Americans Abroad: Ricardo Pepi debuts for Augsburg, Weston McKennie shines for Juventus

McKennie scored for Juventus
McKennie scored for Juventus / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

With European football in full swing, Americans abroad are thriving at their respective clubs. FC Dallas player Ricardo Pepi became the latest USMNT figure to expand his career across seas, joining FC Augsburg in a record-breaking deal.

The breakout star debuted for the club on January 8, while starters like Weston McKennie opened up the scoring for Juventus during the Supercoppa Italia final.

Here is the latest on USMNT figures abroad...

1. Weston McKennie shines for Juventus amid loss

Weston Mckennie
Weston Mckennie scored for Juventus during the Italian SuperCup / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Despite the disappointing 2-1 result for Juventus on Thursday against Inter Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana, USMNT star McKennie found a chance to shine. 

His moment came in the 25th minute as he headed the ball past Samir Handanović and into the back of the net to get the early lead. That was his first goal since scoring for the USMNT against Mexico in World Cup qualifying back in October.

Unfortunately, Inter equalized from the penalty spot in the 35th minute and doubled their score in extra time to win the game. 

McKennie is now set to feature for Juventus’ Serie A clash against Udinese on Saturday. The team sits in fifth on the table with 38 points in 21 games and a record of 11-5-5. He’s made 21 appearances for Juventus this season in all competitions, recording three goals. 

2. Ricardo Pepi debuts for FC Augsburg

Ricardo Pepi
Ricardo Pepi debuted for FC Augsburg in the Bundesliga / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

After a record-breaking signing for Augsburg, Pepi became the latest American to make his European debut. He first featured for his newest club on January 8, coming off the bench in the 60th minute of Augsburg’s 3-1 to Hoffenheim. 

His debut came just five days after he arrived at the German club for a reported $20m transfer from FC Dallas. 

Though he couldn’t secure the desired result, Pepi managed to finish the game with nine touches and one shot, while completing all four passes he attempted.

Pepi faces Eintracht Frankfurt on January 16 in an attempt to salvage their position on the table. Augsburg is struggling to avoid relegation, sitting 16th on the table with 18 points in 18 games and a record of 4-6-8. 

3. Christian Pulisic earns praise from Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Christian Pulisic
Chelsea player Christian Pulisic earned praise from Thomas Tuchel / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

While the American forward failed to feature for Chelsea’s midweek match against Tottenham, Tuchel spoke highly of the player during the press conference hours prior. 

Pulisic has been called on to play a number of different roles for the English Premier League side, leading Tuchel to credit his contributions to the squad as he continues to play wherever needed.

“So first of all it’s a good thing, it was also a bad sign because it means we had trouble on the left and right wing-back with injuries and he helped us out there,” Tuchel said. “We are happy with the impact that he has. He can play a lot of minutes, he needs to play a lot of minutes, he has a physical ability that can help us.”

Pulisic has been used as a forward, winger, midfielder, and wing-back for the defending Champions League winners this season, boldly taking on the challenges and embracing any opportunity to be on the field. The changes stem from a  mixture of injuries and form within the squad. 

The 23-year-old has started in six of the last nine matches for the Blues, including five straight in Premier League play, scoring one goal and registering one assist.

4. Cole Basset wanted by Feyenoord

Cole Bassett
USMNT figure Cole Bassett to become the latest American Abroad / John Todd/ISI Photos/GettyImages

USMNT’s Cole Bassett is expected to move to Dutch club Feyenoord, sources have confirmed to 90min.

The 20-year-old made his Major League Soccer debut in 2018, and has since then recorded 13 goals in 72 regular-season games.

The midfielder has departed USMNT training camp to finish the deal with the Eredivisie side. U.S men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter had called up Bassett to the roster ahead of the World Cup qualifiers later this month.