ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays: On another day, Carsten Jancker might not make the big birthday list. But the former Bayern Munich man was a big whoop in the late 1990s and into the next decade. And he did have 33 caps for Germany. So, yeah, happy 38th birthday, Herr Jancker.

Longtime Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paul Allen (pictured) turns 50. That man is darn near a legend around White Hart Lane.

Big Important Story of the Day: Toronto FC got off to a good start in CONCACAF Champions League play with a resounding 5-1 win over travel-weary Aguila from El Salvador. But tonight’s contest against Mexican power Santos Laguna? Yes, that will be a different story.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Ted Eck

Twitter daps:

source:

If the MLS playoffs started today:

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • D.C. United at Chicago

(Second round)

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
  • New York Red Bulls vs. Houston

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy

(Second Round)

  • San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
  • Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle

What you should watch on TV today: Sacha Kljestan and his Belgian club Anderlecht try to stay alive in UEFA Champions League play, hosting AEL Limassol FC from Cyprus. Kljestan’s team is down by a goal, but this one is in Brussels, so it’s “game on!” That one kicks off at 5 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel. (But stay off of Twitter; it is a delay broadcast.) Later on FSC the aforementioned Toronto-Santos Laguna contest kicks off at 8 p.m. ET.

*Ahead on the blog today: In addition to the usual Tuesday staple, our ProSoccerTalk MLS weekly rankings, we’ll have some thoughts on Monday’s terrible news out of Kansas City, where striker Teal Bunbury is done for the year after suffering a severe knee injury in Sunday’s draw with New York.

PST background noise while blogging today: We’ll see what SoundCloud has to say about it; I’m thinking downtempo.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is…

AT HALF: Lletget, Bradley, Dempsey spur USMNT to 3-0 lead

Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images
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The United States men’s national team’s bid to recover their 2018 World Cup hopes is off to a flying start.

As it stands, the 3-0 halftime lead provided by Sebastian Lletget, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey has the Yanks up from sixth to fourth in the Hex table.

Sebastian Lletget scored a fifth minute goal to ease the tensions of the Avaya Stadium crowd in San Jose, though he’d leave the match with injury before the match was 20 minutes old.

Sloppy Honduran defending caused a turnover outside the 18, and Jozy Altidore played Christian Pulisic in on goal.

[ LIVE – Play-by-play via @USSoccer ]

Keeper Donis Escober got a piece of Pulisic’s shot, but no one followed Lletget to the back post and the ex-West Ham and current LA Galaxy man quickly put the Yanks up 1-0.

Then it was the captain who doubled the lead, as Honduras inexplicably gave him the room to walk across the arc of the 18 to rip a shot across goal. 2-0.

It was Clint Dempsey’s turn in the 33rd minute, after an otherworldly scooped pass from Pulisic.

What. A. Pass. Kid.

LINEUP

USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Brooks, Cameron; Bradley, Lletget (Bedoya, 18′), Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore.

Goals: Lletget (5′), Bradley (27′), Dempsey (33′)

LIVE – USMNT looks to right ship vs. Honduras

Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
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The United States starts to make amends for its 0-2 start to the final round of World Cup qualifying with a match against Honduras on Friday in San Jose.

Losses to Mexico and Costa Rica cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job and Bruce Arena will try things differently

[ LIVE – Play-by-play via @USSoccer ]

Most importantly for Arena, Geoff Cameron and Tim Howard are available this time around.

Cameron starts at right back, with John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez in the center of the back four. Jorge Villafana slots into the mix at left back.

Captain Michael Bradley will sit atop the midfield, with Darlington Nagbe, Sebastian Lletget, and Christian Pulisic in the midfield.

Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are the forwards. Kickoff is set for 10:55 p.m. EDT from Avaya Stadium.

Minnesota’s Molino lifts Trinidad and Tobago to big win (video)

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Minnesota United attacker Kevin Molino has given Trinidad and Tobago life in the race to win a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

Molino’s 37th minute goal gave hosts T&T a 1-0 lead against visiting Panama at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday, and the Soca Warriors held on to win its first points of qualifying.

Panama had a Luis Tejada goal controversially ruled offside as Los Canaleros nearly pulled their fifth point of the Hex. Panama faces the USMNT on Tuesday in Panama City.

[ WATCH: Zaha scores wonder vs. Russia ]

Molino fooled long time LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a low shot across the body. The Panama backstop couldn’t get low enough or far enough with his dive to stop the shot.

The win has T&T in fifth place on the Hex table, behind Honduras on goal differential and three points ahead of the last place USMNT.

The U.S. needs a two-goal win to pass T&T, and a three-goal win to climb above Honduras.

WATCH: Zaha drives Russia nuts with mazy dribble goal

Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images
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Wilfried Zaha combined balance, deft touch, and breakneck speed to score his first international goal for the Ivory Coast.

With his side leading Russia 1-0 on Friday, the Crystal Palace winger worked his way through four defenders before burying his shot.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Zaha especially fooled with Ilya Kutepov, a harsh cut nearly tipping both to the field.

He’s just 24, and it seems much longer ago that he made his failed move to Manchester United in 2013.

Failed may be a rough verb considering it all contributed to making him the player he is for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast today.