The United States under-15 boys national team went undefeated through their group in the international tournament in Gradisca, Italy, in the northeast corner of the country.
It began with their 0-0 draw against host nation Italy. The draw came despite the United States’s dominance of the match, thanks to a 5-1 corner advantage and a 6-2 shots lead as well.
The US then drew with Chile 1-1, thanks to an equalizer from by Alejandro Zendejas just one minute after Chile took the lead. Zendejas is a member of FC Dallas’s youth system.
The club then won the group with a 2-0 emphatic win over Slovenia with goals from Joshua Perez and Christian Pulisic. Perez, from the outskirts of Los Angeles, is a recent signing by Serie A club Fiorentina and is ranked #1 in the country for his age group by IMG World’s club soccer player rankings.
Coach Tony Lepore (pictured) will continue to lead his squad as the US are booked to play Croatia in the semifinals. The Croatians swept their group of Canada, Norway, and Montenegro with a +7 goal differential. The other semifinal sees Mexico, the highest non-group-winning finisher square off with Japan Group C champs Mexico.
Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.
Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.
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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.
Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.
The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.
McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.