USMNT in Europe: Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest facing must-win tests

The pressure will be on Europe's USMNT stars this weekend with all having something to prove.

The soccer season in Europe rolls on relentlessly this week, and there is plenty of USMNT interest to follow along the way.

It's not all plain saling for the United States' top talent, though, with some struggling for form, others struggling for fitness, and some playing for struggling teams.

Here, Planet Sport guides you through what to expect from the USMNT stars in Europe this weekend.

Sergino Dest

It's fair to say that things aren't going all that well for Barcelona right now.

Reports in Spain suggest it's a matter of when Ronald Koeman is sacked now as opposed to if. Results have not been good enough and, more importantly it seems, the Barcelona 'identity' is not being honoured.

Dest returned to the Barca starting line-up for the recent 1-1 home draw with Granada, and he is likely to feature again as they tackle Levante at Camp Nou.

Koeman said this week that Barcelona have been poor for a while now, but no one noticed because of Lionel Messi. Not his fault, in other words.

"Lionel Messi has obscured everything," he said. "He was so good and he won.

"Of course he had good players around him, but he made the difference. Everyone seems better than they are because of him. This is not a criticism, but an observation."

Nevetheless, even a poor Barcelona should have enough to beat Levante at home.

Matthew Hoppe

Sticking with La Liga, Matthew Hoppe made his first start for Mallorca this week and it really did not go very well at all.

The youngster only lasted an hour against Real Madrid before being replaced by Abdon Prats at the Bernabeu. Mallorca were 4-1 down when Hoppe went off, eventually losing 6-1.

The result was obviously not a reflection on Hoppe himself. Playing as a lone striker, he did not see enough of the ball to make any real difference.

That means he should keep his place for the visit of Osasuna and Mallorca will need him. Three games without a win has turned a promising start to the season into a worrying decline.

They need a win, and they will probably get one.

Christian Pulisic

Christian Pulisic has not featured for Chelsea since the international break and he is expected to be missing again when the Blues take on Premier League champions Manchester City this weekend.

He was close to making the squad for the League Cup win over Aston Villa, although boss Thomas Tuchel decided not to risk him.

"The game against Aston Villa is maybe too close, I hope I am wrong," Tuchel said before that one. "This is my impression with him not in training so far. Let's see.

"Maybe he had a good progression today. Maybe it is possible. It would be super nice to have him but it is doubtful."

Evidently it was not possible, and with Chelsea's clash with Man City the early kick-off on Saturday, that may come around too soon for him, too.

If he does make it, he will most likely have to settle for a place on the bench.

Weston McKennie

Weston McKennie has bene in the headlines this week after USA boss Gregg Berhalter told him he must "earn the trust" of his USA teammates after breaking COVID-19 protocols this month.

Things aren't going phenomenally well for McKennie's club side Juventus either, with the Old Lady finding themselves in an unfamiliar 13th place in Serie A.

Juventus will try to get themselves back on track at home to Sampdoria on Saturday, and McKennie is likely to be involved in the centre of midfield.

Sampdoria come into the game with less time to recover from their midweek match than Juventus, so it's hard to see anything but a home win.

Matt Miazga

Matt Miazga has not enjoyed the greatest of starts to life at Alaves.

Miazga joined the La Liga side on loan from Chelsea in the summer and has played three games - losing all of them.

He shouldn't be taking that personally, though, given Alaves have also lost the two games in which he didn't feature.

It's not likely to get any better this week, either, with Alaves hosting Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Alaves have not scored in four matches, so Diego Simeone's men are probably the last team you want to see when you are on a run like that.

READ MORE: Brits abroad: Tammy Abraham to thrive in Rome derby, and young Scot impressing

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