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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.

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.

 

How’s Matt Miazga doing in the Netherlands? Well, he scored this weekend

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Chelsea loanee and USMNT center back Matt Miazga scooped up his second Eredivisie goal on Friday as Vitesse beat Groningen 1-0.

[ MORE: Ronaldo at 33 ]

Miazga, 22, has gone 90 minutes all but once since rejoining the starting lineup on Sept. 9 in his second loan stint with the club.

So how’s he doing in his bid to pull an Andreas Christensen and put himself on Chelsea’s radar?

Miazga is sixth in minutes for his club despite only playing 60 minutes across his first three matches in easing his way back into Eredivisie life.

His tackle numbers are surprisingly low — .7 per game, good for 16th on Vitesse — but he’s the right side of a dynamite CB partnership as with team captain and Georgian veteran Guram Kashia.

They are first and second on the team in clearances, offsides drawn, and blocks, while Miazga has a stingy .3 times dribbled past per match (WhoScored.com). Miazga’s 5.5 clearances are 15th most in the league, and his .9 blocks sit tied for sixth.

Vitesse is sixth in Eredivisie, in a five or six team mess of teams competing for a spot in the Dutch top flight’s European competition playoffs.

WATCH: Miazga scores for Vitesse; What’s next for the American CB?

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Vitesse is again contending for a place in Europe, and an American has been a decent part of the campaign.

On-loan Chelsea back Miazga, 22, has played in 13 matches for the Dutch set, which sits sixth in the Eredivisie.

[ MORE: Man City sets points record ]

He also scored his first league goal this weekend, nodding home from a corner kick. This on the heels of a strong performance against Lazio in the Europa League. Vitesse picked up a 1-1 draw, with Miazga playing every minute.

The ex-New York Red Bulls man is growing into his skill set in an attack-first league, so it makes sense he’s adding to the offense.

Miazga is completing almost 84 percent of his passes, and is averaging 3.1 aerial duels won per match. He leads his team in clearances (5.5/game), and drawn offside (.5).

Getting anywhere near the Chelsea team is a challenge, even if Miazga got a look or two after his January 2016 transfer.

Miazga is a year older than Danish CB Andreas Christensen, who got two Borussia Monchengladbach loans before growing into a role with the Blues. And 23-year-old Kurt Zouma is having a good year at Stoke.

The American could do worse than refining his game in the offense-first culture of the Netherlands, and perhaps it would serve him to become a permanent part of their set-up. He’s done enough overseas to become a person of interest for other top tier clubs.

At this point, the move looks a success.