Andrea Pirlo Begins Juve Reign With Win After Getting Most From Ronaldo, McKennie

Juventus opened the new Serie A season with a 3-0 victory over Sampdoria.

Andrea Pirlo’s first match as Juventus manager included debuts for 22-year-old American Weston McKennie and 20-year-old Swede Dejan Kulusevski, and both young talents did their manager proud in a 3-0 victory over Sampdoria at Allianz Stadium. 

It was Kulusevski, the Serie A Best Young Player award-winner last season while on loan at Parma, who opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a left-footed curler from the edge of the area.

McKennie — employed in a midfield three alongside Adrien Rabiot with Aaron Ramsey further forward — protected a Danilo-Leonardo Bonucci-Giorgio Chiellini defensive line that doesn’t need a whole lot of protection, but the Texan was all-action and played a large role in Juve’s second goal.

McKennie initially challenged for a header on a corner kick, and the USMNT star eventually got off a shot that forced Emil Audero into a save. Bonucci was there to power home the rebound from close-range.

Following a number of substitutions, McKennie then transitioned to right wingback and came millimeters away from scoring. But Juve would make it 3-0 in the 88th minute after Ramsey fed Ronaldo for the finish.  

McKennie also had this crunching tackle in the first half that led to a Ronaldo opportunity.

The American definitely played well enough to warrant another start next weekend, and that’s a huge one: Juventus travels to the Stadio Olimpico next Sunday to play Roma. 

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