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Miazga’s manager at Vitesse fired

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Matt Miazga will have to impress a new manager in the final month of the season, as Vitesse announced on Wednesday it had fired coach Henk Fraser.

The club are in a rough patch of form, winless in its last four games including two crushing defeats, and one win in its last seven games. That one win, though, came against Ajax.

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Strangely, the dismissal of Fraser just moved up the timeline. Fraser had already announced he was leaving the club at the end of the season, with former Hull City manager Leonid Slutsky signing a two-year contract to begin on July 1.

But with the recent run of form, Vitesse dropped towards the edge of European qualification, with just a two-point gap in the seventh and final place for Europe. The teams who finish between fourth and seventh play each other in an end-of-season playoff to determine one winner for a spot in the UEFA Europa League.

What does this mean for Miazga? Well, for starters, he’s in his second year on loan in the Netherlands with a big, empty summer ahead. His parent club, Chelsea, could very well have a new manager, giving him the chance to impress and perhaps break into the first team.

But according to a report, Vitesse wants to bring Miazga back for yet another season, along with a couple of other Chelsea loanees.

At this point in his career, it’s crucial for Miazga to get regular minutes, but perhaps a loan to the Bundesliga or the English Championship would be more beneficial if Chelsea do actually see his future in blue, or if they’re just waiting for a bid to come in for the 22-year-old.

Young USMNT squad benefits from chemistry in Paraguay win

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CARY, NC — Plenty has been made about how young the USMNT squad is of late, with the team planning for the long-term after missing out on the 2018 World Cup. What’s not been talked about as much is the group’s prior experience together, and that shone through as the United States topped Paraguay 1-0 in Cary, NC on Tuesday.

The central defensive partnership between Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers looked polished and unfazed even under pressure, while the midfield trio of Wil Trapp, Marky Delgado, and Tyler Adams linked up well. There was a disconnect between the midfield and attack, but against the high-press of Paraguay, that wasn’t as detrimental as it may have been to a more possession-dominant style of play.

[ RECAP: USMNT tops Paraguay 1-0 in Cary, NC ]

“We really at the end of the day had five really hard training sessions,” head coach Dave Sarachan said after the game. “When you only have five days in bringing guys together, you try to make as much headway into making the group become cohesive and work together. Some of them have the advantage of having played before, but it’s like a crash course in communicating, and I thought the guys did an excellent job.”

In particular, the play of Trapp stood out, keeping the team’s shape and locking down the Paraguay attack led by dangerous Atlanta forward Miguel Almiron.

“He made sure that we were organized, he talked,” Sarachan said. “He communicated, he played out of pressure, he was able to pick his spots in terms of playing long and short, and I just thought overall with and without the ball he was really steady today.”

[ MORE: 3 things we learned in USMNT win over Paraguay ]

The players echoed their coach, admitting they believe things are progressing well. “That’s one of the things I try to bring to the team,” Trapp said. “A guy like Marky it’s his start, his first cap, Tyler who is growing in confidence every game it seems like whether it’s with the Red Bulls or the national team. So for me it’s easy to organize those guys and put them in a good position to win the game.”

“It’s always a process and you have to trust it as much as you can, and just continue every time you’re in camp to build chemistry and show it on the field.”

The back line also linked up well and defended with both force and precision. There were no communication breakdowns, and the only big chance Paraguay had off a defensive turnover was when goalkeeper Zack Steffen looked to play out of the back under pressure.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USMNT win over Paraguay ]

“Outstanding,” coach Sarachan said of the defensive partnership. “Carter-Vickers didn’t put a foot wrong, and neither did Matt in my opinion. Obviously they know one another. I thought they played with confidence, played with physicality…just a pairing that looked like they’d been there before for a young two-some.”

It wasn’t exactly pretty, and it never is with the United States, especially against North and South American opposition. But the spark was there, with players who had some prior experience together.

So what does this mean for the long-term health of the team? There’s plenty of hurdles to clear, but for the young guns who may contribute down the road, the bright lights certainly didn’t phase them. Wil Trapp looks like to have the potential to take over for Michael Bradley in midfield, and he may even fit the holding role better than his predecessor. A lockdown defensive partnership is something that the United States has missed, and more importantly one that plays together on a consistent basis. All of these things are just speculative at this point, but seeing the proof in the pudding is about as much as anyone can ask at this point in the process.

USMNT tops Paraguay, hands debuts to Weah, 2 others

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Over-exuberant? Sure, but the young United States men’s national team who dispatched with Paraguay 1-0 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, North Carolina provided passion in spades for an American fan base begging for life from their USMNT.

Bobby Wood converted a penalty kick for his 11th international goal to give Dave Sarachan his first win in three tries (two draws) as interim boss of the squad.

[ MORE: 3 things | Player ratings ]

Dave Sarachan capped only three of his five uncapped players, handing a start to Marky Delgado and substitute appearances to Andriya Novakovich and Tim Weah.

The USMNT does not have another match scheduled until a May 28 visit from Bolivia in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Jorge Villafana was an unabashed bright spot in the first quarter hour, and Wil Trapp found him with a tremendous through ball to cue up a blocked Kenny Saief chance.

Zack Steffen had to deal with a risky back pass and a fairly routine header off a free kick as the first half hour wasn’t a busy one.

The Yanks won a penalty kick attempt when Marky Delgado sprung Tyler Adams on goal, who hit the floor after trying to dribble around Gatito Fernandez.

Wood’s slow run-up ended with calm low finish and the Yanks led 1-0 heading into the break.

Paraguay improved in the second half, but the Americans remained the more dangerous side and with most of the possession.

The match had its chippy moments, with Matt Miazga coming to the aid of Delgado and Yedlin picking up a yellow card after being jostled on the sideline.

Cameron Carter-Vickers gave away a dangerous free kick for what should’ve been seen as a routine shoulder barge, but the wall blocked Paraguay’s shot.

Substitute Rubio Rubin showed great cutback and vision with his 89th minute set-up of Weah for what became a dangerous free kick. Darlington Nagbe couldn’t get his 23-yard effort to dip under the bar.

Weah did well on debut, winning a dangerous free kick and then stealing another ball to set up Novakovich for what could’ve been a goal on debut.

USMNT Player Ratings from a 1-0 win over Paraguay

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The United States’ young XI showed plenty of inspired work in a 1-0 win over Paraguay on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Recap | 3 things ]

Here’s how Dave Sarachan’s men fared in Cary, North Carolina.

Starting XI

Zack Steffen — 7 — The breakout star of last season’s late MLS run, Columbus’ backstop has not lost anything since returning from Europe.

DeAndre Yedlin — 6 — Showed spunk in collecting his 50th cap.

Matt Miazga — 7 — Combined well with CCV to do what U.S. center back pairs should almost always do well against equal or lesser competition: win most balls in the air.

Cameron Carter-Vickers — 7 — We haven’t seen much of the Spurs prospect thanks to loans to Sheffield United and Ipswich Town, but he looked composed for a player who won’t turn 21 until New Year’s Eve.

Jorge Villafana — 6 — Very active and promising in the first 15 minutes, but otherwise simply solid. Part of a unit that limited Almiron.

Wil Trapp — 8 — Steady and calm in a performance that delivered on his promise as Columbus’ holding midfielder extraordinaire.

Darlington Nagbe (Off 90+1′) — 6 — One really creative run down the left wing but nothing special on the day. Average stuff.

Marky Delgado (Off 86′) — 7 — Delightful would-be assist on the Adams-won penalty, and it’s easy to forget he’s only 22 since he debuted at 17 for Chivas USA. Composed, and a coup for Toronto FC.

Tyler Adams — 8 — A Man of the Match caliber performance from the New York Red Bulls midfielder, Adams won a penalty kick and was ever-present. One of those “Did he leave the screen?” performances.

Kenny Saief (Off 67′) — 6 — Had some very dangerous moments on the left and it’s hard to imagine the Anderlecht man doesn’t have a future playing serious matches for the U.S.

Bobby Wood (Off 77′) — 7 — Ran his proverbial socks off, and coolly converted his penalty. Missed on what should’ve been a goal from the run of play before petering out from a lack of game action.

Substitutes

Rubio Rubin (On 67′) — 7 — Great cutback in vision during his 89th minute set-up of Weah for what became a dangerous free kick.

Andriya Novakovich (On 77′) — The Belgian-based striker is one of the Yanks’ most promising center forwards, and nearly found his way onto the score sheet on debut.

Tim Weah (On 86′) — 7 — Usually wouldn’t get a rating for eight minutes of work, but you know you want one. Plus he kinda deserves one: Won a dangerous free kick and stole a ball that nearly set Novakovich up for a goal on debut.

Cristian Roldan (On 90+1′) — N/A

Key newcomers for USMNT friendly

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While the excitement potential is high amongst big club USMNT call-ups like PSG’s Tim Weah and Everton’s Antonee Robinson, there are several other relative newcomers who are facing a more acute focus.

So yes, of course, we’re most excited to see the young guns fire away, but a few others will be under the microscope for different reasons.

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Paraguay is leaving some big names behind — Dario Lezcano, Jesus Medina, Edgar Benítez — but won’t be using as “B” or “C” of a squad as the USMNT. Key defenders Junior Alonso (Lille) and Gustavo Gomez (AC Milan) will be staring down the U.S. attack, while Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron will try his luck against the Yanks’ backs.

  1. The goalkeepers — With full respect to Bill Hamid and his five caps, the trio of backstops who could play against Paraguay are unknown entities on the senior international level. There are reasons to be excited about Alex Bono (Toronto FC) and Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew) going against Los Guaraníes — and Hamid, too — and standing behind a young and untested group of center backs should give plenty of chances to make a name for whoever is chosen (If Sarachan is more “woke” this go-round, it’ll be multiple keepers).
  2. Andriya Novakovich — The Telstar striker is checking all the boxes: 6-foot-4, productive on the youth level, and now succeeding overseas. The 21-year-old has 17 goals on loan from Reading in the Dutch second tier. While that’s far from a “Woah” figure considering the top-tier in the Netherlands isn’t exactly a defensive hot bed, it’s intriguing for Tuesday in North Carolina.
  3. Rubio Rubin — We’re hopeful Sarachan goes with a 4-4-2, which would allow both Rubin and Novakovich to get runs next to Bobby Wood. Rubin is seeing some time at Liga MX side Club Tijuana after his European adventure stalled following a hot start for Utrecht. He had an assist in CONCACAF Champions League play against Red Bulls this month.
  4. Tyler Adams — Speaking of that match, the Red Bulls got a goal from Adams. It’s fair to say he’s got the chance to be as special a player as Schalke youngster Weston McKennie (and would apparently like to join his USMNT teammate overseas). Adams and McKennie together could legit be an engine room for years. Will that begin on Tuesday?
  5. Cameron Carter-Vickers — The 20-year-old center back has shown resilience in England. His hot start to life at Sheffield United, on loan from Tottenham, cooled enough to have him sent back to North London, but Carter-Vickers has rebounded to become a key part of Ipswich Town’s back line. With 22-year-old Matt Miazga the only clear center back on the roster and older than him, CCV can quiet a lot of doubters.
  6. Kenny Saief — This guy has excited at nearly every turn since bursting onto the scene with Gent via the Israeli national team, and an injury cost him some momentum with the USMNT. Now healthy and on loan with Anderlecht, the same side which refined the fire of Sacha Kljestan, the once-capped Florida-born man is as intriguing as ever.