U.S. national team in evolution; just look at the center backs

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Jurgen Klinsmann was always going to be an instrument of change for the United States national team.

But to see the extent – perhaps more in personnel selection than in tactics, as we all suspected initially – it helps to take a step back. Only they can we truly gauge the scope of the roster Klinsmann-inspired churn.

In fact, if we can draw a tight circle around the center back position, the evolution is truly dizzying.

Consider for a moment what the United States depth chart looked like at center back about 14 months ago, around the time Klinsmann was settling into his first winter camp. That January (of 2012) Klinsmann was taking his first extended look at some of the younger players – including a couple of “discoveries” now forming the backbone of his team.

The center back depth chart of that time looked something like this:

  • 1. Carlos Bocanegra
  • 2. Oguchi Onyewu
  • 3. Clarence Goodson
  • 4. Michael Orozco Fiscal
  • 5. Tim Ream
  • 6. Jay DeMerit
  • 7. Michael Parkhurst

If we take a look at it now, the evolution over just 14 or so months turns that list into something unrecognizable.

Klinsmann says Carlos Bocanegra is not necessarily finished with the national team. But the former U.S. captain does turn 34 in May, and it would seem that only through injury would Klinsmann try to stuff ketchup back into the bottle on this one.

It may be conceivable that Onyewu could grind his way back into the mix – but it seems like a stretch. Given his limited playing time and even more limited passing ability, all parlayed with the coach’s disdain for center backs who feel most comfortable hoofing the ball forward, I wouldn’t wager a paycheck on it.

Tim Ream may as well be part of the witness protection program far as Klinsmann and his staff are concerned. And DeMerit, bless his heart, is out for a long, long time. It’s difficult to see a road back to the national team there.

Meanwhile, look where the center back depth chart has landed today. Three of the guys at the top weren’t even on the list 14 months ago.

With the caveat that this list is just a guess at what Klinsmann’s chart looks like, this will probably resemble the central defensive pecking order at next year’s World Cup. And how about them Brazilian apples?

  • 1. Omar Gonzalez
  • 2. Geoff Cameron (pictured above)
  • 3. Clarence Goodson
  • 4. Matt Besler
  • 5. Maurice Edu
  • 6. Carlos Bocanegra
  • 7. Michael Orozco Fiscal

NYCFC provides details of Belmont stadium proposal

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New details emerged Sunday of New York City FC’s stadium proposal at Belmont Park.

According to Newsday, NYCFC is proposing a 26,000-seat open-air stadium, a two-acre soccer facility, 400,000 square feet for retail and a 5.2 acre park. This proposal is going up against one from the New York Islanders, which calls for an ice hockey arena in addition to retail facilities.

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This same site was where the New York Cosmos made its bid for a stadium in 2013, but that bid went no where, with the proposal sitting under wraps in the New York State administration. Bids were re-opened recently and both NYCFC and the Islanders entered.

According to Front Row Soccer, the Belmont Park site, which is located on the Long Island-Queens, N.Y. border, is not the team’s dream stadium site. The team is still pursuing a site near its current home, Yankee Stadium, another site in the South Bronx, and a site in Flushing, Queens.

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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More midweek action is coming up in the Premier League. Let the festive fun continue.

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The full TV schedule for this weekend is below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

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You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

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If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Tuesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Burnley vs. Stoke City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM

Wednesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Manchester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:45.m. ET: Southampton vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Arsenal – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Brom – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton & Hove Albion – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Premier League notes: Wanyama, Bolasie return after long layoffs, Sakho injured

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Two Premier League clubs saw a pair of players return to the field after long spells on the sidelines.

Tottenham revealed that Victor Wanyama took part in training on Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in late August, which has kept him off the field since then. Wanyama started in both of Tottenham’s first two fixtures of the season before the injury.

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At the same time in the northwest of England, Yannick Bolasie returned to the field for Everton’s reserves for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last December against Manchester United. Everton manager Sam Allardyce hinted recently that Bolasie could even make the first team subs bench before the end of the calendar year as he continues his rehab.

(more…)

Report: Sporting KC on verge of signing French midfielder Croizet

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Sporting Kansas City could be adding some European flair to its midfield this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the MLS club is in negotiations to sign French midfielder Yohan Croizet, who currently plays for Belgian first division side KV Mechelen. Croizet, who reportedly cost Mechelen a transfer fee worth more than $1 million, has started all 15 games he’s played for his side this season but has been substituted off on seven occasions and Mechelen are currently struggling in the league, sitting in 13th place with 18 points from 18 games.

Croizet hasn’t played since November 17, and appears on his way out.

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Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, a Hungarian-American, is no stranger to the European market and has brought over plenty of diamonds in the rough from Europe to star with Sporting KC. Some previous examples, though in different positions from Croizet, include current winger Gerso, Krisztián Németh, Uri Rosell, and Aurelien Collin.

It will be interesting to see where Croizet plays in the Sporting KC side should it sign him, and how he works with Benny Feilhaber, who is turning 33-years old in January.