U.S. roster for Czech Republic: Quick look at some of the newer names

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The first post-World Cup camp for the U.S. will be an exploration of young talent, with an almost entirely Europe-based squad allowing opportunities to a number of players looking to breakthrough in the 2018 cycle. Here’s a quick look at a few of the names that hope to become more familiar over the next four years:

Cody Cropper – The Southampton keeper isn’t new to U.S. rosters, but at 21 years old, Cropper’s is a name that could become more prominent in Klinsmann’s selections between now and Russia. With a long jam of goalkeepers under Ronald Koeman’s watch, time in practice with Klinsmann and goalkeeping coach Chris Wood is particularly crucial. Cropper won’t get the same minutes Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson see back in MLS.

Age: 21
Caps: 0
Club: Has yet to make a league appearance for Southampton or his previous club, Ipswich Town.

Greg Garza – The Texas-born wide-man is known to national team hardcores, but yet to be capped at the senior level, the former U-20 contributor is still an unknown to the broader fan base. A 23-year-old with a development history that touches Brazil (São Paulo FC), Texas (Dallas Texas), and Portugal (Sporting Club), Garza has become a starter for Tijuana in Liga MX. Capable of playing both fullback and wing, the 5’8″ Xolo offers the versatility that’s become characteristic of Klinsmann’s wide options.

Age: 23
Caps: 0
Club: 34 appearances and 21 starts over the last three seasons for Tijuana in Liga MX.

Joe Gyau – Like Julian Green, Gyau is a Tampa-born player poised to make an impact in Germany, only instead of being nurtured by Bayern Munich, the left winger (who can also play through the middle) has had to navigate his way through the Bundesliga. Originally starting with Hoffenheim’s second team as an 18-year-old, Gyau moved to St. Pauli and back to Hoffenheim before landing with Borussia Dortmund this season. Like BVB and Bayern, Gyau could develop a productive rivalry with Green going forward.

Age: 21
Caps: 0
Club: Has made six appearances in the 2.Bundesliga this season for Borussia Dortmund II, scoring twice in 497 minutes.

source: Getty ImagesEmerson Hyndman (right) – The 18-year-old midfielder’s connection with Schellas Hyndman has made him a fixture on this site for some time, but after taking the leap to England in 2011, the grandson of the former FC Dallas coach has found his own reason to make headlines. The former FC Dallas academy member has made two starts for Fulham this season, and while it’s uncertain the central midfielder has cemented a role under Felix Magath, playing at such a young age portends to a bright future for the U.S.’s U-17 contributor.

Age: 18
Caps: 0
Club: Has played 180 minutes across two starts for Fulham, making the 18 one other time through four games this season.

Alfredo Morales – One of five callups not playing with a first division team, Morales hasn’t seen a top-flight match since his time with Hertha in 2011-12. That hasn’t kept the Berlin-born midfielder/defender off the U.S. radar, though a cap against the Czech Republic would be the 24-year-old’s first in 19 months. Having received his first callup in Nov. 2011, Morales has long been on the fringe of the senior national team, a status he’ll hope to improve during his time in Prague.

Age: 24
Caps: 1
Club: Morales has started all three games for Inglostadt this season, scoring the team’s opening goal of the campaign on Aug. 2 at St. Pauli.

Rubio Rubin (pictured, top) – Perhaps the most exciting of the new callups, Rubin has made an immediate impact since arriving at FC Utrecht this summer, winning a spot in Robby Alflen’s plans when it was originally assumed the 18-year-old attacker would have to work his way through the reserves. A former Timbers and IMG Academy product, Rubin has been a standout at U.S. U-levels, winning U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Athlete of the Year honor in 2012 (Wil Trapp won it last year). Though he’s Mexico-eligible, Rubin’s on track to compete for a spot in 2018, having said his future lies with the U.S. national team.

Age: 18
Caps: 0
Club: Rubin came back from a preseason concussion to log 90 minutes in his Eredivisie debut Aug. 17 versus Willem II.

Bobby Wood – Like Morales, 1860 Munich’s Wood is a fringe national teamer whose trying to develop in Germany’s second division. Beyond position (Wood’s a forward), the other main difference between him and Morales is age. Whereas the Inglostadt midfielder is entering his prime, Wood is only 21. After serving as a substitute for most of last year, the versatile Californian has now assumed a starting role, playing wide left in Ricardo Moniz’s 4-2-3-1.

Age: 21
Caps: 1
Club: Wood failed to score last year in 605 minutes (21 appearances) for the Sixty’ers and has yet to register a goal this season.

3 things to look for in the Manchester derby in Houston

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Manchester City and Manchester United square off in Houston, Texas on Thursday in what will be the first-ever Manchester derby played outside of the UK.

[ MORE: Daley Blind chat to JPW ]

This game is never a friendly but with it being a preseason match-up in the International Champions Cup, we may not see as many challenges flying as we usually do when Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola lock horns. Maybe…

Here’s a quick look at three intriguing storylines heading into the game.


New kids on the block

This will be our first chance to see Kyle Walker, Ederson and Bernardo Silva in Man City shirts as Pep’s team kick off their preseason games. Walker is a big upgrade on City’s previous full back options and his pace and power will give them a new dynamic and balance. Ederson is now the go-to goalkeeper for Guardiola, even though he said Claudio Bravo will stick around and Bernando Silva is a true luxury player capable of slotting in wherever needed in attack. All three will have plenty to prove with big price-tags hanging around their necks, but perhaps Ederson is the most intriguing because the goalkeeper position has been a huge problem area for City and we know what to expect from Walker and Silva. First impressions can shape your future at a club and Ederson will be well aware of that.

Kompany vs. Lukaku

One big man against another, there’s no love lost between Belgium teammates Vincent Kompany and Romelu Lukaku. This battle will set the tone for the upcoming clashes this season and it is a pivotal one. Kompany can handle Lukaku’s power and aerial ability, but can he handle his pace in-behind? If United can set Lukaku free, there are still doubts over Kompany’s fitness and if the 31-year-old has lost a yard of pace over the years. A supreme defender, Kompany knows this is a massive year for him to stay fit as he will try to lead City to PL glory and then Belgium to World Cup glory next summer with Lukaku by his side. On Thursday in Houston it should be a titanic battle if they come up against one another.

3-4-3 system from United?

I spoke with Man United’s utility man Daley Blind earlier this week and he told me that preparations for a 3-4-3 system is going well. When this alternate formation is deployed, Blind will likely slot in as the left-sided center back with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof alongside him. Mourinho usually keeps it simple and plays a 4-2-3-1 formation, but now is the time to experiment and given the recent success of teams playing with wing-backs (Chelsea for most of last season, then Spurs and Arsenal towards the end) why not see if his team can do it?

United have been working on it in training and have already played that way against LA Galaxy in preseason. With United’s fans urging them to be more attack-minded, maybe Mourinho, like Wenger, could change his ways. If United do play wing-backs it will be interesting to see how City’s attackers cope with having to track back and having players in the space they’d usually roam free in.

Seattle’s wild four-goal comeback caps crazy MLS night

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The Seattle Sounders stole the show as Major League Soccer go back to work on Wednesday following a break for the 2017 Gold Cup.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

Seven games took place in MLS on Wednesday, with the Sounders trailing 3-0 at home against D.C. United with 50 minutes on the clock.

They then scored four goals in 27 minutes with Cristian Roldan scoring the game-winner and the Sounders survived a late red card for Nicholas Lodeiro to grab a big win. It was in fact the first-time in MLS history that a team had fought back from 3-0 down to win in regulation. Majestic.

Watch the highlights of that crazy comeback above, while below is a brief recap on what else happened across MLS on a wild evening of action.

Other scores around Major League Soccer
New York City 2-2 Toronto FC – Stoppage time penalty kick grabbed a point for TFC at Yankee Stadium
LA Galaxy 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Big road win for the Caps who move up to 4th in the West thanks to Tchani’s header
Montral Impact 2-1 Philadelphia Union – Blerim Dzemaili was the hero as he scored a spectcular winner in Quebec
New York Red Bulls 5-1 San Jose Earthquakes – A pummeling for the struggling ‘Quakes as Royer scored twice late on
Portland Timbers 1-4 Real Salt Lake – Portland finished with nine as Adi floored Beckerman, who also saw red. Two goals for Plata
Minnesota United 0-0 Houston Dynamo – The Dynamo could’t get it done on the road against the stubborn Loons

Alvaro Morata: Chelsea “the best club” to join

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Spanish international Alvaro Morata has arrived in London for his medical as he is set to become the most-expensive signing in Chelsea’s history.

[ MORE: Morata’s rank in PL strikers ]

The reported overall fee Chelsea have agreed to pay Real Madrid varies from $85-97 million when you calculate the add-ons, but one thing that’s for sure is Morata is eager to get going in west London.

Morata, 24, flew in from the U.S. overnight, as he was on Real’s preseason tour of the USA, and will now agree personal terms and undergo a medical before linking up with Antonio Conte‘s team who are currently on their preseason tour of China and Singapore.

“This is the best club,” Morata told Sky Sports. “Antonio Conte is one of the best coaches in the world and I’m so happy to work with Antonio.”

He was then asked how close he came to joining Manchester United, who chased Morata all summer, but the Spaniard said he had no idea how close that deal was and that “the most important thing is I’m here playing for Chelsea. Finally I’m here.”

Chelsea now have a predatory forward to replace Diego Costa who will surely leave this summer and re-join Atletico Madrid after falling out with Conte.

Having Chelsea’s boss commit his future to the Blues with a new two-year deal he signed on Tuesday clearly played a big factor in Morata joining, as the man who took him to Juventus in 2014 helped him to develop into a true center forward.

Morata’s movement, power, aerial ability and clinical finishing means he will slot perfectly into this Chelsea team and he’s already saying all the right things.

Jose Mourinho gives update on Man United’s transfer plans

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Jose Mourinho has already made two signings and spent over $135 million this summer.

But he wants more. He always wants more.

[ MORE: Daley Blind chats to JPW ]

With United back in the UEFA Champions League this season, the Portuguese coach said he wanted to add four new players to his squad to get them ready to challenge for the Premier League title and European silverware.

Speaking ahead of the Manchester Derby in Houston on Thursday against Manchester City in a preseason friendly, Mourinho revealed just how tough its been to get deals over the line this summer.

“Everybody knows because I said it, I would like four players and asked for four players,” Mourinho said. “I’m ready to go from four to three because the market is difficult, because some clubs they think the market is different from others.

“We are not a club that is not ready to buy and buy and buy non-stop. We are not a club that is ready to pay what clubs wants us to pay, so I am ready to go from four to three. With these three, I just give a better balance to the team, to the squad and better conditions to compete.”

United were just valued as the most valuable soccer team on the planet by Forbes, jumping ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid and only the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees are more valuable than the Red Devils in the sporting world.

Mourinho can’t play the pauper card here, even if he tried to when stating his “surprise” that Kyle Walker cost crosstown rivals Man City close to $65 million.

The truth is, he’s probably put all his eggs in one basket with the signing of Romelu Lukaku for $96.5 million and that’s okay. United needed a center forward to be the focal point of the team after Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s serious knee injury, so they got what they needed and Victor Lindelof will also be a starter in central defense.

Those two players both improve United’s team drastically.

Now, it’s quite clear that Ivan Perisic, an out-and-out winger, and Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic were the final two players Mourinho wanted to get on board. The deal for Perisic appears to be dead in the water with Inter Milan not budging on their $56 million asking price, while holding midfielder Matic will surely arrive at Old Trafford after Tiemoue Bakayoko signed for Chelsea.

Even then, does Mourinho really need another winger with Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata around? Perisic should be no more than a luxury buy if they can get him for the right price, while adding Matic to the engine room will be vital to providing balance to their slightly top-heavy squad.

After putting down a world-record fee last summer for Paul Pogba and spending big on Lukaku this summer, Mourinho won’t have many people feeling sorry for him.