Clint Dempsey

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MLS Snapshot: Sounders top depleted SKC to go top of West

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Seattle Sounders are the hottest team in MLS, unbeaten in their last eight games (five wins) following Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Western Conference-leading (no longer, as the Sounders go top) Sporting Kansas City.

The only team with an unbeaten run greater than Seattle’s seven games entering Saturday’s matchup, was Sporting KC (nine games — just three wins). Clint Dempsey scored the game’s only goal, heading home a cross from a suddenly in-form Jordan Morris (one goal, one assist from his last two games) in the 36th minute. Sporting were without a number of key players from the start of the game (Benny Feilhaber, Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Diego Rubio and Latif Blessing all started on the bench), as well as altogether (Ike Opara and Graham Zusi weren’t available at all) after playing 120 minutes and going to penalty kicks in their U.S. Open Cup semifinal victory on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Assessing the top moves of the MLS summer transfer ]

Three Two moments that mattered

36′ — Dempsey heads past Melia for 1-0 — Cristian Roldan was the best player in the middle of the field all game long, and Morris dominated the wings in a way he’s not done all that often this season. The former found the latter, who found Dempsey for the goal, his 50th in a Sounders shirt.

74′ — Musa fires low, but Frei makes the save — James Musa, making his MLS debut, got a hold of one from just outside the penalty area, but didn’t place it close enough to the bottom-right corner to beat Stefan Frei, and the big Swiss-turned-American goalkeeper made the save quite comfortably.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Jordan Morris

Goalscorers: Dempsey (36′)

How is 2017-18 looking for Americans in the Premier League?

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There are five players who have been involved with the full U.S. national team who will feature in the 2017-18 Premier League season.

[ MORE: 2017-18 PL season preview hub ] 

In a World Cup year we will all be keeping a very close eye on them.

Below we look at what lies ahead for each player and their club in the upcoming campaign as they aim to keep impressing Bruce Arena ahead of Russia 2018 (fingers crossed).


Geoff Cameron – Stoke City

The U.S. national team’s starting center back signed a new contract at Stoke City at the end of last season and is heading into his sixth campaign as a regular for the Potters. Each season he is inching closer to Clint Dempsey‘s record as the outfield American player with the most appearances in PL history. Cameron, 32, will likely start in central midfield for Stoke this season after a string of man of the match performances at the end of last season when he returned from a long-term knee injury. It’s a big year for the Massachusetts native who will be in the USMNT’s starting lineup at the World Cup in Russia next summer as long as he’s fit and, of course, the U.S. qualify. Composed on the ball and strong in the air and the tackle, Cameron adds a calming influence to Stoke’s midfield and his versatility (right back, center back or center mid) means he is a hugely valuable asset to Mark Hughes‘ side.

DeAndre Yedlin – Newcastle United

Yedlin, 24, will start the season on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury in a preseason friendly. The former Seattle Sounders star made 32 appearances and scored once for Newcastle in their title-winning season in England’s second-tier in 2016-17 and he’s now ready to return to the PL after having a taste whilst on loan at Sunderland in 2015-16. He may not be Rafael Benitez’s first-choice right back after the summer arrival of Javier Manquillo but Yedlin’s versatility mean he can be deployed as a winger, wing back or full back down the right. Once he’s fully-fit expect him to make plenty of appearances for the Magpies this season. His surging forward runs are dangerous and he needs a big season under his belt in a World Cup year.

Danny Williams – Huddersfield Town

A huge season for Williams, 28, at Reading last season saw him clinch a move to newly-promoted Huddersfield. With his Reading side losing to Huddersfield on penalty kicks in the playoff final at Wembley, Williams put in a superb all-action display in midfield and obviously impressed fellow German-American David Wagner enough for the Huddersfield boss to give him a contract. Williams was a free transfer (bargain alert!) and he will compete straight away for a starting spot for the Terriers. A relegation battle likely awaits but Williams will be hoping he will get regular minutes in the PL to impress Bruce Arena and work into his plans for the USMNT. With stunning goals against Brazil and the Netherlands for the U.S. he has shown what he can do in the past but hasn’t appeared for the Stars and Stripes since 2016. Williams has experience of playing in the Bundesliga but is yet to appear in the Premier League. After four years giving his all with Reading to try and gain promotion he has finally achieved his dream, but with Huddersfield.

Emerson Hyndman – Bournemouth

The former Fulham midfielder and U.S. U-20 captain spent last season on loan at Glasgow Rangers and excelled but an untimely injury during preseason means he has started life back at parent club Bournemouth with plenty of work to do. Hyndman, 21, is now at a crossroads in his career. He is contracted to Bournemouth for another three seasons but unless he breaks into Eddie Howe‘s squad consistently this season then he will likely be loaned elsewhere again. Jack Wilshere won’t be at Bournemouth this season so another midfield slot has opened up, but can Hyndman displace veterans Harry Arter, Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling, plus youngster Lewis Cook, for one of the central midfield roles? It will be a big ask for the Dallas native but his composure on the ball and ability to time his runs into the box will impress Howe.

Cameron Carter-Vickers – Tottenham Hotspur

It is hard to believe Carter-Vickers is still just 19 years old. He’s been around Spurs’ first team squad for the past two seasons and Mauricio Pochettino is known to be a huge fan of the U.S. national team youngster. Although he hasn’t made his full debut for the USMNT, Jurgen Klinsmann called him up to the squad after he impressed for the U.S. U-20’s. CCV has played in plenty of games for Spurs during preseason and continues to be given plenty of chances to develop with the English national team keeping a close eye on him with the defender born and raised in Essex to an American father. The young center back has Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld ahead of him in the pecking order at Spurs, but with Kevin Wimmer likely on the way out he will remain with Spurs’ first team this season. Any defensive injuries could see him make his PL debut after appearing in cup competitions last season.

MLS Snapshots: Fire break losing skid; Sounders extend unbeaten run

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Chicago Fire 4-1 New England Revolution

The game in 100 words (or less): The Chicago Fire have risen from from a very brief slump (back-to-back losses for just the second time all year, coming right on the heels of an 11-game unbeaten run), thanks to a comfortable 4-1 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday. Unlike Chicago, most MLS sides would struggle mightily when their top striker is not only kept off the scoresheets, but limited to just one shot on the night. That’s the extent to which the Revs managed to shut down Nemanja Nikolic, the league’s leading scorer (16 goals), but it wasn’t nearly enough, as Matt Polster, Juninho, Michael de Leeuw and Luis Solignac stepped up as less likely scorers (left back Patrick Doody assisted on three of the four) to run the Fire’s sterling home record to 10W-1D-0L on the season. The victory moves Veljko Paunovic’s side to within three points of Toronto FC, who drew last-place D.C. United on Saturday, in the Supporters’ Shield (and home-field advantage) race.

[ MORE: Sunday’s MLS schedule is chock-full of important matchups ]

Three moments that mattered

8′ — Polster puts a bit of bend on it for 1-0 — Who needs a left foot when you can do this with the outside of your right?

24′ — Alley-oop to Kamara, and it’s 1-1 — There’s (still) no one in MLS that can compete with Kei Kamara in the air, so Chicago decided they wouldn’t even try.

39′ — Juninho hits it low, through traffic for 2-1 — Bastian Schweinsteiger draws everyone’s attention, only to fool them with a clever dummy. Juninho keeps the strike low, but with power, and Cody Cropper couldn’t do anything about it.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Patrick Doody

Goalscorers: Polster (8′), Kamara (24′), Juninho (39′), De Leeuw (49′), Solignac (90+2′)


Minnesota United 0-4 Seattle Sounders

The game in 100 words (or less): Don’t look now, but the Seattle Sounders are unbeaten in seven games (four wins) following Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of expansion Minnesota United, and Brian Schmetzer’s side have climbed all the way up to third place in the Western Conference (even if only for the time being) as a result. Clint Dempsey had himself a night in this one, bagging a brace and an assist in 90 minutes of work. That’s five goals and two assists for Dempsey in his last four games, bringing his season tallies to nine and three. Perhaps more importantly, Jordan Morris scored his third goal of the season, and his first since April 23. More importantly of all, though, is the clean sheet, Seattle’s third straight game without giving up a goal (while scoring seven themselves).

[ MORE: Sunday’s MLS schedule is chock-full of important matchups ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Bruin leads, finishes the counter for 1-0 — Bruin and Demspey played the two-man game to perfection, and the latter fed the former through for an easy opener.

18′ — Dempsey heads it from a yard out for 2-0 — Gustav Svensson served it up, Chad Marshall sent it back across the face of goal, and Dempsey could have headed this one home with his eyes closed the entire way.

71′ — Morris gets in behind, makes it 3-0 — Nicolas Lodeiro timed his pass perfectly, just as Morris did his run. When the pass and the run sync up like this, you’re bound to hit pay dirt.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Clint Dempsey

Goalscorers: Bruin (9′), Dempsey (18′, 72′), Morris (71′)

Christian Pulisic to Liverpool links continue

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For well over 12 months Christian Pulisic has been linked with a move to Liverpool, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

[ MORE: Pulisic speaks to JPW ]

The U.S. national team star, still just 18 years old, signed a new long-term deal at German giants Borussia Dortmund over the summer but the Pennsylvania native has once again been linked with a transfer to Liverpool to join his former manager Jurgen Klopp.

A report in the Daily Mirror in the UK suggests that if Barcelona’s Neymar moves to PSG, Barca will then push through a move for Liverpool’s Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho. If that happens then per the report Pulisic would be Klopp’s top replacement.

Pro Soccer Talk understands that Klopp and Pulisic keep in regular contact after the latter moved from Hershey, PA as a 15-year-old to sign for Dortmund who were then managed by Klopp.

Last summer speculation was rife that Liverpool were pushing hard to sign Pulisic, but Klopp was coy when we asked him just before the transfer window slammed shut. And before you accuse Klopp of tapping up another player (fans of RB Leipzig and Southampton are likely nodding their heads), it is believed the pair have a very close relationship with the German coach influential in helping Pulisic and his father settle into life overseas in 2015 when he moved to Germany.

Since then a lot has changed for Pulisic.

He’s become the main attacking threat from midfield for the U.S. national team, plus a regular for Dortmund as they reached the UEFA Champions League last eight, won the German Cup and finished third in the Bundesliga.

The hype is very real around Pulisic and although the talented teenager continues to impress each and every time he steps on the pitch, fans of the USMNT are trying not to get ahead of themselves.

In truth, he’s the most exciting attacking talent the U.S. has had since Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey burst onto the scenes and he has the potential — seven goals in 16 appearances for the USMNT is not half bad — to surpass both of their stunning international careers.

When it comes to Pulisic’s club career, many would suggest that staying in the Bundesliga for another two to three years would be the best for his development and then he’d still only be 21 or 22 if he decided it was time to move on in 2020. The world is at his feet and if he continues his rapid ascension then plenty of big money offers will come in if he ever wants to leave Dortmund, which again is another big question mark given their status in Europe and beyond.

The main question, at least for me, around this reported Liverpool interest is simple: how much would Pulisic cost? A rough estimate of $35-40 million may even be on the low side, considering Dortmund would know that Liverpool has a huge transfer fee of over $115 million, or more, coming in for Coutinho.

Everything suggests Pulisic will remain at Dortmund for the foreseeable future given their annual ability to challenge for the Bundesliga title and qualify for the UCL each season.

Klopp is keeping a close eye on his former protege.

Although Pulisic’s diminutive stature may be an issue for some around this move, anybody who has watched his breathtaking ability on the ball, pace and sublime awareness to navigate his way around the pitch know that moving to the Premier League would be something he’d take time to adjust to but would surely master.

It still seems a little early for Pulisic to be heading to the PL, but there’s no doubt the top clubs in England will soon be chasing him if he improves on his breakout season at Dortmund in 2016-17.

As long as Klopp is in charge at Liverpool, it’s likely they’ll be at the front of the queue.

Extremely early, Gold Cup glee-driven thoughts on a USMNT World Cup roster

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The United States men’s national team won its sixth Gold Cup title on Wednesday, topping Jamaica 2-1 on a late winner from Jordan Morris.

It’s the sort of goal that moves a 22-year-old forward’s name from pencil to pen on a World Cup roster, one the Yanks will hopefully be planning following qualifying under Bruce Arena.

Morris is one of several players who took hold of their chances to march into Russia via fine performances as part of the USMNT’s “B Team” in the Gold Cup, along with Darlington Nagbe, Matt Besler, and maybe Paul Arriola (This assumes you hadn’t already counted Omar Gonzalez).

[ MORE: Recap | Altidore’s free kick | 3 things ]

It seems to us there are six spots in play right now. The forward batch of four is set and Ethan Horvath will probably join Tim Howard and Brad Guzan in the goalkeeper corps.

Five defenders look set and the same amount of midfielders (Besler, Brooks, Cameron, Gonzalez, Yedlin, Bedoya, Bradley, Johnson, Nagbe, Pulisic), leaving three defender and three midfielder spots. It looks set to come down to Kenny Saief or Kelyn Rowe in the midfield, and Tim Ream or Graham Zusi at the back.

So what’s the United States’ 23-man roster look like for Russia right now? Here’s our best guess (and we’re thinking as Arena, not us):

Goalkeepers (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Ethan Horvath

Defenders (8): Matt Besler, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timmy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, Jorge Villafana, DeAndre Yedlin, Graham Zusi.

Midfielders (8): Kellyn Acosta, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Sebastian Lletget, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Kelyn Rowe.

Forwards (4):  Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, Bobby Wood.

Bonus seven-man waiting list: Joe Corona, Dom Dwyer, Dax McCarty, Tim Ream, Kenny Saief, Danny Williams, Gyasi Zardes.