Silvestre head shot

For those wondering, Portland Timbers defender Mikael Silvestre didn’t stink this week

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Portland’s Mikael Silvestre will continue to be one of Major League Soccer’s fascinating figures to watch in 2013. That’s part and parcel with being a guy who spent a decade with a global soccer heavy; the former French international spent 10 years at Old Trafford with Manchester United, not to mention four years after that at Arsenal.

But none of that mattered last week when Silvestre seriously stunk up the joint, more or less responsible for two goals as the Timbers tied New York in Oregon.

We know that Portland took a step back over the weekend, losing at Jeld-Wen to Montreal, a.k.a. the early surprise team of MLS 2013.

But what of Silvestre? Most verdicts gave him a moderate thumbs up.

Prost Amerika’s Chris Hardwicke gave Silvestre a 5.5 in its player ratings:

The French defender had a solid if not unremarkable evening on the pitch. There wasn’t much that was noteworthy, but there was a great sliding clearance early on a dangerous Montreal breakaway. … He even managed to get himself involved in a little bit of offensive play. But for the most part, the former Manchester United man did his primary job. While there is nothing spectacular to showcase, Silvestre performed well and is deserving of his starting role.”

More of the same from Oregon Live, where blogger Kip Kesgard appreciated an improving relationship with fellow center back Andrew Jean-Baptiste. Indeed

A poll at Stumptown Footy revealed that voters liked Jean-Baptiste, Donovan Ricketts, Darlington Nagbe and Diego Chara as Timbers Man of the Match.

Klopp’s Liverpool squad enthusiasm: “Everything is there”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp is unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC during a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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It isn’t Dortmund, but that’s a good thing for Liverpool.

Our own Joe Prince-Wright was on the scene for Jurgen Klopp’s unveiling as the latest Reds manager, and the 48-year-old German had a lot to say.

Perhaps most poignant for Liverpool fans are Klopp’s words on the talent he inherits from Brendan Rodgers. Sure there are quips that will hit the headlines, but how about Klopp’s assertion that success shouldn’t take nearly as long as his dramatic work at BVB.

From JPW on Merseyside:

“We did in Dortmund what we had to do, to improve the players, to work for a common idea of play. That is what we did and its the same thing we want to do here. They are not the same players of course,” Klopp told NBC Sports ProSoccerTalk. “These players from Liverpool are better, more experienced in some ways and younger in other cases. Everything is okay, I am here. I am not here only because LFC was calling. I believe in the potential of this team. Four or five strikers you can work with when they are not injured, midfielders is really good, defenders experienced and very young, goalkeeper is really good. Everything is there.”

Everything. A powerful word and one that doesn’t get lost in translation. Liverpool has a batch of world class talent, and Klopp’s is anxious to organize it in world class fashion. Strap in, Anfield.

CONCACAF Cup preview: Ultimate guide to USMNT vs Mexico

Beasley, and other US veterans, have been asked to take the young guys under their wing.
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So here we go: the biggest rivalry in U.S. Soccer, the one that sends fans racing for the stadia for a glimpse of history.

It’s the U.S. and Mexico for the right to go to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, and it will play out at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

National pride is on the line, and national jobs may rightly be in jeopardy. Let’s swing through our coverage, and what’s at stake in just over 24 hours time.

The Battles

Who is the key to Saturday’s match? Is it Michael Bradley? Fabian Johnson? Andres Guardado? Will Klinsmann opt for players with Liga MX experience, stay Euro Heavy, or appease the domestic set? Read more here.

The XI

So how will Klinsmann line ’em up? JPW has his preference, some options, and a prediction of what the manager will do.

The history

What are the chances this one finds its way into the upper echelon of matches in the Mexico/U.S. rivalry? This is the company it could join.

Klinsmann’s future

The folks in the anti-Klinsmann brigade seethe with pure detestation of the USMNT boss. Any quote from him is self-serving and dishonest, any success accidental. Beat Germany or the Netherlands in friendlies on the road? Coincidental and Unimportant. Lose a friendly to Brazil? The worst thing ever.

[ MORE: The case for firing Klinsmann after a loss ]

So this match, being meaningful and testing his unbeaten mark vs Mexico, is going to be a clarion call for U.S. Soccer fans. Barring a cataclysmic loss in horrific blowout fashion, he won’t be canned. But a win will be validation for his supporters while a loss would cue a genuine hot seat. And for his detractors, already foaming at the mouth from the words of icon Landon Donovan? Kablammo.