Weston McKennie, the Juventus executioner of American Milan
The USMNT midfielder was a headache for compatriots Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah, with his forcefulness through the middle disarming Milan.
Juventus, rather surprisingly, emerged victorious in a high-stakes match during their visit to San Siro. On paper, AC Milan had been considered the favourite to secure three points and solidify their leadership, especially at home. However, bad luck forced Pioli to sacrifice the resurgent Christian Pulisic due to Thiaw’s early exit, combined with Weston McKennie’s stellar performance, which ultimately condemned Milan. The midfielder, by far, outshone the other four Americans who took the field at the Milanese stronghold, and there was a special guest watching on, the U.S. national team head coach, Gregg Berhalter.
Juventus win in Milan keeps it tight at the top
It was Locatelli’s thunderous strike that proved instrumental in toppling Milan at San Siro. But while most eyes were on the Italian, the United States audience was captivated by Weston MacKennie’s performance.
He executed a quiet yet compelling role that outshone his fellow countrymen, disrupting any potential threats. The Fort Lewis native became Allegri’s master of ceremonies, consistently appearing in dangerous situations to support the play and break through Milan’s tight defense. His precision in passing (with an accuracy rate exceeding 90%) established him as the primary playmaker of the game, always favouring a forward-thinking approach.
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In the ‘American midfield’ duel, McKennie managed to outshine the young Yunus Musah, who is gradually gaining prominence in Pioli’s starting eleven. The former Leeds player excelled defensively much more than his fellow countryman, leading in clearances throughout the game and even in passing accuracy. While Thiaw’s expulsion significantly influenced the match, Musah had to take more risks than necessary to compensate for the absence.
McKennie: for Juve and USMNT
Weston McKennie’s return to Italy after a brief stint in the Premier League appears to have brought out a completely different player. Much closer to a playmaker role, the American has become a vital asset for Allegri in what was a struggling Juventus side. While at the beginning of the season, it seemed likely that McKennie would depart Turin, his hard work, dedication, and the lack of reinforcements have ultimately made him a convincing asset in Serie A.
However, unlike in his initial stint, McKennie’s new role has distanced him from the goal-scoring zone, thus missing the opportunity to shine with his long-range shots. During his first spell with the Vecchia Signora, the American managed to find the net 13 times. But in a Juventus squad lacking leaders, he is demonstrating a role that the USMNT is already familiar with.