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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.

West Ham extend Payet’s contract in “enormous show of faith”

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring while soap bubbles are blown during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Newcastle at Boleyn Ground in London, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.

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Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.

“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”

Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.

VIDEO: Dele Alli’s magnificent juggling goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon

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Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?

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How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.

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Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.

Watch Live: Guatemala vs. T&T; Canada vs. Guyana in Olympic qualifying

Canadian players wave to fans after a 2-1 loss to England in a quarterfinal of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament, Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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Group B is set to kick off Thursday night at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, as Canada, third-place finishers at the 2012 Olympics, begin their quest to qualify for this summer’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

Guyana versus Trinidad and Tobago is up first (6 p.m. ET) from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Tex, followed by the Canadians, who will take on Guyana (8:30 p.m. ET) in the nightcap.

[ WATCH LIVE: Guatemala vs. T&T live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

[ WATCH LIVE: Canada vs. Guyana live on line on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The U.S. women’s national began its Olympic qualifying campaign in impressive fashion on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica, while Mexico jumped to the top of Group A with a 6-0 victory over Puerto Rico.

Sunderland terminate Adam Johnson’s contract after guilty pleas in sex case

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court, England, Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016. Johnson has pleaded guilty in court to one count of sexual activity with a child and another of grooming. The 28-year-old Johnson, who has made 12 appearances for England, denies two charges of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
Peter Byrne/PA via AP
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SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Sunderland has fired winger Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl at the start of his trial.

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Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, continues to deny two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Sunderland dismissed Johnson ahead of his trial resuming on Friday at Bradford Crown Court.

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In a statement, Sunderland announced Thursday that “in light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect.”

The former Manchester City player joined Sunderland in 2012 for 10 million pounds (now about $14.5 million).