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Heavy U.S. influence in Young Boys’ Champions League qualification success

After a captivating and hugely dramatic evening in Budapest on Tuesday, Swiss champions Young Boys secured their place in the lucrative Champions League Group Stage, where the proceedings had a distinct U.S flavor.

Young Boys manager David Wagner – who won eight caps with the USMT between 1996 and 1998 – helped to mastermind a victory over two legs against stubborn Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros, though a 93rd minute intervention from substitute Felix Mambimbi confirmed the Swiss side’s place in the next phase of the Champions League.

The heavy U.S. influence on the contest was felt as early as the 18th minute, when Seattle-born Henry Wingo fired Ferencvaros level at 1-1 much to the delight of the crowd inside the Groupama Aréna.

The teams traded further blows before the hour mark and with a little over 20 minutes remaining on the clock, Young Boys were awarded a potentially crucial penalty kick.

Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu from Washington D.C. took on the spot-kick responsibility, though the 25-year-old fluffed his lines and missed. Siebatechu still had a role to play in the injury time strike that sealed Young Boys victory on the night however.

The attacker was replaced by Felix Mambimbi with five minutes to go and his 20-year-old replacement subsequently knocked in Young Boys’ third and crucial goal in Budapest deep into added on time.

Siebatechu will join a lengthening list of U.S. players that will feature in the Champions League Group Stage this season, while Young Boys boss David Wagner joins compatriot Jesse Marsch in the same phase of the competition.

Siebatechu joins eight other American players in the tournament’s Group Stage alongside Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Sergiño Dest (FC Barcelona), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Tim Weah (Lille), Zack Steffen (Manchester City), while one more U.S. starts will join the ranks later today.

Brenden Aaronson and Red Bull Salzburg lead Christian Cappis and Brondby ahead of the clubs’ Playoff second-leg tussle in Denmark, and the Austrian outfit are favorites to progress.

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