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USMNT 1-0 Jamaica: Morris goal rewards U.S. for attacking intent

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It took 58 minutes of promising yet unproductive attacking play, but the United States eventually was rewarded for a positive mindset as Jordan Morris’ goal lead the U.S. to a 1-0 win over Jamaica in the conclusion of January camp.

Bruce Arena started a number of fringe players looking for somebody to impress, and a few did just that as Dax McCarty distributed well, Benny Feilhaber was the focal point of the attack, and Sebastian Lletget proved a menace down the left in a game that hardly tested the U.S. back line.

The U.S. began strongly, with a 4-1-3-2 formation putting pressure on the Jamaica midfield. McCarty had the game’s first big chance in the 7th minute as he rose high to head Feilhaber’s corner just inches over the bar. What a fascinating first goal of the Arena x2 era that would have been.

Jamaica’s Ewan Grandison earned the game’s first yellow inside the opening 10 minutes after he was dispossessed in his own half and then scythed down Sebastian Lletget. There was a stoppage in play in the 24th minute as Jamaica broke, Cory Burke picked out a nice backheel but crashed into Chris Pontius just after, with their knees colliding. Both players were able to continue.

[ MORE: Three things we learned about USMNT vs. Jamaica ]

The turf played a significant role throughout the game, with the ball bouncing more than usual. The U.S. held much of the possession up through the half-hour mark, but struggled with ideas in the final third. Jamaica had a big moment in the 33rd minute that saw a bad miss. A counter-attack came down the right as Cory Burke beat Graham Zusi to the ball and fed Romario Williams at point blank range in front of the net. Luis Robles came out to block the cross, but he deflected it straight to Williams who should have scored, but missed badly with the goal gaping.

Minutes later the U.S. will feel they missed a chance of their own as Juan Agudelo headed a ball forward to spring Jordan Morris, but the young Sounders striker took just slightly too long, and it was smothered by Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake. On the ensuing corner, Lletget came inches away from the opener again with a beautiful curling ball that just missed the top corner.

Overall, the first half proved promising, but there was also a lack of execution up front and some sloppy play along with it. Arena only made one change out of the break, swapping Luis Robles in goal for Dave Bingham.

Finally, the breakthrough for the United States came 13 minutes after halftime. With the U.S. again holding much of the meaningful possession, Feilhaber played a perfect one-two to unlock the Jamaica back line, and this time Morris finished the chance clinically for the 1-0 lead.

Immediately after scoring, Bruce Arena replaced Feilhaber and McCarty with Michael Bradley and Darlington Nagbe. The game snoozed its way to completion, with Jamaica not threatening to draw level. Agudelo had a chance with nine minutes remaining as a cross came in from the right but his header was flubbed under heavy pressure from a defender.

The final whistle came and gave Arena a second clean sheet of January camp, and more importantly a win moving into World Cup qualifying.

FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers host Sounders in PNW showdown

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They don’t get much bigger, or more heated, than this one in MLS — it’s Portland versus Seattle, the Timbers versus the Sounders, tonight at Providence Park (10 p.m. ET).

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers vs. Sounders ]

To keep up-to-the-second informed on proceedings in Portland this evening, hit the above link, or click right here.

Seattle won the first meeting between these sides, 1-0 back on May 27, on their home turf at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan, who’ll depart for U.S. national team camp following Sunday’s game, scored the only goal that afternoon in Seattle, a 4th-minute header from three yards out.

Mustafi: Arsenal players powerless, hope “brilliant” Sanchez will stay

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Shkodran Mustafi admits that he, along with his Arsenal teammates, feels helpless with over the ongoing transfer saga of Alexis Sanchez.

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

The Chilean superstar is linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, as the Gunners fell out of the Premier League’s top-four and the 28-year-old’s contract is set to expire next summer. Perhaps most importantly, Sanchez hasn’t so much as publicly stated a desire to remain at the club, which, from the outside, appears to have left his future in even greater doubt.

Mustafi admits he hasn’t a clue how things will shake out in the coming weeks, but he’s quick with a pleading sales pitch for Sanchez to stay — quotes from Goal.com:

“I have no idea. Obviously the other players cannot make that decision, he has to make that decision.

“I’m not too much involved. I hope he stays because he is a really brilliant football player but there’s nothing in my hands that I can do.”

[ MORE: De Boer set to be named new Crystal Palace boss ]

Arsenal would likely have to double (if not more) Sanchez’s current $180,000 weekly wages in order to convince him to forego a season in the UEFA Champions League and commit his long-term future to a club presently trending in the wrong direction.

Report: Frank De Boer accepts Crystal Palace job

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Frank de Boer is widely expected to be named new Crystal Palace manager this week, as he has reportedly accepted the job after having been offered the position this week.

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

The 47-year-old Dutchman has been out of work since he was fired by Inter Milan in November. He lasted just 84 days at the San Siro, where he managed to win just five of 14 games. Inter Milan is Inter Milan, though, and that’s something worth remembering when critiquing Palace’s impending appointment of De Boer.

Palace are also widely expected to back De Boer in the transfer market this summer, in a big way. Kelechi Iheanacho is the biggest name linked with a move to Selhurst Park, as the 20-year-old Nigerian striker is reportedly unwanted by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

5th-place San Jose parts ways with Kinnear after 2.5 seasons

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Dominic Kinnear is out after two and a half seasons as head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes, despite leading the club to a hugely improved standing 17 games into the 2017 season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The move comes 17 hours after San Jose put to bed a three-game winless skid with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday, a result which propelled them into fifth place in the Western Conference, just two points off second place. After seventh- and ninth-place finishes in Kinnear’s first two seasons back in Northern California (he managed the club in 2004 and 2005 before the club was relocated to Houston, where he would remain for nine seasons, through the 2014 season), this year’s team seemed to be moving in a positive direction quicker than most had previously expected.

[ MORE: Accam scores a backheel (video) | Opara scores a CB bicycle ]

The club has named Chris Leitch head coach and Alex Covelo as assistant coach. Current assistant coach Steve Ralston and goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley will remain in their current roles.

“First and foremost, we would like to thank Dominic for his hard work, professionalism and contributions to this club over the years,” Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a release. “He worked hard this year and was a first-class person all the way. This decision was made after a lot of thought and evaluation. We decided that we wanted to go in a different direction as we continue to build the identity of this club.”

Kinnear is the second MLS coach to be relieved of his duties this season, suffering the same fate as RSL’s Jeff Cassar, who lasted just three games before being fired in March.