Americans Abroad: Tim Weah earns first PSG start in Ligue 1 finale

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The teenager earned a place in the French champions' final contest of the season against Caen and went the distance

Tim Weah’s season at Paris Saint-Germain ended on a high note on Saturday as the teenager was handed his first start for the Ligue 1 champions.

Outgoing manager Unai Emery not only gave Weah a place in the XI, but also was content to let him go the full 90 minutes in the scoreless draw with Caen.

Weah did not do a whole lot in the contest with his moments of note being a yellow card early on in the match, and an interception and centering pass that Javier Pastore should've done better with. 

Overall, he completed 80 per cent of the 15 passes he attempted, with the forward being credited with one key pass among them. He did not record a shot – something he had done in his two previous substitute appearances, and was also credited with three unsuccessful touches in the game.

However, a somewhat lacklustre first start for PSG should not dampen the season Weah managed with the Ligue 1 champions. He appeared in three contests in total, and performed well enough to be named to the bench seven other times. He also earned a United States senior team call-up in March and another one for this month's friendly against Bolivia. It certainly is not a bad return for a player who turned 18 in February. 

It will be interesting to see what the next season holds for Weah. The fight for minutes does not figure to get any easier with a PSG roster that is chock full of big names. But Weah, if he does not go out on loan, can take heart knowing the club’s incoming manager, former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, has no problem with giving opportunities to American teenagers.

Miazga scores as Vitesse earns Europa League spot


Matt Miazga Vitesse

Matt Miazga also capped his season this weekend and did it in style, adding his fourth goal of the season.

Off a corner kick, Miazga made an excellent run to lose his defender and nodded a powerful header in off the goalkeeper at the near post. While the goal initially doubled Vitesse’s lead over FC Utrecht, Miazga’s tally ultimately proved the winner in his club’s 2-1 second leg victory.

Overall, Vitesse took the Europa League playoff final 5-3 on aggregate, meaning the club will head back to Europe’s secondary continental club competition for the second season in a row.

"FC Utrecht really has a good team," Miazga told De Gelderlander. "It was difficult, but the reward was also greater. This is a wonderful end of the season."

The question now is whether Miazga will be back with them for next season. The defender has certainly done exactly what he needed to do over the course of his two years with the club.

Miazga successfully fought his way into the XI over the course of his first season and then become one of Vitesse’s mainstays in year two, even earning the right to wear the captain’s armband for a game when the regular captain was rested.

Chelsea seems likely to have a new manager next season, though Miazga may well be a long shot to earn a place at Stamford Bridge. However, a loan to a team at a higher level than Vitesse would not be a surprise as the Blues look to build his value or see if he has the chops to play in the Premier League.

But if this was Miazga’s last game for Vitesse, he certainly gave the fans a positive moment to remember him by.


Chandler misses Frankfurt victory


The bad news for Timothy Chandler this Saturday was that he was unable to go in Eintracht Frankfurt’s DFB-Pokal final against Bayern Munich, as his knee injury kept him out of the 18.

The good news for Chandler was that Frankfurt emerged 3-1 winners, sending manager Niko Kovac out on top against his future employers and also booking a spot in next year’s Europa League with the win.

Frankfurt also announced their new manager this week, as Adi Hutter will take over for Kovac. How Hutter views Chandler next season remains to be seen.

But while he didn’t play, Chandler certainly was an important member of the club this year, finishing his campaign with three goals and four assists in all competitions, despite his year being limited due to a pair of knee injuries.

And if he remains with the club next season, his reward will be a taste of continental soccer.


Free kicks


John Brooks Wolfsburg Bundesliga playoff

–While Chandler may have a chance to enjoy the Europa League in 2018-19, John Brooks would likely just settle for the Bundesliga. He and Wolfsburg face off against Holstein Kiel in the second leg of the Bundesliga playoff on Monday.

Brooks started the first leg and went the distance in a 3-1 win. That gives Wolfsburg a solid base to work from heading into the second leg, but given how their defending has gone at times this year (albeit mostly with Brooks sidelined), nothing is a guarantee heading into the away leg.

– Jorge Villafana has earned himself a medal after Santos Laguna managed a 1-1 draw with Toluca in the Liga MX playoffs on Sunday, winning the final 3-2 on aggregate to be crowned Clausura champions.

Villafana lost his starting job in the playoffs and did not get into the first leg. He did enter the second leg in the 55th minute as his side held on to the victory.

– Ethan Horvath’s return to the XI continued as he started Club Brugge’s season finale against Gent. It was his third straight start to finish the campaign. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Gent won 1-0 with Horvath’s decision making coming into question again. A long ball over the top of the defense played Gent's Yuya Kubo in. It looked liked a Brugge defender was about to get back into the play, but Horvath came out and Kubo slid it past him and into the empty net.

Horvath certainly took blame from some fans on Twitter, and it probably won’t do much for his confidence, given that his earlier struggles with command of his area that led to his benching.

One would expect Brugge to go out and get another goalkeeper or two this summer.

– Alfredo Morales did not return to the Bundesliga with Ingolstadt after the club finished ninth the second division table. But he will be back in the top league next season as he signed with 2.Bundesliga champions Fortuna Dusseldorf this past week.

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Morales joined fellow U.S. international Jerome Kiesewetter on the club, though Kiesewetter’s future with the team may be murky after he played in just three league contests all season.

 

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