ramos to the U.S. Under-17 and U.S. U-20 FIFA World Cup roster, where he banged in lots of goals. Ultimately, he would be added in the same calendar year representing the U.S. in the U-20 FIFA World Cup and then the senior national team (debut v. Bolivia), which was a first for an American player.

Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)

The son of former U.S. international and U.S. Soccer legend Claudio Reyna (the current Sporting Director at Austin FC) is only 17 years old and has appeared for Dortmund eight times. His father also played in the Bundesliga, for Wolfsburg and Leverkusen, and probably has a few bits of insight for his son.

Reyna will look to carry on the reputation of the American club at second place Dortmund after the bar was set by Christian Pulisic, who is now at Chelsea.

After time in the U-19 Dortmund side, he was quickly accelerated to the full team during the winter break. The rise remarkable at a club of this stature.

"I want to make a bigger impact in the future and prove myself that I have more," says Reyna on the Bundesliga website. His memorable first senior goal came against Werder Bremen in the German Cup and was a curler that hit the upper corner, and he also had an assist in his Champions League debut against PSG.

An amazing story as the youngest American player in Bundesliga future. The dream continues.

...

I have profiled the obvious younger talent but let's not forget over 30 players from the U.S. ply their trade at different levels in Germany.

Others including John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Alfredo Morales Fortuna Dusseldorf, Zac Steffan (Fortuna Dusseldorf) that are all familiar to U.S. soccer fans.

These young players are forging their careers and futures and it will be exciting to track them in the future!

Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis airs weekly on ESPN 97.5 from 7-9 pm. All episodes are available on-demand at PodcastArena.com.

For additional soccer content, visit GlennDavisSoccer.com

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After splitting the first two games of the series, including the extra-inning affair on Saturday, the Astros looked to defeat the Angels on Saturday to secure the series win and leave Los Angeles with a winning record. On the mound were two pitchers looking to shrug off bad debuts to the season. Here is how the game went on Sunday afternoon:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 6, Angels 5.

Record: 5-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Blake Taylor (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jacob Barnes (0-2, 3.86 ERA).

James walks his way into trouble

After a disastrous start to his pitching season where he was unable to record an out, Shohei Ohtani was able to sit down the Astros 1-2-3 on just eight pitches in the top of the first. However, Houston would take advantage of his struggling command in the top of the second, working three straight walks to load the bases with no outs. They then would get two more walks with two outs to grab an early 2-0 lead and end Ohtani's day early yet again.

Meanwhile, on the mound for Houston was Josh James. He, too, allowed some walks but was able to work around them in the first two innings, erasing two in the bottom of the first and one in the second for two scoreless innings.

That changed in the third when he would walk the bases loaded with two outs before Albert Pujols continued his nearly twenty-year reign of being a thorn in Houston's side, hitting a grand slam, Los Angeles' first hit of the day, to put the Angels up 4-2. James would get the final out of the third, but that would conclude his day, making it two straight starts he would be unable to reach the fourth inning. His final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 4K, 1 HR.

Valdez impresses as Bregman makes it a one-run game in the seventh

Framber Valdez was first out of Houston' bullpen, likely to try and eat up several innings. He would accomplish that mission, getting through the next three innings scoreless, holding the 4-2 score. It remained locked on that score despite Houston getting runners on base in each of those innings, as they would struggle to turn players on base into runs yet again in this series.

Alex Bregman gave the Astros a spark in the top of the seventh, leading off the inning with a solo home run to straightaway center to make it a one-run game. Valdez returned for yet another inning, another scoreless frame to keep it 4-3 going to the eighth.

Reddick ties it in the ninth, Astros win in extras

Houston would threaten to tie in the top of the eighth, getting a pinch-hitting Carlos Correa to third base after a single to leadoff the inning, but would be unable to score him, leaving it at 4-3. Valdez would record another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Astros one more chance to tie or go ahead in the top of the ninth.

Michael Brantley led off the inning with a double and was pinch-run by Myles Straw, who would score the tying run on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, but the Angels would hold the Astros there. Valdez remained in the game trying to push extra innings and would do so, erasing a leadoff walk.

Kyle Tucker started the top of the tenth on second base and moved to third on a sac fly by Carlos Correa to start the inning before scoring on another sac fly, this time from pinch-hitting Garrett Stubbs to give Houston a 5-4 lead. Valdez, well above his comfortable pitch count, was still on the mound in the bottom of the tenth, and allowed his first run, though unearned, on a leadoff RBI-single to tie the game again at 5-5. He would get one more out before Houston moved to another reliever, bringing in Andre Scrubb.

After an intentional walk to Albert Pujols, Scrubb would walk the bases loaded before getting a popout, then Houston would turn to Blake Taylor. Taylor would come through, getting a big strikeout to send the game to the eleventh. Springer started on second in the top of the inning and would score and put the Astros back in front on a one-out RBI-single by Alex Bregman. In the bottom half, Taylor would get through the inning, giving Houston the win and series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off tomorrow before picking up a three-game set with the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Tuesday. The opening game of that series will be at 8:10 PM Central. While Arizona is expected to start Madison Bumgarner, the Astros will have to pivot as they had Framber Valdez slated for that start, who made a lengthy appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday.

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