The 2020/2021 European soccer season ushered in a new era for USMNT fans, a strong group of American players playing on some of the top teams in Europe. The unexpected transfer of Weston McKennie to Juventus seemed to be the icing on the cake for a fanbase starving to see their top players at the world’s elite level. The season started very promising with Giovanni Reyna playing set-up man and providing some goals for Borussia Dortmund, Christian Pulisic being one of Chelsea’s better players during a very down Frank Lampard era, or Weston McKennie scoring a spectacular Champions League goal for Juventus against Sergiño Dest’s Barcelona.
As the weeks progressed only McKennie seemed to truly maintain a consistent level of play for his club, while the other three have struggled to keep it consistent. True, Pulisic, Reyna, and Dest are young players and will go through the growing pains of up and down dips in form, the disadvantage that comes with playing for top clubs is that they rarely ride out a player’s dip in level of play.
While it’s not time to hit the panic button on any of these top players, it is time to examine where they are at and what they need to do to improve. Pulisic and Reyna are without any question the USMNT engines come World Cup Qualification, here are these three current club situations.
Christian Pulisic at Chelsea
Christian Pulisic was a DNP for Chelsea in their 2-0 victory against Newcastle on Monday. On the surface Pulisic’s EPL numbers are promising, 40 games 10 goals. When one digs a little deeper, Pulisic was one of the better players at Chelsea during the flaky Lampard era, but that did not transition to goals or assists this season. And this is a business based on numbers and at a £58 million transfer fee, and wearing the Chelsea number 10, Pulisic’s season has been dreadful. 1 goal, 1 assist, in 15 games is simply not enough to maintain a starting position in an elite club. Yes, he was injured during the season, and Pulisic has unfortunately made a career of huge dips in form followed by stretches of strong play. In a nutshell, the kid has talent, he will get more opportunities, but Pulisic must stay consistent at a club not known for being consistent even when they win.
Giovanni Reyna at Borussia Dortmund
At 18-years-old Giovanni Reyna is going through the growing pains of professional soccer. A very promising start to the season has gone cold as of late. Then again in Gio’s defense, Borussia Dortmund has been a sea of inconsistency, winning 10 games but losing 8 on the season. The reality is Dortmund is a place where young players perfect their craft, and Reyna has played in 20 of the team’s 21 games. Reyna has shown flashes of the talent that is yet to mature, but one thing is for certain, Reyna will be in Dortmund’s plans in the future, he just needs to find his stride again.
Sergiño Dest at Barcelona
Most likely the weakest one of the three has been Sergiño Dest at Barcelona. Dest was a coach’s signing as Ronald Koeman requested the defensive back. On a team known for having world class left and right backs like Dani Alves, Sergiño Dest has been no Dani Alves. In the last few weeks Dest has not looked firm at the back for Barcelona prior to his injury. The reality is his body of work so far at a club like Barcelona has been insufficient. A tough task to fill the shoes of some the best in the world, but if Dest wants to play at a club like Barcelona, he better up his game.