Stuart Holden

Big changes for Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. lineup today

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The weather is hot in Salt Lake City, and a cross country journey is ahead.

So there’s really little surprise that U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann would make several changes – six of them, or over half the team, to be exact – for today’s match with Cuba.

The lineup looks like this: Nick Rimando in goal;

Tony Beltran, Michael Orozco, Oguchi Onyewu and Edgar Castillo along the back line;

Joe Corona, Kyle Beckerman, Stuart Holden (pictured) and Brek Shea in midfield;

Landon Donovan and Herculez Gomez at forward.

It may be a little surprising that Chris Wondolowski goes back to the bench after his hat trick, but not much, really. A hat trick is a hat trick, as we said the other night – but one against Belize does come with a little asterisk, doesn’t it?

Mostly, the changes are about squad rotation. Remember, if they go all the way to the final, we are talking about  six matches in 20 days. (Update: Or, as pal Doug McIntyre just reminded me via Twitter, seven matches in 24 days if you include that Guatemalan friendly.) That’s a lot for anyone, and certainly an especially steep climb for players like Holden and Shea, neither of whom have played an entire match in months.

(MORE: U.S.-Cuba preview)

This, by the way, will be Holden’s first start internationally since late in 2010 in a 2-2 draw with Poland in Chicago.

With a result today in Sandy, which would secure passage into the Gold Cup’s second round, Klinsmann is likely to rest anyone who has started the first two group play contests. (Especially since the team will be traveling across three  times zone, up into Connecticut for the group play closer vs. Costa Rica. ) That means Donovan and Beckerman most noticeably.

And then from the other side, there’s this …


How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC
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Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).