With the start of FIFA World Cup Qualifying only days way, six players on the U.S. Men's National Team’s September roster sharpened their marksmanship skills last week.
Brenden Aaronson, Jordan Pefok, Ricardo Pepi, Gio Reyna, Antonee Robinson and Josh Sargent all celebrated goals for their respective clubs.
Here's how the week unfolded and the nets were filled, in chronological order:
Making his first start since moving to Norwich City, Josh Sargent enjoyed the most productive time, striking twice and assisting on a third goal in the Canaries’ 6-0 victory against Bournemouth in the English League Cup match on Aug. 24. He sandwiched goals in the 49th and 75th minute around a 66th-minute assist. The 21-year-old forward finished the week coming on as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat at Leicester City on Saturday.
Antonee Robinson, 24, scored a rare goal for Fulham in its 2-0 English League Cup triumph at Birmingham City on Aug. 24, tallying two minutes into second-half stoppage time to seal the win.
He continued to do his day job well, as he and Tim Ream anchored the Cottagers' fifth win of the young English Championship campaign, a 2-0 result against visiting Stoke City. Fulham sits atop the table at the international break with a 4-0-1 mark thanks to a superior goal differential over West Bromwich Albion. Both Ream and Robinson have appeared in all five league matches thus far.
Brenden Aaronson continued to score important goals for Red Bull Salzburg. The 20-year-old attacker scored in the 10th minute of Wednesday’s decisive UEFA Champions League qualification tie against Brøndby, which pushed the Austrian Bundesliga side to a 2-1 second leg win (4-2 on aggregate) and a place in the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League.
With Salzburg’s qualification, the USMNT has players on 12 different clubs that will take part in this year’s UCL group stage.
Becoming the youngest player all-time to hit 50 Bundesliga appearances, 18-year-old Gio Reyna celebrated the milestone with his second goal of the young league campaign. Englishman Jude Bellingham connected with Reyna to produce the opening goal of Borussia Dortmund’s wild and dramatic 3-2 win against Hoffenheim on Friday, Aug. 27.
Jordan Pefok tallied for Young Boys, giving the Swiss Super League side a 1-0 advantage over Basel in the 20th minute on Sunday. But after a red card by teammate Quentin Maceiras in the 43rd minute, Young Boys was forced to think more defensive-minded and the 25-year-old striker was replaced at halftime in what turned into a 1-1 road draw.
Ricardo Pepi will come to his first USMNT camp in fine form. The 18-year-old striker topped off the weekend with two goals and an assist during the first half of FC Dallas’ 5-3 victory at Austin FC. Pepi helped get things started in the fifth minute, forcing a turnover at the back by Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver the striker played the ball back to fellow USMNT attacker Jesús Ferreira who slotted his opportunity home.
After the hosts had tied things up at 1-1, Dallas drilled three goals during a four-minute surge. Pepi, 18, gave the visitors the lead to stay in the 36th minute. Ferreira followed that up with his second goal in the 38th minute before Pepi made it 4-1 in the 40th minute.
Pepi’s 11 goals lead all U.S.-eligible players in MLS at the international break.
The USMNT will kick off its WCQ schedule by playing three matches - two in Central America - within a seven-day period. On Thursday, Sept. 2, the Americans will visit El Salvador before hosting Canada in Nashville, Tenn. on Sunday, Sept. 5. They will complete the week by traveling to Honduras on Sept. 8.
Sebastian Lletget and Julian Araujo set up goals for the LA Galaxy in its wild 3-3 away tie with Los Angeles FC in El Trafico on Saturday night. Lletget assisted on Dejan Joveljic's second goal to knot things up at 2-2 in the 64th minute. After Brian Rodriguez's second goal of the match boosted the hosts into the lead, it was Araujo's turn to become playmaker as his cross found Kevin Cabral, who slotted home the equalizer in the 86th minute.
Konrad de la Fuente created Matteo Guendouzi's 23rd-minute score that opened the scoring for Olympique Marseille in its 3-1 home victory against Saint-Etienne on Saturday.
Center back John Brooks helped Wolfsburg to its third win in as many games to start the Bundesliga season with a 1-0 triumph over RB Leipzig on Sunday. Wolfsburg (3-0-0) has allowed only one goal while securing two clean sheets. Leipzig's Tyler Adams played the opening 86 minutes for the 10th-place team (1-2-0).
Besides Brooks, two other center backs played important roles in their teams securing shutouts. Walker Zimmerman went the entire way in Nashville SC's 2-0 win at Atlanta United on Saturday, Aug. 28, as did James Sands in a similar result for New York City FC against league-leader New England Revolution the same night.
-- Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; MLS) - 90 minutes in 1-1 draw at Sporting Kansas City (Aug. 28)
-- Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig; German Bundesliga) – 86 minutes in 1-0 loss at Wolfsburg (Aug. 29)
-- Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg; Austria Bundesliga) - 26 minutes as a substitute in 1-0 win at Hartberg (Aug. 28); 85 minutes and a GOAL in 2-1 win at Brondby in UCL qualifier (Aug. 25)
-- Julian Araujo (Los Angeles Galaxy; MLS) - 90 minutes and an ASSIST in 3-3 draw at Los Angeles FC (Aug. 28)
-- George Bello (Atlanta United; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-0 loss vs. Nashville SC (Aug. 28)
-- John Brooks (Wolfsburg; Bundesliga) - 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Borussia Dortmund (Aug. 29)
-- Gianluca Busio (Venezia; Italy Serie A) - 90 minutes in 3-0 loss at Udinese (Aug. 27)
-- Johnny Cardoso (Internacional; Brazilian Serie A) – 61 minutes in 0-0 draw at Atetico Goianiense (Aug. 29)
-- Reggie Cannon (Boavista; Portuguese Primeira) – Not in 18, DNP in 1-1 draw at Vizela (Aug. 28); Not in 18, DNP in 2-0 win vs. Santa Clara (Aug. 23)
-- Konrad de la Fuente (Marseille; French Ligue 1) - 56 minutes and an ASSIST in 3-1 win vs. Saint-Etienne (Aug. 28)
-- Sergiño Dest (Barcelona; Spain La Liga) – 27 minutes as 2-1 win vs. Getafe (Aug. 29)
-- Daryl Dike (Orlando City SC; MLS) - 45 minutes as a substitute in 0-0 draw vs. Inter Miami CF (Aug. 27)
-- Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen; French Ligue 2) – 76 minutes in 0-0 draw at Nimes (Aug. 28)
-- Julian Green (Greuther Fürth; German Bundesliga) – 60 minutes in 3-0 loss at Mainz (Aug. 28)
-- Brad Guzan (Atlanta United) - 90 minutes in 2-0 loss vs. Nashville SC (Aug. 28)
-- Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; MLS) – 90 minutes and TWO GOALS in 5-3 win at FC Austin (Aug. 29)
-- Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest; Premier League) - In 18, DNP in 1-1 draw at Derby County (Aug. 28); 90 minutes in 4-0 loss vs. Wolverhampton (Aug. 24)
-- Matthew Hoppe (Schalke 04; German 2. Bundesliga) - 16 minutes as a substitute in 3-1 win vs. Fortuna Duesseldorf (Aug. 28)
-- Sean Johnson (New York City FC; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-0 win vs. New England Revolution (Aug. 28)
-- Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; MLS) - 74 minutes and an ASSIST in 3-3 draw at Los Angeles FC (Aug. 28)
-- Mark McKenzie (Genk; Belgian Pro League) - 1 minute as a substitute in 1-0 win vs. Anderlecht (Aug. 28)
-- Weston McKennie (Juventus; Italian Serie A) – 45 minutes in 1-0 loss vs. Empoli (Aug. 28)
-- Matt Miazga (Alaves, Spain La Liga) - 90 minutes in 3-0 loss at Valencia (Aug. 27)
-- Shaq Moore (Tenerife; Spain La Liga) - In 18, DNP in 0-0 draw at Real Oviedo (Aug. 28)
-- Owen Otasowie (Club Brugge; Belgian Pro League) - In 18, DNP in 6-1 loss at Gent (Aug. 29)
-- Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; MLS) - 76 minutes and TWO GOALS in 5-3 win at Austin FC (Aug. 29)
-- Jordan Prefok (Young Boys; Swiss Super League) - 45 minutes and a GOAL in 1-1 draw at Basel (Aug. 29); 85 minutes in 3-2 win at Ferencvaros in UCL qualifier (Aug. 24)
-- Christian Pulisic (Chelsea; English Premier League) - Injured, DNP in 1-1 draw at Liverpool (Aug. 28)
-- Tim Ream (Fulham; English Premier League) - 90 minutes in 3-0 win vs. Stoke City (Aug. 28); Not in 18, DNP in 2-0 win at Birmingham City (Aug. 24)
-- Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund; German Bundesliga) – 64 minutes and a GOAL in 3-2 win vs. Hoffenheim (Aug. 27)
-- Bryan Reynolds (AS Roma, Italy Serie A) - In 18, DNP in 2-0 win at Salernitana (Aug. 29); Not in 18, DNP in 3-0 win vs. Trabzonspor in Europa League qualifier (Aug. 26)
-- Chris Richards (Bayern Munich; German Bundesliga) - In 18, DNP in 5-0 win vs. Hertha Berlin (Aug. 28); 45 minutes as a substitute in 12-0 win at Bremer SV in DFB Pokal Cup (Aug. 25)
-- Antonee Robinson (Fulham; English Championship) - 90 minutes in 3-0 win vs. Stoke City (Aug. 28); 90 minutes and a GOAL in 2-0 win at Birmingham City (Aug. 24)
-- Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-0 loss vs. Nashville SC (Aug. 28)
-- Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; MLS) - (Aug. 29)
-- James Sands (New York City FC; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-0 win vs. New England Revolution (Aug. 28)
-- Josh Sargent (Norwich City; English Premier League) – 17 minutes as a substitute in 2-1 loss vs. Leicester City (Aug. 28); 90 minutes and TWO GOALS and ASSIST in 6-0 win vs. AFC Bournemouth in EFL Cup (Aug. 24)
-- Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach (Bundesliga) - 90 minutes in 2-1 loss at Union Berlin (Aug. 29)
-- Zack Steffen (Manchester City; English Premier League) – In 18, DNP in 5-0 win vs. Arsenal (Aug. 28)
-- Tanner Tessmann (Venezia; Italy Serie A) - In 18, DNP in 3-0 loss at Udinese (Aug. 27)
-- Matt Turner (New England Revolution; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-0 loss at New York City FC (Aug. 28)
-- Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp; Belgian Pro League) - 90 minutes in 2-2 draw vs. Oh Leuven (Aug. 29); 42 minutes as a substitute in 2-0 PK win vs. Omonoa Nicosia after 4-4 aggregate series in Europa League qualifier (Aug. 26)
-- Tim Weah (Lille; French Ligue 1) – Not in 18, DNP in 81 minutes in 2-1 win vs. Montpellier (Aug. 29)
-- Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; MLS) - (Aug. 29)
-- DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray; Turkish Super Lig) - Not in 18, DNP in 2-2 draw at Kasimpasa (Aug. 29); In 18, DNP in 2-1 win vs. Randers in Europa League quarter (Aug. 26); In 18, DNP in 2-1 win Hatayspor (Aug. 23)
-- Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-0 win at Atlanta United (Aug. 28)