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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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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