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Bad week for USMNT players in Europe’s top tier

Zack Steffen, Christian Pulisic and Sergiño Dest could not help their respective teams from being eliminated in the competitions they were participating in.

Bad week for USMNT players in Europe’s top tier
Victor Baldizon GETTY IMAGESGetty Images

Not the best of news for the head coach of the United States men’s national team, Gregg Berhalter, as many of the players in Europe’s top tier are not in top form with the World Cup set to start in seven months.

Zack Steffen

The 27-year-old struggled in Manchester City’s 3-2 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday in the semi-final of the FA Cup. Steffen made his ninth appearance across all competitions, but had a career-worst moment at Wembley when the team needed him the most.

This was probably the last game of the campaign for Steffen because he serves as the second option behind Ederson. City is fighting to win the Premier League with seven games remaining and they will play against Real Madrid in a two-legged semi-final in the UEFA Champions League. In both tournaments Ederson will be the starter, unless an injury or illness prevents him from playing.

Christian Pulisic

The 23-year-old played in the two-legged quarter-final matchup against Real Madrid in the Champions League, but failed to score or provide an assist. Chelsea lost 5-4 on aggregate and Pulisic missed two opportunities in the second leg and couldn’t help his team avoid elimination.

Sergiño Dest

The 21-year-old missed four games across all competitions with FC Barcelona because he was recovering from a hamstring injury. Sergiño Dest returned to action in the UEFA Europa League, coming on as a substitute in Barcelona’s 3-2 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt at Camp Nou on Thursday.

Dest played 29 minutes in Barcelona’s shocking elimination from the tournament and his future with the LaLiga side is up in the air. Barça have eight games left this season and Dest will have to fight with Dani Alves for the starting position in each of them.

Ricardo Pepi

The 19-year-old has struggled with FC Augsburg since arriving in the Bundesliga in January. The expectations were high, but Ricardo Pepi has yet to find the back of the net in 10 appearances. What worries the Berhalter is that Pepi has not scored for club or country since October 2021.


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