Player Ratings: See how the US players fared against Azerbaijan

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The U.S. national team beat 2-0 Azerbaijan on Tuesday night in San Francisco thank to goals late on from Mikkel Diskerud and Aron Johannsson, with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann given plenty of food for thought.

Players such as Brad Davis and Alejandro Bedoya shone, while others struggled to impose themselves against a nation ranked 85th in the world.

How will the USMNT cope in Brazil?

[MORE: Diskerud, Johannsson come throughThree things | Subs shine]

With the first warm up game out of the way, it’s time to give each player a mark out of 10 for their performance as the countdown to Brazil looms large.

Here it goes…

USMNT player ratings vs. Azerbaijan

Tim Howard – 6

Barely called upon to make a save the entire match. Howard’s throws were exemplary and he captained the USA with his usual coolness. Standard. Shutout. Enough said.

Fabian Johnson – 6

Practically anonymous in the first half. Didn’t have much defending to do at right back but in the second period he bombed on well at times and supported Bedoya. Promising signs from the Hoffenheim defender.

Geoff Cameron – 7

Composed on the ball and showcased his ability to play raking passes to get the USMNT on the front foot, Cameron did his chances of starting at CB in Brazil no harm at all with this performance. Replaced at HT by Gonzalez after a job well done.

Matt Besler – 6

Committed as ever and positionally sound, Besler is a lock to start in Brazil and he looked settled alongside Cameron in the first half. Won headers and tidied up, a few stray passes early on will have annoyed him.

DaMarcus Beasley – 6

Tested defensively and coped with the pressure in the first half, Beasley made a few brief forays forward but had little impact offensively. Replaced at half time by Chandler.

Graham Zusi – 6

Great deliveries on set pieces and showed his quality on the ball whenever he got the chance. A 45 minute run out for the Floridian who showed some good touches in midfield.

Michael Bradley – 7

Used in an advanced midfield role at the point of the diamond, Bradley made some superb runs but still looked a little uneasy in having to integrate the attack from just behind the forwards. His positioning was good and his shot was blocked on the line that led to Diskerud’s game-winner.

Jermaine Jones – 6

Wasteful in possession at times, Jones stuck to his task just in front of the back four and plugged the gaps well. Worked hard to make himself available. He wasn’t tested defensively.

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

Some pacey bursts down the left flank caused Azerbaijan problems but his final pass needs some work. Switched over to the right flank in the second half and again worked hard. Good movement.

Chris Wondolowski – 6

After his last minute inclusion in the starting lineup due to Dempsey’s injury, Wondo could’ve scored twice in the opening 15 minutes. First he headed straight at the ‘keeper from five-yards out then he had another headed from a set piece well saved. Lively but replaced after 60 minutes by Johannsson.

Jozy Altidore – 7

Good hold up play which bodes well for the World Cup where he is likely to be isolated on his own for large periods of time. Altidore still looks to be lacking in confidence but is a real handful. Won the free kick that led to the games only goal.

SUBS

Omar Gonzalez – 6

Looked a little shaky after replacing Cameron at half time with his knee taped extravagantly. Wasn’t tested much. His fitness is still a huge question mark ahead of the World Cup.

Timmy Chandler – 6

One stray shot way over the bar and another which deflected just wide, he looked solid slotting in at left back. Chandler showed he is a good option in defense and is versatile.

Brad Davis – STAR MAN 8

Should have won a penalty kick just after coming on at half time but the referee bizarrely awarded a free kick. Davis looked lively cutting in from the left flank and caused plenty of problems. Proved he has an impact off the bench after delivering both set pieces which led to goals for Diskerud and Johannsson.

DeAndre Yedlin – 6

Had 30 minutes to show what he could do and showed he was solid defensively. A few rash challenges. Lets put that down to youthful exuberance, as the Seattle youngster wasn’t afraid to get stuck in.

Aron Johannsson – 7

Struggled to impact the game for the final 30 minutes after replacing Wondolowski but then popped up to score a great header. Job done.

Mix Diskerud – 7

Replaced Bedoya late on as the USA’s final sub, Diskerud pounced to scored his third goal for the U.S. to win this game. The Rosenborg midfielder proved he has a knack of changing games off the bench.

Premier League Preview: Swansea City vs. Manchester City

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  • Man City leads all-time 22W-4D-7L
  • Swans winless in 11 vs. Man City
  • Last Swans win: 2012 at home

Manchester City can set the Premier League record for consecutive wins in a single season when it visits Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Each side has scored in the last eight meetings between the two in all competitions, which is about the only bit of good news for Paul Clement‘s side outside of their weekend win over West Brom. Man City has dominated the series in recent memory, and really all time.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

And some good news for Man City, too: There won’t be any problem with what they do in their own changing room.

“Like any club, Manchester City are able to play music in their dressing room,” a Swansea City spokesman said following the fracas at the Manchester Derby.

Wilfried Bony will be fired up to face his former club, and he’s coming off a big goal to sink West Brom. He’s going to have a lot in the tank. From the Manchester Evening News:

“Every game I look forward to but it is special to play against your old team. Injuries had an impact on my time at City. When you come from a club where you play every game and then you are playing maybe once a month or two games a month it is completely different.”

Vincent Kompany is out for Man City.

What they’re saying

Swansea City back Alfie Mawson on slowing Man City“I’m very fortunate to test myself against the highest calibre of footballer there is. City are flying this season. They’ve got one of the best managers in the world. We’ve got to find a way to combat them. Every team is finding it hard and I’m sure it’s going to be a very tough game because of the quality and depth they have. We’ve got to be switched on for the entire game, as they’ll punish one lapse in concentration.”

Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne on the 11-point table lead“Lots of teams lost points this weekend so it is a big one for us [the win] just to put more pressure on the rest. We have to enjoy it and then focus again for Wednesday. It is a big gap. If we slip up we are still in the lead. We can’t be complacent. We need to do what we have all year. I prefer to be 11 points ahead than 11 points behind that’s for sure.”

Prediction

The run continues, as Paul Clement prioritizes Saturday’s trip to Everton and City cruises to a 3-0 win.

Mourinho: Celebration disagreement rooted in behavior, education

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was the first to be asked about the post-match incident between his victorious visitors at Manchester United at Old Trafford.

United boss Jose Mourinho is alleged to have charged into the City dressing room, enraged at the volume of celebrations coming from within the visitors’ quarters.

[ MORE: Klopp responds to interview hubbub ]

What followed, again allegedly, was a brawl which included milk being thrown at Mourinho and a bloodied City assistant in the form of Mikel Arteta.

Mourinho said the incident is in the past, only offering this response to Guardiola’s assertion that the celebrations weren’t over the top. From the BBC:

“He says he says, I’m not here to comment on his words the only thing I can say is that for me was just a question of diversity. Diversity in behaviors, diversity in education, just that and nothing more.”

In other words, Mourinho thinks he’s a bit classier. That and a bag of chips gets you a bag of chips on the table.

Holiday sale for “Premier League Pass”

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The sale is on. But act quickly.

You can get 20% off the “Premier League Pass” on NBC Sports Gold if you sign up before the deadline on Wednesday.

With eight games live exclusively on NBC Sports Gold this Tuesday and Wednesday alone, and the PL games coming thick and fast over the festive season, this is the gift which keeps on giving.

[ SALE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]

The deal, available until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, gives you 20% off of the Premier League Pass for the rest of the season, which includes plenty of exclusive PL matches each week as well as access to Premier League shows featuring the latest news, analysis and more – which are only available on NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League Today, Premier League News and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

Click on the link above for details on how to purchase the sale on NBC Sports Gold.

Pep: “Celebrations weren’t too much”

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Pep Guardiola is staying as close-lipped as possible when it comes to the post-match derby dust-up between his Manchester City and Manchester United on Sunday.

Reports say United boss Mourinho charged into the visitors locker room to protest loud celebrations following City’s 2-1 win at Old Trafford. For his troubles, he allegedly got milk thrown at him and City assistant Mikel Arteta ended up with a cut face.

[ MORE: Klopp responds to interview hubbub ]

Guardiola said the celebrations were his idea, and he doesn’t want to say much more about United’s reactions. From Sky Sports:

“I am the guy who encouraged each other to celebrate. What happened, happened. We will make statement to the FA. I am not going to comment about that. Celebrations were’t too much.”

“Everybody fought hard to win. We could have scored more goals. After the game we celebrated with the fans and went to the changing room and celebrated the win.”

 

He’d only elaborate by saying, in essence, you celebrate when you win and don’t when you lose, and that other teams celebrate winning in similar rivalries in similar fashion.

Now we await Mourinho. He’s a wild card, but with legal entities involved we wouldn’t be surprised to get little to nothing.