Americans Abroad - US

Americans abroad: Gio Reyna returns, Zack Steffen loses his starting role

Lizzy Becherano
Giovanni Reyna returns.
Giovanni Reyna returns. / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

With only a few months left until the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Americans abroad are gearing up to secure their spot on the roster.

In the Eredivise, Ricardo Pepi marked his debut for FC Groningen with an assist to inspire the 1-0 victory over SC Cambuur. After a difficult time in the Bundesliga, it seems the player is finally finding his rhythm. Gio Reyna also returned in full force for Dortmund, recording two assists and loads of necessary playing time before Qatar.

Here's everything you missed about American figures abroad...

1. Ricardo Pepi comes back from "tough time" at FC Augsburg

Dutch Eredivisie"sc Cambuur Leeuwarden v FC Groningen"
Ricardo Pepi recovers from "tough time" at FC Augsburg. / ANP/GettyImages

USMNT figure Ricardo Pepi opened up about his recent time in Germany with FC Augsburg, revealing 'it was quite a tough time' after finding it difficult to adapt. 

The striker completed the move from Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas to Augsburg in January, breaking the club record with a transfer fee of $20m. But the American quickly experienced a downturn in form, going from 13 goals and three assists to the bench. 

“It was quite a tough time. A different country, a different culture and a different competition. It was honestly a lot at the same time,” Pepi told Voetbal International. “My feeling was that I could only adapt to the European way of playing football by playing a lot somewhere. That probably wasn’t going to happen in Germany yet.” 

The player has since been loaned to Eredivisie side FC Groningen to secure more playing time. And it seems the move propelled Pepi to his old ways, registering his first assist to inspire the 1-0 victory over SC Cambuur. 

2. Gio Reyna is back

Jude Bellingham, Giovanni Reyna
Gio Reyna is back. / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

The American is back in full force for Dortmund. He made his first UEFA Champions League appearance of the season last week, registering two assists to inspire the 3-0 home victory over FC Copenhagen.

Reyna also played a part in Dortmund’s weekend match against RB Leipzig, coming off the bench to log 31 minutes. 

After coming back from injury, it looks like Reyna is gaining rhythm for the World Cup. 

3. Zack Steffen loses his starting spot

Zack Steffen
Zack Steffen could lose his starting spot with Middlesbrough. / Michael Regan/GettyImages

The American goalkeeper has been cleared to return to the pitch for Middlesbrough this week, but it looks like head coach Chris Wilder has other plans. 

After goalkeeper Liam Roberts’ impressive performances in Steffen’s absence, Wilder will have a difficult decision to make between the two.

“Zack will be available for Tuesday through Saturday as well,” Wilder told reporters Monday.

“What we’re trying to do here is build a good squad of depth and full of competition and performances don’t drop because 1-2 players come out. I think Liam has impressed because of the way he’s come in and delivered a strong performance on Monday night [against rivals Sunderland]. What he did was really tidy and composed.”

4. Honorable mentions:

UEFA Champions League"Paris Saint-Germain v Juventus FC"
Weston McKennie featured for Juventus over the weekend. / ANP/GettyImages

Weston McKennie played 85 minutes in Juventus 2-2 draw with Salernitana.

Reggie Cannon played 45 minutes in Boavista’s 2-1 win over Arouca.

Haji Wright played 90 minutes in Antalyaspor’s 1-0 loss to Kayserispor.