PST USMNT Man of the Match: Clarence Goodson

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There weren’t any stand out performances from the United States Men’s National Team on Sunday in Toronto. If they’d gotten one, they probably wouldn’t have had to settle for a disappointing 0-0 at BMO Field. The attack lacked creativity. The midfield, outnumbered for most of the night, failed to make an impact, while the defense did their job (keeping a clean sheet), albeit against a side that wasn’t too interested in maintaining any sustained pressure.

On a night like this, Man of the Match becomes a process of elimination. Who did anything that stood out? Cross off half the team. Amongst those that did something noteworthy, how many directly impacted the match? And how many players did something that was truly more than you’d expect from your run-of-the-mill player?

More USA vs. Canada

Canada 0-0 USA

Match report: It was only a friendly, but the U.S. gave a flat performance in Toronto.



The Big Three

Talking points: Left back, midfield, and PST’s Man of the Match.

After that elimination process, Clarence Goodson’s name stood out, and until stoppage time, giving the Brondby defender the honor was a relatively easy choice. Then came the 92nd minute, when Dwayne De Rosario drilled a ball into the six from the line, right into a big gap where Goodson should have been. Simeon Jackson’s missed sitter kept the score 0-0, but the chance nearly ruined Goodson’s claim to a starting spot.

Then, one minute later, Goodson nearly made up for it. With the U.S. pressing for a winner, Goodson charged forward trying to keep the ball in the attacking third. Undercut while airborne, Goodson drew a nearly vital foul. Michael Bradley’s restart swung in to the edge of the six, where Goodson held off his man to drill a shot on goal. Lars Hirschfeld pushed the would-be winner over the bar.

Before the late match drama, Goodson had been as solid as Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey (other Man of the Match considerations). His work consistency breaking up half-chances at the back (8 clearances, 3 recoveries, 3 tackles, one block and one interception) may have given him the edge. The same could be said about his efforts one-on-one against Jackson after the Norwich City attacker came on the 65th minute. Even then you wonder if Goodson could have done more on Jackson’s 68th minute chance, when Jackson was allowed to take aim at the upper-right hand corner from 22 yards out. Neither Goodson nor Bocanegra were able to put in a challenge.

It wasn’t a perfect night, yet Goodson was still one of the U.S.’s best, and when a performance like that wins your team’s Man of the Match, you’re probably a little lucky to get to the final whistle with a 0-0. But that’s a team concern. Individually, despite not playing in against Scotland and Brazil, Goodson may have done enough to vault to top of Jurgen Klinsmann’s right-center half pecking order.

Day Four: All the action from the U20 World Cup

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South Korea and Venezuela clinched berths in the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup on Tuesday, while Germany and Argentina have surprising work to do after two matches in South Korea.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

South Korea 2-1 Argentina

Barcelona B man Lee Seung-woo helped South Korea take a 2-0 lead, then hold on for the win and group lead over England.

England 1-1 Guinea

Chelsea youngster Fikayo Tomori scored a wild long range own goal to cost England the three points, but the Blues are still well-positioned to advance out of the group stage. Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook scored for England, and it was a beaut.

Venezuela 7-0 Vanuatu

Seven different Venezuelans have scored through a pair of shutout wins, with Caracas’ Sergio Cordova the only one to bag a pair.

Mexico 0-0 Germany

Germany has just one point through two matches, thanks largely to Pachuca’s Abraham Romero’s seven saves. Mexico was outshot 12-6.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.