More tweaks: Beasley, Beckerman, Bedoya in for the United States

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source:  Go ahead and speculate as to what kind of shape this will take, but with Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya coming into Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup, the United States look set to change its look today in Jacksonville, Fla. Along with left back DaMarcus Beasley, the midfielders are part of the three changes the U.S. makes to its starting XI for today’s match against Nigeria.

Tim Howard remains in goal, while three of the four places in defense are the same. Matt Besler will partner Geoff Cameron in the middle, while Fabian Johnson has become a lock at right back. On the left, however, Timothy Chandler, who struggled last week against Turkey, gives way to Beasley, the favorite to start June 16 against Ghana.

The big changes to the team take place in midfield. Brad Davis, who picked up an injury in training this week, has been dropped from the starting lineup, as has fellow Major League Soccer star Graham Zusi. In their place, Kyle Beckerman, who rarely operates outside of a holding role, comes in at the base of midfield, with Nantes’s Alejandro Bedoya taking the other starting spot.

With Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley still in the lineup, the choices make it unclear how the U.S. will set up in midfield. Against both Azerbaijan and Turkey, U.S. Soccer applied the “diamond” misnomer to the midfield’s configuration. Unless Jones moves to one of the “diamond’s” flanks, the U.S. will change things up against Nigeria.

Up top, the choices remain the same, with captain Clint Dempsey picked to start along side Jozy Altidore. If, however, Klinsmann is changing his set up to a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, Dempsey is unlikely to stay close to his normal strike partner. Instead, the Seattle Sounders attacker could be pushed into a wider role.

Kickoff in Jacksonville will take place just after 6:00 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have full coverage of the result at the final whistle.

Mexico receives FIFA fine for insulting chant

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FIFA handed a $10,400 fine down to Mexico on Wednesday for “discriminatory and insulting chants” that occurred during El Tri’s 1-0 victory over Germany.

[ MORE: Spain tops Iran after overruled goal ]

The FIFA disciplinary committee reportedly levied the fine to Mexico for directing a derogatory chant towards German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) with a fine of CHF 10,000 for the misconduct of a group of Mexican fans (cf. art. 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code) in relation to discriminatory and insulting chants during the first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match played between Germany and Mexico,” FIFA declared in a press release.

The Mexican Football Federation has aimed to eliminate an ongoing epidemic of homophobic chants that supporters have screamed during goal kicks for some time.

El Tri was sanctioned 12 times during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for those chants.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.