Americans Abroad: James Sands debuts for Rangers, Tim Weah returns to Lille training

Americans playing abroad are thriving across leagues across the world. New York City FC loanee James Sands was the latest to debut for a European side, featuring in the starting lineup for Rangers against Aberdeen.

USMNT left-back Antonee Robinson helped Fulham to a 6-2 home victory over Birmingham City, as Joe Scally made his way back to the pitch in Germany's Bundesliga.

Americans across European leagues are gearing up as the USMNT returns to action on January 27 in hopes to secure a spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Here is what USMNT's best are up to abroad...

1. James Sands earns praise after Rangers debut

Sands earned significant praise from Rangers head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst after debuting with the Scottish Premiership side. The American midfielder adjusted to his newest team quite quickly, jumping right into the starting lineup for Tuesday’s match against Aberdeen. 

The New York City FC loanee played 90 minutes in the heart of Rangers' midfield as the league leaders earned a 1-1 draw. 

“It’s not an easy game, so I thought he did well tonight in a game that was tough for the whole team,” Van Bronckhorst said of Sands. “I think he did better in the second half, especially when we put John [Lundstram] in midfield with him and it created a nice block there. We did well after the penalty kick to shut the game down and avoid letting up a winning goal.”

Sands also received approval from the team’s captain James Tavernier, who admitted he “handled himself really well.”

“He’s gelled in really quick to the squad and for to come up here Aberdeen for his first match, I thought he handled himself really well,” Tavernier said.  “He’s a player we can use in the future and a great squad player and I think fills in nicely, especially with Joe [Aribo] out.”

Sands became the ninth American player to feature for Rangers, following the likes of Claudio Reyna, Alejandro Bedoya, Maurice Edu, and DaMarcus Beasley.

2. Antonee Robinson scores for Fulham in 6-2 victory

Antonee Robinson scores for Fulham in 6-2 victory over Birmingham City | Alex Pantling/GettyImages

Robinson helped Fulham to a 6-2 home win over Birmingham, scoring the final goal of the club’s third-straight league victory.

The American scored in the 93rd minute to cap off the victory, his second goal of the season. He also registered his fourth league assist during the Championship match after providing Fabio Carvalho with a great cross. 

Robinson played the full 90 minutes of the match, assisting the team to its 16th league victory out of 26 matches.

Fulham sits in first on the Championship table with 54 points in 26 matches and a record of 16-6-4.

3. Joe Scally returns to the pitch

Joe Scally made his return for Borussia Mönchengladbach against Bayer Leverkusen | Frederic Scheidemann/GettyImages

Scally returned to action on Saturday, featuring for Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach against Bayer Leverkusen. 

The full-back featured in the final 29 minutes of his side’s 2-1 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen, making his first appearance of 2022. Scally was previously unavailable for his side after contracting Covid-19. 

4. Tim Weah returns to Lille training

Winger Timothy Weah returned to full training with Lille OSC after recovering from a thigh injury | Sylvain Lefevre/GettyImages

Tim Weah finally returned to full training on Tuesday after being sidelined with a thigh injury for Lille’s last three matches of 2021. The USMNT player last featured for the Ligue 1 side on December 2 before going into rehabilitation. 

The 21-year-old forward has recorded three assists in 14 appearances so far this season, while also playing a key role for the USMNT, managing one goal and one assist.

Weah has the opportunity to feature for the French side on two occasions before the international break kicks off, including Wednesday’s home match against Lorient and the visit to Brest on January 22. 

The USMNT are set to play on January 27 against El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio before traveling to Canada on January 30 and hosting Panama in Minnesota on February 2.

Source : 90min