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.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

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MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

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  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.

Aguero involved in clash with Wigan fan after FA Cupset

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Sergio Aguero was involved in a confrontation with a Wigan fan as ugly scenes marred the end of the third-division side’s shock FA Cup win over Manchester City on Monday.

[ MORE: Wigan shock Man City, the world and themselves ]

Fans spilled on to the pitch at DW Stadium as the host celebrated its 1-0 fifth-round win against the runaway English Premier League leader.

Supporters from both clubs were involved in disturbances, while television pictures appeared to show a home supporter and striker Aguero involved in a physical exchange.

Aguero appeared to hit the supporter after the fan said something to the player, and Aguero had to be held back by his City teammates.

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Advertising hoardings were also ripped out and thrown as a pitch invasion by Wigan fans got out of hand while the defeated City players were being escorted off the pitch.

Footage also appeared to show objects, including an advertising board, being thrown at police officers by fans in the City end.

Wigan shock themselves: “Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet”

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Wigan Athletic didn’t just shock Manchester City with their FA Cup fifth-round slaying of the runaway Premier League leaders; nor did they merely shock the rest of the footballing world; they also shocked themselves into disbelief, according to defender Dan Burn.

[ MORE: Goodbye, quadruple! Wigan bounce 10-man City from FA Cup ]

Speaking following Monday’s triumph over Pep Guardiola‘s quadruple-chasing side at the DW Stadium, Burn admitted he himself didn’t know what to make of the night that would undoubtedly highlight and change his own professional career — quotes from the BBC:

“Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet. It was a really tough game. The belief was always there. We’ve got Will Grigg, who does what he keeps doing.

“We pride ourselves on our clean sheets. We had a couple bad results before, so we wanted to prove ourselves, so a clean sheet against the best team in England is great.

“Once we scored, the fans really got behind us, just knew we needed to hang on. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.”

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Manager Paul Cook was able to articulate his happiness and pride only slightly better — “It feels great” — but offered the highest of praises to his players, whom “had to ride [their] luck at times” during the game, and gave everything they had to the cause, because that’s the only way you beat a team like Man City:

“It feels great. It’s such a severe test. They’re such a strong side and move the ball so well. We had to ride our luck at times and the sending off is always a big incident.

“Our lads deserve credit for their work and some of the blocks they made were outstanding, and to beat Man City you have to do that.”