Four notable USMNT World Cup qualifier roster omissions


One players’ gain is another’s loss, as we know. So guys like Matt Besler, Brad Davis and a couple of others who have found their way onto Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for this week’s important World Cup qualifier did so at someone else’s expense.

Four of the “someone elses” in this case are Clarence Goodson, Kyle Beckerman, Benny Feilhaber and Oguchi Onyewu.

We may learn more later today as U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann talks about his selections. Klinsmann has a national conference call from the team’s Miami base – well, it’s base for another few hours, prior to departure into Honduras later this afternoon – scheduled for 12:30 ET.

(MORE: Early reactions from today’s roster announcement)

For now let’s look briefly at the foursome of notable omissions:

Benny Feilhaber: Against Canada, Feilhaber was one of the few players last week able to push the team forward, equipped with enough technical ability in tight spaces and the right attacking mindset to begin unlocking Canada’s stacked-and-packed defense. But then, everyone knows that about Feilhaber (pictured), who has recently moved from New England to Sporting Kansas City.

Feilhaber’s challenge over the longer January camp was always about showing he could smoothly assimilate into the larger group. Seeing as Brad Evans and Brad Davis started ahead of Feilhaber last week, and seeing as both made today’s roster, it looks like the Sporting KC man, a veteran of the United States’ World Cup efforts South Afirca 2010, may have come up short in his bid to demonstrate an improved ability to fit in.

(MORE: Jurgen Klinsmann addresses Benny Feilhaber’s status)

Clarence Goodson: Goodson’s omission is somewhat surprising considering his status as a regular through semifinal round qualifying. He started the team’s 2-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda in the next-to-last game during semifinal stage qualifying and was on the bench a few days later as Klinsmann’s men clinched passage into the final round.

He was not, however, part of the U.S. January camp. As Denmark’s league is out of season now, Goodson would surely have been invited into that camp if Klinsmann wanted to take him to Honduras.

Time will tell if the addition of center backs Besler and Omar Gonzalez means Goodson has been pushed down in the order, or if this is just a temporary thing down to timing.

The presumption has to be that Gonzalez and Besler have more upside; Goodson, 30, is what he is.

Oguchi Onyewu: This hardly rates as a huge shocker, but it remains noteworthy because Onyewu still holds status in general supporter awareness. So many fans would love nothing more than to see Onyewu return to his former bad-a** self, back to the guy who stared down Mexico’s Jared Borgetti two qualifier cycles back, equipped with enough ability and confidence to back it up.

Bottom line: the big center back, 30, still has work ahead to rally past a deflated 2012, when he seemed to lose Klinsmann’s favor and trust. As Onyewu can’t get a toehold on any playing time for Malaga, this probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Kyle Beckerman: This was perhaps the biggest surprise of today’s announcement, seeing as Beckerman had previously impressed Klinsmann with his positional discipline and his day-to-day, professional approach in training.

But the Real Salt Lake man struggled last week to move the team forward with a little more urgency from his holding midfield spot. Danny Williams has clearly lapped Beckerman, 30, in the crowded U.S. depth chart of central midfielders.

Not all is lost for Beckerman; given Jermaine Jones’ tendency to collect cards, he’s still one terrible tackle away from slipping right back into the roster rotation.

Defoe: Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore reminds me of Gareth Bale

during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park on November 23, 2015 in London, England.
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Duncan Watmore is highly regarded at Sunderland, as the 21-year-old was rewarded with a new four-year contract with the club earlier this week.

While the club has high hopes for the young winger, his teammates are taking notice as well.

[ MORE: Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

Watmore’s teammate Jermain Defoe, a seasoned veteran who knows all about succeeding in the Premier League, praised the 21-year-old’s play, comparing him to one of his former teammates at Tottenham, Gareth Bale.

In a funny way he reminds me of Gareth [Bale]. When he came on the scene at Tottenham, he used to just get the ball and glide.

He’s such a nice boy, I don’t think he’s bothered about signing new contracts and stuff, all he wants to do is play football and do well for the club.

If he can go on to do what Gareth has done then he’ll be fantastic. He’s the future of this club.

That’s quite the comparison, as Watmore has only made six Premier League appearances in his young career. Bale was twice named the Premier League Player of the Year before being sold to Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee in 2013.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

While it’s a bit too soon to be calling Watmore the next Gareth Bale, there’s no denying he could be a huge talent for Sunderland. After coming on as a substitute in the Black Cats’ win over Crystal Palace on Monday, Watmore showed his speed and willingness to run at defenders, something the club is in desperate need of. He made his debut for the England U21 side this fall, which shows his form has impressed many outside of just the North East.

After starting his career in the Manchester United youth setup, Watmore was released and played with non-league side Altrincham before signing with Sunderland in 2013. He scored 11 goals in 18 appearances last year with the U21 side, being named the Under 21 Premier League Player of the Season.

Five Premier League players make UEFA Team of the Year shortlist

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with his team mate Sergio Aguero (L) during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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UEFA has released the 40-man shortlist for the 2015 Team of the Year, with five Premier League players making the cut.

[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is on the list after being named the Premier League Player of the Year last season, as is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.

Manchester City accounts for the other three players, as Joe Hart, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne have been selected. However, De Bruyne makes the list mainly based off his play for Wolfsburg last season.

Three teams have more players selected than the entire Premier League combined. Barcelona leads the list with eight players, while Bayern Munich and Juventus each have six.

[ MORE: FIFA Ethics Committee seeks lifetime ban for Sepp Blatter ]

Cristiano Ronaldo already has the most appearances on the final list with nine, and is looking to make his ninth consecutive Team of the Year. No other player has been selected more than six times since the beginning of the award, which was started in 2001.

Below is the complete 40-man shortlist.

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Denys Boyko (Dnipro).

Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), David Luiz (Paris St-Germain), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris St-Germain), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen).

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St-Germain), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).

New York Red Bulls’ Jesse Marsch voted MLS Coach of the Year

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Red Bulls’ Jesse Marsch has been voted Major League Soccer’s Coach of the Year, the first to earn the honor in the two-decade history of the New York team.

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The Red Bulls went a league-best 18-10-6 in Marsch’s first season after replacing Mike Petke, winning 14 of their last 20 games with one tie. They trail Columbus 2-0 going into Sunday’s second leg of their Eastern Conference final.

MLS said Tuesday that from combined team, media and player votes, Marsch received a weighted total of 152 out of a possible 300.

Dallas’ Oscar Pareja was second with 91 and Vancouver’s Carl Robinson third with 24.

How can Chelsea qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

HAIFA, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 24: Willian of Chelsea celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC and Chelsea FC at Sammy Ofer Stadium on November 24, 2015 in Haifa, Israel.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
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With one match left in UEFA Champions League group play, Chelsea control their own destiny.

After beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv 4-0, the Blues sit tied with FC Porto on ten points at the top of Group G.

[ MORE: Champions League standings

However, with Dynamo Kyiv earning a big win over Porto on Tuesday, Chelsea must wait until the final matchday to qualify for the knockout round, as there is a possibility of a three-way tie for the top spot in Group G.

With Chelsea hosting Porto on December 9, here are the scenarios for Jose Mourinho’s men to assure advancement.

  • A win over Porto will clinch Chelsea the top spot and a place in the last 16.
  • A draw against Porto will see Chelsea advance.
    • Chelsea draw/Dynamo win: Chelsea win group, Dynamo finish second
    • Chelsea draw/Dynamo draw or loss: Porto win group, Chelsea finish second
  • A loss to Porto and a Dynamo Kyiv draw/loss to Maccabi Tel-Aviv will see Chelsea finish second in the group and advance to the last 16.
  • The Blues have secured at least a berth in the Europa League, regardless of the result in their final match.

Simply put, get a point at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea advance.