Player ratings: USMNT 1, Czech Republic 0. Which youngsters shone?

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A young United States team survived a bevy of substitutions and a big character test from the Czech Republic in a 1-0 road win on Wednesday on NBCSN.

The States played very well in the first half, but needed to adapt to an inspired Czech squad despite making several subs in the second half.

[ VIDEO: Watch full replay of the game ]

How did they play? Let us tell you our thoughts on a scale of 1-10, as we once again embark on the seemingly-arbitrary task of assigning value to 17 men, some of whom played less than a half-hour.

[ GAME STORY: US holds on to win in Czech Republic ]

Starting XI

Brad Guzan (8) – Didn’t have much to do at all, and kept the sheet clean. Made himself available to his defenders and cleared some trouble well. Didn’t hurt himself at all in the competition to be No. 1. He kept a clean sheet, so how do we not give him a 10? I don’t know.

Fabian Johnson (7) – It’s clear the young unit was instructed to find Johnson on the right flank and get ready for his crosses. While they weren’t always pinpoint, Johnson did well on both sides of the ball. Was part of the unit that closed things down late.

Michael Orozco (7) – Seemed to really understand his chance and embrace it, though perhaps too aggressively. Left some holes, but also played a very physical game.

John Anthony Brooks (6) – Headstrong and adventurous, you can see why he gives Hertha Berlin massive headaches. He’s capable of the sublime — ask Ghana — but also played with the ball inside his own half within the first 10 minutes, successfully fending off a Czech challenge, and lashed an unruly-length shot wide of the goal.

Ale Bedoya (7) – Did a bit of a late-Donovan spin, being in the right place at the right time to neatly tap in a goal. Still an offense-first player.

Joe Corona (6) – Honestly can’t pinpoint too many moments where the youngster really stood out, for better or for worse.

Mix Diskerud (9) – Made the steal that Bedoya banged home. Orchestrated a young attack and looked comfortable taking chances. Asked more questions as to why he didn’t get the chance to reinvigorate the States off the bench at World Cup.

Julian Green (6) – Was active and lively, but struggled with his aim (especially on corner kicks). A young man playing a young game, he’ll have wanted a better

Jozy Altidore (6) – Wearing the captain’s arm band, Altidore was a little clumsy with his touch but was a physical force to be reckoned with.

Joe Gyau (8) – Showed some serious panache with the ball, dribbling out of a double team along the touch line in his own half. Looked comfortable for a man on debut, willing to shoot on net early off an Altidore pass. Made a young mistake that nearly lead to an equalizer in the 69th minute, and seemed to wear down late.

[ VIDEO: Klinsmann says its semis or bust in 2018 World Cup ]

Substitutions

Nick Rimando (10). – Made a strong left-footed save on Krejci, who was sprung 1v1 on goal after a free kick. Also saved the side’s bacon after a Gyau giveaway. Made two incredible saves late, and has forced the question of whether he shouldn’t be No. 1 while Tim Howard is away. He is still 35, though.

Greg Garza (6) – Made a neat save of an electric Czech counter attack in the 76th minute.

Tim Ream (7) – Also had a big clear in the goal mouth after the aforementioned Gyau giveaway.

Alfredo Morales (5) – Not entirely visible until a high, harsh challenge in injury time helped earn him a yellow card.

Brek Shea (5) – Didn’t do much aside from a few fouls that may’ve not been fouls. Still, needed to do something and failed to do much

Emerson Hyndman (5) – Making his debut at 18, he committed a miserable giveaway in the 84th minute before racing back to win the ball on a clean tackle.

US lineup

United States: Guzan (Rimando, 46′), F. Johnson, Orozco (Ream, 46′), Brooks, Chandler (Garza, 63′); Bedoya, Corona (Shea, 63′), Diskerud (Morales, 63′); Green, Altidore, Gyau

Goals: Bedoya (39)

Rapids add longtime Bundesliga winger Aigner from 1860 Munich (highlights)

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The Colorado Rapids are hoping for an injection of offense from veteran Bundesliga right winger Stefan Aigner.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old has played 274 games between the first and second tiers of German soccer, with 25 goals and 25 assists in Bundesliga play and a further 31 and 25 in the second tier.

Most recently with 2.Bundesliga side 1860 Munich for a third time, he’s played most of his career between Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt.

[ MORE: BVB’s Merino to Newcastle ]

Aigner has the resume to succeed and perhaps star in MLS, especially if he wasn’t slowed too much by a knee injury last season (He returned and produced at the 2.Bundesliga level).

Here’s what Rapids interim general manager Padraig Smith said:

“We’re excited to add a player of Stefan’s caliber to our roster for the next three-and-a-half years,” said Smith. “As an organization we are committed to fielding a forward-thinking side and bringing in Stefan – a technical and versatile player who can excel in multiple attacking roles – will help us achieve that vision.”

UEFA Champions League wrap: Celtic held; U.S. GK Horvath busy

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It was a busy night in the UEFA Champions League, with clubs battling for berths in the playoff round where they could draw big names Liverpool, Napoli, Sevilla, Sporting CP or Hoffenheim.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ] 


Club Brugge 3-3 Istanbul Basaksehir

American backstop Ethan Horvath was under siege at home, but his Club Brugge side overcame throwing away a 2-0 deficit to claim a 3-3 draw with İstanbul Başakşehir. The three road goals will give the Turkish visitors every reason to feel good about the Aug. 2 second leg.

Celtic 0-0 Rosenborg

Brendan Rodgers‘ Scottish champions outshot the visitors 12-8, but couldn’t find a way into the goal. Now the Bhoys will have to score in Norway to advance to the next round.

Nice 1-1 Ajax

Mario Balotelli‘s 32nd minute staked Nice to a halftime lead, but the UEFA Europa League finalists snared an away goal through Donny van de Beek to send Ajax back to Holland with a slim advantage.

UCL first legs

Tuesday
Qarabag 0-0 Sheriff
Slavia Prague 1-0 BATE Borisov
AEK Athens 0-2 CSKA Moscow
Steaua Bucharest 2-2 Plzen
Vardar 1-0 Copenhagen
Partizan Belgrade 1-3 Olympiacos

Wednesday
Astana 3-1 Legia Warsaw
Dynamo Kyiv 3-1 Young Boys
RB Salzburg 1-1 Rijeka
Hapoel Be’er Sheva 2-0 Ludogorets Razgrad
Viitorul 1-0 APOEL Nicosia
Maribor 1-0 FH

Terim steps down as Turkey manager after restaurant fight

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Turkey’s soccer federation says it has parted ways with national team manager Fatih Terim.

The announcement on Wednesday came weeks after Terim and his two sons-in-law were involved in a fight with a restaurant owner.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ] 

The Turkish Football Federation statement said Terim, 63, and the federation agreed that “it would be healthier for both sides to part ways,” saying non-football related issues were harming both Terim and the federation.

It also thanked Terim, who has headed the national team since 2013, for his services.

Terim previously managed Galatasaray, Milan and Fiorentina. There was no word on who would replace him.

BVB mid Merino reportedly undergoing Newcastle medical

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It’s been a wild year for Mikel Merino, and now the Spaniard is close to playing for a legend from his home country.

Merino joined Borussia Dortmund from Osasuna last summer, and the 21-year-old had a hard time getting playing time under Thomas Tuchel.

[ MORE: Gold Cup Final preview ]

A defensive midfielder who also plays center back and a bit further up the pitch, Merino is set to join Rafa Benitez on loan at Newcastle United for the club’s return to the Premier League next month.

Merino was photographed in Newcastle on Wednesday, and would join a central midfield with Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden. Both players thrived in the Championship last season.

The Magpies turned Christian Atsu‘s loan permanent to start the summer, and then purchased Florian Lejeune, Jacob Murphy, and Javier Manquillo.