Americans Abroad Review: Four Yanks score as Kljestan catches fire, Boyd’s left hammers

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Due to the FA Cup weekend and a handful of injuries to the Yanks playing overseas and South of the border, there weren’t as many chances to watch Americans do their thing this weekend.

The goals per appearance rate was pretty high, however, as four Americans danced on scoresheets in the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Austria.

Aron Johannsson continued to give Eredivisie defenses nightmares of the darkest variety, as he scored his 22nd goal across all competitions for AZ Alkmaar in a 1-1 draw against FC Utrecht. On-loan Juan Agudelo played 74 minutes for Utrecht and was unable to manager a shot on frame. Arguments against a healthy Johannsson heading to Brazil seem futile.

Sacha Kljestan was the second American to score overseas this weekend, as his headed goal lead Anderlecht past Mons at home by a 2-0 score. He later added an assist to complete his involvement on all Purple & White goals. Check both out here:

There were two other goal scorers for America this weekend, as Danny Williams opened the scoring for Reading with a free header in their 3-1 win over QPR and Terrence Boyd scored on his return for Austria’s Rapid Wien. Boyd ripped a left-footer off in traffic just inside the 18 for his 13th of the year, but it turned out to be a consolation tally in a 2-1 loss.

Jozy Altidore got the day off in Sunderland’s 1-0 win in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and wasn’t even stressed with an appearance on the bench. Tim Howard was on the bench for Everton’s 3-1 win over Swansea and was not needed.

Fabian Johnson played all 90 minutes at right back for Hoffenheim, as he returned from injury to help his club to a 4-1 win over Stuttgart. The usual left back opened the eyes of many of our readers who followed Richard Farley’s lead in wondering, “Could Johnson be the US left back for the World Cup?”

JPW laid out Freddy Adu’s trial at Blackpool and his hopes of re-entering Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT plans. Jermaine Jones is a little bit closer to making his on-loan debut for Besiktas, as he continues to heal from a groin injury.

In France, Ale Bedoya played 90 minutes for Nantes in a scoreless draw at Nice.

MLSSoccer.com provided a solid recap of the Yanks playing in Liga MX this weekend, including DaMarcus Beasley playing further up the field and some kind words for Michael Orozco Fiscal.

Messi named FIFA’s Best men’s player; Best XI controversial

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Lionel Messi is the winner of FIFA’s The Best men’s player, awarded Monday in Milan.

The prolific megastar beat out Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo for the honor.

All three, of course, were on the Best XI, though it was not without controversy.

Premier League champions Manchester City had no representation on FIFA’s The Best XI, which comically included three Real Madrid players.

Champions League winners Liverpool followed up the Best Goalkeeper honor given to Alisson Becker and Best Manager nod to Jurgen Klopp with spots for Van Dijk and obviously  Alisson on the XI.

Real Madrid, La Liga’s third place side, put Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, and Luka Modric on the team, as well as Eden Hazard who spent most of the awards season with Chelsea.

Juve’s Ronaldo is joined by Matthijs de Ligt, who led Ajax’s long UCL run before leaving for Turin.

Kylian Mbappe helps shut the attacks of Man City and Liverpool out of the team. Not one player from Germany or the Bundesliga was named to the team.

  • Alisson Becker (BRA) – Liverpool
  • Matthijs de Ligt (NED) – Ajax / Juventus
  • Sergio Ramos (ESP) – Real Madrid
  • Virgil van Dijk (NED) – Liverpool
  • Marcelo (BRA) – Real Madrid
  • Luka Modric (CRO) – Real Madrid
  • Frenkie de Jong (NED) – Ajax/Barcelona
  • Eden Hazard (BEL) – Chelsea/ Real Madrid
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) – Juventus
  • Kylian Mbappe (FRA) – Paris Saint-Germain
  • Lionel Messi (ARG) – Barcelona

Leeds, Bielsa win Fair Play honor at FIFA’s The Best awards

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Well this is peak FIFA.

Football’s governing body has just awarded Leeds United and much-admired manager Marcelo Bielsa its FIFA Fair Play award at its 2019 The Best awards ceremony in Milan.

[ MORE: Klopp wins manager award ]

The reason the Whites won the award is understandable, if you just ignore the fact that they were publicly caught cheating months earlier… and that the “fair play” moment came after an extremely questionable play which led to a brawl.

The win comes for Bielsa’s decision in late April, when his player Mateusz Klich scored a goal despite Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodija being injured on the pitch.

Bielsa instructed his players to allow Villa to tie the match after a post-goal fight saw a red card to Anwar El Ghazi.

Fair play? Sure, and Leeds kissed goodbye its slim hopes of finishing in automatic promotion place in the Championship.

However, Leeds was also caught monitoring Derby County training sessions, leading to Bielsa to admit in January that he had spied “all the rivals” that season.

I mean, who were the other nominees? Jose Callejon and the Turkish player who fouled players with a sharp object during play?

Bielsa admitted this during an extraordinary Powerpoint session for media members in England which showed the maniacal depths of his preparation, which curried a lot of favor with the media and fans.

Yes, even though he admitted Leeds cheated the whole season.

He also said, “I thought I wasn’t violating the norm,” which is ridiculous.

Now of course we should be too pious, either; A whole lot of teams cheat in this way and football is a cutthroat game. Bielsa is a managerial legend and loved by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, and Jorge Sampaoli.

Jurgen Klopp wins FIFA’s The Best men’s manager

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Jurgen Klopp has been named the top manager in the world for the past season at FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony on Monday in Milan, Italy.

The UEFA Champions League-winning manager beat out Premier League winner Pep Guardiola of Manchester City and UCL finalist Mauricio Pochettino of Spurs.

[ WATCH: FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony ]

Klopp, of course, was magnanimous in victory.

 “It is great, nobody expected this 20, 10, five, four years ago that I would be standing here,” Klopp said. “We know what an incredible job Mauricio Pochettino did and what Pep did.”

He thanked the owners and players of his club.

“To the owners thank you, they gave me an incredible team. I have to thank my team – as a coach you can only be as good as your team is. I’m really proud of being manager of such an incredible bunch of players. This is an individual prize, I don’t 100% understand individual prizes, I’m here for a lot of people.”

Good for Klopp.

Watch Live: FIFA’s The Best awards 2019

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FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony takes place in Milan, Italy on Tuesday as the top players and managers on the planet will be crowned.

The ceremony starts at 2:30 p.m. ET and you can watch it live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes (click on the link below).

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo are the three nominees to be crowned the best male player on the planet.

USWNT duo Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are up for the top female award, as is England’s Lucy Bronze.

Outgoing USWNT head coach Jill Ellis is the favorite to land the award for the best coach in the women’s game, while Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino are all among the candidates to be named the best managers in the men’s game.

Click on the link above to watch the glitzy ceremony from Milan as plenty of other awards, like the Puskas Award for the best goal scored in the world, will be dished out.