File photo of German soccer star Klinsmann, who is currently the coach of the United States men's national team, smiling during an event in the Times Square region of New York

Jurgen Klinsmann talks injuries, absences ahead of USMNT’s Tuesday qualifier vs. Panama

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SEATTLE, Wash. — Expect more than your typical glut of lineup speculation ahead of their qualifier against Panama, because with collection of nagging injuries and one key suspension, the U.S. will have to come up with a new tweak ahead of their Tuesday’s match in Seattle.

Don’t feel too bad, for them, though. Panama’s already suffered a huge loss, with veteran target man Blas Pérez ruled out with gastrointestinal problems. With the possible exception of Michael Bradley, there’s no loss the U.S. could suffer that would have as big an effect on their Tuesday chances.

Klinsmann deserves some credit for that. It’s been a rough haul, in the minds of many U.S. Men’s National Team fans, but Klinsmann has forged a team that’s capable of dealing with a myriad of obstacles. Dempsey tired? Altidore slumping? Howard out, or full backs falling by the wayside? In Klinsmann’s mind, those are things good teams should be training to overcome.

(MORE: Adaptability evident on left side of U.S. defense.)

So although availability issues are effecting the likes of Jones, Zusi, and Gomez ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier, Klinsmann remains positive. And he’s not calling in any reinforcements.

“At the moment we’re all good with the squad we have,” the U.S. boss said, asked Saturday whether injury concerns would spur reinforcements ahead of Panama or the following clash, with Honduras. “There’s not need that we need to bring in more players, as of today … even if we don’t dress 23. We’re good. We’re covered everywhere.”

During halftime of Saturday’s Sounders-Whitecaps match, Klinsmann address five players’ status, contributors ranging from vital starters to potential bench options.

Graham Zusi

On Friday, Zusi picked up a yellow card ahead of Jamaica’s only goal, a booking that sees him suspended for Tuesday’s match.

While Klinsmann laments the loss, he’s keeping the suspension in perspective:

“It’s a pity because [Zusi’s] in a really good shape right now, (and) not only providing great assists for Jozy – that happened two games in a row. His overall game is very consistent, very sharp. Defensively he’s helping the team a lot.

“It’s a bummer for him, but we went into those games with quite a few players on yellow cards, and this is what happens. These moments happen. You have to fix them. There are enough players on our roster that (they) can cover (for) him and come in and play their role.

“It’s a pity he’s not there.”

(MORE: Jamaica-to-Seattle gives U.S. long trip, quick turnaround.)

Jermaine Jones

Having suffered a concussion in the second half against Jamaica, the Schalke midfielder could prove the U.S.’s more vital loss. Whomever comes in to partner Michael Bradley (assuming Klinsmann even stays with the same formation if Jones is out) would represent a distinct style change from the Jones’ bulldozing presence.

“Jermaine, he will get a couple of tests on Monday morning, so we’re taking it slow on him.”

For Klinsmann’s quote you can infer Jones may be excused from Sunday’s practice at CenturyLink.

Herculez Gomez

The new Tijuana man would be a possibility on the right with Zusi suspended … if he were healthy. Klinsmann, however, confirmed Gomez’s right knee problem will likely keep him out of the Panama match:

“Herc is one step at a time. It’s probably going to be too early Tuesday night.”

(MORE: The data collection from the U.S. defense’s 2013 performances.)

Danny Williams

Williams has been a source of minor controversy and misunderstanding, his Instagram pictures en route to Las Vegas lacking the context Klinsmann provided Saturday night.

“With Danny Williams, we tried everyday – catching up, catching up. We looked at him, and I took the decision together with the coach at Hoffenheim to release him and let him go on vacation and get him some rest and then start the next season on fresh foot, basically. He came with us to Seattle and then from here he left us and went on vacation.”

Brek Shea

The Stoke City wide man hasn’t been with the team, but his name come up Saturday as a possible option, with the tall Texan back in his old stomping grounds, rehabilitating a calf injury:

“We’re going to test him in the upcoming week. He did a lot of work in Dallas. We have another place to have added performance (testing) in Dallas, so we want to run him through a test barrier, we call it, and see where he’s at.

“There’s no rush for him coming back into the group. He’s going to be also available for the Gold Cup.

“Right now, we feel like we’re covered everywhere, so no hurry on Brek, but we’re pleased that he has no complaints high now on his calf, so every day is a good day to catch up.

USMNT snub: No US players in CONCACAF Best XI of 2016

HARRISON, NJ - JUNE 01:  John Brooks #6 of United States and teammates Clint Dempsey #8,Michael Bradley #4,Geoff Cameron #20 and Julian Green #16 wait for the corner kick in the second half against Turkey during an international friendly match at Red Bull Arena on June 1, 2014 in Harrison, New Jersey.The United States defeated Turkey 2-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Well, this is a little surprising.

[ MORE: Griezmann needed at United ]

CONCACAF released its Best XI from 2016 on Wednesday and there were zero U.S. national team players in the list of 11.

Zero.

Players from Mexico and Costa Rica dominate, while Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, Jamaican defender Wes Morgan and French forward Andre-Pierre Gignac were also included. The top 11 players were selected after either playing for a national team or club team in the CONCACAF region.

Only one player from Major League Soccer made the list, Ronald Mataritta of New York City FC.

Still, the fact that USMNT defenders Geoff Cameron and John Brooks didn’t get in the Best XI of 2016 after their heroics at the Copa America Centenario is quite mind-boggling. No offense against Morgan or Mexico’s Rafael Marquez, but come on. Also, surely Christian Pulisic or Jozy Altidore would have been worthy additions to this team?

Then again, when you see the highlight video below, most of the winners are shown scoring or playing well against the USMNT. That could go a little way to explain why there are no U.S. players on this list…

Below is the team in full. Intrigued to hear your comments in the section below.


Who can catch Chelsea in the Premier League title race?

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Seven points clear at the top with 17 games to go, Chelsea must be feeling pretty good about their chances of winning the Premier League title.

That said, there’s a group of five other teams battling to stay in touch.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive

The PL big boys are back where they belong and it seems as though that is the way it will remain for the foreseeable future.

Click play on the video above to hear Jenna Corrado and I discuss the top six and who are the biggest threat to leaders Chelsea.

Why Antoine Griezmann is exactly what Man United need

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07:  Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Multiple reports are linking Manchester United with a summer move for Antoine Griezmann.

Do they need him? Yes. Yes they do.

[ MORE: Costa back for Chelsea ]

An incredible stat emerged at the weekend which stated that United has the worst “big chance” conversion rate in the whole of the Premier League. Stats company Opta state that United have had 37 big chances (this stat is described as “a situation where a player should be reasonably expected to score”) this season, converting just 12 of them at a ratio of 32.43 percent.

The Independent claims that United are willing to pay Griezmann’s release clause of $106 million to sign him from Atletico Madrid and the French international said back in November that he would like to link up with his international teammate Paul Pogba.

Seems straightforward enough…

There is, however, a complication surrounding any deal as Atletico currently have a transfer ban and if their appeal falls through then the Spanish club won’t be able to buy or sell any players in the summer.

For United, 25-year-old Griezmann would be the major arrival at Old Trafford this summer and the report also suggests that Mourinho is eager to offload Luke Shaw this offseason, plus Memphis Depay will leave in January as Lyon’s pursuit continues.

Back to Griezmann though, and it is reported that United have been pursuing the diminutive striker since the summer when he stole the show at EURO 2016 as the top goalscorer in the tournament which saw the host nation France lose in the final to Portugal.

On paper, Griezmann would be a phenomenal buy for United. He is exactly what they’ve been missing this season.

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10: Antoine Griezmann (L) and Paul Pogba (R) of France shows their dejection after their team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Yes, Zlatan has been ruthless in recent weeks — 11 goals in his last 11 games in all competitions says as much — but he is 35 years old and can’t be expected to go on forever. He has also had bad moments in front of goal this season and when you look around United’s squad they have raw young talents in Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford but not much else, and certainly no clinical strikers like Griezmann.

When I think of United, I think of a team creating copious amounts of chances and with their direct play under Mourinho they have certainly missed plenty of “big chances” this season, dropping points after failing to finish teams off and drawing many games they should have won.

If Griezmann was at United this season he’d probably be leading the PL in goals scored. I’m sure of it. He is of the same ilk as a Javier Hernandez or Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, a lightning quick poacher who is cool in the box. Yet, Griezmann also offers more with his pace and creativity and that’s why United should break the bank to sign him this summer.

This season Griezmann has scored 12 goals in 25 appearance for an Atletico side battling back from adversity to position themselves in the La Liga title race once again. Over the course of his two-and-a-half seasons at the Vicente Calderon he has now scored 69 goals in 132 games in all competitions. Every step up he has made the striker has done it with ease.

For United to become title contenders and get back to the upper echeleons of Europe, Mourinho needs a predator in the box. Zlatan and Wayne Rooney are getting on and youngsters Martial and Rashford will take time to develop. With the likes of Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan putting chances on a plate for those in front of them, United’s fans must be salivating at the thought of seeing Griezmann in a red shirt.

If United go out and buy Griezmann this summer it will be yet another huge statement in their intent to be back among the elite.

USWNT star O’Reilly signs for Arsenal

BIRMINGHAM, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Heather O'Reilly #9 of the United States of America reacts after scoring a goal against Haiti during the US Women's 2015 World Cup victory tour match at Legion Field on September 20, 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Former U.S. women’s national team star Heather O’Reilly has completed her move to Arsenal Ladies.

[ MORE: Messi talks about future ]

O’Reilly, 32, is the eighth-highest capped player in USWNT history and retired from the national team in September 2016. She was an integral part of the team which won the 2015 World Cup in Canada, plus she has three Olympic gold medals from the 2004 games in Athens, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

The midfielder scored 47 goals in 231 appearances for the USWNT, while she has also played for the Boston Breakers and most recently the Kansas City Stars in the NWSL.

Speaking about signing for the FA Women’s Super League powerhouse, O’Reilly was delighted to be moving to London.

“Having come over to Arsenal last year to train, I was very impressed with the club,” O’Reilly said. “The facilities are world class and they have a tradition of excellence at the club that I wanted to be a part of, I’m very happy to be here.”

The schedules for the 2017-18 season in both the WSL 1 and 2 were released last week and the opening weekend of the season is on Apr. 22 when O’Reilly’s Arsenal play Notts County.

O’Reilly joins USWNT winger Crystal Dunn in the WSL 1, as she plays for Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea.