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.

The 2 Robbies: North London Runs Rampant On Merseyside

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In today’s podcast, Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle talk two exciting Premier League matches. First, they discuss Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-1 win against Liverpool (0:24). Mustoe thought Spurs were gifted the win by the Reds (0:50), while Earle thought they were very impressive indeed. Then, they break down Arsenal’s 5-2 win at Goodison Park (17:38).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Vote of confidence: Bilic expected to remain West Ham manager

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Nine games into the 2017-18 Premier League season, Slaven Bilic and Ronald Koeman find themselves in a neck-and-neck race to (not) be this campaign’s first manager fired.

[ MORE: Spurs break the hoodoo, thrash Liverpool at Wembley ]

After suffering home defeats of 3-0 (to Brighton) and 5-2 (to Arsenal), respectively, this weekend, from this point forward every breath taken could be their last in their current job — unless the results begin to change, quickly. With Everton having only played on Sunday, no final decision is believed to have been made regarding Koeman’s future.

Having played on Friday and had the weekend to mull things over, though, West Ham United’s owners have reportedly decided that Bilic will remain in the job for at least another two games, a period during which he must secure his job long-term, according to a report from Sky Sports.

Up next for 16th-place West Ham is a trip to Selhurst Park to take on bottom-of-the-league Crystal Palace on Saturday. 18th-place Everton visit Leicester City on Sunday.

Pochettino’s Spurs put on show for Maradona, Kobe

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Post writers, us included, were drawn to Liverpool’s continued defensive woes following Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-1 demolition of the Reds at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

With Jurgen Klopp‘s personality and post-match quotes regarding uncapitalized goat Dejan Lovren, that’s understandable, but it would be a big mistake to not celebrate the class of Spurs on Sunday.

[ MORE: Match recap | Klopp, Matip reaction ]

Harry Kane is world class, scoring twice and providing a clever assist on another goal as Mauricio Pochettino‘s men showed the well-oiled nature of their machine.

And he was glowing on a match day that saw Kobe Bryant and one of Pochettino’s Argentine heroes, Diego Maradona, at Wembley:

“I spoke to Diego Maradona before the game, it was very emotional. He brings very good energy. He is the best player ever in football history.”

That the win is coming after a draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu is even more notable, considering the manners of each match. Hugo Lloris joined Kane as a star of the show of a more defensive-minded away midweek, but was merely a component as Spurs went for the jugular against the dicey defense of Liverpool.

Margins are small in the Premier League, but you could easily make an argument that Spurs are unlucky to sit five points behind Manchester City. Their star goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made gaffes in their lone league loss, to Chelsea, and a failure to finish myriad chances allowed Chris Wood‘s late goal to stand as an equalizer against Burnley.

“It is the third season that we are trying to catch someone. Manchester City are doing very well, they have an amazing squad and one of the best managers in the world. We see what happens, we believe, we will try to catch them. We are focused every day.

There’s another rough stretch ahead for Pochettino’s men, who don’t face City until Dec. 16. Presumably it’ll be second choice at West Ham in the League Cup this week before a trip to Old Trafford, and Spurs have the luxury of making that tough visit without fearing Paul Pogba on the other side of the pitch.

Then, it’s Real Madrid at home in the Champions League, a visit from Palace, and the international break. The North London Derby follows away, and Spurs will hope to have the UCL group sewn up before a trip to BVB days later.

The remaining schedule, save a trip to currently tricky Watford, would set them up to move within touching distance of City following the Dec. 16 match at the Etihad. The interim sees Man City facing Arsenal and Manchester United, so it wouldn’t be absurd to think Spurs could make up ground should City stumble (as unlikely as that looks right now).

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Klopp, Matip react to another rough Liverpool defensive showing

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Joel Matip is shouldering the blame for Liverpool’s defensive collapse against Tottenham Hotspur, while the Reds’ manager is placing it on at least partially on Matip’s partner for the first half hour.

“Most teams at home with the stand in their back are always stronger,” Matip said after the 4-1 loss at Wembley Stadium.

[ RECAP: Spurs 4-1 Liverpool ]

“I am a defender and I should take care of this. We don’t think about the title race at the moment, we only try to get back in a good mood for next week.”

As for Klopp, he’s angry as expected following the shipping of four goals to Spurs. That verb works doubly here, as giveaways and mistakes were common place amongst the Reds’ backs and midfield.

Dejan Lovren had a rough day, subbing out after 31 minutes. The injured center back played a big part in Spurs first two goals, including leaping for and missing a Hugo Lloris long ball. From the BBC:

“If I am involved in this situation on the pitch, then Harry cannot get the ball.”

“We have to realize that we are responsible for this and nobody else. Of course we can fix it and we have to fix it as well.”

Klopp also detailed what went wrong with each of the four goals, then proffering that “the game was finished then.” Right.

There’s a lot to love about Klopp, who can be a tactical wizard. But he’s also struggled to convince players of their roles, and has shipped some very decent center back depth out-of-town. The latter is the reason Klopp used a less than fit Lovren on Sunday, and it burned them against a well-oiled Spurs side.

Follow @NicholasMendola