Americans Abroad: Looking at U.S.-rostered players’ weekends

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Leagues around the world outside the United States saw a scoring drought among American players, although plenty of them saw playing time. A fringe player for Jürgen Klinsmann’s squad also saw red for his club team.

(MORE: Americans Abroad — full archive)

Let’s take a look at how each of the 12 foreign-based players called into the U.S. camp for the final two World Cup qualifiers fared, as well as a few others:

U.S.-ROSTERED AMERICANS ABROAD FOR JAMAICA AND PANAMA

• Jozy Altidore: Started and played 90 minutes for Sunderland in 2-1 loss to Manchester United. Didn’t look out of place against world-class center back Nemanja Vidić.

• DaMarcus Beasley: Started and played 90 minutes for Puebla in 3-1 loss to León.

• Alejandro Bedoya: Heading into the weekend, Bedoya looked likely to start on the left wing for Nantes against Evian TG (3-0 win), but an illness left him indisposed at the last minute. He has not been replaced on or removed from the U.S. roster.

• Terrence Boyd: Started and played 90 minutes for Rapid Vienna in 0-0 draw with Wiener Neustadt.

• Geoff Cameron: Started and played 90 minutes (at right back) for Stoke City in 1-0 loss to Fulham. With injuries to Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson, and Brad Evans recovering from a recent knock, Cameron could start at right back or central midfield for the U.S.

• Edgar Castillo: Started and played 90 minutes for Club Tijuana in 1-0 win over Querétaro. (Hérculez Gómez came off the bench in the game, and Joe Corona was an unused substitute. Neither of them were called into camp for the qualifiers.)

• Mix Diskerud: Started and played 68 minutes for Rosenborg in 0-0 draw with Hønefoss. (American goalkeeper Steve Clark earned the shutout for Diskerud’s opponent)

• Brad Guzan: Started and played 90 minutes for Aston Villa in 0-0 draw with Hull City. It was Guzan’s second shutout of the Premier League season, after defeating Norwich City 1-0 on Sept. 21.

• Tim Howard: Started and played 90 minutes for Everton in 3-1 loss to Manchester City. He was perhaps harshly charged with an own goal in the 69th minute when he touched Sergio Agüero’s penalty onto the right post, only to have it rebound and hit him in the head before crossing the line.

Howard also picked up a yellow card for dissent as he protested the original penalty call.

• Aron Jóhannsson: Started and played 66 minutes for AZ Alkmaar in 2-1 loss to Groningen.

• Jermaine Jones: Unused substitute for Schalke in 4-1 win over Augsburg. (Michael Parkhurst did not suit up for Augsburg.) Despite rumors of a knee injury, Jones is in the U.S. squad and is expected to reprise his role in central midfield, especially with Bradley out injured still.

• Sacha Klještan: Started and played 71 minutes for Anderlecht in 1-0 loss to Kortrijk.

OTHERS

• José Torres: It wasn’t a great day for Torres for Tigres UANL in Liga MX, as he received two yellow cards within seven minutes, one on either side of halftime, in a 2-1 loss to Toluca. Despite going down a man and already being down a goal, Tigres equalized after Torres was sent off, only to give up the game-winning goal in the 81st minute.

• Shawn Parker: The 20-year-old German-American midfielder made just his second appearance of the season for Mainz, coming on in the 66th minute of a 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim. Mainz was down 2-0 at halftime but scored twice in the final 10 minutes, including an equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time, to tie it.

• Timmy Chandler: The estranged right back started and played every painful minute for Nürnberg in a 5-0 loss to Hamburg.

• Eric Lichaj: Another option at right back for the U.S., Lichaj started and played 90 minutes for Nottingham Forest in a 3-1 win against Brighton and Hove Albion, picking up a yellow card in the 38th minute.

Mourinho tells players to be like Federer, don’t use turf as excuse

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When Manchester United take on BSC Young Boys in the two sides’ UEFA Champions League group stage opener on Wednesday, they’ll do so on an always derided artificial playing surface, in the Swiss capital city of Bern.

[ MORE: UCL preview: Real, Ronaldo debut apart; Man City, United, too ]

Speaking in Tuesday’s press conference, Man United manager Jose Mourinho was quick to insist he won’t be using the undesirable surface as an excuse should things go wrong at Stade de Suisse, nor will he allow his players to do so. He even evoked the name of the great Roger Federer, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time and a Swiss himself, as the model example of adaptability — quotes from Bleacher Report:

“I don’t want to use [the artificial turf].. as a possible excuse for a poor performance. Everybody knows it is different but we are in Switzerland, the home of one of the best ever tennis players, and I’m pretty sure the big man [Federer] sometimes is not happy to play on such a surface but he has to play and he has to win.

“Everybody knows he has a favorite surface, but he has also to win on other surfaces. So we have to do it.”

That’s easy for Mourinho to say, as he can easily and conveniently blame his players for not adapting or performing in the event of a draw or defeat.

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 5

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We’re a full month into the 2018-19 Premier League season, which means we can begin — yes, only just now — to make more definitive statements about where everyone is headed for the season.

Not much change at the top of the power rankings this week, but plenty of movement in the middle and bottom thirds…

[ MORE: UCL preview: Real, Ronaldo debut apart; Man City, United, too ]

20. Burnley — Bottom of the table after four straight losses, Sean Dyche worked an unthinkable miracle last season but he might not survive another month of results like the one just completed.
Last week: 16
Season high: 15
Season low: 20

19. Cardiff City — Nailed-on favorites to be relegated before the season started, the Bluebirds haven’t shown anything to suggest they’ve got a trick up their sleeves. Their stay in the PL will, however, be lucrative, if brief.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20

18. Huddersfield Town — Teams wishing to avoid relegation must beat other sides in the relegation battle — Cardiff, for example. The Terriers couldn’t do it a couple weeks ago, followed by five more points dropped against Everton and Crystal Palace.
Last week: 18
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

17. Newcastle United — Three straight losses is better than four, but not by much. The Magpies get something of a free pass for facing Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal in consecutive games. The fact they lost each game by one goal (all 2-1)? Encouraging.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 18

16. West Ham United — The four teams below them in these rankings — and the real-life table — have been so bad that all the Hammers needed was one win to move from last place (with zero points) to outside the relegation zone.
Last week: 20
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

15. Fulham — Lost 3-0 to Man City this weekend. They’re supposed to lose 3-0 to Man City.
Last week: 14
Season high: 11
Season low: 17

14. Southampton — Only six goals conceded in five games is a top-six defensive record that could keep Saints up on its own. Only six goals scored, however, is firmly in the bottom half — dull and painful to watch, at best; a half-dozen defensive mistakes from relegation, at worst.
Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

13. Leicester City — Hammered by Bournemouth at the weekend, the Foxes undid any goodwill they might have accumulated in a narrow defeat to Liverpool pre-international break. Plus side: games against the Reds and Man United out of the way.
Last week: 10
Season high: 8
Season low: 13

12. Brighton and Hove Albion — Back-to-back draws, against Fulham and Southampton, in games Chris Hughton would have targeted as winnable fixtures.
Last week: 11
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

11. Crystal Palace — Snapped a three-game losing skid by beating Huddersfield, now the Eagles need to avoid being the lesser side against which Newcastle breaks out of its early-season slumber.
Last week: 15
Season high: 6
Season low: 13

10. Everton — Sure, half the team was out due to injuries or suspension, but losing 3-1 to the last remaining team without a point remains an unavoidably bad look.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 11

9. Wolves — After spending wildly in the summer, Wolves took just two points from their first two games in the PL. Back-to-back wins, against West Ham and Burnley, have shown they’re perhaps a cut above the relegation battle.
Last week: 8
Season high: 8
Season low: 13

8. Spurs — Back-to-back defeats, against Watford and Liverpool, and Mauricio Pochettino‘s side is outside the top-four (and -five) just like that. Harry Kane isn’t scoring (just two goals this season — zero in the defeats), and no one else has stepped up to fill the void.
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 8

7. Manchester United — Wins over Burnley and Watford are nice, but let us know when they’re ready to handle a giant like Brighton.
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Bournemouth — Pop quiz: Who’s the fifth-place side in the PL table right now, ahead of both Spurs and Arsenal? ‘Tis the Cherries.
Last week: 12
Season high: 7
Season low: 12

5. Watford — No longer perfect, no longer unbeaten. The hard work begins now, with a winnable trip to Fulham. The fall from fourth — where the Hornets currently reside — could be quick.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 7

4. Arsenal — The only non-top-two team with three straight wins. The problem is, of course, the season-opening losses to Man City and Chelsea have them sitting seventh nonetheless.
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 9

3. Chelsea — Pop quiz no. 2: Who’s the current PL leaders? ‘Tis the Blues, so why aren’t they no. 1 (or 2) on this list? Does Arsenal count as a signature win in their second week under a new manager? Probably not, so we are in a holding pattern until they take on Liverpool in 10 days.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 4

2. Man City — It still feels blasphemous to not have them no. 1, but Pep Guardiola knows it’s not necessary to blow the doors off everyone in August and September in order to win the title; that it’s more important to pace yourself for the whole of 10 months, if you want to win the Champions League.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

1. Liverpool — Speaking of signature wins, going away to Spurs and completely controlling and dominating the game was a surefire signal of intent from Jurgen Klopp‘s men. What they did against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday doesn’t necessarily count for these rankings, but it shows they’ve got staying power.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

Juve’s Douglas Costa banned 4 games for spitting

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Juventus winger Douglas Costa has been banned for four Serie A matches after a spitting incident on Sunday.

[ MORE: UCL roundup: USMNT’s Pulisic, McKennie shine ]

The Brazil international was sent off near the end of Juventus’ 2-1 win over Sassuolo after he spat at midfielder Federico Di Francesco. Costa had also raised an elbow at the same player and attempted a head-butt.

The Italian soccer federation announced his ban Tuesday, with the winger set to miss matches against Frosinone, Bologna, Napoli and Udinese.

[ MORE: UCL preview: Real, Ronaldo debut apart; Man City, United, too ]

Costa has already apologized for the incident on social media — via Google Translate:

“I would like to apologize to all of Juventus fans for this misleading reaction in today’s game. I also apologize to my teammates, who are always with me in good times and bad. I was ugly, I am aware and I apologize to everyone for it. I make it clear that this isolated attitude does not match what I have always shown in my career.”

Zlatan gets Thor treatment for game day giveaway (video)

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There’s something about Zlatan Ibrahimovic saying, “This is the new Greek god. This is Zlatan,” that leads you to believe it’s not the first time he’s had this thought.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 3-2 PSG ]

Ibrahimovic is the subject of a classic Costacos Brothers poster to be given away at the LA Galaxy’s Sept. 29 match against Vancouver.

If you’re not familiar with the Costacos Brothers, well, your bedroom growing up really missed out.

From “Kelly’s Heroes” to “Czechmate,” the Costacos were trusted with plenty of creative license in a bygone era.

Bygone for everyone besides Zlatan. Bit jealous we can’t get our hands on one.