Weston McKennie opened his Schalke account against Lokomotiv Moscow in the UEFA Champions League. - © © imago
Weston McKennie opened his Schalke account against Lokomotiv Moscow in the UEFA Champions League. - © © imago

Weston McKennie: "Schalke goal a dream come true"

Weston McKennie has spoken of his delight at scoring his first competitive goal for Schalke after heading in a late winner at Lokomotiv Moscow in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Back in the side after recovering from a thigh injury sustained in the Bundesliga Matchday 4 defeat to Bayern Munich on 18 September, McKennie powered in an 88th-minute corner from Yevhen Konoplyanka to give Schalke their first Champions League win of the campaign.

At 20 years, 37 days, the USA international is now the second youngest American to find the net in the competition, after Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic (18 years, 171 days).

"Today was a dream come true for me, it was truly amazing," McKennie said after the game. "I don’t score a lot of goals, but I’m so pleased I managed to get one today."

McKennie was making his 33rd competitive appearance for Schalke, and only his second in the Champions League. He made his competition debut a fortnight ago in a game against Porto, marking the occasion with an assist for Breel Embolo in a 1-1 draw

"I’m delighted for Weston, he works hard every day to try and get better," commented Schalke defender Naldo from the Russian capital. "You can see the improvements in his performances and he was rewarded with a goal today. He is important for our team."

Such is his importance to the Schalke cause, McKennie - who enjoyed his breakthrough season in 2017/18 - has started six of the Royal Blues’ nine competitive matches so far this term. Having managed 28 second-half minutes of the 1-0 win over Mainz last weekend following his injury, and the full 90 in Moscow, the six-time USMNT international is itching to lace his boots again, with Schalke facing Fortuna Düsseldorf in the Bundesliga this coming Saturday.

"We are very happy and relieved," McKennie explained after firing Schalke to only their second competitive win of the 2018/19 season. "The schedule is so busy that we don’t have much time to think about tonight. We have to concentrate on the game against Düsseldorf in the Bundesliga now. We won as a team today."

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