U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann is approaching last week’s loss with typical German pragmatism – served up with a side dish of his own perennially positive nature.
The period between Friday’s loss in Jamaica and Tuesday’s chance at result reversal against the Reggae Boyz in Columbus, Klinsmann says, is about regeneration, digesting the result and consequences and calm analysis.
And the manager made it clear that his team has ample opportunity Tuesday to reassert its group leadership Tuesday in the first of three winnable contests.
If the man is worried, he isn’t showing it – a calming balm that Klinsmann always offers. None of that means he didn’t see what the rest of us saw on Friday:
“Definitely, we need to improve,” he said. “We need to step it up.”
Where, precisely, did Klinsmann believe the United States needs something better? Here’s what he said to U.S. Soccer video team:
Possessing the ball, combine much better through the midfield, be patient and play the ball faster with one or two touches instead of three, four, five touches … and get them into difficulties. Because they [Jamaicans] were very aggressive. They were challenging every one- against-one ball. And you can avoid that by moving the ball around quicker.
“Certainly we learned that you cannot away cheap free kicks close to your 18-yard box. We knew about this. We were aware [the Jamaicans] have very good free kick takers. They took those opportunities and besides that, they had no chances at all! It’s kind of weird to see a game like this were you lose on two free kicks, and you are leaving a place empty handed because of set pieces. Obviously it’s frustrating in the first moments, but it’s reality and then you bounce back.”
Here’s the short video from U.S. Soccer:
If you’re having a rough Monday morning, things could always be worse.
You could be PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.
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On Sunday PSV’s goalkeeper scored one of the most bizarre own goals ever as he stopped a shot on the line in the 82nd minute, then as he pulled the ball into his chest while on the floor he actually carried the ball over the line.
The Goal Decision System (GDS) awarded the game-winning goal and the reigning Dutch champs lost 2-1 to Feyenoord who are the current Eredivise leaders and stretched their lead over third-place PSV to 11 points.
Take a look at the video below to see the monumental error, as the video replay showed that all of the ball was about one blade of grass over the line.
Fine margins indeed…
Since arriving on the New York City scene two years ago it’s fair to summarize Mix Diskerud’s tenure with New York City FC as a disappointment.
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While the expectations of a quick transition from life in Europe to MLS were surely massive, the 26-year-old midfielder has failed to live up to the billing of not only being one of the NYCFC’s highest-paid players but also as a potential U.S. Men’s National Team candidate.
Diskerud saw his playing time dwindle down from 23 starts in 2015 to nine this past season under new manager Patrick Vieira, and it doesn’t appear that the Norwegian-American will see an influx of opportunities during the upcoming 2017 season.
Rumors have surfaced throughout the offseason about NYCFC potentially buying out Diskerud’s contract, however, the midfielder’s cryptic post to social media on Sunday afternoon suggests that he may not be in New York for much longer.
It has been suggested that Diskerud would possibly consider a return to Europe in the event that his contract was in fact bought out, however, the difference in salaries would likely be drastic.
According to figures released by the MLS Players’ Union, Diskerud made $761,250 in 2016, which was the fourth-highest salary on NYCFC books behind only David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, each of whom were classified as Designated Players.
Gabriel Jesus was a revelation for Manchester City before suffering an injury, but even with a spot in the lineup for the time being Sergio Aguero may not be coming back to Manchester City next season.
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According to the Sun, Spanish giants Real Madrid are eyeing up a move for Aguero in the hopes that the Argentine striker will join the club at the conclusion of the Premier League season.
Prior to joining City back in 2011, Aguero played five seasons in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 101 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblancos.
While Aguero is likely to hold his starting spot for some time due to Jesus’ injured metatarsal, manager Pep Guardiola had heavily favored the young forward over Aguero since officially joining the club in January.
Tab Ramos’ side completed their first task, but now the U.S. Under-20 national team has its next challenge lying in front of them.
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The U.S. U-20s finished second in Group B at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship after winning two of its three group stage matches.
Now, Mexico and El Salvador await the U-20s in the classification stage with a spot at May’s Under-20 World Cup in South Korea on the line.
During the classification round there will be two groups of three teams, with the top two teams advancing to the World Cup. Each group winner will meet in the CONCACAF Championship final.
Classification stage schedule
Feb. 27 — U.S. U-20s vs. Mexico
Mar. 1 — Mexico vs. El Salvador
Mar. 3 — U.S. U-20s vs. El Salvador
Feb. 27 — Panama vs. Honduras
Mar. 1 — Honduras vs. Costa Rica
Mar. 3 — Panama vs. Costa Rica