Sporting Kansas City’s Teal Bunbury working way to health – but his national team place keeps slipping

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U.S. under-23 international Teal Bunbury is making good progress in his recovery bid following major knee surgery last August.

This story says he’s about halfway through the long road back from sustaining ACL and LCL damage. The Sporting Kansas City striker, a starter and the spear of his team’s three-forward setup at the time of his injury, does not want a specific timetable for his recovery. But if he is more or less halfway to health, Bunbury will get on the field in March, probably not quite in time for SKC’s early March kickoff to the 2013 season but training with the team, at least.

Bunbury could conceivably return in time to make little run for Jurgen Klinsmann’s “B” team that will make an appearance this summer; the national team’s second unit will be summoned for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, leaving the “A” side to the more critical business of World Cup qualifying.

The trouble for Bunbury is what has happened in the U.S. forward pool in the meantime.

Remember, Bunbury was tiptoeing the edges of the striker pool anyway. So, he has surely slipped further in the order. Specifically, here is what has gone on over the last six months or so to alter the order.

  • Seattle Sounder Eddie Johnson has re-emerged, showing Klinsmann a little something in those two final World Cup qualifiers in the semifinal stage.
  • Jozy Altidore has reinforced his position after that notorious October exclusion.

(MORE: Klinsmann talks about Altidore’s omission)

  • Young German-American Terrance Boyd keeps progressing nicely at Rapid Vienna, stacking the “good” ever higher in his quest to break into the upper echelon or U.S. strikers.
  • Chris Wondolowski has kept a low profile on the national team, but his record-breaking scoring in MLS and continued good attitude during time in Klinsmann’s team has kept the Earthquakes man in the picture.
  • Wondolowski’s San Jose teammate Alan Gordon has established himself as some part of this multi-layered equation.
  • Juan Agudelo, still just 20 years old, has fought past the Chivas USA clutter to remind everyone that he is still worth mentioning in this conversation.
  • D.C. United’s Chris Pontius, circling the outer markers of this busy national team “airport,” keeps pressing his case; Klinsmann says he is well aware of D.C. United’s splendid, versatile attacker.

And all that is not mentioning Clint Dempsey and Herculez Gomez, who have done little to damage their places at the top of the order.

MORE: Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team depth chart (from October)

Croatia smashes disheveled Argentina

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Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.

Croatia scored a pair of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 2-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.

Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.

Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.

Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.

There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.

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Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.

Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.

Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.

Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

WATCH: Caballero blunder punished as Rebic rip puts Argentina on ropes

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Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.

His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.

The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.

It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea in for Pjanic; Lozano to Juventus?

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Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.

[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]


Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.

Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo


Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.

Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.

PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.


Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.

Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.


Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.

Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.

Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.

RB Leipzig names Julian Nagelsmann future manager

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Julian Nagelsmann won’t take over at his new club until the 2019/20 season, but Red Bull Leipzig has put a lot of confidence in one of the youngest managers in global football.

[ MORE: Ronaldo’s tally gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

On Thursday, the Bundesliga side announced the appointment of the Hoffenheim coach, who will continue in his current capacity for the upcoming 2018/19 German campaign.

Nagelsmann signs on with Leipzig until the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.