Weston McKennie lost his starting spot for Juventus in their first real test of the season, while a trio of Yanks helped Venezia secure a point on the road at Cittadella.
Juventus 1 – 1 Roma
Weston McKennie was disappointingly dropped to the bench for Juventus on Saturday evening, but played the final 13 minutes as a sub in their 1-1 home draw against Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
Perhaps with an eye ahead to their breakneck schedule in the coming weeks, McKennie was left on the bench by Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri, with 19 year old Fabio Miretti getting his first start of the new season.
Dusan Vlahovic gave the Juventus faithful hopes of a big victory when he put the Old Lady ahead after only 77 seconds with a spectacular, looping free kick from 26 yards out, which left Roma keeper Rui Patricio nothing else to do but watch the unsavable shot fly into the upper right corner for the 1-0 home lead.
Juventus’ midfield attacking maestro Manuel Locatelli looked to have doubled the lead in the 25th minute with a 25-yard one-timed shot to the right side of Patricio’s goal, however after a VAR review, it was was called back for a handball in the buildup by Vlahovic.
The decision, while entirely correct, took the wind out of Juve’s sails, and gave the visitors the chance they needed to eventually earn a hard-fought point.
In the 69th minute, Lorenzo Pellegrini delivered a corner from the left side well beyond the far post. Juve cast-off Paolo Dybala acrobatically lobbed the ball back towards the middle, and Tammy Abraham leapt to head the ball from two yard out into the net for the equalizer.
McKennie entered the field with 13 minutes left on the clock in place of Juan Cuadrado, and did what was need to help Juve hang on for the point, completing five of his six passes, holding the ball well, and winning one of his two duels.
In the end, the game ended 1-1, although the visitors came away with more reason to celebrate.
After three games played in the new Serie A season, Juventus are in eighth place with five points. They are already back in action on Wednesday for a midweek home fixture against La Spezia, then hit the road three days later at Fiorentina.
AS Cittadella 1 – 1 Venezia FC
Tanner Tessmann was the only American to start for Venezia on their trip to Cittadella in Serie B action on Sunday night, however Jack de Vries and Andrija Novakovich eventually helped the team close out a road draw.
Gianluca Busio likely would have been in the starting XI for the visitors, however he was not in uniform, with reports of a late injury being the culprit. Fellow American youngster Patrick Leal was on the Venezia bench, but didn’t enter the game.
Tessmann started on the right side of head coach Ivan Javorcic’s three-man midfield, and had a respectable outing with 31 total touches over 62 minutes, a 79% completion rate amongst 19 pass attempts, as well as one shot and one scoring chance created.
However his three fouls and yellow card in the 54th minute were an issue, and the latter likely contributed to the decision by Javorcic to replace him with Domen Crnigoj just past the hour mark.
De Vries was brought in at the half by the Venezia coach, and acquitted himself well over the final 45 minutes, completing 11 of 13 passes and setting up one chance, while drawing one foul, winning his only tackle, and hitting his only long-ball attempt.
Novakovich played the final six minutes of regulation plus added time, after the game was already on even terms.
After a fairly even hour-plus to open the game, Cittadella finally took the lead in the 70th minute in a chaotic sequence, which ended with Venezia a keeper Jesse Joronen making a reaction block at the edge of his six-yard box, only to see the rebound acrobatically volleyed by Mirko Antonucci into the visitors’ goal for the 1-0 lead.
Venezia kept up the fight and were able to equalize in the 85th minute when a shot by Crnigoj from the left side of the area was deflected by a Cittadella defender, but landed at the foot of Michaël Cuisance for an easy finish to bring the score to 1-1.
Venezia finish the round in tenth place in the 20-team league, and will return to the field on Saturday when they host Benevento.
Highlights of the game can be seen here.
Anthony Fontana was in uniform but never called into action for Ascoli’s impressive 3-2 road win over Palermo on Saturday in Serie B action.