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USMNT-Trinidad and Tobago: Don’t screw it up

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Win Thursday and finish this international break in at least the inter-confederation playoff spot.

That’s what’s at stake for the United States men’s national team heading into Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago in Colorado.

Sure, the Yanks could go down to Azteca and win against a Mexico team as difficult to figure out as them, but Thursday’s three points should be a sure-fire and wonderful thing.

[ MORE: How will Arena line ’em up? ]

That’s not to say Bruce Arena’s men are going to get the job done. They are, Christian Pulisic’s growth and Geoff Cameron‘s health aside, the exact same flawed bunch that saw Jurgen Klinsmann fired after underperforming late last year.

This is a group that only drew Venezuela 1-1 on Saturday night in Utah, allowing a goal off another set piece to a team that entered the match on a 2W-2D-6L kick.

But it’s also a group playing a Trinidad and Tobago team that just doesn’t win here in meaningful games. Say what you will about MLS standouts Kenwyne Jones and Kevin Molino, but they are just that and facing a strong enough U.S. side in the high altitude of Commerce City. The Soca Warriors lost their last away WCQ 3-1 to Honduras, the same Honduras side that fell 6-0 to the U.S. last international break.

This should absolutely, positively, be a comfortable win. Frankly, it’s the sort of match-up that makes Jozy Altidore one of the scariest men in CONCACAF, whether paired with Clint Dempsey, Bobby Wood, or a tiny toy dog. Altidore scored twice when the Yanks waxed T&T in September, and has five in five career appearances against the Soca Warriors.

So, yeah, like the headline says: Don’t screw this up, fellas. Don’t overlook T&T but also be sure to enter the match with the swagger of a heavy favorite. The bettors say the Yanks are more of a lock (1:9) to beat T&T then Mexico is to beat visiting Honduras and Costa Rica is to handle Panama.

Simply put, if Arena spent the last few days firming up his defending on corner kicks, and if Geoff Cameron’s center back mate doesn’t turn into a turnstile, the Yanks win this easy and we turn our attention to Mexico.

Adidas reveals away kits for Mexico, Argentina, 7 other World Cup squads

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Fans of El Tri, La Albiceleste, Die Mannschaft and more can now get their hands on another set of 2018 World Cup jerseys.

Adidas unveiled the latest designs for the away kits of nine World Cup squads, including Mexico, Argentina and the defending champions Germany, with some of the team’s star players modeling the kits. Carlos Vela, Lionel Messi and Toni Kroos are all pictured in Adidas’ photo shoots with the new kits, and the uniforms are inspired by the kits worn at previous World Cups.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sweden, Colombia, Japan, Belgium and the host nation Russia are also included.

“For adidas, the World Cup has always been the stage to showcase some of our most iconic products, innovations and designs,” Juergen Rank, Senior Design Director said in a statement. “Many of these classic designs remain hugely popular with fans, and we want to continue to celebrate them while introducing new innovations, combining authenticity with progression.

“The new official World Cup away kits feature both the latest product technologies to ensure peak performance on the pitch and easily identifiable classic looks, making them perfectly suited to both the stadium and the street.”

Check out the latest kit release from Adidas below.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.