United States

ROME, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 22:  UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin poses for a picture during UEFA Euro Roma 2020 Official Logo Unveiling on September 22, 2016 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Getty Images)
Photo by Getty Images

UEFA president talks up Champions League final in U.S.

Leave a comment

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is open to the idea of the UEFA Champions League final being played outside Europe.

Specifically, Ceferin thinks about New York.

[ VIDEO: Previewing all 10 PL matches ]

Ceferin said Thursday that staging the first ever UCL final away from Europe would be discussed at some point.

From FOX:

“To go from Portugal to Azerbaijan for example is almost the same or the same as if you go to New York. For the fans it’s no problem but we should see. It’s a European competition so let’s think about it.”

Given the preseason matches played in the United States, China, and Australia, it makes sense to stage an important UEFA match outside Europe. Those first two countries especially aim to become power players in the game, and certainly it would benefit UEFA to showcase its absolute finest (if only as a reminder).

We don’t get to see entire first teams playing the game in earnest when friendlies hit U.S. soil, and the successful Copa America showed UEFA that CONMEBOL and CONCACAF trust the States with critical matches.

Selfishly, of course we want this. And selfishly, of course Europe wants to keep it. Their fans wouldn’t necessarily want to take an incredibly expensive trip to see a UCL final.

Three things we learned from the USMNT’s 1-1 draw with New Zealand

U.S. forward Julian Green (19) celebrates his goal with midfielder Michael Bradley (4) during the first half of an international friendly soccer match against New Zealand, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass
1 Comment

It wasn’t a ton of fun to watch, and the United States men’s national team showed us just how hard it is to win without your top players in a 1-1 draw against New Zealand.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

Playing without Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Christian Pulisic and their top two goalkeepers — amongst others — the U.S. struggled to implement a 4-3-3 and allowed a late corner kick to disrupt its clean sheet in a Tuesday friendly at RFK Stadium in D.C.

What three things do we take away from the outing? Read on…

Julian Green’s star is picking up shine again

Julian Green’s bright first impression for United States supporters surely lost a lot of shine in the two-plus years after he scored against Belgium at the 2014 World Cup, but the 21-year-old Bayern Munich man was strong in both of this international break’s friendlies.

Green bounced a shot by a flummoxed Stefan Marinovic for the game’s first goal, but that was far from his only contribution. In fact, he was the most daring and dangerous U.S. attacker in each of the two matches. He showed some remaining immaturity with an extra touch after a takeaway in his own third, but he also made the takeaway. Competition aside, Green earned himself a November call-up… but at whose expense?

Gooch gives Klinsmann something to chew on

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: Lynden Gooch #13 of United States and teammates warm up before playing New Zealand during an International Friendly at RFK Stadium on October 11, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Gooch warms up before Cap No. 1 (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images).

If Green’s two-goal week made Jurgen Klinsmann’s player selection for November’s critical World Cup qualifiers harder, Gooch did his best to make it a hair-pulling affair.

[ MORE: JPW chats with Gooch ]

The Sunderland man made his U.S. debut with about a half-hour to go, and showed smart movement and terrific crossing in a short window of time. He combined well with Michael Bradley in particular, and deserved an assist for his efforts.

But how does he squeeze into a 23-man roster when Klinsmann already has Fabian Johnson, Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, and Christian Pulisic in his forward ranks? And if you think that’s tough for Gooch, imagine what injury has done to the fortunes of Gyasi Zardes.

Depth issues at several key spots including midfield

Jurgen Klinsmann and even U.S. Soccer fans should not be too put-off by the Yanks’ disjointed attempt at a 4-3-3, mostly because this was always going to be a slog given the absence of so many key pieces.

Still, what were we to expect from a team starting its fifth-choice keeper (William Yarbrough), a back line full of non-starters who have rarely, if ever, played together, and a newly recalled holding mid who never found his footing in the match (Perry Kitchen).

What the Americans have in attacking depth they lack at the back. And honestly, this is completely acceptable. If there was a major tournament that demanded a 23-man roster right now, how many of tonight’s starters get the squad call? Bradley, Altidore, and Yedlin as starters, and maybe 5-6 players as reserves.

Heck, say what you will about Timmy Chandler, but the man is a week-in, week-out starter for a top-half team in this early Bundesliga season. Michael Orozco and Matt Besler aren’t regular club starters right now.

This was a match designed to give some guys a chance, and no one should logically fault the team for drawing against a first choice team with a Americans’ B-squad (and that’s being gracious with the B).

Again, these guys were healthy and missing:

Geoff Cameron
John Brooks
Fabian Johnson
Christian Pulisic
Bobby Wood
Tim Howard
Brad Guzan
Graham Zusi
Aron Johannsson

These guys were hurt or missing for family reasons:

Jermaine Jones
Alejandro Bedoya
Clint Dempsey
Gyasi Zardes
Darlington Nagbe

Player ratings from the USMNT’s jumbled draw with New Zealand

New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic (1) catches the ball next to U.S. defender DeAndre Yedlin (2) during the first half of an international friendly soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass
Leave a comment

The United States men’s national team didn’t get a strong performance from an unusual lineup in a 1-1 draw with visiting New Zealand on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

[ MORE: Match recap | Three things ]

That doesn’t mean there weren’t some stars on show, including a bright debut from Lynden Gooch and a third international goal for Bayern Munich youngster Julian Green.

Let’s rate ’em. Looking forward to the comments section!

Starting XI

William Yarbrough (Off HT) — 5 — Cleaned up some messes, but created a few of his own as well.

Kellyn Acosta (Off 59′) — 6 — The FC Dallas midfielder looked more comfortable at left back this go-round.

Omar Gonzalez — 7 — Made amends for several errors by teammates.

Matt Besler — 5 — Not a great night for Sporting KC’s center back.

Michael Orozco — 5 — Not quite sure why he’s still here, though Orozco produced a little bit in advanced positions.

Perry Kitchen (Off 64′) — 5 — Too many dicey moments for a man playing a position which requires stability and consistency.

Michael Bradley — 6 — A solid if unspectacular night from the captain.

Sacha Kljestan — 6 — A mixed bag for the RBNY star, as Kljestan did a lot of lively and clever work with the ball while also given the ball away a bit.

Julian Green (Off 78′) — 7 — At 21, his maturity is apparent. Still a lot of work to do, but a goal in his second-straight game hurts nothing.

Jozy Altidore (Off 88′) — 5 — Started well and had his moments, but might’ve not been quite ‘up’ for the friendly.

DeAndre Yedlin — 7 — Dangerous and not scared by working at right wing instead of right back. Playing some RM for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle doesn’t hurt.


David Bingham — 5 — Would like to see better on the goal, though it came through traffic at close range.

Lynden Gooch (On 59′) — 8 — An exciting performance, but it’s going to be hard to find a place in a loaded wing corps. Did he do it? His crosses were excellent.

Danny Williams (On 64) — 6 —  Didn’t notice him much until his sterling late run towards goal, and the Yanks did not control the play during his time on the pitch.

Juan Agudelo (On 78′) — N/A

Terrence Boyd (On 88′) — N/A

FOLLOW LIVE: An unorthodox XI as USMNT faces New Zealand in friendly

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 15:  Perry Kitchen #21 of the United States jumps for a header against Luis Rodriguez #8 of Mexico during an international friendly match at the Alamodome on April 15, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images

The United States trots out an unorthodox starting lineup in a rare matchup against perennial Oceania powers New Zealand in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Matchcenter ]

USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann sent several players back to their clubs after a 2-0 win on the awful pitch in Cuba last Friday, recalling a batch of names just for this match.

Kellyn Acosta, Juan Agudelo, Matt Besler, Terrence Boyd, Bill Hamid, Michael Orozco, and Tim Parker joined up with the team.

Heading back were John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timmy Chandler, Ethan Horvath, Fabian Johnson, Jordan Morris, Christian Pulisic, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood.

The Yanks look to go 3-0 all-time against the Kiwis, who boast Wisconsin junior Sam Brotherton along the back line.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s UEFA roundup ]

There’s some question as to the United States’ formation thanks to this batch of players sitting in front of goalkeeper William Yarbrough, who scoops up cap No. 3.

Kellyn Acosta has been used as a left back by Jurgen Klinsmann, and DeAndre Yedlin is usually a right back. But Klinsmann has called upon defenders Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, and Michael Orozco as well.

Holding mids Perry Kitchen and Michael Bradley are in the lineup, as are Sacha Kljestan, Julian Green, and Jozy Altidore.

It seems likely we’ll see Yedlin, Altidore, and Green atop a 4-3-3.

This is the lineup the U.S. will use at RFK Stadium at 8 p.m. ET.

US soccer team awaits tuneups against Cuba, New Zealand

CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 5: Jordan Morris #8 of the United States lifts the ball above goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau #1 of Canada as he attempts to score during the first half of their international friendly soccer match at StubHub Center February 5, 2016, in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (AP) For U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, it’s all about one thing: Mexico.

His team is training at Barry University, with two tuneup games coming up. The first is against Cuba in Havana on Friday, the first game for the U.S. on the island since 1947. The next is against New Zealand on Tuesday in Washington.

“The bigger picture behind these 10 days is clear – it’s preparing for Mexico on Nov. 11,” Klinsmann said.

[ MORE: Rooney admits Allardyce baffled him ]

That game – in Columbus, Ohio – is the first match for both teams of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The U.S. plays Costa Rica follows four days later.

A number of young players will get their chance in the two tuneup games.

“We want to see them taking the initiative,” Klinsmann said. “We want them to come in here and make a very strong impression. I think a good example is Sacha Kljestan. In the last two World Cup qualifying games we told Sasha, `Listen this is your opportunity, but you’ve got to take it.’ You’ve got to come in and make an impression and he did that in both games. A similar message to Danny Williams and other players. The door is always open.”

Veteran goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan are not on the 23-man roster, giving David Bingham, Ethan Horvath and William Yarbrough a chance to show what they can do.

“It’s our job to bring along the next wave of goalkeepers and try to give them opportunities,” Klinsmann said. “The only way they can go grow is if you let them play.”

Christian Pulisic, a promising 18-year-old midfielder, has been playing well with the U.S. and the German club Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Memphis ready for Man Utd role ]

“He’s a good young player,” captain Michael Bradley said. “He’s smart in terms of making the right decisions and being a guy who knows the game and understands when he can maybe try a little bit more and when he needs to be more simple. I think he continues to show he’s going in the right direction.”

Defenders Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson and forward Jordan Morris worked out but did not practice. Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya is out with a strained rib muscle.

The team will train Wednesday before heading to Cuba the next day.