Four notable USMNT World Cup qualifier roster omissions

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One players’ gain is another’s loss, as we know. So guys like Matt Besler, Brad Davis and a couple of others who have found their way onto Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for this week’s important World Cup qualifier did so at someone else’s expense.

Four of the “someone elses” in this case are Clarence Goodson, Kyle Beckerman, Benny Feilhaber and Oguchi Onyewu.

We may learn more later today as U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann talks about his selections. Klinsmann has a national conference call from the team’s Miami base – well, it’s base for another few hours, prior to departure into Honduras later this afternoon – scheduled for 12:30 ET.

(MORE: Early reactions from today’s roster announcement)

For now let’s look briefly at the foursome of notable omissions:

Benny Feilhaber: Against Canada, Feilhaber was one of the few players last week able to push the team forward, equipped with enough technical ability in tight spaces and the right attacking mindset to begin unlocking Canada’s stacked-and-packed defense. But then, everyone knows that about Feilhaber (pictured), who has recently moved from New England to Sporting Kansas City.

Feilhaber’s challenge over the longer January camp was always about showing he could smoothly assimilate into the larger group. Seeing as Brad Evans and Brad Davis started ahead of Feilhaber last week, and seeing as both made today’s roster, it looks like the Sporting KC man, a veteran of the United States’ World Cup efforts South Afirca 2010, may have come up short in his bid to demonstrate an improved ability to fit in.

(MORE: Jurgen Klinsmann addresses Benny Feilhaber’s status)

Clarence Goodson: Goodson’s omission is somewhat surprising considering his status as a regular through semifinal round qualifying. He started the team’s 2-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda in the next-to-last game during semifinal stage qualifying and was on the bench a few days later as Klinsmann’s men clinched passage into the final round.

He was not, however, part of the U.S. January camp. As Denmark’s league is out of season now, Goodson would surely have been invited into that camp if Klinsmann wanted to take him to Honduras.

Time will tell if the addition of center backs Besler and Omar Gonzalez means Goodson has been pushed down in the order, or if this is just a temporary thing down to timing.

The presumption has to be that Gonzalez and Besler have more upside; Goodson, 30, is what he is.

Oguchi Onyewu: This hardly rates as a huge shocker, but it remains noteworthy because Onyewu still holds status in general supporter awareness. So many fans would love nothing more than to see Onyewu return to his former bad-a** self, back to the guy who stared down Mexico’s Jared Borgetti two qualifier cycles back, equipped with enough ability and confidence to back it up.

Bottom line: the big center back, 30, still has work ahead to rally past a deflated 2012, when he seemed to lose Klinsmann’s favor and trust. As Onyewu can’t get a toehold on any playing time for Malaga, this probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Kyle Beckerman: This was perhaps the biggest surprise of today’s announcement, seeing as Beckerman had previously impressed Klinsmann with his positional discipline and his day-to-day, professional approach in training.

But the Real Salt Lake man struggled last week to move the team forward with a little more urgency from his holding midfield spot. Danny Williams has clearly lapped Beckerman, 30, in the crowded U.S. depth chart of central midfielders.

Not all is lost for Beckerman; given Jermaine Jones’ tendency to collect cards, he’s still one terrible tackle away from slipping right back into the roster rotation.

Report: Earnie Stewart in negotiations for U.S. Soccer GM job

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Philadelphia Union sporting director and USMNT centurion Earnie Stewart is reportedly in negotiations to become the United States men’s national team general manager.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

The report, from Metro NY reporter Kristian Dyer, says the Netherlands-born executive has the proverbial ball in his court.

Stewart, 49, racked up 103 caps and 18 goals for the Yanks and had a glittering playing career spent between Willem II, NAC Breda, and DC United.

He later had high-ranking positions with NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar.

Here’s Dyer, quoting a source:

The source, speaking to Metro on the condition of anonymity, said that Stewart is believed to be the frontrunner and is in negotiations for the position following an impressive showing during the interview process.

The club, when asked for a comment, told Metro that “Since Earnie’s first interview with U.S. Soccer, we have respected their process, and as such, we will decline further comment until a final decision has been made.”

Stewart scored against Colombia in the 1994 World Cup and added markers in qualifying for the 1998 and 2002 tournaments.

His familiarity with both MLS and European leagues would be a boon for the U.S., and Stewart’s Union has brought along a number of promising young players including Auston Trusty and Keegan Rosenberry (the latter drafted out of Georgetown).

Carrick: Haven’t entertained possibility of Pogba leaving Man Utd

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Michael Carrick is hammering the idea of a Paul Pogba exit from Manchester United.

Pogba’s had his problems with manager Jose Mourinho, but recently praised the boss for the season’s education.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

But is an exit is just not going to happen, says Carrick as he heads toward a coaching role at Old Trafford.

From Sky Sports:

“Of course he’s got a future, he’s a big player for us, he’s a great age, he’s got his peak years ahead of him. It’s not even something I’d give a second thought to, to be honest.”

The retired midfielder also said he’s looking forward to working under Jose Mourinho, whom he calls “the best man to learn from.”

He also said United’s trophy-less season wasn’t ideal, but it’s more about them their competition.

“We’re not looking at City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, anyone. We’re looking at ourselves to improve, we believe we’re capable of improving a lot and we’ll see where that takes us.”

Three key battles for Champions League Final

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Saturday brings Real Madrid’s journey toward a third-straight UEFA Champions League title to a close, with just Liverpool standing in the way.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

The Reds attack promises danger and entertainment, while Zinedine Zidane’s personnel choice may be just as important as his tactical decisions in Kiev.

Van Dijk, Lovren against… Ronaldo and whoever Zidane decides

It’s difficult to highlight the match-up problems for Liverpool’s center backs because Zinedine Zidane has used three different set-ups atop his line-up.

At times, it’s been Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Sometimes, Gareth Bale takes Benzema’s spot, and occasionally Ronaldo has been played up top as a center forward.

Believe it or not, that may be the best case scenario for Liverpool, though Ronaldo will undoubtedly roam across the top of the formation. While many think of Ronaldo and visualize his laser shots from distance, he’s quite dangerous in 1v1 aerial battles as well as tight spaces inside the box.

Quite frankly, matches like this highlight why the Reds signed Virgil Van Dijk. And, opinion alert, human bowling ball Benzema and his Juggernaut-esque approach to attacking may be a unique challenge Liverpool has not seen outside of Romelu Lukaku.

Marcelo vs. Mohamed Salah

Marcelo is an unbelievably silky, savvy left back who uses an elite attacking skill set to keep the opposition’s entire right side off kilter.

In some ways he can be partially neutralized by the danger presented by Reds right wing Mo Salah, but Zidane isn’t going to tell Marcelo to camp out in his own end when left center back Sergio Ramos is the next man up to defend, one of the finest players of his generation.

So it’s on Salah to assert himself on the game, something that shouldn’t be a problem after a couple weeks away from match action.

Can Real defend Liverpool on the counter?

We’ve seen Liverpool expose a number of teams on the counter attack, and Real certainly has a handle on how to do the same.

But building on our second key, there’s danger for both sides when Marcelo or Dani Carvajal get up the pitch. When Liverpool regains the ball and attacks at pace, there are big choices to be made.

Say Marcelo is up the pitch. Now Ramos may have to take Salah and leave Roberto Firmino to Raphael Varane. Now Carvajal may be alone with Sadio Mane. It’s not that Carvajal or Marcelo cannot defend, but these are not situations anyone wants in a one-off.

And that’s the key for Liverpool, really. This is a one-off. Over two legs, it’s hard to imagine the Reds as constructed pulling off another heavily-outchanced two-leg win like it did against Manchester City. The answer to this counter question may be what tells the story in Kiev.

Ancelotti hired to end Napoli’s scudetto drought

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Is Carlo Ancelotti the right man to end Juventus’ seemingly ages-old hold on the scudetto?

Napoli hopes so, and has inked the former Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich boss to a three-year deal.

Ancelotti’s resume speaks for itself, and the hiring promises more Serie A drama after the Neapolitan club nearly got the job done this season under Maurizio Sarri.

[ MORE: Top takeaways from Emery’s Arsenal unveiling ] 

Ancelotti won scudetti as a player with Roma (1) and AC Milan (2), once more as a manager for the latter. He also led Milan to two Champions League crowns, winning the tournament with Real Madrid as well, while bringing league titles to Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Bayern Munich.

Napoli has finished Top 3 in six of eight seasons, finishing four points behind Juve this season. Juventus has won the last seven scudetti, and Napoli’s only title came in 1987.

The club announced the move after owner Aurelio De Laurentiis let go of Sarri, thanking the previous manager for three seasons of work which included a Serie A Coach of the Year Award and wins in 97 of 147 matches.

“I’d like to thank Maurizio Sarri for his valuable contribution to the Napoli cause. He brought joy and prestige to Naples and Napoli fans all over the world with an entertaining brand of football that drew praise from all quarters. Well done, Maurizio.”