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Jurgen Klinsmann’s post-game comments after Jamaican win

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It took his team about 60 minutes to wear down  and then crack open Jamaica, but the eventual 2-0 win over the visitors clinched first place in the final round qualifying group for manager Jurgen Klinsmann and his team.

Here are the “highlights” of what the manager had to say, starting with an explanation of why it took so long for the United States to find its feet Friday at Sporting Park.

Klinsmann said the first half “obviously did not go as they would have liked” and that he urged his team to find another gear at intermission:

Well, we expected a tight game. Jamaica is not coming here to give us points. … They are very well organized. They closed the spaces down in the first half. They are physically a strong team and they can always hurt you on a counter break. They hung in there and made sure we didn’t find those gaps to create chances.

“We said at halftime, ‘Guys, you have to raise the bar here. You have to raise the tempo.’ That’s what we did. After 55 or 60 minutes, we passed it through faster, there were a lot of positive sequences, one touch, and that’s how you open up any team. I felt on the bench it was just a matter of time until we got the first goal.”

It doesn’t sound like there was any “message sending” in regards to Landon Donovan’s halftime removal. Klinsmann did say, however, that the left-sided midfielder’s halftime substitution (never a great moment for any player – and surely not something that has happened often in Donovan’s career) was not about those recent ankle issues.

The sub at halftime, we discussed as a coaching staff, as we always do. There were options that we had. We thought we had to do something to speed up the game. We thought Landon had trouble getting into the game, but he was not the only one, other players as well in the first half.

“We talked about moving Landon up top with Jozy, but we thought Aron [Johannsson, who would have been replaced in that case] had some chances and maybe he puts one in. And then it was a simple performance-based decision, but it is no problem at all.”

Later, Klinsmann was asked what he hopes Donovan “takes from” being removed at half. Again, the manager more or less shrugged. He said it was “no big deal.” And it probably isn’t … because we are talking about Landon Donovan, after all. The guy has a lot of good performances with the national team to balance out a stinker here and there. It’s different with a younger guy who hasn’t proven himself the way Donovan has over such a long period.

We spoke right after the game, I told him [Donovan] we wanted to make a change, we thought that you are not getting into the game the way you hoped to. Everybody has a bad game, and some other guys had a bad game, too. It’s no big deal.”

Klinsmann also said DaMarcus Beasley’s second-half removal was due to a hamstring issue, which the manager said puts his starting left back in question for Tuesday’s match in Panama.

Related, he said discussions would take place tonight on any roster changes ahead of Tuesday’s match. “There will be a couple of changes. Not many, but a couple,” Klinsmann said. Remember, Clarence Goodson, Chris Wondolowski and others were in the stands tonight, not dressed for the contest.

On the starting lineup, Klinsmann said he thought Alejandro Bedoya deserved a start after a good spell with his club and thanks to those late, bright performances in the Gold Cup. He admitted it was a difficult choice not to start Graham Zusi.

Graham was fine with that. I told Graham to be ready at halftime, that ‘You are going to play in your home stadium, don’t worry about that.”

Klinsmann is not a manager who is blind to such things, a player’s desire to perform in front of his home fans and such. (Not all coaches care about that stuff.) The manager noted that his goal would be “a special memory for him. He deserves that.”

(MORE: Aron Johannsson’s first U.S. start not perfect, but promising)

(MORE: Initial takeaways from U.S. win over Jamaica)

(MORE: 10 quick halftime thoughts from U.S.-Jamaica qualifier)

Klopp hopes for speedy solution in club, fans’ ticket-price dispute

Liverpool's fans wave flags during the English League Cup semifinal second leg soccer match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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From his time at Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp is used to a much more positive, family-like, everyone-pulling-in-the-same-direction atmosphere at his club of employment, so the present goings-on at Liverpool understandably have the Reds’ first-year manager feeling more than a little uneasy.

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Saturday’s late 2-2 draw with Sunderland wasn’t the first time Liverpool fans have headed for the exit before the final whistle, leaving Klopp feeling all alone, but it was the first time the fans have departed from Anfield early in a pre-planned, organized manner (Klopp missed the game himself with appendicitis). The Anfield faithful didn’t walk out on 77 minutes due to their team’s poor performance — Liverpool were 2-0 ahead at the time — but in protest of steadily rising ticket prices, which were unveiled at $111 per game to sit in the 132-year-old stadium’s new main stand next season.

Klopp, coming from the Bundesliga, where a season ticket at clubs the size of Bayern Munich and Dortmund doesn’t cost much more than a single-game ticket at many Premier League grounds, understands the fans’ frustration. At the end of the day, though, he works for the club, which is why he just wants the whole thing settled quickly, for the sake of his squad — quotes from the BBC:

“It’s not what we want. What I know is everyone in the club has a big interest in finding a solution for this. We don’t want people to leave the stadium before the game is finished.”

An LFC TV appearance by Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre, in which he was expected to answer fan-submitted questions, was consequently canceled on Monday due to the ongoing dispute.

West Ham want Payet to sign new contract for fear of losing him this summer

Dimitri Payet, West Ham United FC (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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Dimitri Payet is going to be a red-hot commodity during this summer’s transfer window, there’s no doubt about it.

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Given he’s currently contracted to one of the Premier League’s “smaller” clubs — in comparison to some of the giants which are bound to be interested — West Ham United, there’s a decent-to-good chance he could be wearing a different club’s shirt come August. Especially if the 28-year-old attacker shows up and shows out at this summer’s European Championship in his native France.

If I can foresee the interest in Payet, then so too can the executives at West Ham, which is why manager Slaven Bilic took to the press on Monday to convey his desire for Payet to consider signing a new, increased contract at his earliest convenience — quotes from the Guardian:

“We are moving, the club is moving, with the new stadium, with the revenue and everything. We have to move and the most important move is to keep your best players and to add some new players who are needed and Dimitri Payet is our best player — I have no problem whatsoever to say that. Of course, I would love to have him happy, long term, at the club.”

Of course West Ham want Payet to sign a new deal immediately — doing so would accomplish two things in the club’s eyes: 1) increase the likelihood he remains at the club next season, or 2) insure the club receives a higher transfer fee for the player if he leaves in the summer anyway. The more total money remaining on his West Ham contract, the more they can demand of a prospective buyer.

[ MORE: Ronaldo commits himself to Real Madrid through 2018 ]

From Payet’s side — unless he has absolutely zero desire to move to a club like Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester United, where he’d likely be paid close to $200,000 per week — he’d be crazy to sign a new contract at this point. Not only would it make a move this summer more difficult, but a strong showing at EURO 2016 could be worth another $15,000 or $20,000 per week on a new contract with West Ham (his current contract is rumored to be close to $100,000 per week).

With as many as five seasons still remaining on his current contract (a one-year club option can be exercised at any point), and his stock perhaps at an all-time high, the next six months could hold Payet’s last chance to get really, really paid before he hits the downside of his career.

USWNT players’ union responds in USSF lawsuit

FILE - In this Sunday, July 5, 2015 file photo, the United States Women's National Team celebrates with the trophy after they beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The U.S. Soccer Federation’s original lawsuit against the union for its champion women’s national team has been sealed after the governing body realized it had disclosed the home addresses and email accounts of many players, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
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(AP) — The union that represents the Women’s World Cup-winning American national team opposed an expedited schedule in the lawsuit filed against it by the U.S. Soccer Federation last week, insisting no collective bargaining agreement exists.

The federation sued in an attempt to establish it has a contract with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association that runs through this year’s Olympics until Dec. 31. The union maintains the memorandum of understanding agreed to in March 2013 can be terminated at any time.

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The USSF filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago asking for an expedited schedule, and the submitted opposition papers Monday that claim “facts asserted in the motion are nowhere near accurate and are hotly disputed.”

The union also maintains the USSF knew about the disagreement since July but did nothing about it.

An initial status conference is set for April 4.

Lionel Messi to undergo tests for lingering kidney problems

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi holds the ball during a quarterfinal, second leg, Copa del Rey soccer match against Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says Lionel Messi is to undergo medical tests to assess a recurrence of kidney problems.

[ MORE: Saturday’s La Liga roundup | Barca win on Sunday

Messi missed the Club World Cup semifinal in December due to a renal colic, an abdominal ailment often related to the presence of kidney stones within renal ducts.

Barcelona says in a statement Monday that the tests to be conducted by Tuesday at the latest, are “to assess the evolution of the kidney problem he suffered last December.”

[ MORE: Champions League returns next week — KO round matchups ]

The statement says Messi will resume training with the squad on Wednesday, when Barcelona travels to Valencia for the return leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals in which it carries a 7-0 lead.