Klinsmann credits Timmy Chandler with complete turnaround from qualifying disaster

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It wasn’t long ago that US fans watched USMNT right-back Timmy Chandler wither in the Honduran heat as the US fell to Honduras 2-1 in the beginning of World Cup qualifying.

Thanks to that performance, it was a big surprise that Chandler made the US World Cup roster ahead of the favorite right-back Brad Evans.

The 24-year old hasn’t made an appearances for the United States since that time, but according to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, he’s reinvented himself as a player, and the shriveled defender we saw in February of 2013 is gone for good.

But it didn’t happen without complete dedication and commitment from the player.

“I told him, ‘Listen, you get that chance to come into the 30-man roster, but you have to prove that to everyone here,’” Klinsmann said from USMNT camp at Stanford University. “And from Day 1, he took over. He did that. He’s a different Timmy now than he was a year-and-a-half ago.”

That’s good news for US fans, as Chandler happens to play right-back, a position that has an enormous task ahead of it.

With Portugal drawn into the same World Cup group as the United States, it means Ballon d’Or winner and left-wing specialist Cristiano Ronaldo will step onto the pitch looking to chew up and spit out any defenders he comes across.

As far as Ronaldo goes, it’s likely that nobody will be able to stop him.  It will take a full team effort to track his movements across the pitch and limit the damage he can cause the back of the net.  His runs from the touchline into the middle often cause communication havoc for opposing defenses when it comes to man marking.

But as the defender on that side, Chandler would be responsible for covering one of the most electric players in the world should he get the start at right-back against Portugal. It was something Klinsmann thought about when he brought Chandler in for camp.

“Coming in here, that was one of the question marks,” Klinsmann said. “Could he show it right away? Is he behind or is he right away up for 50-50 battles?”

But according to the skipper, he’s known all along that Chandler was capable of making it this far, even after the disappointment in Honduras.

“I always talked with him, ‘I want you whenever you come. I need you to be 1,000 percent committed to everything here,’ even if he said that before,” Klinsmann said. “I said, ‘Your team, everybody, needs to see that.’”

It came as a surprise to Chandler, who said he “thought my chance was gone” after what happened in World Cup qualifying.

However, the job isn’t done yet, it’s only just begun. And despite showing his coach he’s past that match 16 months ago, he has to show the world, and he’ll have to do it in similar if not worse conditions.

The Honduran heat, which Chandler referred to as “unbelievable,” will likely be nothing compared to the temperature and humidity of the Amazonian rainforest city of Manaus where the US will take on Portugal.

“I think I worked very hard and that’s why [I got called back in],” Chandler said.  It’s time for him to prove to his country he’s ready.

RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly

Daly collapses during match, treated for heat illness

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HOUSTON (AP) Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly collapsed during the final minute of a National Women’s Soccer League match against the Seattle Reign as temperatures climbed into the 90s.

The 25-year-old Daly was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital, where the team said she was being treated for heat illness.

The temperature at BBVA Compass Stadium was 92 degrees at the 3 p.m. kickoff. The Reign won 2-0.

[ MORE: Perisic talking with Man Utd? ]

The NWSL issued a statement that said the league had worked with the Dash before the season to schedule any afternoon games early in the year to help avoid heat issues. The teams took a hydration break late in the match.

“We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” the statement said.

Reign coach Laura Harvey posted to Twitter: “Proud of the team today. Some of the hottest conditions I’ve seen. Road games are tough but that was crazy.”

MLS roundup: Outrageous dive, posts doom ‘Caps; Ramirez stays red hot

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Six matches are in the books on a busy Saturday in Major League Soccer, and five of them finished 1-0.

How they got there? Much different stories. With the Cali Clasico still to play, let’s dig into the five that followed Seattle 1-0 Portland.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]


Vancouver Whitecaps 0-1 DC United

It’s especially difficult to win on the road in Major League Soccer, unless the hosts fritter away four good chances off the woodwork — including a Cristian Techera PK — and give away a spot kick of their own. Lamar Neagle converted the 61st offering after a sinister dive from Jose Guillermo Ortiz. He was taken off soon after, and is probably going to miss sometime when the DisCo is done with him. Outrageous.

New York Red Bulls 2-1 New England Revolution

Not one, not two, nor three, but four New England players saw a low cross slide by them for Daniel Royer to finish as New York came from behind to take all three points at Red Bull Arena. Cody Cropper committed a gaffe that allowed Bradley Wright-Phillips to equalize after a Lee Nguyen PK had put the Revs ahead early.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Sporting KC

Homegrown defender and University of Denver product Kortne Ford has his first MLS goal, as the Rapids surprised the Western Conference leaders on Saturday. SKC outshot Colorado by nearly 20 attempts (Shoulder shrug emoji).

Minnesota United 1-0 Orlando City

There were questions as to whether NASL superstar Christian Ramirez could translate his game to Major League Soccer.

Yes. The answer is yes.

Ramirez has eight goals in 13 MLS matches, and should be hearing his name from a certain Bruce Arena around Gold Cup time. Those USMNT dreams of last season should come true.

Bobby Shuttleworth made six saves for his third shutout of the season. All have come at home.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Philadelphia Union

Joao Plata keeps shooting, and the tiny Ecuadorian menace keeps scoring, too. His 36th minute goal was enough for the hosts at Rio Tinto.

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.

Report: Manchester United, Inter Milan keen on Perisic deal

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Manchester United wants Ivan Perisic, and both the player and his current club are all about it.

Perisic, 28, is ready to leave Inter Milan, and the Serie A mainstays are happy to accept $46 million for his services according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Primarily a left winger, Perisic moved to Inter from Wolfsburg at the start of the 2015-16 season. He scored 10 goals and added nine assists in Serie A play this season, and has kept up his production pace since moving from the Bundesliga to Italy.

United needs stars and depth for its Champions League campaign, and Perisic would buttress an attack with Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst others. He was a difference maker for Croatia at EURO 2016, and can do the same at Old Trafford.