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Stock up, stock down after the U.S.’s draw with Mexico

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Rising

Kyle Beckerman – Barring a complete collapse, the Real Salt Lake anchor was going to Brazil no matter what, but after seeing over 70 minutes of what a midfield with him and Michael Bradley looks like, you can’t help but wonder if Beckerman should get more time. It’s not about whether he’s better than Jermaine Jones. There’s a reason why Jones is so accomplished at club level. Its’ more about what Beckerman allows his team’s best player to do.

Going with a two-man midfield is going to be precarious against Germany and Portugal, part of the reason Beckerman might see playing time (as the base of a three) regardless, but against a team like Ghana, allowing Bradley the freedom of knowing there’s a steady anchor behind him could be the way to go. And Beckerman is more suited to that role than Jones.

Brad Davis – Davis got the surprise start over Landon Donovan, and on an early first half set piece, he showed the unique quality he brings to the squad. His play over the course of 90 minutes against international-caliber opposition may leave U.S. fans with worries, but with the huge 23-man rosters teams can take to the World Cup, you can afford to select a specialist.

Last 10 minutes, down a goal, against an opponent whose no longer fighting for the ball? Might as well bring on your dead ball specialist and try to find Omar Gonzalez in the box. After last night, Brad Davis seems a lot closer to Brazil.

Michael Parkhurst – A second straight credible job at left back – what’s probably his worst position in defense. That flexibility might not only get him to Brazil, it may allow Jurgen Klinsmann to take some players who, unlikely to get playing time, can get some valuable experience for the next cycle. If may also make room for some bubble players, like …

Chris Wondolowski – The dream is not only still alive, it’s thriving. Wondolowski, transcending all the skepticism that has accompanied his place at the fringe of the national team, may be pushing his way into the 23. That flexibility that players like Parkhurst, Fabian Johnson, DeMarcus Beasley, and Brad Evans provide? It opens up spots for Klinsmann to say “you know what? Chris has done enough. He’s one of our 23. He’s another late match option.”

And when we see him move the way he did on Michael Bradley’s first half header, who’s to say he can’t actually be useful? Full credit to Wondolowski. He continues to defy expectations.

source: Getty ImagesFalling

Landon Donovan – According to ESPN’s coverage, Klinsmann felt Donovan hadn’t looked 100 percent in training ahead of Wednesday’s match, something that could be interpreted as a fitness concern or just a failure to perform.

It could also be something even more subtle. The players go through a battery of tests every time they’re called into the national team camp, measures that help Klinsmann’s staff round out the picture as to how the player’s training at club level.

For whatever reason, be it on the field or off, Donovan just didn’t measure up. He’ll have work to do in May, but given where he appears to be on the depth chart, is he really a lock? I’m sticking with “yes,” but it seems fair to wonder.

Omar Gonzalez – This deserves its own post. Suffice to say, the LA Galaxy star didn’t do himself any favors last night. Perhaps his role on both goals can be explained in isolation, but Gonzalez seems to require a lot of explanations of late, a discussion that goes beyond what we see in the highlight reels.

DeAndre Yedlin – Yedlin “falling” is more about perception and selection than his performance. In his very limited time on Wednesday, he was fine, but many thought that time would begin at minute one, not 23 minutes from the final whistle.

The situation is analogous to the whole DeAndre Yedlin phenomenon. Initial reaction to his debut last season was irrationally positive, but then the blowback went too far. All along, a young right back with the talent to grow into one MLS’s best has done just that: Grow.

As the right back situation’s become cloudier, we’ve caught ourselves asking if Yedlin might be actually be a first team option. When Tony Beltran got the call in Klinsmann’s starting XI, we were reminded: We gotten ahead of ourselves once more.

But just because Yedlin didn’t start, there’s no need to over-correct. He might not be as close to Brazil as we thought, but Wednesday wasn’t a set back, either. Let’s just meditate on this one, avoid being too bold about Yedlin’s potential, and see where he ends up …

Except when we’re talking about my MLS Team of the Month. Yedlin was totally in that.

VIDEO: Jeison Murillo’s incredible bicycle from a corner kick

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 17:  (R-L) Jeison Murillo of FC Internazionale celebrates his first goal with Geoffrey Kondogbia during the TIM Cup match between FC Internazionale and Bologna FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 17, 2017 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
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Look away now, Andy Carroll. Take a bow, Jeison Murillo.

[ VIDEOS: All in a week’s work — Messi free kick no. 1 | Messi free kick no. 2 ]

Just three days after Carroll scored the bicycle-kick goal of the year (so we thought), here comes Murillo, Inter Milan’s 24-year-old Colombian striker, to steal his thunder (below video). The fact he did it directly from a corner kick, with the ball traveling nearly 50 yards before flinging his body into the air and striking the ball so cleanly, (somehow) trumps Carroll’s accomplishment from Saturday.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings — Tight at the top… and bottom ]

Sensational goals come in twos now, apparently, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Olivier Giroud scored stunning scorpion-kick goals (WATCH HERE and HERE) just days apart earlier in the season.

FA Cup roundup: Burnley, Crystal Palace advance to 4th round

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace (C) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Andros Townsend of Crystal Palace (L) during the Emirates FA Cup third round replay between Crystal Palace and Bolton Wanderers at Selhurst Park on January 17, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images
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A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in FA Cup third-round replays…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Burnley 2-0 Sunderland

Sam Vokes and Andre Gray grabbed goals for Burnley, who opted for a largely first-choice lineup in Tuesday’s replay. Sunderland, meanwhile, went with a mix-and-match bunch and slumped to six games without a win (all competitions), meaning they can focus solely on Premier League survival from here on out. Burnley will host Championship side Bristol City in the fourth round next Saturday, Jan. 28.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday | Thursday ]

Crystal Palace 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

Sam Allardyce picked up his first win as Palace boss, courtesy of a Christian Benteke brace scored nine minutes apart in the second half, as the Eagles came from behind to beat League One side Bolton at Selhurst Park. James Henry put the visitors three minutes into the second half, but Benteke hit back in the 68th and 77th minutes to improve Allardyce’s record to one win, two draws and three losses (all competitions). Palace will host Manchester City in the fourth round next Saturday.

Tuesday’s FA Cup scoreboard

AFC Wimbledon 1-3 Sutton United
Barnsley 1-2 (AET) Blackpool
Fleetwood Town 0-1 Bristol City
Lincoln City 1-0 Ipswich Town

AFCON: Ayew propels Ghana to victory; Egypt struggle vs. Mali

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 21:  Andre Ayew of Ghana celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Ghana at Castelao on June 21, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations…

Ghana 1-0 Uganda

PORT-GENTIL, Gabon (AP) Andre Ayew scored a penalty as Ghana beat Uganda 1-0 on Tuesday in a lackluster opening to the four-time champions’ bid for a first African Cup of Nations title in 35 years.

Ghana took control of Group D after seven-time champion Egypt struggled in a 0-0 draw with Mali in the other group match.

Ghana has three points, Egypt and Mali one each and Uganda zero.

Ayew, a West Ham winger, netted in the 32nd minute after Asamoah Gyan was held back by Isaac Isinde in the penalty area in Port-Gentil.

Avram Grant, a former Chelsea manager, is looking to lead Ghana to a second successive final but go better than 2015 when his team lost to Ivory Coast.

Uganda has also finished runner-up in the continental championship but the trip to the final in 1978 was the last time it qualified until making the Gabon event.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday | Thursday ]

Mali 0-0 Egypt

Later, 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest player in tournament history when he came on for injured Ahmed El Shenawy midway through the first half.

El Hadary, who celebrated his birthday two days ago, is participating in his seventh African Cup, having picked up winners’ medals in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Egypt’s standout forward Mohamed Salah struggled and was replaced midway through the second half.

Mali, looking to improve on its third-place finishes in 2012 and 2013, produced many more chances.

Egypt failed to qualify for the last three editions of the tournament.

Wednesday’s AFCON schedule

Gabon vs. Burkina-Faso — 11 a.m. ET
Cameroon vs. Guinea-Bissau — 2 p.m. ET

Vertonghen to miss 2 months with ankle ligament damage

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham Hotspur receives treatment from the medical team during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane on January 14, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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Jan Vertronghen is expected to miss at least two months while recovering from ankle ligament damage, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time, with Tottenham Hotspur currently second in the Premier League, seven points back of leaders Chelsea.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Vertonghen suffered the injury in the 65th minute of Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion, when he went full-stretch to clear the ball along the sideline before landing on the outside of his left foot, causing the ankle to roll violently. The 29-year-old Belgian international was in clear, visible agony as he sat on the field at White Hart Lane and eventually limped down the tunnel.

The Guardian described the injury as “a tear lying between grades two and three, damage which had left Vertonghen in tears as he departed the turf at White Hart Lane and would normally rule him out at the very least until mid-March.”

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings — Tight at the top… and bottom ]

In the meantime, Kevin Wimmer and Ben Davies will be tasked with filling the void for a Tottenham side which has conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (14 in 21 games). (As a small aside, 19-year-old American center back Cameron Carter-Vickers is likely set for a handful of appearances as well, perhaps in the Europa League round of 32 and FA Cup fourth round, with Wimmer and Davies called upon for additional PL service.)

Wimmer filled in for Vertonghen for nearly three months last season, at the exact same point of the campaign (Jan. 20 through April 2). In Wimmer’s 10 PL starts during that stretch (Vertonghen out with knee ligament damage), Spurs conceded seven goals (seven wins and two draws). The loss of Toby Aldeweireld, for nearly two months back in October of this season, proved a far greater blow (two wins in six PL games), and Spurs should once again manage just fine for as long as Aldeweireld remains healthy alongside Eric Dier, Wimmer and Davies.