Chile 3-2 USMNT: Another lead disintegrates for Klinsmann’s crew

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Friendlies or not, these blown leads and miserable second halves have grown pretty old.

First half goals from Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore had the United States men’s national team up 2-1 at the break, with Roberto Gutierrez scoring Chile’s goal in the 10th minute. Two second-half finishes from Mark Gonzalez earned Chile a 3-2 win.

A trio of U.S. players made their international bows, with Steve Birnbaum (DC United) starting in the back while Gyasi Zardes (L.A. Galaxy) and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew) coming off the bench.

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And the Yanks were again victimized by poor organization after substitutions. It’s fair to note that the six substitutions of a friendly are a bigger hiccup than the three in a formal competition, but the U.S. has been outscored 9-0 in its last five second halves.

Some have speculated that Jurgen Klinsmann wouldn’t have lined his men up in a 3-5-2 had DeAndre Yedlin not been allowed to go to Chile, and the speedy youngster gave the States plenty of thrills on Wednesday night while also showing his marking and finishing remain quite raw.

Shea was on the business end of a through ball from Matt Besler, and the Orlando City man ripped a left-footer past Johnny Herrera to open the scoring in the sixth minute (Watch the goal here).

And while Gutierrez victimized Jones and Besler to tie it at 1 four minutes later, the States attack did a number on Chile’s back line on the go-ahead goal (Watch the goal here). DeAndre Yedlin won a throw-in after a pacy right-wing run before finding Mix Diskerud, who laid off for Altidore in a spot the big man rarely misses from (at least in a U.S. jersey).

It was 2-1 after 45 minutes. Here’s how we recapped Half No. 1.

Lee Nguyen entered the game at halftime for the Yanks, moving Clint Dempsey up to forward as an ineffective Bobby Wood subbed off.

Nick Rimando had his share of scares, but there’s no doubt the Real Salt Lake man made a pair of huge saves in the match’s first hour. Most impressive was his bailing out Jones after some Diego Valdes thievery near the U.S. 18.

Michael Bradley put a screamer off the cross bar in the 61st minute. Moments later, Rimando bailed Steve Birnbaum out of a potential own goal, though it’s unfair to mention Birnbaum’s name for the first time now. The DC United defender played well in his first cap.

As the States made subs, Chile began to find its home form. At times, the excuse that the Yanks are mostly out of season and Chile are 4-5 games into theirs seemed decent.

And then came the equalizer on a stunner from Mark Gonzalez, who absolutely fooled Nick Rimando and lifted a shot over the goalkeeper’s right arm.

source: APGonzalez added a second less than 10 minutes later, finding a rebound and pounding a shot that took a turn off Birnbaum and into the net.

Substitute Chris Wondolowski nearly headed a neat cross from Michael Bradley home, but Herrera made a nice save on the San Jose striker.

Shea could’ve seen red for a high challenge late in the match, but was only shown yellow.

Zardes had a good chance in stoppage time, but his low shot was parried away by Herrera, who had a strong match.

The States next game is in California on Feb. 8 against Panama.


USMNT: Rimando; Birnbaum, Jones, Besler; Yedlin, Bradley, Dempsey (Zardes, 68′), Diskerud (Trapp, 60′), Shea; Altidore (Wondolowski, 75′), Wood (Nguyen, 46′)

Goals: Shea (6′), Altidore (31′)

Chile: Herrera, O. González, Rojas, Pulgar, Cornejo, Espinoza, Valdés (Delgado, 59′), Medel (Diaz, 79′), Carrasco, M. González (Sagal, 90+1′), Gutiérrez

Goals: Gutierrez (10′), M. Gonzalez 2 (66′, 75′)

Ailing LA Galaxy could miss as many as 10 players this weekend

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We’re less than a month into the new Major League Soccer season, and one club is already left scrambling to find players for its next match.

[ MORE: A deeper look at the USMNT roster ]

Between injuries, international call ups and a suspension, the LA Galaxy could be without as many as 10 players this weekend.

Ola Kamara, Romain Alessandrini and Giovani dos Santos are among the notable names likely to be absent for Saturday’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, but seven more players could be left unavailable for Sigi Schmid’s squad.

Kamara was the latest player to be named to his respective national team, with the striker being called up to Norway on Monday.

Meanwhile, both Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos have earned call ups to Mexico, and Emrah Klimenta has been selected by Montenegro for its next friendlies against Cyprus and Turkey.

Both Dos Santos brothers are battling injuries of their own, so they may not feature for El Tri, but that won’t necessarily help the Galaxy either as they are kept sidelined.

Of the ten players possibly missing the Whitecaps match, five of them (Michael Ciani, Cole, Gio dos Santos, J. dos Santos and Kamara) started in the Galaxy’s last game — a 2-1 loss to New York City FC.

Report: Chelsea, Real Madrid could make sensational swap

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Real Madrid’s interest in a certain Chelsea star has been well-noted for some time, and with the World Cup nearing this summer, Los Blancos may finally be able to get their man.

[ MORE: Brazil to play Austria in final World Cup tune-up ]

Eden Hazard has long been a Madrid target, and with the Belgium international seemingly more and more interested by a move away from Stamford Bridge, the veteran attacker could see himself join Real after the World Cup in Russia.

According to Spanish outlet Diario Gol, Real could secure a move for Hazard this summer, while sending young attacker Marco Asensio to Chelsea.

While hypothetical at this point, the move makes sense for both clubs, particularly from a Blues perspective as they look for young attacking players.

The 22-year-old Asensio has been seeking regular minutes at Madrid, and with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale regularly included in the starting squad, that has been nearly impossible for the Spanish international.

Meanwhile, Real would be gaining another incredibly talented attacking piece to go along with Ronaldo and Bale, although the latter has been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu for some time.

Real has also been strongly linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain winger Neymar, who has spent less than a season in France.

It’s a ways away from happening, but a front three of Hazard, Ronaldo and Neymar would certainly make El Clasico even more intriguing than usual, with Real facing off against a Barcelona squad that currently boasts Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.

Andrija Novakovich: “It’s a good feeling” to earn USMNT call up

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As the U.S. Men’s National Team continues its transition towards qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, a new face has emerged for the Stars and Stripes ahead of its upcoming friendly against Paraguay.

[ MORE: USMNT adds Kekuta Manneh to roster ahead of Paraguay friendly ]

Striker Andrija Novakovich earned his first call up on Sunday when U.S. manager Dave Sarachan named the Telstar player in his squad, which will play the South American side on March 27 in Cary, North Carolina.

The 21-year-old forward has been nothing short of brilliant in his first season with the Dutch second-division club, scoring 18 league goals for Telstar — who sit fourth in the Eerste Divisie.

“It’s a good feeling to get the call-up and hopefully it will be a very good experience,” Novakovich said. “They [the U.S. national team] sent the club and myself an email saying that I was on the preliminary roster and we were just waiting, and then this week I got another email saying I was on the final roster.

“I called my Mum right away and she’s proud, she’s happy.

“I’m just there for the experience — of course I want to play, of course I want to get the opportunity and hopefully that will happen, It’s an honour to be called up and I’m very proud and very happy.”

Novakovich, a Wisconsin native, is currently on loan at Telstar from English Championship side Reading.

The young USMNT player moved to England back in 2014 to join Reading’s academy, despite originally planning on playing for Marquette University following high school.

Despite this being his first senior-team call up, Novakovich is familiar with the U.S. national team setup. Novakovich has previously represented the Under-17, U-18 and U-20 national teams.

Lionel Messi suggests 2018 will be his final World Cup

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Lionel Messi’s track record as a professional has encompassed just about every imaginable accolade, but one that has eluded he and his Argentina national teammates is winning the World Cup.

[ MORE: Kekuta Manneh added to USMNT squad ahead of Paraguay friendly ]

The Barcelona star has played a significant role for the Albiceleste since debuting for Argentina back in 2005, and even helped guide the South American power to the 2014 World Cup final, however, harsh criticism from local media could push Messi and many of his teammates towards not returning to the national team.

This wouldn’t be the first time Messi has contemplated international retirement, though.

Following the 2016 Copa America Centenario final — which resulted in a Chilean victory over Messi’s Argentina — the Blaugrana attacker announced his retirement from the Albiceleste. While he has since returned to the international scene, it appears Messi is once again considering a halt from representing Argentina.

“It’s just the feeling that this group of players has. It seems that having reached three straight finals didn’t mean anything,” Messi told La Cornisa TV. “Obviously, we depend on results and unfortunately, we reached three finals and we didn’t win them.

“A lot was said about us. The criticisms hurt back then. But the demand is going to be there for this group to get it done. We think that if we don’t do it, we are going to get a lot more [criticism] and we are not going to have another possibility.”

Argentina has fallen in three consecutive major finals dating back to 2014, including two Copa America competitions and the World Cup.

Messi says these shortcomings have weighed heavily on him, and that winning a World Cup is still the one goal that has left him hungry.

“I’ve cried many times for lost finals,” the Barca forward said. “I cried for not being able to fulfill the dream of our nation. My desire is the same as every Argentine, which is to lift the World Cup.”

He continued: “To win a World Cup is not easy. It doesn’t happen often. The last time we did things well but due to minor details we didn’t get it done. We are very enthusiastic and eager to lift the cup for our country. I hope God helps us and it happens.”

Messi has scored 61 international goals in his international career for Argentina, the most of any player from his native country.