Notes from U.S. Gold Cup roster announcement, as Bocanegra and Shea miss out

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After naming a well-balanced and widely expected squad, Jurgen Klinsmann spoke with members of the media on a conference call shortly after the news broke.

Answering questions on a variety of topics, Klinsmann discussed notable inclusions and omissions from his 23-man squad, as the U.S. went for a large mix of players from across Europe, Mexico and MLS.

Below we have compiled some of the top stories to come out of the Gold Cup roster announcement, with Brek Shea and Carlos Bocanegra on the outside looking in.

But there are good reasons for that… as Klinsmann explains.

So without further adieu, here are the thoughts of the US national team coach as he aims for Gold Cup success on home soil this summer.

Carlos Bocanegra: One of the biggest shocks from this Gold Cup roster was the fact that Boca was left out of the squad. But when asked by reporters, Klinsmann stated that Bocanegra was only left out of the squad because he is finalizing a move to a new club team. The Glasgow Rangers defender will soon have a new side and Klinsmann said he left Boca out so he can figure out his future. Do you buy that? Or is Bocanegra’s storied international career all but over?

Brek Shea: The Stoke City forward will not be included in the Gold Cup squad but he will be in the camp leading up to the tournament. Shea will play against Guatemala in a friendly on July 5 (aired live on NBC Sports Network, 11pm ET) before returning to complete preseason with Stoke, per an agreement with Mark Hughes. Shea will be desperate to reignite his US career. This is his chance to shine.

Oguchi Onyewu: Almost seemed like a last chance saloon for ‘Gooch’ as Klinsmann acknowledged that his injury issues have taken their toll and that Onyewu must prove his fitness and perform well in Gold Cup action. After returning to Sporting Lisbon this summer, after a disjointed year on loan with Malaga, Onyewu knows his must perform well this summer as younger center backs have excelled. Some good displays could see Onyewu seal himself another move or perhaps edge back into the plans at Sporting.

Other notes: Klinsmann also stated that Stuart Holden is “really close” to full fitness and hailed his influence on the squad and developing the younger players. Also he said the Juan Agudelo must show “more consistency” when asked about the New England Revolution forward. Klinsi also revealed that Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and other MLS players who played in the World Cup qualifiers could join the squad for the Gold Cup knockout stages, per agreement with MLS clubs.

More: Donovan back, as Klinsmann announces U.S. Gold Cup roster

More: Gold Cup success expected, balanced U.S. squad set to shine

AT THE HALF: Man Utd lead Ajax in UEL final, thanks to Pogba (video)

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After 45 minutes of Wednesday’s Europa League final, between Manchester United and Ajax, in Stockholm, Sweden, Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils have one foot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

After a cagey opening 15 minutes that saw neither side create anything of consequence, Man United pulled ahead on a fair bit of luck in the 18th minute. Paul Pogba received the ball 25 yards from goal, took a touch toward goal and fired a low shot toward goal. Davinson Sanchez did everything he could to get his body in front of the strike, but the ball glanced off his shin, sending it one direction and goalkeeper Andre Onana the other.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Europa League final ] 

Having conceded just eight goals in 14.5 Europa League games thus far this season, would you bet on United conceding an equalizer in the final 45 minutes? Hit the link above to follow along, live.

Valverde dismisses deal to coach Barcelona

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MADRID (AP) Departing Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde has been avoiding talk about a possible move to Barcelona, saying he has not entered into negotiations with any club.

Valverde did not confirm reports that he has already reached a deal to coach Barcelona next season, and did not dismiss taking a year off after four seasons at Athletic.

“I haven’t committed to any club, I haven’t talked to anybody,” Valverde said. “I have an agent and there are teams that have shown interest in me. Now I have to decide whether I will take on a new adventure, and it would have to be a challenging one.”

The 53-year-old Valverde has been widely touted to replace Luis Enrique, who announced earlier this year that he was tired and would not continue as Barcelona’s coach.

The Catalan club ends its season after the Copa del Rey final against Alaves on Saturday.

The Mundo Deportivo newspaper reported this week that Valverde has already reached a two-year deal with Barcelona, with an option for a third season. The newspaper said the announcement would be made next week.

“I don’t know what’s been published,” Valverde said. “I never talk about negotiations with clubs and that won’t change. This wouldn’t be the first time that I have offers from important clubs.”

He said there was still the possibility of taking some time off and not immediately taking over another club.

“Why not?” he said. “In the end I can do whatever I want, no?”

A former forward, Valverde played two seasons with Barcelona in the late 1980s. He spent six years with Athletic from 1990-96.

Valverde didn’t hide that he will be hoping Barcelona wins the Copa del Rey title this weekend, which would guarantee Athletic a spot in the Europa League next season. Athletic finished seventh in the Spanish league, but will play in the second-tier European competition with a Barcelona victory because the Catalan club will play in the Champions League. Only the teams in fifth and sixth places automatically qualify for the Europa League.

Valverde led Athletic to victory over Barcelona in the final of the Spanish Super Cup in 2015, which marked the team’s first title in more than three decades. He also coached the club from 2003-05.

Valverde has also coached Espanyol, Olympiakos, Villarreal and Valencia.

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LIVE: Man United face Ajax in Europa League final

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Manchester United and Ajax square off in Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday for the UEFA Europa League trophy and a place in the Champions League next season.

[ LIVE: Europa League final ] 

This a huge game for Jose Mourinho and United bad coming less than 48 hours after a suicide bomber killed 22 people in Manchester, this game has taken an entirely different complexion.

The mood around the Friends Arena is a somber one as Manchester United’s fans mourn those lost in the terror attack and people around the world send their love and prayers to Manchester.

Black armbands will be worn by both teams and there will be a minute’s silence before the game to honor the victims.

United have never won this trophy and they will have their work cut out against a young, talented Ajax side.

Click no the link above to follow the action live from Stockholm, while here at ProSoccerTalk we will have all the analysis, reaction and more from the final.

How will Man United line-up vs. Ajax in Europa League final?

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How will Jose Mourinho set up Manchester United for their crucial Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm on Wednesday?

[ MORE: Europa League final preview ]

With an automatic UEFA Champions League spot on the line, United must win to get back to Europe’s top club competition next season. If they don’t it is back to the Europa League for Mourinho’s men.

This won’t be easy, though, as United’s defense has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks and they’re without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Local lad Marcus Rashford has to come up with the goods.

[ MORE: Manchester clubs react to bombing

Ajax’s young, attack-minded side will be led by Kasper Dolberg and Bertrand Traore, while Davy Klaassen will pull the strings in midfield.

Back to United, and with Mourinho confirming Sergio Romero would start in goal ahead of David De Gea, just like he has done for most of the Europa League campaign, we know one starter. In defense it is likely to be Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in the center with Eric Bailly suspended, Marcos Rojo out injured and the duo of Ashley Young and Luke Shaw also missing. Valencia and Blind should get the nod out wide with Darmian in reserve.

Midfield is where things get tricky. Michael Carrick‘s experience may be invaluable but Mourinho is likely to go with Fellaini’s grit (if he’s fit) in the engine room alongside Ander Herrera.

Ahead of them in the three attacking positions, Mkhitaryan and Pogba seem certainties to start and then it’s a straight battle between Lingard, Mata and Martial for the other spot. Lingard may just win that battle due to his superior defensive abilities, but it will be close.

Up top it will be Rashford to start with Wayne Rooney waiting in the wings in what could be his final game for United.

Take a look at our suggested lineup below. Do you agree?


Manchester United starting lineup vs. Ajax, Europa League final

—– Romero —–

— Valencia — Jones — Smalling — Blind —

—- Herrera —- Fellaini —-

— Mkhitaryan — Pogba — Lingard —

—– Rashford —–