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.

Lineups

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′)

Toronto FC beats Crew 5-0 to extend unbeaten streak to 8

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TORONTO (AP) Victor Vazquez scored twice and Toronto FC routed the Columbus Crew 5-0 on Friday night to extend its unbeaten streak to a franchise record-matching eight games.

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Toronto (8-1-5) is 7-0-1 since its lone league loss of the season, a 2-1 decision in Columbus on April 15. Columbus (6-7-1) has lost five of seven since topping Toronto.

Justin Morrow and substitutes Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton also scored for MLS-leading Toronto. The Canadian team also was unbeaten in eight games (4-0-4) from May 8 to July 10, 2010.

Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute when midfielder Marky Delgado was red-carded for a studs-up tackle on Columbus captain Wil Trapp. Osorio and Hamilton then scored to pad the lead for Toronto in its sixth shutout of the season.

Toronto played without the starting forward tandem of Sebastian Giovinco (injured) and Jozy Altidore (suspended for yellow card accumulation). Defender Nick Hagglund also is injured.

Agent: Barcelona offered more than Real for Vinicius Junior

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If Vinicius Junior can become half the player at Real Madrid that Neymar has lived up to be at Barcelona, Los Blancos will be pretty pleased.

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Real closed the deal for the 16-year-old Brazilian this week, but there were several other lucrative offers on the table, according to the player’s agent, Frederico Pena.

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That includes bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona.

The agent stated that the Blaugrana did in fact offer a higher deal to acquire the Brazilian, however, he felt it would have complicated matters further to seek a greater offer from Real.

“There is practically unanimous view of the deal as a success,” Pena said. “If anybody gets criticised it is Real Madrid, for the risk they have taken, but they are sure that it will work. There were other clubs interested, and one offered to pay more money … Barca’s remuneration package offer for the player was higher than Real Madrid.

“But as we had reached an agreement with Real, we did not want to make this last push for them to match it. That could have embittered the relationship. Many people think it is crazy what Madrid are doing, but they were not alone in this craziness. They were not the only ones willing to pay this much for Vinicius.”

Pena also clarified as to why Vinicius chose Real over Barcelona, citing the player’s excitement about the development of Los Blancos during recent seasons under manager Zinedine Zidane and prior.

“Because Vinicius liked Madrid’s project better. There is always the feeling that players choose based on financial reasons, but that is not true. I assure you of that. Real Madrid’s negotiating posture was better.”

Real is on the verge of winning its third UEFA Champions League trophy in the last four seasons as the club prepares to face Juventus in the upcoming final.

Zidane’s men also won La Liga during the 2016/17 campaign.

Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape

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U.S. Soccer has come a long way over the years, and one of the nation’s most promising young players recognizes the progress the United States has made.

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Christian Pulisic, who plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is one of several young talents that U.S. hopes to finally bring the American men a moment of glory on the biggest of stages — the World Cup.

The 18-year-old has done just about everything a player of his age could do. He’s played in one of the top leagues in the world, appeared in various UEFA Champions League matches and now he’s likely on pace to appear in the 2018 World Cup, assuming the USMNT advances out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The U.S., who have reached the World Cup during seven straight cycles, have come a long way in a short period of time, and Pulisic is happy with the improving U.S. Soccer landscape.

“It’s been big flaw of ours in the soccer department that a lot of our best athletes go and play other sports,” Pulisic told The Guardian. “But I think young players have seen me, and others, go over to Europe and play in some of the best leagues — and MLS is improving so much too.

“There’s so much potential and I think it’s changing: we’ve had some bigger athletes in the past but I don’t think that defines us anymore.

“We’re going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we’re going to have a really good shot in the next few years.”

During this past Bundesliga season, Pulisic recorded three goals and added six assists for a club that has become well known for its high-powered offensive attack.

Report: Kyle Walker a top target for Manchester City

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Manchester City could be looking to bolster its backline further this summer, and the Citizens could turn to Tottenham for help.

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According to ESPN FC, Pep Guardiola‘s side is growing more and more enamored with Spurs defender Kyle Walker and believes City can acquire the experienced outside back prior to the 2017/18 Premier League season.

With City already losing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna since the end of the PL season, Guardiola will have to address the club’s lack of depth at outside back.

Several other big clubs have been considered in the running for Walker’s services, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The 26-year-old has been at White Hart Lane since joining Spurs in 2009 from Sheffield United and has made 222 appearances for the club in that span.