Miguel Ibarra

Photo credit: Minnesota United / @MNUFC

MLS Snapshot: FCD’s winless skid hits 10 in loss to MNUFC

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The game in 100 words (or less): Just when FC Dallas think they’ve hit rock-bottom, the fall a little bit farther. Oscar Pareja’s side saw its winless skid hit 10 games on Saturday, with a 4-1 loss away to Minnesota United, a side themselves with all of three wins from their last dozen games. Gone now are the games in hand that buoyed FCD’s hopes just a few weeks ago, as they’re now level on games played with many of the sides presently ahead of them in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot, save for Real Salt Lake (level on points) and the San Jose Earthquakes (one point ahead). Following their sixth loss in 10 games, FCD remain eighth in the West, a point behind the Houston Dynamo for the sixth and final playoff place (RSL play later on Saturday with a chance to go fifth themselves. Minnesota, meanwhile, distance themselves from the 10th-place LA Galaxy and sit just six points behind FCD, having rebounded nicely after an appalling start to their expansion season.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — ATL host MTL; RSL desperate vs. SEA ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

14′ — Akindele arrives late, slams home for 1-0 — Tesho Akindele waltzed through the penalty area, unnoticed and unmarked, before arriving at the top of the six-yard box just in time to meet Michael Barrios’ cross.

24′ — Ramirez finishes after a beautiful through ball sets him up — Kevin Molino picked the right pass, and played it perfectly (with a bit of help from Walker Zimmerman), and Christian Ramirez made no mistake with the finish.

35′ — Ibarra volleys past Gonzalez to make it 2-1 — Ramirez turned provider on Minnesota’s second goal, lofting the ball into the penalty area for Miguel Ibarra, whose first-time take beat Jesse Gonzalez to put the home side ahead.

68′ — Shuttleworth denies Diaz from the spot — Two games, two saves from the penalty spot for Bobby Shuttleworth.

71′ — Finlay finishes some fancy build-up for 3-1 — Heartbreak on one end of the field, heartbreak on the other end of the field. Anything and everything that could go wrong for FCD, continues to go wrong for FCD.

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

Man of the match: Christian Ramirez

Goalscorers: Akindele (14′), Ramirez (24′), Ibarra (35′), Finlay (71′), Danladi (88′)

WATCH LIVE: Club Leon vs. Sinaloa in Liga MX finale (Live Stream)

Photo by Refugio Ruiz/LatinContent/Getty Images
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Club Leon seeks second-place in the Apertura when it battles Liga MX bottom feeders Dorados de Sinaloa at the Estadia Leon on Saturday night (Watch live, 9 p.m. ET on NBC Universo and En Vivo Extra).

[ MORE: Premier League roundup ]

USMNT players William Yarbrough and Miguel Ibarra are both on the Club Leon roster — Yarbrough is the No. 2 keeper while Ibarra has played sparingly as a sub — for a match with top-end implications for their side and relegation danger for the visitors.

WATCH LIVE AND ONLINE VIA EN VIVO EXTRA

The playoff field is yet to be decided, with a cluster of teams needing wins on the final day.

Mexican side Leon complete signing of Minnesota United, USMNT’s Miguel Ibarra

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[ UPDATE: Leon have confirmed the signing of Ibarra ]

According to multiple reports out of Mexico this evening, Club Leon (Mexico) has completed the transfer of 25-year-old U.S. national team midfielder Miguel Ibarra from the player’s current club side Minnesota United FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | MLS ]

Ibarra, who made his USMNT debut back in October and has been the undisputed face of the Minnesota United franchise and North American Soccer League as a whole for almost two years now, will reportedly join Los Esmeraldas in time for the upcoming Apertura season, which runs from July to December.

According to various reports since Ibarra broke into the U.S. squad as a semi-regular contributor, a number of Major League Soccer teams have inquired about the availability and/or cost of signing Ibarra themselves, but with Minnesota’s asking price reported to be in the neighborhood of $1 million, MLS teams have balked at the prospect of signing the pacy, creative winger.

[ MORE: Recap: Germany 1-2 USA | Player ratings | A newfound wave of confidence ]

Leon finished the 2015 Clausua season 17th out of 18 teams (10th in the Apertura), missing out on the Liguilla (playoffs) each campaign. Ibarra will join 26-year-old USMNT goalkeeper William Yarbrough as the only Americans on Leon’s first-team roster.

Player ratings: Alvarado, Bradley impress in 2-0 USMNT win over Mexico

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It would be cruel to be too hard on any participant in Wednesday’s match between the United States and Mexico.

For one thing, there were a lot of new faces in different places for both sides due to the existence of this match outside of the international window.

[ MATCH RECAP: USMNT 2-0 Mexico ]

And the other thing, and it’s a big one, is the tough turf set-up at the Alamodome, which looked more like a Northeast pitch in late Fall than indoors in April in Texas.

For what it’s worth and for all his perceived and real flaws, Jurgen Klinsmann remains unbeaten as USMNT head coach versus Mexico. That means something to me (3W-3D).

Though on the other hand given the rosters, the States should’ve won… and did. Let’s see who shone brightest.

U.S. player ratings (out of 10)

Nick Rimando – 6

Struggled with kicks and first touch, but who wasn’t going to struggle on that playground-looking pitch? Had one extremely dicey first experience with a Diskerud back pass.

Greg Garza — 6

He was fine. Couple nice tackles, though saved by Alvarado on more than one occasion before subbing out at halftime.

Omar Gonzalez — 7

Strong at both ends of the pitch. One dicey moment from joining his center back mate as the high mark for players in this match.

Ventura Alvarado — 8

The 22-year-old Club America man made a very strong case for himself on Wednesday, and begs to be included in the Omar Gonzalez, John Anthony Brooks, Michael Orozco discussion at center back. Stole the ball that led to Agudelo’s goal.

DeAndre Yedlin — 6

“Quick, busy and active” could’ve been the motto for the team on the night, and Yedlin did fairly well on his side. Hopefully the Premier League training ground (and pitch) will continue to fast track his defensive acumen. His cutting runs and offensive flair may already be there.

Kyle Beckerman — 6

Killer tackle on Cubo Torres near halftime to eliminate a threat outside the 18. How horrible to watch him go down with what could be a Real Salt Lake-crippling injury on that surface? It was called a “left thigh contusion” on the broadcast, but the ice was on his knee.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | MLS ]

Mix Diskerud — 7

Like him more and more each time I see him play. For a player with real flair, he grinds and hustles at both ends of the field. A fixture for years, you’d have to think. How long will he stay at New York City FC if he keeps this up (Not that he has to leave, but you get what I mean)?

Michael Bradley — 8

Thought he played with purpose and provided some solid set piece service. Did the work to start Morris’ goal, and looked much more comfortable in his advanced role (and could he have been even better on much improved turf?). Classic Bradley service on the Agudelo ball, especially considering the surface (Have we mentioned the surface?).

Re-ignite the position discussion.

Joe Corona — 6

His highs were high and his lows were low. Clearly this is a guy Klinsmann would like to catch on, but subbed off at halftime for Miguel Ibarra.

Jordan Morris — 7

Go ‘head, young buck. Speedy as all get out, and made some handsome runs in the first half. Held up well against men. Of course, the goal was nice. Right place, right time, right pace, right shot. Come on, you Cardinal.

Gyasi Zardes — 6

Active and clean, given the field. Considering there was neither Jozy Altidore nor Clint Dempsey to take attention from him, and he was starting next to a college sophomore? Not bad. Ran well.

Subs 

William Yarbrough (halftime) — 7

Composed. Laid off shots wide of the frame and was positionally-sound. Didn’t seem as troubled by turf.

Miguel Ibarra (halftime) — 6

Was just fine. Obviously anyone who gets on this pitch for this team is a good ambassador for the NASL.

Brek Shea (halftime) — 6

Nice flying run up the left near the end of the match. Could be a legit left back in time, and his body frame would make him a freak at the position.

Perry Kitchen (63′) — 6

Came on when Beckerman suffered his knee injury. Showed no hesitation, and almost put a cracker in on goal.

Juan Agudelo (65′) — 7

Good on you, Juan. The 22-year-old took down a high diagonal ball from XXXX, got the benefit of a slipping Mexican defender and a waltz across the edge of the 18 before besting the keeper with a low shot to make it Dos a Cero.

Brad Evans (81′) — 6

Came in at right back with something to prove after vocally calling his World Cup roster omission a mistake. Made a hard, crunching tackle as the clock struck 85.

Player ratings: USA 2-0 Panama — Bradley and Dempsey steal the show

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The U.S. national team enjoyed a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory over Panama at StubHub Center on Sunday, and — surprise, surprise — it was two USMNT stars who stole the show.

[ Follow: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | MLS ]

But how did everyone else from the MLS-heavy January camp fare? Player ratings for the 13 players who saw 30 minutes or more:

Nick Rimando — 6: Forced to make one huge save in the first half, which he did, but Matt Besler’s slip which results in Blas Perez racing in one-on-one was due to Rimando’s poor pass out of the back. Made way for Sean Johnson at halftime.

[ THREE THINGS: What we learned from USA 2-0 Panama ]

DeAndre Yedlin — 6: Dangerous going forward and relatively untested defensively before going off injured in the 72nd minute. In other words, we didn’t really learn anything new about Yedlin today. Fingers crossed that he misses little or no time with the injury and continues regular training and U-21 games at Tottenham.

Jermaine Jones — 6: Aside from the why’s he playing center back in the first place question, Jones was just fine against Panama. There wasn’t a ton for either of the center backs to do (Panama took just six shots, one on target), so the need to rush back and make wild, last-ditch tackles was non-existent.

Matt Besler — 6: The only glaring defensive “mistake” of the day was, again, the fault of Rimando, so it’d be tough to hound Jones or Besler for anything they did. Again, though, there wasn’t a ton to do, but the pair did a nice job of building out of the back, often opting for more difficult, dangerous forward passes. That part of Klinsmann’s instruction has been a huge facet of the game.

Brek Shea — 6: Much better defensively — though, again, which far less to do — than against Chile. Probably benefitted greatly from the structure of being told, “you’re an out-and-out defender in the 4-2-3-1,” thus he was much more mindful of his defensive duties. A long-term answer at left back? There’s still no way.

[ FULL RECAP: USA 2-0 Panama as the winless streak comes to an end ]

Michael Bradley — 8: Scored the game’s opening goal, provided quality service on most every one of his set-piece deliveries, was sound in possession but a little off defensively, playing alongside the less disciplined Mix Diskerud. With Diskerud playing deep in midfield, his partner has to know the responsibility to stay at home rests almost solely on him. That need was not catered to in the second half, which caused the midfield to become stretched at times.

Mix Diskerud — 6.5: Someone else described Diskerud’s current role with the USMNT quite perfectly: “Mix has figured out that winning the ball and passing it right to Bradley is usually a good bet.” Bradley was very good against Panama, in part because Diskerud not only got him the ball often, but did so quickly. The quicker Diskerud gets rid of it, the less time the other team has to react and scramble back defensively.

Gyasi Zardes — 7: Played extremely well at his home stadium in the first half. Not only provided the perfect through ball for Clint Dempsey’s goal, but kept things simple in the final third. Became a bit of a ghost in the second half, but then again, so did the entire attack once Jozy Altidore was subbed off. Please, Klinsmann, give Chris Wondolowski’s ever-present place as last man on the roster to Zardes going forward.

Clint Dempsey — 7: Completely uninvolved the first 35 minutes of the game, but was totally composed in taking his goal and threw in a bit of fancy footwork for good measure. Looks to be in mid-season form already.

Miguel Ibarra — 6.5: Extremely tidy and efficient in possession (just four misplaced passes), which is rare in a player’s first international start. There’s obviously a massive amount of talent in Ibarra, but will he continue to garner call-ups while playing in the NASL? I hope so.

[ MORE: Why the USMNT so badly needed to show well vs. Panama ]

Jozy Altidore — 6: Subbed off at halftime with hamstring discomfort. Was pretty OK in his 45 minutes. Playing more alongside Dempsey allowed him to stay higher up the field than he did in the loss to Chile, which is good news for Altidore. Linked up well with Dempsey, as expected.

Sean Johnson — 6: Zero shots on target from Panama (just one in total) during Johnson’s 45-minute spell means, once again, very little to do. He looked assured in commanding the penalty area and claim balls in the air, which is something he often struggles with for the Chicago Fire.

Chris Wondolowski — 4: The chance he whiffed on from five yards out, with an open goal ahead of him, undoubtedly brought back nightmares of the infamous World Cup sitter against Belgium. It’s been a while since Wondo’s done anything to help his USMNT stock, so one has to wonder how long he keeps getting that phone call with Zardes — and others — hot on his trail.

All other substitutes had too little time to have much effect on a game that, by that point, had creeped to a snail’s pace and lost any semblance of cohesive play.