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Premier League players to watch in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup

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For Premier League fans, watching the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup might seem a bit like sitting through a high school production of West Side Story. While it’s clearly important to the participants and you might even recognize a few of the stars, only a handful of players are going to do anything on a bigger stage.

Yes, many of the countries in this year’s tournament have sent “B-Teams” to give their European-based stars a rest. And sure, two of the teams, Martinique and French Guiana, aren’t actually members of FIFA. But if you can look past that, the Gold Cup is more exciting than competitive soccer in July has any right to be.

There will be plenty of talented players looking to make a name for themselves with the World Cup less than a year away – seriously, this is your last chance to be the guy who knew about Kellyn Acosta before it was cool – but the Gold Cup also has something to offer Premier League fans. 

Here are three names to keep an eye on at CONCACAF’s big dance. 

Joel Campbell – Costa Rica (Arsenal)

It’s hard to believe Campbell is already six years into his time with Arsenal, having made just 23 Premier League appearances for the Gunners since joining the club in 2011.

During that time, he’s scored against Uruguay in the World Cup, Manchester United in the Champion’s League and the MLS All-Stars in…the MLS All-Star Game, without doing much to raise his stock in North London.

For Campbell, the Gold Cup should serve as something of an audition. With one year left on his Arsenal deal, he’s already been linked to several big clubs throughout Europe, including Olympiakos and Galatasaray. An impressive performance for Los Ticos could help Campbell raise a few more eyebrows abroad and give Arsenal a chance to increase its asking price for the 25-year-old forward.

Matt Miazga – USA (Chelsea)

This is basically cheating, since Miazga didn’t play a game for Chelsea during their run to the Premier League title in 2017. But the young American enjoyed a successful loan spell with Dutch club Vitesse last year and should factor for Chelsea during a preseason that could determine his future at Stamford Bridge.

Before he tries to impress Antonio Conte, Miazga will hope to win over Bruce Arena during his first call-up to the United States men’s national team in over a year. He’s one of the least experienced defenders on the Gold Cup roster, but some less-than-intimidating group stage opponents should give Miazga an opportunity to make his case for a trip to Russia in 2018.

Keep an eye on his relationship with some of the veteran center backs on this roster. If Miazga can thrive alongside Omar Gonzalez or Matt Besler, it might be tempting for Arena to use his aerial ability and considerable motor in bigger games down the road.

Scott Arfield – Canada (Burnley)

When Scott Arfield takes the field for Canada in the 2017 Gold Cup, it will be the culmination to one of international soccer’s strangest journeys.

The Clarets midfielder made 17 appearances for the Scottish U-21s (he was born just outside of Edinburgh) before waiting for a call to the senior team that never arrived.

So, he took advantage of a Canadian father to make his one-time international switch and delivered Canada – a team that hasn’t escaped the Gold Cup group stage since 2009 – one of the most experienced Premier League players in the whole tournament.

Arfield’s versatility will certainly be welcome on a Canadian side looking to bring talented youngsters like Cyle Larin and Alphonso Davies into the fold this summer. It might even be enough to escape from a group with Costa Rica and Honduras as favorites.

Wagner on shock upset: “Small Huddersfield have beaten Man Utd”

Nigel French/PA via AP
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While Jose Mourinho was lamenting his team’s poor performance at the John Smith’s Stadium, his counterpart was thrilled with the latest step in its amazing journey.

Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner, the ex-USMNT player, watched his team top Manchester United 2-1 on Saturday for its first win over the Red Devils in 65 years.

[ MORE: Recap | Mourinho reacts ]

As proud as he’s ever been, the Town manager spoke after the win. From the BBC:

“If this is our moment, we have to grab it, which is what the players did. Small Huddersfield have beaten Man Utd and it one of the proudest moments in my managerial career.

“It’s another chapter in the fairytale we started nearly two years ago. It has shown everything is possible in football.”

The win probably felt extra nice for goal scorer Aaron Mooy, who rose to prominence on loan from Man City.

Liverpool’s Brewster sends U.S. out of U-17 World Cup

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The attempts were nearly even. The finishing was anything but.

The United States fell 4-1 to England on Saturday at the U-17 World Cup quarterfinals in India.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to 1st loss ]

Captain Josh Sargent scored the lone United States goal at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, pulling the Baby Yanks within two goals before Liverpool man Rhian Brewster completed his hat trick with a stoppage time penalty.

Here’s Sargent’s goal:

Morgan Gibbs-White of Wolverhampton scored England’s other goal.

Ajax defender Sergio Dest took a red card in that added time, ensuing the U.S. would finish its World Cup with 10 men.

The U.S. took 20 of the matches 39 shot attempts, but England put 12 on target compared to the Americans’ four.

Mourinho: “We deserved the punishment of defeat”

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We haven’t heard a lot of scornful Jose Mourinho this season, and that changed Saturday.

Manchester United could not recover from a lackluster first half at the John Smith’s Stadium, only getting a Marcus Rashford goal in a failed comeback bid and 2-1 loss to Huddersfield Town.

[ RECAP: Town 2-1 Man Utd ]

It was the first time United has lost this season, and it’s first loss to Town since 1952. To say Mourinho was displeased would be an understatement, as United dipped five points behind leaders Man City.

“I was surprised by our performance, I was not expecting that. The team that started with emotion, aggression, intensity and desire, the team that played the game of their lives was the team that won,” Mourinho said. “Maybe in the second half we wanted it a little more and maybe we could get a draw, but I honestly think we deserved the punishment of the defeat.”

After first saying he wanted to evaluate the players, and shy away from criticizing them in the media, Mourinho had a nugget to share which really bothered him. From the BBC:

“I heard Ander Herrera in the flash interviews said the attitude and desire was poor, oh my God. When a player thinks that then I think all players should go to the press conference and explain why because I can’t explain.”

The man was seething, and United was honestly second best on the day. That must drive Mourinho nuts, as Aaron Mooy and Co. drove hard all day and United looked like a team expecting an easy win.

Newcastle United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Magpies leave it late

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  • No shots on target for Palace
  • Out attempts NUFC
  • Merino nabs winner off corner

Mikel Merino scored his first goal since 2015, leading Newcastle United to another win.

The Magpies have lost just once since dropping their first two matches of the season, and now sit sixth after a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Stoke and West Ham losses keep Palace five points shy of safety, their three points coming last week versus Chelsea.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

There was pace but sloppiness to the opening 20 minutes, with a card handed out to Florian Lejeune for a step on the heel of ex-Newcastle star Andros Townsend.

Rob Elliot rescued a ball through the six as Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp combined in the 24th minute.

Matt Ritchie earned the Magpies a corner kick with a shot partially blocked by Mamadou Sakho.

Ex-Magpie midfielder Yohan Cabaye looked to have given his former team a man advantage with a scissor tackle on DeAndre Yedlin, but there was only a yellow to be found.

Christian Atsu dizzied Joel Ward to tempt the net, but fired his shot off the outside of the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

A very haphazard second half for Newcastle allowed Palace to adventure a bit, and Andros Townsend very nearly scored with a left-footed shot in the 65th minute.

Mohamed Diame subbed into the game and made room to zip a shot that Julian Speroni dove to catch. It was the first shot on target of the match.

Then Shelvey forced Speroni into a parried save in the 74th minute.

Newcastle kept piling on the pressure, but it was Patrick Van Aanholt who couldn’t get on the end of sub Ruben Loftus-Cheek‘s invitation to the back post.

That’s when the 21-year-old Merino, recently made permanent from Borussia Dortmund, out-leapt James MacArthur to nod Matt Ritchie’s corner kick beyond Speroni. 1-0, 86′.