Jurgen Klinsmann opts for Euro-heavy squad for friendlies with Scotland, Austria

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Fans of the U.S. national team have been anxiously waiting for this news to drop over the weekend, and USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has sprung a few surprises in his 23-man squad.

For the upcoming friendlies with Scotland and Austria next week Klinsmann has left out the likes of Brad Guzan, Clarence Goodson, Edgar Castillo and most notably Landon Donovan but U.S. soccer say all four players are unavailable due to injury.

Some of the other notable omissions are Sporting KC’s duo of Matt Besler and Graham Zusi who are involved in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference final, while similarly Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando are also allowed to stay with their club sides as they prepare for massive second legs of their playoff series’ after the international break.

(WATCH AUSTRIA vs. USA, NOVEMBER 19 LIVE ON NBC SPORTS)

Once again there’s a good mixture of U.S. and European based players with seven of the 23 players hailing from MLS, two from Liga MX and the rest from around Europe. Having 14 players involved who play their soccer in Europe make sense and hands Klinsmann the perfect opportunity to work with this squad, without the constraints of overseas travel which usually stand in the way.

Klinsmann has included red-hot AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson once again, as the Icelandic-American looks to further reinforce his claim to make the World Cup squad. Their is also a call for Gold Cup stars Chris Wondolowski and Brek Shea, as these games will likely have a massive bearing on if they make the final cut to Brazil.

Interesting times ahead, as the U.S. begin their European tour on Friday November 15 at Hampden Park, before jetting to Vienna to play Austria on November 19. You can watch the Austria game live on NBC.

U.S. national team squad for friendlies with Scotland, Austria

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid.

Defenders: Brad Evans, Erich Lichaj, Omar Gonzalez, John Brooks, DaMarcus Beasley, Geoff Cameron, Michael Orozco

Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Mix Diskerud, Fabian Johnson, Brek Shea, Sacha Kljestan,

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd, Aron Johannsson, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, Chris Wondolowski

Why PSG’s Alexis, Neymar pursuit fits in a (relatively) smart space

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Paris Saint-Germain’s run of four Ligue 1 titles ended last season, a campaign which also saw exciting league-winners Monaco go two rounds further into the UEFA Champions League.

Monaco looks set for a step back this season, with Bernardo Silva off to Man City and Tiemoue Bakayoko signing for Chelsea. Kylian Mbappe could join Monaco’s list of departures, and reports say Man City had a bid accepted for Benjamin Mendy.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

While Monaco is loading up on young talent again, PSG clearly sees its chance to surge back into the title seat and Les Parisiens may just make themselves European favorites as well if they can pry Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and Neymar from Barcelona.

That would be a South American trident nearly as potent as the one Neymar current shares with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and the Brazilian would not be second or third fiddle.

PSG has so far been relatively quiet this summer, with the addition of Dani Alves the lone new buy. Aside from money, how was Alves lured to Paris over Man City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola? The idea of a reunion with Neymar and several Brazilian mates — Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura — may’ve been enough and surely that conversation would’ve happened between the two Barca stars.

The French side has to make a big chance at some point soon, unless they’ve been able to unload their money bags and actually buy a fountain of youth. Thiago Motta is 34, Blaise Matuidi 30, Silva 32, and Edinson Cavani 30.

It’s calculated aggression from PSG to splash cash in hopes of rivaling Real Madrid, Juventus, and Barca in pursuit of the UCL title. The Neymar move weakens one of those rivals. If Marco Verratti isn’t part of a swap deal, the signings of Sanchez and Neymar would meet the Italian star’s ambitions well up the road.

De Boer: West Brom was out to injure Palace star Zaha

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No shrinking violet, new Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer was left fuming at West Bromwich Albion players following the PL Asia Trophy third place match on Saturday in Hong Kong.

While the focus could’ve been on Luka Milivojevic‘s gorgeous free kick (watch here), De Boer couldn’t get past the hard fouls aimed at his key attacker.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

West Brom gave away the free kick that led to the aforementioned goal by chopping down Zaha, and the foul was not an isolated incident.

From the BBC:

“They were looking for him, to injure him,” said De Boer.

“He’s one of the exciting players in the league. I don’t want to think he’d be out for two weeks or months.”

De Boer is no stranger to rough play, so this is not coming from a soft place. We doubt it’s going to change anything from Tony Pulis‘ men, though.

Chelsea hammers Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing (video)

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Chelsea struck twice early and Michy Batshuayi put the cherry on top as the Premier League champions cruised past Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing on Saturday.

The Blues started a lineup they’d use on any occasion in the PL, while Arsenal had unproven prospects Cohen Bramall and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the XI.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

Willian‘s quick goal put the Blues up 1-0 at the Bird’s Nest, and Batshuayi scored the second and third. Both were pretty classy, especially the second.

Marcos Alonso did the lion’s share of the work to produce the second chance for Batshuayi, who is threatening to carry over his fine late season form to this campaign. What a smash.

Coutinho rocket helps LFC to PL Asia Trophy (video)

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Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.

Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.

The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.

We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.