Weston McKennie exceeded all expectations to return from injury in time for Juve’s season-opening win while the multitude of Americans at Venezia began their hopeful promotion campaign with disappointment.
Juventus 3 – 0 Sassuolo
Weston McKennie recovered quickly from his shoulder injury and was in the Juventus lineup for their season-opening win over Sassuolo on Monday night.
The American had reportedly dislocated his shoulder during the final days of the team’s US tour, however was a welcome appearance in the starting XI as they welcomed overpowered Sassuolo in Turin on Monday.
The Texan played 76 minutes before making way for Matìas Soulé, having 29 total touches, completing 84% of his 25 passes, while creating one chance for teammate Juan Cuadrado from distance late in the first half.
Juventus opened the scoring in rather unexpected fashion in the 26th minute. Cuadrado lofted a probing cross from the left side towards new arrival Ángel di Maria, who had snuck into the far side of the 18-yard box.
The Argentinean one-timed his shot that first took a bounce off the turf, before it flew over the head of the Sassuolo keeper into goal to give the hosts the 1-0 advantage.
Juventus then doubled their lead with two minutes left in the half after Dusan Vlahovic was knocked over by Gian Marco Ferrari in the area, with the Serbian confidently striking straight ahead from the spot for the 2-0 lead.
Vlahovic then added his second for the night six minutes past the restart, capitalizing on a sloppy Sassuolo defensive error to sweep the 3-0 from seven yards out.
After taking a beating from the opposition, albeit none of the sort that should limit him for upcoming games, McKennie finally left the field in favor of 19 year-old Soulé in the 76th minute. Juve had no issues to hold on for the shut-out victory.
The Old Lady will be back in action next Monday when they visit Sampdoria in their second Serie A game of the season.
Venezia FC 1 – 2 Genoa
Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann and Andrija Novakovich all started for Venezia in their Serie B opener on Sunday night, however a generally flat performance from the team against Genoa saw none of them having any impact in the home loss.
Novakovich was the only American to play the full game, however from his position at center forward, he managed no shots nor chances created amidst his 25 total touches.
Busio played in the center of the park for the Winged Lions, somewhat withdrawn from at direct attacking role, but still creating a pair of chances and taking one shot in his 69 minutes. He had a total of 64 touches, completed 39 of his 47 passes, and took one corner for the team.
Tessmann also departed after 69 minutes alongside Busio, was positioned on the left side of Venezia’s midfield, and played more of a holding role. Patrick Leal, who was promoted from Venezia’s youth team, was an unused substitute in the game.
Busio remained dangerous as always on set pieces, but Genoa opened the scoring after 37 minutes when Manolo Portanova broke free behind the defense and angled his shot to the far post for the lead.
Dennis Johnsen pulled the hosts even in the 68th minutes, cleaning up after the Genoa keeper could only deflect a free kick, but Kelvin Yeboah rose high in the 87th minute to head home a high cross from Albert Gudmundsson to secure the victory.
Venezia have a week to regroup before they head to the German-speaking region of the country to face Serie B debutants Südtirol. This will be a reunion match for current Venezia head coach Ivan Javorčić, who was at the helm of Südtirol last season for their historic promotion campaign.
After his Coppa Italia heroics last weekend, Anthony Fontana couldn’t get off of Ascoli’s bench on Sunday for their 2-1 win over Ternana to start the Serie B season. They are back in action on Saturday when SPAL come for a visit.