According to the leading statisticians over at WhoScored, two U.S. players performed well enough against Belgium to make the “team of the last 16” at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Everton’s Tim Howard (obviously) got the nod in goal as he scored a perfect 10 in the rankings with his record breaking 16-save performance, while Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron made the central midfield spot after he was moved from central defense to holding mid in favor of Kyle Beckerman.
Putting Howard in this squad was an obvious choice, but seeing Cameron’s name in the XI certainly makes Klinsmann’s decision to drop the incredibly popular Beckerman seem like a good one. Time and time again Cameron won the ball back for the U.S. and provided a vital shield in front of the back four. Imagine how much worse the attacking onslaught would’ve been if what was virtuall a ‘third center back’ wouldn’t have been deployed by Klinsmann? Yeah. Cameron had more touches (113) than any player on the pitch, completed four dribbles, made five tackles and eight clearances.
Other players named in the “team of the last 16” were Argentine trio Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Pablo Zabaleta, playmakers Mesut Ozil and Arjen Robben, plus the Belgian duo of Kevin De Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen. Algeria defender Essaïd Belkalem and Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Congrats to Tim and Geoff, who will now both take a break before heading back to England to prepare for another season in the Premier League with their club teams.
The game in 100 words (or less): While one American star continues to earn more time on the pitch, another is making his presence felt as his side pushes for a playoff position. Jordan Morris’ 11 and 12th goals of the season were the difference for the Sounders on Sunday afternoon, propelling his side to within three points of the six spot in the Western Conference. Despite trailing early on, the Sounders stormed back with three second-half tallies and now have the postseason very much in sight. For the Galaxy, Bruce Arena’s group remains in third place in the West.
63′ — Morris stuns StubHub crowd — It’s safe to say the Sounders are happy Jordan Morris opted to play in MLS this season. The American striker not only knocked in his 11th goal of the year but this beauty of a finish also propelled the Sounders to within three points of a playoff spot.
Antoine Griezmann was the difference for Atletico Madrid on Sunday as Atletico Madrid narrowly defeated 10-man Deportivo La Coruna, 1-0, to move up to third place in La Liga. The visitors were reduced a player prior to halftime, as Faycal Fajr was sent off in first-half stoppage time after picking up his second yellow card.
A clinical first half performance from Villareal gave the hosts a 3-1 win over Osasuna, who remain at the bottom of the table. Alexandre Pato kicked off the impressive offensive display from the Yellow Submarine after five minutes, before Bruno and Nicola Sansone also tallied before halftime. Roberto Torres pulled one back for Osasuna before the break but it wasn’t enough to capture a share of the points for the road side.
After trailing inside of the opening half hour, Valencia battled back for a 2-1 win over Leganes. Alexander Szymanowski handed the hosts the lead after 21 minutes, but it was Nani and Mario Suarez that had the final say for Valencia as they wound up with the points on the day. The victory pulls Valencia out of the relegation zone temporarily, with the club currently sitting on six points in as many matches.
It looked like the two sides were on pace for a share of the points, but late stoppage time finishes from Giuseppe Rossi and Pione Sisto gave Celta Vigo a 2-0 win over Espanyol. Rossi, who entered the match in the second half, knocked Celta into the lead in the 91st minute, before Sisto doubled the lead two minutes later.
With the Citizens already on 18 points and unbeaten in their opening six matches, the veteran defender was quick to note the importance of Argentine striker Sergio Aguero — who has already notched five tallies.
Aguero, 28, has posted nine straight double-digit goalscoring seasons, dating back to his time in La Liga with Atletico Madrid. Last season, the Argentine netted 29 goals across all competitions, including 24 finishes in the PL.
“He is one of the best players I have played with, not just because he scores goals but also because of his attitude – he always wants to give his maximum for his team and bring the team up,” Sagna said of Aguero’s effort.
“His two goals showed his class. He has such desire in front of the box, and in the box itself. He is great.”