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USMNT’s Danny Williams out injured for Huddersfield

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Potentially bad news has arrived  for Danny Williams as the U.S. national team midfielder has suffered an injury at the worst possible time.

[ MORE: JPW sits down with Williams ]

Williams, 28, has suffered a “small fracture” to a bone in his foot and will not play for Huddersfield at Burnley on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).

UPDATE: Pro Soccer Talk understands Williams’ injury will keep him out of action for about 2-3 weeks.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the trip to Turf Moor, Wagner gave some more information on Williams’ injury.

“Danny Williams has a small fracture in a bone in his foot. We have specialists appointment tomorrow[Friday] where we will get some information on how long he will be out,” Wagner said. “At the moment it is totally open because it is a very, very small fracture. So we will see. For sure he is out for Saturday.”

So, it doesn’t seem like a long-term injury but after Williams battled to start his first-ever start in the Premier League against Leicester City last week in a 1-1 draw, this knock has come at a very frustrating time for the German-American midfielder as he established himself at his new club.

Williams has battled hard to get into Huddersfield’s starting lineup after his free transfer from Reading over the summer.

Some USMNT fans were also calling for Williams to get a recall from Bruce Arena ahead of the U.S. national teams crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago next month.

The combative midfielder now faces an anxious wait about the severity of his injury.

Huddersfield 1-1 Leicester: Terriers, Foxes scrap for a point

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  • Depoitre scores first PL goal
  • Vardy has 4 goals in PL so far
  • Leicester 1 win in last 8 PL games
  • Huddersfield: 1 home win in last 5

Huddersfield Town and Leicester City played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday with Laurent Depoitre and Jamie Vardy grabbing a goal each.

The Terriers took the lead through Lepoitre’s first Premier League goal but Vardy equalized from the penalty spot soon after and the England international somehow missed a glorious opportunity to give Leicester the lead from less than three yards out.

Elias Kachinga also had a goal controversially disallowed for Huddersfield as the offside flag went up.

The point moves Huddersfield onto eight for the season, while Leicester have four points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

Huddersfield started well with plenty of pressure as Leicester struggled to get out of their own half.

USMNT midfielder Danny Williams curled an effort wide after a flowing move from Huddersfield as the German-American impressed on his first start in the Premier League.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Terriers dominated Leicester for most of the opening 45 minutes but the Foxes did have a couple of chances before the break as Aaron Mooy blocked well from Kelechi Iheanacho‘s shot.

Jamie Vardy then went close but his shot went wide as the England forward looked to continue his fine form.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

A frantic start to the second half saw Huddersfield taking the lead with Depoitre turning Harry Maguire, racing clear and finishing across goal to make it 1-0.

Leicester responded well to going behin Iheanacho was then set free by Riyad Mahrez but made a mess of his finish, however soon after Leicester were level.

Andy King was taken down in the box by Chris Lowe and there were no complaints as Vardy slammed home the spot kick. 1-1.

Huddersfield almost retook the lead immediately with Mathias Jorgensen‘s shot tipped over the bar by Kasper Schmeichel.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Tom Ince created a great opening and Kachunga finished for what Huddersfield thought was the winner but the offside flag was raised controversially to deny the Terriers victory as Williams went close again late on.

There was still time for Shinji Okazaki and Mahrez to combine to set up a glorious chance for Leicester but Vardy somehow missed from three yards out and Ince then bent an effort inches wide as both teams pushed for the winner.

Leicester felt they could have had a penalty kick the death as Demarai Gray went down under Jorgensen’s challenge but Jon Moss waved away the calls and it ended even in Yorkshire.

PL AT HALF: Man City running riot, Newcastle leads Stoke (video)

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Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League midweek match hasn’t bothered it at all on Saturday.

[ LIVE: Stream Premier League live ]

Pep Guardiola‘s men are rolling in one of five Premier League 10 a.m. ET starts following Southampton’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.


Watford 0-3 Manchester City — STREAM

Kevin De Bruyne to Sergio Aguero. 1-0.

David Silva to Sergio Aguero. 2-0.

Sergio Aguero to Gabriel Jesus. 3-0.

Which side played at midweek and who’s on the road?

Liverpool 1-1 BurnleySTREAM

Chris Wood‘s tiny flick helped Scott Arfield put the Clarets in front, but Mohamed Salah leveled the score within three minutes at Anfield.

Huddersfield Town 0-0 Leicester CitySTREAM

USMNT midfielder Danny Williams looks decent in his first Premier League start, hitting a shot wide from 25 yards as Town looks to break down City.

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 West Ham UnitedSTREAM

Gareth Barry makes Premier League history at the Hawthorns.

Newcastle United 1-0 Stoke CitySTREAM

Christian Atsu‘s first Premier League goal has come from Matt Ritchie service, and USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin has looked good for the Magpies in his first start since an August leg injury.

 

Who’s in form and healthy three weeks out from huge USMNT games?

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We’re a little over three weeks away from the United States’ most important World Cup qualifying games in some time.

Consider the matches versus Panama and away to Trinidad and Tobago on our minds, so expect more than a few posts as we build up to the Oct. 6 and 10 matches.

[ MORE: JPW talks with Pulisic post-UCL loss ]

In the meantime, injuries continue to pile up. Starting center back John Brooks had already been injured, and backup striker Jordan Morris is also out. Geoff Cameron may be healing quicker than expected, which is good news.

U.S. manager Bruce Arena has maintained that he wants to use players who’ve been a part of the team in qualifying and the Gold Cup, and he’s the sort of defiant character who is likely to stick with that philosophy.

But his center backs, aside from Matt Besler, really let him down in the Yanks’ one-point international break, and Morris’ injury opens the door to someone to join Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, and Bobby Wood in the strike corps (Chris Wondolowski was also called up earlier this month).

Let’s humor ourselves in spite of Arena’s stated plans, and take a look at Americans in form or back to health, here and abroad:

  • Right-sided man DeAndre Yedlin is back from his hamstring injury and made the 18 for Newcastle last week.
  • Matt Miazga has returned to Vitesse’s Starting XI, and led the back line to its first clean sheet of the season on Saturday.
  • Timmy Chandler has played every minute for Eintracht Frankfurt at right midfield/wingback during the club’s 1-1-1 start to the Bundesliga season, and scored in Cup play.
  • Lee Nguyen is back for New England, and WhoScored rates him as one of only two Americans in MLS’ Top Ten players this season. He has nine goals and eight assists.
  • The leading American scorers in MLS this season? It’s a tie between obviously call-up Altidore and inconsistent but powerful CJ Sapong with 13 a piece. Next is Wondolowski, Dempsey, and Christian Ramirez with 11 each.
  • Not angling for a call-up with this one, but while we’re here spare some positive thoughts for Julian Green. The 22-year-old World Cup goal scorer finally got a start for 2.Bundesliga side Greuther Furth, who broke a four-match losing streak with a 1-1 draw. Green went 90 minutes at left mid.
  • Terrence Boyd has subbed into every 2.Bundesliga match for Darmstadt, nabbing one assist. Lynden Gooch has also been a regular sub in Sunderland’s midfield.

So what’s an early guess at the 23 men Arena will call up next month? Again, this isn’t our 23, just an “Arena’s mind” prediction.

Goalkeepers

Unless Arena has a sudden change of heart and opts for Club Brugge’s Ethan Horvath and DC United’s Bill Hamid (or LA Galaxy man Brian Rowe because, well, LA Galaxy), it’ll be the same trio: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando.

Defenders

Nothing’s certain after Geoff Cameron, though educated guesses say Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Omar Gonzalez, and Jorge Villafana are coming, too. Eric Lichaj didn’t get into either qualifier, but could still be in the mix. Was Arena turned off by Tim Ream or DaMarcus Beasley? More importantly, does he see anyone else who’s a clear improvement (Again, does he see them)? Completing our eight will be Chandler and Yedlin.

Midfielders

Arena called up eight earlier this month, and it seems likely he won’t change much from Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, and Christian Pulisic. Wild card looks to Danny Williams (if he can get some Huddersfield PT), Lee Nguyen, Cristian Roldan, or Kelyn Rowe.

Let’s face it: It wouldn’t be completely out of left field for Arena to ditch Johnson for one bad performance, and Rowe could get a chance to build on his Gold Cup. But if there’s a change, it’ll be Jermaine Jones for one last hurrah. That would likely come at the expense of McCarty.

Forwards

Jozy Altidore is due for a big, big performance having taken a terrible yellow card to miss the Honduras draw. Bobby Wood will be there, too, and maybe we’ll see them together. Clint Dempsey makes it three, which leaves a spot for… Wondolowski like last time? Old pal Gyasi Zardes? Sapong?

Is 3 the answer? Formation options for USMNT in key October battles

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The United States men’s national team controls its own destiny when it comes to World Cup qualifying, a fact that has been in its corner since the beginning of the Hex and even its 0-2 start.

Matches remain at home against Panama, the team currently occupying the final automatic spot in Russia, and on the road against Trinidad and Tobago. The Yanks drew Panama on the road and waxed T&T at home, but that was before this week’s setbacks put the U.S. under World Cup qualifying pressure it hasn’t faced in years.

[ MORE: USMNT’s World Cup scenarios ]

Even worse? A draw against stingy Panama, which has only allowed five goals in eight Hex matches, would leave the Yanks requiring a win and help in order to slide into third.

The United States has picked up just two points from its five matches against the teams ahead of it on the table, a home draw with Panama and a road point at Mexico. The Yanks have also kept just two clean sheets, and those came in 6-0 and 2-0 home wins over Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago.

The biggest problem, by far, is defense. Whether set pieces, counterattacking, or even the run of play, the U.S. has allowed 11 goals in the Hex. And clean sheets against Panama have been hard to come by, with 1-1 draws in the last four competitive matches between the two.

So is the answer three at the back?

It’s a small sample size, but the U.S. looked bright in recent matches against Mexico and late in the Honduras draw when it moved to three defenders at the back. Arena used Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Geoff Cameron in the 1-1 draw at Mexico, flanking them with DaMarcus Beasley and DeAndre Yedlin. Against Honduras, there was Cameron, Gonzalez, and Matt Besler in the middle.

[ USMNT: Recap | Player ratings | 3 things ]

A 3-5-2 or even a 3-6-1 with Jozy Altidore or Bobby Wood up top would give the Yanks a plethora of midfielders, a position which has been lonely if not awful over the last two qualifiers (Alejandro Bedoya, Danny Williams, or even — gasping while ducking — Jermaine Jones would be welcome respites from the soft play of the middle section).

John Brooks’ thigh injury will keep him out of October’s qualifiers, but Yedlin should return to return Graham Zusi to backup status. Timmy Chandler continues to perform very well for Eintracht Frankfurt, but Arena has said he doesn’t want to call up players who haven’t been involved with the team. That’s problematic because he’s the one who hasn’t taken a look at the right-sided Bundesliga player, who’s had struggles in the U.S. shirt but played the third-most minutes for a mid-table German side (Might wanna look, Bruce).

Also, I believe that Arena should be forced to watch Zusi and Gonzalez on Honduras’ goal every morning when his alarm goes off and then during the final two hours before he announces his lineups for Panama and T&T.

Alas, that’s digression.

Arena loves the 4-4-2, so it seems likely three at the back remains a break glass in case of emergency tactic. But humoring the idea, would you rather have Fabian Johnson at left back — if we see Jorge Villafana again, oh my — left mid, or left wing back? To me that’s the question.

Here’s a 3-5-2:

Wood — Altidore

Johnson — Pulisic — Bradley — Bedoya — Yedlin

Besler — Cameron — Ream

Howard

And a 4-4-2:

Wood — Altidore

Pulisic
Nagbe — Arriola
Bradley

Johnson — Besler — Cameron — Yedlin

Howard

And, for fun, a 4-4-2 if Arena breaks from his routine of only using guys who’ve been in his call-ups:

Wood — Altidore

Pulisic
Chandler — Arriola
Bradley

Johnson — Besler — Cameron — Yedlin

Howard