USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (2024)

Cigars and ice baths at PSV Eindhoven, Chris Richards’ vintage display and Weston McKennie’s future all play part of this week’s USMNT player tracker.

Each week we bring you updates on how American players in leagues around Europe fared over the weekend.

With aCopa Americato host this year and the2026 World Cup partially on home soil looming ever larger on the horizon, we are keeping tabs on how they are performing.

How to follow theCopa AmericaonThe Athletic

  • Copa America news and features
  • Copa America fixtures and schedule
  • Picking the USMNT’s 23-man roster

Issue of the weekend

Cigars, a few tipples and an impromptu ice bath for the boss — PSV’s American contingent made some special memories celebrating the title win they played a big part in sealing for the Dutch club.

Eindhoven completed their Eredivisie dominance on Sunday with a 4-2 win against Sparta Rotterdam that brought the club its first top-flight crown in six years.

Peter Bosz’s side only needed a draw to claim what had felt inevitable for months, such was their lead over second-placed Feyenoord, but they gave the fans a touch of nerves after going behind before rallying.

USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (1)

PSV’s players celebrate their title win (Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images)

The hosts’ final goal was truly made in America: USMNT’s Malik Tillman found compatriot Ricardo Pepi, who then backheel assisted Dutch defender Jordan Teze.

It was fitting that the USMNT pair played a role in kickstarting theparty — each of the youngsters has made an important contribution to their team’s formidable season.


Tillman, 21, has scored nine league goals and provided 10 assists while Pepi, 21, largely reduced to the role of a substitute because of captain Luuk de Jong’s prolific form, still managed seven goals and two assists with only one league start to his name.

The bittersweet element of the afternoon — from an American perspective — was right-back Sergino Dest watching on from the bench after he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in training that has ruled him out of this summer’s Copa America.

But it did not prevent the 23-year-old from joining in with the celebrations after the final whistle. He jigged (carefully) with the league trophy before some of his team-mates gatecrashed manager Bosz’s press conference to drench the boss in bottles, and then buckets, of ice water.

Tillman puffed on a cigar in the dressing room while the club’s director of football, Earnie Stewart, another former U.S. international, showed off his dance moves.

Two games remain before the Eredivisie season ends, but it will be interesting to see what the future holds for PSV’s American. trio. Dest has been on loan from Barcelona — a club that he has admitted it would be difficult to return to, with manager Xavi having opted to stay in Catalonia. While PSV were keen to sign Dest, it remains to be seen how they will approach the situation with his injury possibly ruling him out until the end of this year.

The most likely situation is that Dest returns to Barcelona to continue his rehabilitation, where he is under contact until the summer of 2025.

Tillman is also on loan, from Bayern Munich, and has said he would be happy to stay at PSV permanently — though whoever takes over as manager at the German club, following Thomas Tuchel’s expected exit, may have a different view.

Pepi is PSV’s player and will hope for more game time next season with club legend De Jong turning 34 in August.

GO DEEPERDest, Tillman, Pepi interview: The American trio who are league champions at PSV

Player of the weekend

A clean sheet, a thumping win and even an assist — it was a happy Monday for Crystal Palace defender Chris Richards.

The 24-year-old was excellent for the hosts in their eye-catching 4-0 win against Manchester United at Selhurst Park.

In his second Premier League campaign, Richards has coped admirably with being shuttled between his favoured role in the centre of defence, into a new midfield remit, and back again. He has shone in a back three under new manager Oliver Glasner and was on form against United, operating initially on the left of the trio and then, following the introduction of Marc Guehi, swapping to the right.

USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (4)

Richards hugs goalkeeper Dean Henderson after Palace’s emphatic win (Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

He even registered an assist, sending Jean-Philippe Mateta clear to score the home side’s second goal as Palace recorded wins home and away against United for the first time in their history. But, in typical centre-back fashion, Richards was more pleased with the clean sheet.

“It’s always good winning at home — and especially to have a shut out,” he told the Premier League before praising Glasner, who took over from Roy Hodgson in February. “The first half of the season, I think we were standing off a bit too much and he (Glasner) came in and said we need to go at each team, be aggressive and play on the front foot. I think it’s paying off.


“We knew that if we could keep their (United’s) attack quiet, we could get a good result. Now we want to finish the season on a high note and bring that momentum into the next.”

Richards, who cost the south London club an initial €12million (£10.3m; $12.9m) from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2022, completed 84 per cent of his passes against United, winning both of his two ground duels and two of his three aerial duels.

USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (5)

Quote of the weekend

“I have a year left in my contract, and my agent is speaking with the director,” USMNT star Weston McKennie told DAZN following his Juventus side’s 1-1 draw with Roma on Sunday.

“I’d like to stay, obviously, but we’ll see what happens. Hopefully, we can work it out.”

McKennie has had a much-improved season back in Turin after his underwhelming loan spell with Leeds United in the Premier League last term. But his Juventus deal expires next summer and it remains to be seen whether he can agree on a new contract with the club, for whom he has made 33 Serie A appearances and provided seven assists this season.

USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (6)

McKennie has enjoyed a resurgent season in Turin (Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

How did other U.S. players get on?

Name: Zach Booth
Club: Volendam
Position: Right midfield

The 20-year-old’s loan spell at the Dutch club Volendam has allowed him to play and improve, but he has still had to endure the hard reality of relegation from the Eredivisie.

Booth created Volendam’s only goal in the 4-1 defeat against Ajax on Sunday, which meant they are now seven points behind 16th-placed Excelsior with two matches remaining. Booth, on loan from Premier League-bound Leicester City, will hopefully have learned from the experience.

USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (7)

A disconsolate Booth contemplates relegation (Geert van Erven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Name: Paxten Aaronson
Club: Vitesse
Position: Midfield
Appearances (for Eintracht Frankfurt and Vitesse): 26

There was yet another tough learning experience for a gifted young American on loan in the Netherlands this season.

Paxten Aaronsen’s loan club Vitesse had their relegation confirmed last month after the Dutch Football Federation imposed an 18-point deduction for the club’s failure to meet licensing regulations. Aaronson, who joined in January, has at least enjoyed regular game time and has started 12 games and scored four goals during his spell so far.

GO DEEPERPaxten Aaronson exclusive: Cheetah runs, stir fries and staying power

Name: Ethan Horvath
Club: Cardiff City
Position: Goalkeeper

An otherwise decent loan spell in the Championship with Cardiff City ended on a dud note for Horvath as he conceded five goals to already relegated Rotherham on Saturday. Horvath had kept four clean sheets in 16 appearances for the Welsh club, who finished 12th.


He will hope to feature for his country at Copa America.

Name: Christian Pulisic
Club: AC Milan
Position: Forward

Pulisic provided his seventh Serie A assist of the season, creating Olivier Giroud’s goal in Milan’s 3-3 draw with Genoa at home on Sunday, which ensured they maintain their lead over Juventus in the battle to finish runners-up to rivals Inter with three games remaining.

What’s coming up?

(All times Eastern)

Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson could have a say in the Premier League’s title race as their Fulham side take on Manchester City on Saturday (7:30am, Peaco*ck Premium). Auston Trusty’s already relegated Sheffield United take on Everton that same day (10am, Peaco*ck Premium).

Later, see if Gio Reyna can help bolster Nottingham Forest’s top-flight survival hopes when they face Chelsea (12:30pm, Peaco*ck Premium).

On Sunday, Josh Sargent will hope to help Norwich City make a big start to their play-off semi-final as they target promotion back to the Premier League. They take on Leeds United (7am).

USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (9)

Sargent has his sights on Premier League football next season (Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Finally, Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s Milan will play Cagliari on Saturday (2:45pm, Paramount +).

(Top photos: Getty Images)

USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (10)USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (11)

Greg O'Keeffe is a senior writer for The Athletic covering US soccer players in the UK & Europe.Previously he spent a decade at the Liverpool Echo covering news and features before an eight-year stint as the paper's Everton correspondent; giving readers the inside track on Goodison Park, a remit he later reprised at The Athletic.He has also worked as a news and sport journalist for the BBC and hosts a podcast in his spare time.

USMNT Player Tracker: PSV trio crowned champions, Richards in the groove and McKennie talks (2024)


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