Americans Abroad: McKennie, Chandler Score, Llanez Gets Closer in Midweek Matches

Publish date:

The Bundesliga's rapid-fire return to action continued with a full slate of midweek games, after which Bayern Munich's eighth straight title appears to be all but confirmed.

Bayern beat second-place Borussia Dortmund to widen the gap at the top to seven points with six games to play. As if Bayern needed the extra assistance, the clubs occupying third through fifth place all dropped points as well, giving Hansi Flick's side an increased margin for error while all other contenders saw theirs shrink considerably.

As it relates to U.S. internationals in the Bundesliga, the week brought about another mixed bag, which has been a recurring theme since the restart. Canada's Alphonso Davies continues to be the Concacaf region's brightest light in the league after his noteworthy performance at left back vs. Dortmund, but in terms of U.S. players, two managed to score goals for their clubs. Here's what stood out the most (all statistics via WhoScored unless otherwise noted):

McKennie scores in Schalke's loss, Morales mops up for Dusseldorf

Weston McKennie had a good news/bad news kind of day in Wednesday's loss to relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf. The good news was his goal, which opened the scoring and gave Schalke its first goal since the restart. Its previous goal was also scored by McKennie, March 7 vs. Hoffenheim.

On the flip side, he kept Fortuna Dusseldorf's game-winning goal-scorer onside on the definitive play of the game, allowing the bottom-feeder to walk away with all three points. It looks harsher in hindsight, given that if teammate Ozan Kabak had just won the initial header, then the danger would've been dealt with in the first place, but such are the breaks.

McKennie hardly was on the ball given that Schalke was out-possessed 67%-33%, and he completed just 10 of his 17 passes on the day. He did compile a team-high six interceptions from his role in central midfield.

Schalke as a whole has not been in good form for some time, and it's been especially true since the league resumed play, with the club outscored 9-1 in that time. It remains safely in its mid-table position, though it is now five points out of the league's Europa League qualifying round place.

For the victors, Alfredo Morales was largely a spectator, coming for the final 10 minutes to handle mop-up duty (he was 4-for-4 in passing, for what it's worth) and help his club secure a valuable three points. 

U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen remained out for Dusseldorf with his knee injury.

Weston McKennie and Timmy Chandler scored goals for their Bundesliga clubs

Chandler scores equalizer in Eintracht Frankfurt's comeback

Timmy Chandler has enjoyed the fruits that come with getting to play further up the field, and he scored his fifth goal of the season to cap Eintracht Frankfurt's furious comeback from 3-1 down to draw Freiburg, 3-3.

Chandler came on in the 81st minute, and a minute later he was on the board, impressively maneuvering around his defender and expertly volleying home the equalizer.

It was a wonderful show of skill, though there's been no indication that the 30-year-old Chandler's scoring breakout–he had five goals in his last seven Bundesliga seasons combined before this one–has him any closer to the center of Gregg Berhalter's radar. His last U.S. appearance came in Jurgen Klinsmann's last match as manager in November 2016.

Llanez creeps closer to Wolfsburg playing time

Ulysses Llanez dressed for the first time with Wolfsburg's first team, but he remained on the bench despite his club dominating Bayer Leverkusen, 4-1, on Tuesday. The 19-year-old might have thought it was his day when Wolfsburg went 4-0 up in the 75th minute and the pressure was entirely off, but his debut will have to wait.

The U.S. international at Wolfsburg who does play regularly, John Brooks, put in another solid shift at center back. In his 82 minutes, Brooks cleaned up in the back to the tune of eight clearances and three interceptions, and he connected on four of six of his long balls (he was 24-of-31 passing overall). After helping keep Erling Haaland and Kai Havertz off the board in consecutive games, Brooks's next test will be taming Eintracht Frankfurt's tandem of Andre Silva and Bas Dost.

Adams gets late promotion, fares well at right back

Tyler Adams wasn't supposed to start RB Leipzig's match vs. Hertha Berlin on Wednesday, but a late injury in warmups to Kevin Kampl sent Adams from the bench to the starting XI.

He wound up operating at right back and covered a match-high seven miles of ground, according to stats outfit Opta, which is nothing new for a player whose energy and motor are two of his most notable qualities. After a perfect passing match (28-for-28) off the bench over the weekend, Adams hit a respectable 38-for-41 (92.7%) accuracy clip vs. Hertha Berlin.

He picked his spots to surge forward, rifled in five crosses (though connected on just one) and had a decent overall performance. Unfortunately for Adams, his side conceded a late penalty, dropped two more points and its title hopes are all but done. Holding on to a top-four place is of the utmost importance in the final six games. It sits two points clear of fifth-place Bayer Leverkusen heading into the weekend.

It's worth remembering that if this season's Champions League ever does resume, as UEFA has planned on all along, Adams and RB Leipzig are already into the quarterfinal round.

Reyna tangles with Davies in Dortmund's loss

Giovanni Reyna again came off the bench for Dortmund, though he couldn't give BVB the spark it needed in a must-have game against Bayern.

In his brief 20 minutes as a substitute, he didn't misplace a pass (13-for-13), and he did draw the foul that gave Dortmund one of its best chances to equalize late in the 1-0 defeat. That it came off a challenge from behind from Davies gave fans in North America a glimpse into the future, whenever international play is able to resume. (Upon further review, the call, which yielded a yellow card on Davies, was a bit harsh, and the tackle looked to actually be executed quite nicely.) Nothing came of the ensuing free kick, though, and Dortmund finds itself ruing a missed opportunity to shrink the gap at the top to a single point.

Sargent quiet in Werder Bremen's draw

The good news for Josh Sargent: he earned another start for Werder Bremen, getting another chance to break through and state his claim to the position for the long haul. The bad news: it didn't go so well.

Sargent came off after 74 scoreless minutes, and while his team's overall ineffectiveness limited his chances, his time on the ball wasn't very fruitful. 

He had just 27 touches, one off-target shot, drew a couple of fouls and won three aerial duels, all while completing 11 of his 18 passes.

On the other side of the 0-0 draw, Fabian Johnson remained out injured for Monchengladbach.