USMNT REWIND: McKennie, Reyna and Pepi on Target Just Weeks Away From World Cup Roster Announcement

Turner, Horvath, Johnson and Steffen all record clean sheets
Michael Lewis

Three U.S. Men's National Team players – Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna and Ricardo Pepi - enjoyed quite a fruitful week for different reasons.

McKennie headed home his first goal of the Serie A season for Juventus.

Pepi continued his Dutch scoring spree by striking in two consecutive matches for Groningen.

And after a year of injury frustrations, Reyna started and scored his first Bundesliga goal since last August.

On the other side of the ball, in a rare occurrence, four goalkeepers vying for a spot on the World Cup roster posted shutouts. The quartet included Mark Turner, Zack Steffen, Sean Johnson and Ethan Horvath.

ANOTHER HEADY GOAL

Weston McKennie tallied his first goal of the Serie A season and second across all competitions in Juventus' 4-0 victory over Empoli on Friday, Oct. 21.

The 24-year-old midfielder headed in Juan Cuadrado’s corner kick from six yards past goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario in the 56th minute for a two-goal advantage.



McKennie, who played 65 minutes, has scored six of his 12 goals for Juve with his head since joining the team for the 2020-21 season. Only one midfielder - Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, - has scored more goals (seven) using his head in the league since then.

 

ONE EMOTIONAL GOAL

Gio Reyna certainly made his first start of the Bundesliga campaign a memorable one. The 19-year-old – who has dealt with lingering injury issues the past year -- scored his first goal in 421 days - since Aug. 27, 2021 - to help Borussia Dortmund to a 5-0 home triumph over Stuttgart on Saturday, Oct. 22.



On the left side of the box, Reyna curled a Youssoufa Moukoko pass to the far right post to make it 3-0 in the 44th minute.

Reyna was so elated that he ran toward the left sidelines in celebration, sliding on his knees with both his arms outstretched. Due to injuries, Reyna completed in only 10 league games during the 2021-22 campaign.

 

HE'S GOT A LOT OF PEP

Ricardo Pepi struck twice within five days, giving him six goals in his last seven matches across all competitions. He also has one assist during that span.

In Groningen's 3-0 triumph over Dordecht in the KNVB Beker on Wednesday, Oct. 19, Pepi struck in the 90th minute off a counterattack. He tapped home a Florian Kruger cross past goalkeeper Trevor Doornbusch from six yards to put a bow on the win.



On Sunday, Oct. 23, the 19-year-old started his side on its way to a 4-2 upset of PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie. Teammate Cyril Ngogne stripped the ball from Armando Obispo and raced in on the net, but his shot was saved by goalkeeper Walter Daniel Benitez. Following the play, Pepi drilled home his rebound into the empty net, lifting the hosts into a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute.

KEEPING IT VERY CLEAN

In a rarity, four goalkeepers who are vying for three spots on the World Cup roster posted clean sheets in the same week.

In chronological order:

* Sean Johnson recorded a shutout in New York City FC's 3-0 home win over Inter Miami CF in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs on Monday, Oct. 17. Johnson made four saves. He missed securing another clean sheet in a 3-1 victory at CF Montreal in the Eastern Conference semifinals when Djordje Mihailovic scored an 85th-minute goal.

Still, Johnson was superb. He produced seven saves, including parrying away headers by Kei Kamara (10th minute) and Ismael Kone (32nd minute).



NYCFC will face the Philadelphia Union in the conference final in Chester, Pa. on Sunday, Oct. 30. The winner will book a spot in the MLS Cup final on Nov. 5 between the winner of this Sunday's Los Angeles FC-Austin FC encounter in the Western Conference final.

* Ethan Horvath kept Norwich City and Josh Sargent off the scoreboard as Luton Town recorded a 1-0 away in the English Championship on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Horvath denied Sargent's left-footed volley attempt in the 26th minute.

* Matt Turner held PSV scoreless in Arsenal's 1-0 win in the Europa League on Thursday, Oct. 20. It was the third successive shutout for Turner, who wasn't severely tested. He has allowed only one goal in four  matches this season. The Gunners' fourth consecutive victory in the competition helped them book a spot in the knockout round.


 

* Zack Steffen blanked Huddersfield Town in Middlesbrough's 0-0 tie in English Championship action on Saturday, Oct. 22. Early in the second half, Steffen denied Danny Ward and stopped Jack Rudoni from scoring off the rebound. Steffen was credited with four saves.

 

THEY'RE STILL STANDING

Midfielder Kellyn Acosta and goalkeeper Sean Johnson are the only USMNT players still in the running for MLS Cup. Acosta played the entire way and served up the stoppage-time corner kick that led to the game-winning goal in Los Angeles FC's 3-2 victory over the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference semifinals on Thursday, Oct. 27. LAFC hosts Austin FC on Sunday, Oct. 30.


 

Johnson backstopped a pair of NYCFC wins in the Eastern Conference bracket. That included a 3-0 home victory past Inter Miami CF on Monday, Oct. 17 and a 3-1 road triumph at CF Montreal on Sunday, Oct. 23. In a rematch of last year's conference final, the Philadelphia Union welcomes NYCFC on Sunday, Oct. 30.

 

SHOOTOUT HEROES

Jesús Ferreira and Sebastian Lletget converted penalty kicks in the shootout to help host FC Dallas overcome Minnesota United in the Western Conference first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs on Monday, Oct. 17.

Lletget put in the second attempt and Ferreira the fourth try as Dallas won the tie-breaker, 5-4, after playing to a 1-1 draw.

Dallas was eliminated by Austin FC in the conference semifinals, 2-1, on Sunday, Oct. 23.

 

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

Midfielder Cole Bassett, on loan from Feyenoord, recorded his first goal for Fortuna Sittard in its 3-2 loss at NEC in the KNVB Beker on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The former Colorado Rapids Homegrown tallied to give his team a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.

Team captain Ivo Pinto started the sequence with a throw-in that was headed by Paul Gladon. The ball hit the post and the 21-year-old Bassett slotted home the rebound from close range.

 

FULL RUNDOWN

 

-- Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United; English Premier League) - 90 minutes in 3-2 loss vs. Fulham (Oct. 23); 90 minutes in 2-0 loss at Leicester City (Oct. 20)

 

-- Kellyn Acosta (Los Angeles FC; MLS) - 90 minutes in 3-2 win vs. LA Galaxy in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 20)

 

-- Tyler Adams (Leeds United; English Premier League) - Injured, DNP in 3-2 loss vs. Fulham (Oct. 23); 90 minutes in 2-0 loss at Leicester City (Oct. 20)

 

-- Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; MLS) – 90 minutes in 2-1 loss at Austin FC in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 23); 104 minutes in 1-1 draw (5-4 PK win) vs. Minnesota United in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 17)

 

-- Cole Bassett (Fortuna Sittard; Dutch Eredivisie) - 1 minute as a substitute in 1-1 draw at Feyenoord (Oct. 22); 73 minutes, GOAL, in 3-2 loss at in NEC in KNVB Beker (Oct. 19)

 

-- George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld; 2. Bundesliga) - In 18, DNP in 2-0 win vs. St. Pauli (Oct. 22); 90 minutes in 6-0 loss at Stuttgart tin DFB Pokal (Oct. 19)

 

-- John Brooks (Benfica; Portuguese Primeira) – In 18, DNP in 1-0 win at Porto (Oct. 21)

 

-- Gianluca Busio (Venezia; Italian Serie B) - 68 minutes in 1-1 draw at Brescia (Oct. 22)

 

-- Johnny Cardoso (Internacional; Brazilian Serie A) – 77 minutes in 1-1 craw at Coritiba (Oct. 23)

 

-- Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic; Scottish Premiership) - 90 minutes in 4-3 win at Hearts (Oct. 22); 90 minutes in 4-0 win at Motherwell in Scottish League Cup (Oct. 19)

 

-- Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo; Spain La Liga) - Vs. Getafe (Monday, 3 p.m. ET); In 18, DNP in 4-1 win at Real Valladolid (Oct. 19)

 

- Sergiño Dest (A.C. Milan; Italy Serie A) - 45 minutes in 4-1 win vs. Monza (Oct. 22)

 

-- Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-1 loss at Austin FC in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 23); 120 minutes, SHOOTOUT PK GOAL, in 1-1 draw (5-4 PK win) vs. Minnesota United in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 17)

 

-- Matthew Hoppe (Middlesbrough; English Championship) - Not in 18, DNP in 0-0 draw vs. Huddersfield Town (Oct. 22); Not in 18, DNP in 4-1 win at Wigan Athletic (Oct. 19)

 

-- Ethan Horvath (Luton Town; English Championship) - 90 minutes in 4-0 loss at Watford (Oct. 23); 90 minutes in 1-0 win at Norwich City (Oct. 18)

 

-- Sean Johnson (New York City FC; MLS) - 90 minutes in 3-1 win at CF Montreal in MLS Cup Playoffs 9oct. 23); 90 minutes, SHUTOUT, in 3-0 win vs. Inter Miami CF in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 17, 7 p.m. ET)

 

-- Richy Ledezma (PSV; Dutch Eredivisie) - In 18, DNP in 4-2 loss at Groningen (Oct. 23); 1 minute as a substitute in 1-0 loss at Arsenal in Europa League (Oct. 20)

 

-- Sebastian Lletget (FC Dallas; MLS) - 90 minutes in 2-1 loss at Austin FC in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 23); 120 minutes, SHOOTOUT PK GOAL, in 1-1 draw (5-4 PK win) vs. Minnesota United in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 17)

 

-- Weston McKennie (Juventus; Italy Serie A) - 65 minutes, GOAL, in 4-0 win vs. Empoli (Oct. 21)

 

-- Mark McKenzie (Genk; Belgian Pro League) - 90 minutes in 3-1 win at Antwerp (Oct. 23); 90 minutes in 6-1 win vs. Westerlo (Oct. 18)

 

-- Matt Miazga (FC Cincinnati; MLS) - 90 minutes in 1-0 loss at Philadelphia Union in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 20)

 

-- Yunus Musah (Valencia; Spain La Liga) - 90 minutes in 2-1 loss vs. Mallorca (Oct. 22); 75 minutes in 1-1 draw at Sevilla (Oct. 18)

 

-- Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes; French Ligue 1) - 90 minutes in 2-2 draw vs. Lorient (Oct. 23)

 

-- Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg; Bundesliga) - 73 minutes in 2-2 draw at Bayer Leverkusen (Oct. 22)

 

-- Jordan Pefok (Union Berlin; Bundesliga) - 62 minutes in 2-1 loss at Bochum (Oct. 23); Not in 18, DNP in 2-0 win vs. Heidenheim in DFB Pokal (Oct. 19)

 

-- Ricardo Pepi (Groningen; Dutch Eredivisie) - 90 minutes, GOAL, in 4-2 win vs. PSV (Oct. 23); 90 minutes, GOAL, in 3-0 win at Dordrecht in KNVB Beker (Oct. 19)

 

-- Christian Pulisic (Chelsea; English Premier League) - 16 minutes as a substitute in 1-1 draw vs. Manchester United (Oct. 22); 29 minutes as a substitute in 0-0 draw at Brentford (Oct. 19)

 

-- Tim Ream (Fulham; English Premier League) - 90 minutes in 3-2 win at Leeds United (Oct. 23); 90 minutes in 3-0 win vs. Aston Villa (Oct. 20)

 

-- Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund; Bundesliga) - 67 minutes, GOAL, in 5-0 win vs. Stuttgart (Oct. 22)

 

-- Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo; Belgian Pro League) - 90 minutes in 2-0 loss at Kortrijk (Oct 22); 90 minutes in 6-1 loss at Genk (Oct. 18)

 

-- Antonee Robinson (Fulham; English Premier League) - 90 minutes in 3-2 win at Leeds United (Oct. 23); 90 minutes in 3-0 win vs. Aston Villa (Oct. 20)

 

-- Josh Sargent (Norwich City; English Championship) - 90 minutes in 2-2 draw at Sheffield United (Oct. 22); 45 minutes in 1-0 loss vs. Luton Town (Oct. 18)

 

-- James Sands (Rangers; Scottish Premiership) – 45 minutes as a substitute in 1-1 draw vs. Livingston (Oct. 22); 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Dundee in Scottish League Cup (Oct. 19)

 

-- Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach; Bundesliga) - 89 minutes in 3-1 loss vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (Oct. 22); 84 minutes in 2-1 loss at Darmstadt in DFB Pokal (Oct. 18)

 

-- Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough; English Championship) - 90 minutes, SHUTOUT, in 0-0 draw vs. Huddersfield Town (Oct. 22); 90 minutes in 4-1 win at Wigan Athletic (Oct. 19)

 

-- Malik Tillman (Rangers; Scottish Premiership) - 90 minutes in 1-1 draw vs. Livingston (Oct. 22); 73 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Dundee in Scottish League Cup (Oct. 19)

 

-- Auston Trusty (Birmingham City; English Premiership) - 90 minutes in 2-1 loss at Blackburn Rovers (Oct. 22); 90 minutes in 1-1 draw vs. Burnley (Oct. 19)

 

-- Matt Turner (Arsenal; English Premier League) - In 18, DNP in 1-1 draw at Southampton (Oct. 23); 90 minutes, SHUTOUT, in 1-0 win vs. PSV in Europa League (Oct. 20)

 

-- Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp; Belgian Pro League) - 90 minutes in 3-1 loss vs. Genk (Oct. 23); 90 minutes in 3-0 win vs. Oostende (Oct. 20)

 

-- Tim Weah (Lille; French Ligue 1) – 24 minutes as a substitute in 4-3 win vs. Monaco (Oct. 23)

 

-- Haji Wright (Antalyaspor; Turkish Super Lig) - 90 minutes in 2-1 win vs. Istanbulspor (Oct. 20)

 

-- DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF; MLS) - 90 minutes in 3-0 loss at New York City FC in MLS Cup Playoffs (Oct. 17)

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