A Record Seven USMNT Players Feature on Champions League Matchday Five
It seems that every week during the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League group stage another first has been accomplished by U.S. Men's National Team players.
Match Day Five proved to be no exception.
For the first time, seven USMNT players competed on the same Match Day.
Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards started the record parade of players, appearing as a substitute on Tuesday.
Six USMNT teammates followed suit on Wednesday. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Weston McKennie (Juventus) and Sergiño Dest (Barcelona) were in the Starting XI for their respective clubs, while Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig) and Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona) came off the bench.
While none of the Americans got on the scoresheet, their teams enjoyed a fruitful week, finishing unbeaten in six games with an impressive 4-0-2 mark.
Reyna went the full 90 minutes, helping first-place Dortmund (3-1-1, 10) clinch a Round of 16 berth in a 1-1 draw with Lazio. The 18-year-old midfielder's best chance came in the 50th minute, denied by goalkeeper Pepe Reina with a diving save on his shot inside the penalty area.
Pulisic made his first start since a scoreless draw in the English Premier League at Manchester United on Oct. 24 as Chelsea (4-0-1, 13 points) took over sole possession of the top spot in Group E and extended its unbeaten run to 15 matches in a 4-0 romp at Sevilla (Olivier Giroud scored all four goals).
Pulisic, replaced by Mason Mount in the 67th, minute, experienced a somewhat frustrating match. He sent a 13-yard effort wide left in the sixth minute and had his 27th-minute attempt inside the area saved.
Dest and de la Fuente walked off the field with smiles after Barca's 3-0 triumph against host Ferencvaros in Group G action. The result kept Barcelona perfect at 5-0-0 and 15 points. Dest logged a full match and de la Fuente entered for Martin Braithwaite in the 80th minute, becoming the record seventh USMNT to perform on Match Day Five.
Also in Group G, McKennie went the distance in Juventus' 3-0 victory against visiting Dynamo Kyiv. The 22-year-old midfielder came close to finding the back of the net in the 17th minute, but saw his header turned away by goalkeeper Heorhii Bushchan.
Notably, Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to work the middle of a men’s UCL match. Frappart also refereed the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in which the USWNT defeat the Netherlands by a 2-0 scoreline.
Like Barcelona, the Italian side came into Wednesday’s match with a place in the Round of 16 already secured. The two sides will face off in the group finale next week, though Juventus would have to overturn a difference of seven goals to jump to the top of the group.
Adams came on as a halftime substitute for Kevin Kampl in RB Leipzig's wild 4-3 Group H win against Istanbul Basaksehir. Leipzig enjoyed leads of 2-0 and 3-1 before the hosts equalized. Second-half sub Alexander Sørloth connected for the game-winner in stoppage time. The late winner was huge for Leipzig, as it kept the Bundesliga side level on nine points with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain in Group H.
Well that was a wild ride 🤣🙌🏾🌪 pic.twitter.com/8xEOFtfEy2— Tyler Adams (@tyler_adams14) December 2, 2020
A win at home against United in next Tuesday’s group finale would see Leipzig advance to the last 16.
On Tuesday, Richards replaced Bouna Sarr in the 62nd minute of first-place Bayern's (4-0-1, 13) 1-1 Group A draw at Atletico Madrid.
Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath was on the bench but did not see any action in Club Brugge's 3-0 home win against Zenit St. Petersburg. With regular goalkeeper Simon Mignloet testing positive for COVID-19, Horvath performed some heroics in the Belgian side’s 2-1 win at Zenit on Oct. 20. Brugge (2-2-1, 7) is in third place in Group F, and has been assured of least a berth in the Europa League Round of 32.
Goalkeepr Zack Steffen suited up but did not play in Manchester City’s 0-0 draw at Porto Tuesday. City leads Group C with a 4-0-1 (13 points) and has already clinched a place in the Round of 16.
In domestic action on Tuesday, winger Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan will play at least one more day in the MLS Cup Playoffs as Seattle Sounders FC recorded a 1-0 home win against FC Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals Tuesday night.
Roldan went the entire way while Morris was subbed out in the 89th minute. Seattle will play the winner of Thursday night's semifinal between Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United in the conference final on Monday night.
The MLS Cup Final is set for Saturday, Dec. 12.