Klinsmann

Cut USMNT players: Did Klinsmann already know final 23 before camp?

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If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you will love these quotes emanating from two of the U.S. national team players who were cut at the final hurdle.

Both Michael Parkhurst and Brad Evans were back in action for their respective Major League Soccer sides on Saturday, just hours after missing out on a trip to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

As you would expect, both players were asked a multitude of questions about their time in California at camp and their responses were particularly frank and very intriguing.

Asked whether the USMNT head coach already had his mind made up about his final roster before camp even started, Columbus Crew defender Parkhust had the following to say to The Post-Dispatch after the Crew beat Chicago 2-0.

“I just think that his mind was set up even before the camp was started.” Parkhurst said. “That makes it a little easier to swallow knowing I don’t think I could have done anything else.”

While Evans had a lengthy chat with the Seattle Times after playing for Seattle in their 2-2 draw with Vancouver on Saturday, he also wonders if Klinsmann’s mind was already made up before the 10 day training camp began.

source: AP
Evans celebrates his crucial goal against Jamaica in World Cup qualifying.

“I don’t know. Part of me says yes. Part of me says no. I don’t know,” Evans said. “It’s something I haven’t even thought about. It’s tough to think about that (stuff). It can drive you nuts. I had no idea [the cut was happening]. We were walking into the locker room, got pulled aside and that was it. Chop, chop and you’re out of there. [Klinsmann] just said, ‘I have to make a roster decision today and you’re not a part of it.’ So that’s where we left it. I got up and said goodbye to the players and that was it.”

Both Evans and Parkhurst have plenty of reasons to be feeling pretty miffed about being left off the final World Cup roster. Despite his versatility Evans was ousted in favor of his Seattle teammate DeAndre Yedlin. The 20-year-old talent has only got two caps for the USMNT, while Evans has stepped in admirably on several occasions and bagged a crucial winning goal against Jamaica during qualifying for the 2014 tournament.

Parkhurst switched Europe for MLS over the offseason and has been solid and dependable for Columbus throughout the 2014 MLS season so far. He can operate at both right back and center back and would also give Klinsmann a versatile option in the backline, an area where the U.S. aren’t looking particularly strong. Instead Klinsmann selected 21-year-old John Brooks in defense, even though the Hertha Berlin youngster has looked shaky at times and has just three caps to his name compared to Parkhurst’s 25.

Parkhust and Evans have legit reasons to be peeved… but I’m not sure whether Klinsmann’s mind was made up before a 10-day camp where ever player, in theory, should have started on a clean slate, regardless of what they did in previous outings for the USA.

As we saw with Klinsmann’s decision to cut Landon Donovan, relying on past glories is not something the USMNT head coach is big on. Evans and Parkhurst were victims of that.

Joe Hart, Torino down Roma 3-1 in early Serie A game

BERGAMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11:  Goalkeeper of FC Torino Joe Hart gestures during the Serie a match between Atalanta BC and FC Torino at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on September 11, 2016 in Bergamo, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
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In today’s early Serie A game, Joe Hart and Torino held down Roma to win 3-1 at Stadio Olimpico to move into the top half of the table.

Roma dominated the stat sheets, holding 69% possession and out-passing Torino 466-174, but were wasteful in front of net, only able to put just five of their 21 their shots on target.

Andrea Belotti scored just eight minutes in to put Torino ahead, and Iago Falque bagged a brace with goals 13 minutes apart in the second half to seal it. For all its possession and movement in the attacking half, Roma could only manage a goal on a penalty, scored by Francesco Totti, his 250th career goal, all coming for one club.

Manchester City loanee Joe Hart commanded a solid performance by Torino’s back line, with the home side managing a whopping 22 tackles and 33 clearances. Roma actually out-performed Torino on the expected goals front, proving Hart’s influence.

The win, the club’s first since late August, pushes Torino up to eight in the Serie A table on eight points. They have conceded just a single goal – the Totti penalty – in their last three matches. It’s a far cry from the 2-1 loss to Atalanta in Hart’s debut, in which a mistake by the England international allowed Atalanta to score the winning goal.

On the other side, Arsenal loanee Wojciech Szczesny made a mistake to gift Torino their early goal. The result for Roma is a big blow to their hopes at challenging for the title, dropping them five points back of leaders Juventus and four behind Napoli.

Championship match features nightmarish halftime shenanigans

DERBY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Nigel Pearson, manager of Derby County looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Blackburn Rovers at iPro Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Derby, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
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On Saturday, Derby County fell at home to Blackburn 2-1, with all three goals scored in a furious four-minute span midway through the second half.

It’s been a nightmare start to the season for both clubs, with the clubs in 20th and 22nd on a combined three wins.

That, however, was not the most disturbing thing on display at Pride Park Stadium. The halftime show featured a show with a character from a child’s bad dream. A man in a fish suit swallowed a person whole then spit him back out sans clothing. But don’t take our word for it:

Have fun sleeping tonight.

After a pair of La Liga draws, all is not well at Real Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF grimaces in pain during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Villarreal CF at Santiago Bernabeu stadium on September 21, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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It’s amazing how results go hand-in-hand with off the field mood for the top teams in the world.

There is no club where that seems to be more true than Real Madrid. The team has drawn two in a row, first a 1-1 finish against Villareal at the Bernabeu that saw Los Blancos pump out 23 shots, but put only six on target. Then, they drew 2-2 Saturday with this year’s darlings Las Palmas out on the Canary Islands, crumbling at the back by blowing a pair of leads.

All this still leaves them atop the La Liga table, a point above Barcelona, and yet the wheels appear to be coming loose.

Things always start with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, and that was the case on Saturday, when the superstar was withdrawn by head coach Zinedine Zidane in the 74th minute, and appeared to be visibly upset with the decision. Zidane told media after the game he was looking ahead to Tuesday’s Champions League matchup with Borussia Dortmund, saying, “He [Ronaldo] always wants to play and be out there on the pitch, but I’ve also got to think about the player and he needed to rest and think about Tuesday.”

Ronaldo did not speak to the media following the match.

Always in his teammate’s shadow is Gareth Bale, but things aren’t going well for him either. According to a report by The Sun, Bale has increased security after his fiance’s family has reportedly been targeted for arson attacks by a drug gang. In addition, Bale is reportedly unhappy after being substituted himself in the 70th minute of the draw with Villareal, according to reports in Spain. There have been reports for a while that his agent is shopping the Welshman to top clubs like Manchester United.

“We’re relaxed,” Zidane said after the Las Palmas draw. “We are working hard and focused on what we’re doing. We have to realize that you can’t always win, but we’re on the right track.”

MLS Snapshot: San Jose Earthquakes 1-2 Sporting KC (video)

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, center, is congratulated by teammates, including midfielder Roger Espinoza (27), following his goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Too many teams qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs. There, I said it. Because MLS rules are written as such, two of Sporting Kansas City, Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders will likely make it this year, and that’s two too many. On Saturday, the former most narrowly outplayed an even worse San Jose Earhthquakes side, to the tune of 2-1, to go fifth in the Western Conference and move eight points clear of the 7th-place Sounders. The worst part about the current playoff structure: one of the above mentioned sides will almost certainly get hot in the postseason, after doing very little over the course of 34 games to establish themselves as one of the league’s elite. You know, just like the Timbers did last year. Anyway, Dom Dwyer, Simon Dawkins and Kevin Ellis scored the goals on the night. Neither side is any good, nor should they be in the playoffs. That’s MLS.

[ MORE: Playoff Picture — 4 teams can clinch playoff berth this weekend ]

Three moments that mattered

7′ — Dwyer heads home for the early opener — The ball from Paulo Nagamura was inch-perfect, and the header by Dwyer was unstoppable.

42′ — Coelho whiffs, Dawkins makes it 1-1 — That’s just unlucky, if you’re Nuno Coelho.

81′ — Ellis bundles the corner kick home for 2-1 — A fitting winner to this game.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: Dwyer (7′), Dawkins (42′), Ellis (81′)