It was a largely uneventful weekend for Americans in Spain, with Sergiño Dest being the only player called into action in a disappointing home results for in-flux Barcelona.
FC Barcelona 1 – 1 Deportivo Alaves
Sergiño Dest was once again deployed in a key role in Barcelona’s attack on Saturday evening, but was unable to help them overcome relegation-threatened Alaves in a disappointing draw.
Matt Miazga was resigned to the Alaves bench for the second straight game, and was not called into action, as the visitors clutched out a massively unexpected result.
Barcelona was admittedly in disarray following the midweek firing of Ronald Koeman, however interim coach Sergi Barjuan Esclusa was unable to show much improvement over his predecessor.
Esclusa only made minor tweaks to the lineup that took the field for their midweek loss at Rayo Vallecano, bringing in youngsters Óscar Minguza and Gavi in favor of Sergi Roberto and Coutinho. The American once again lined up on the right side of a front three, alongside Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay.
In a scoreless first half, both teams were forced to change up their plan due to injuries. Alaves lost starting right back Ximo Navarro in the 20th minute, while for Barcelona, the misfortune was likely more significant, with possible long-term ramifications. Aguero left in the 41st minute with some chest discomfort, later undergoing cardiac examinations.
Barcelona were able to take an expected lead four minutes after the break, with Depay pulling out a moment of brilliance for perhaps his best goal so far in the uniform. Receiving the ball from Jordi Alba just outside the area, the Dutchman uncorked a looping, right-footed, 18-yard blast that flew in the upper right corner for 1-0.
The hosts had little time to settle into their lead before Alaves equalized three minutes later. In a moment of disarray across the Barcelona back line, Luis Roja stormed into the area, helped by a short back-heeled exchange with Joselu, rounded Marc-Andre ter Stegen and slotted his low shot from the right over the line to pull even and earn his team the point.
The Blaugrana remain in ninth place after the draw, however with a six-point gap to the much-coveted Champions League places. They visit Kiev on Tuesday in a must-win European clash that will decide whether they still have a chance to reach the knockout round, then remain on the road for a visit to Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Alaves remain in 16th place, and host Levante on Saturday evening in a critical relegation six-pointer.
Yunus Musah was an unused substitute for Valencia on Saturday as they beat Villarreal by a 2-0 margin.
Matthew Hoppe was in uniform for Mallorca on Sunday, but not called into action for their 1-1 draw at Cadiz.
Shaq Moore and Tenerife will be in action on Monday evening when they host Burgos CV in La Liga 2 action.