It’s back to club soccer and all eyes will be on Italy’s Serie A as four Americans will be in the thick of the action when AC Milan welcomes Juventus to the San Siro on Sunday.
A rivalry that has gone on since the first game in 1901, the two Italian heavyweights will be looking to come away with a win to keep up the challenge for the Scudetto which could be a tight race going into next year. Milan took bragging rights last season as they won both games.
In previous seasons Weston McKennie was the only American to take the field for the Bianconeri when this game came around on the calendar. However, things changed quite a bit over the summer as both sides acquired more yank talent.
Christian Pulisic has proven to be one of the best signings by the Rossoneri thus far this season after making the move to southern Europe over the summer from Chelsea. His four league goals and overall play have helped the team to a very decent place in the standings as they currently are battling with city rivals Internazionale for the top spot in Serie A. The 25-year-old will very likely start this game as Samuel Chukwueze is out with an injury.
Meanwhile, Pulisic’s teammate Yunus Musah has taken advantage of an injury to fellow Milan newbie Rufus Loftus-Cheek to hold down a starting spot in the midfield. The English-American has contributed one assist so far in 301 minutes on the field for Milian. He should see significant action as the team’s other midfielder Ismael Bennacer has also been ruled out due to injury.
As for the opponents, a win would be vital to them cutting a serious gap in the points lead between them and both Milan sides.
McKennie, who has earned his way back into the fold under head coach Massimiliano Allegri, will be depended on a lot as he has reverted back to his preferred midfield role. With Paul Pogba (drug suspension) and Nicolo Fagioli (betting suspension) ruled out, there will be a lot of pressure on the 25-year-old to make an impact from box to box. He’s shown in the past what he can do, so it will be interesting to see if he can rattle Milan with his performance.
With the Texan back in midfield, that means Tim Weah has returned to the right wingback position he was brought into play during the summer transfer window. The 23-year-old has shown in flashes of what he can do when given the space to fly down that side of the field. He’s still waiting to score his first official goal for Juventus, but he would certainly endear himself to the supporters if he scored the game-winning goal that allowed them to take three points back to Turin.
Both Milan and Juventus enter the upcoming contest with injuries and suspensions for key players, but that doesn’t mean this game will disappoint. Goals will be scored in this highly-charged game. Who among the American contingent will score? Who will have the better performance?
We’ll have to wait and see what happens at the San Siro, but one thing is for sure, this game will go down in the history books as four of the United States’ best players take the field in this rivalry game.
YA Prediction: AC Milan 2-2 Juventus (Pulisic and Weah trade goals. Meanwhile, Musah gets sent off)