Germany formation against Ghana sheds light on Klinsmann’s roots

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When the German formation to play Ghana was released, there was a striking familiarity to it.

If you noticed it too, that’s because US fans have seen it before.

Jurgen Klinsmann played exactly the same 4-3-2-1 formation in their match against Ghana, as well as against Nigeria in the final friendly of the send-off series.

In fact, it’s so similar, you can pick out direct comparisons in player styles between the two teams.

The official match printout doesn’t hide the similarities, with even the layout exactly the same:

After the game, the Germans described their formation as a 4-2-3-1, but viewing the players involved, and you can see the direct correlation.

Philipp Lahm in the holding role = Kyle Beckerman.  Tony Kroos at the wing, a player who can run a lot and play both forward and back = Alejandro Bedoya. Sami Khedira, normally a defensive midfielder tasked with clogging the middle on defense and stretching wide on offense = Jermaine Jones.

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Then you move forward.  Mesut Ozil, known for his dynamic abilities and versatility = Clint Dempsey. Mario Gotze (while this isn’t the best of comparisons) is an attacking midfielder who relies on creativity through the middle to produce for teammates = Michael Bradley.

Obviously there’s a gap in quality, but the styles are almost exactly the same in every position.

Now the question becomes, did Germany use this layout thanks to the US victory over Ghana, or is it something they’ve utilized in the past? The answer is it’s been used before, as they employed the exact same lineup in the 4-0 victory over Portugal.

So, as we can see, while Klinsmann has been successful molding his abilities and coaching styles to the players available to him in the United States, there are still German roots he taps into on occasion, and the victory over Ghana was one of them.

The downfall for Germany came in their midfield.  Philipp Lahm and Sami Khedira both had a poor games in their holding roles. They combined for just one lone tackle completed, and their marking was poor, which allowed Ghana to build better chances up the middle.

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In comparison, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman combined for seven tackles and two interceptions, and Jones was a beast in the air.  As a result, if forced Ghana much further wide. In addition, Toni Kroos had a great game passing, but his side was vulnerable to the Ghanian attack, and they took advantage:

source:
Photo credit: FourFourTwo
source:
Photo credit: FourFourTwo

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, there was much more available for Ghana in the middle against Germany, and everything against the United States came from out wide.

It could be argued that in this formation that’s obviously rooted in German soccer, the United States deployed it better than the origins of the style.

The goal was a war of attrition against the Ghanians, and the United States won, whereas the Germans couldn’t pull it off.

Premier League clubs vote VAR into use for 2019-20 season

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It’s been inevitable for quite some time, but now it’s official: video review will be used in the Premier League when the 2019-20 season kicks off next August.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

20 of 20 current PL clubs voted on Thursday to confirm the use of the modern technology beginning next season.

The Bundesliga and Serie A began using the video assistant referee (VAR) at the start of the 2017-18 season, and have continued (successful) operation of the system in 2018-19. Major League Soccer introduced the protocol two-thirds of the way through its 2017 season, to far greater degrees of varying success. La Liga is set to begin use of VAR next season as well.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

VAR was first used in the English game last season, when select FA Cup fixtures were used as test runs, while the same is being done in the EFL Cup this season.

Chelsea expected to let Cahill leave on loan in January

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Gary Cahill is no longer first-choice at Chelsea — anything but, in fact, as he’s played just 21 minutes in the Premier League this season — and the club is prepared to allow its captain to leave on loan in January as a reward for six years of excellent service, according to a report from the Guardian.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

New Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has used Cahill sparingly thus far — even leaving him out of the 18-man team for Sunday’s draw with Everton — but has praised the 32-year-old for his professionalism and influence as a valued member inside the locker room. For those reasons, Sarri is prepared to do right by one of the club’s most senior members as Cahill seeks regular first-team minutes.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

Cahill’s current contract is set to expire in the summer of 2020, thus a loan in January and an ensuing permanent transfer this coming summer represents the club’s final opportunity to recoup a small fee for a player who will surely garner plenty of interest from within the PL. Having paid under $9 million to sign him from Bolton in January 2012, Chelsea have gotten pretty good value for their initial investment, including two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and one Champions League and Europa League title each during Cahill’s spell at the club.

U.S. U-20 men one win from World Cup

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One win.

That’s all the United States’ U-20 men’s national team will need to advance to this summer’s World Cup in Poland and the Pan-American Games in Peru.

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The Yanks cruised through group play with a nearly perfect nine days of soccer, the closest of five wins a 6-1 defeat of Trinidad and Tobago.

Competition is a bit tougher in the knockout stage, but Costa Rica and Honduras did the U.S. a massive solid by drawing 1-1 in their opener.

Now Tab Ramos’ kids can qualify for the World Cup with a defeat of Costa Rica on Friday or Honduras on Monday.

The top two teams in each group qualify for Poland, while the Group A winner advances to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship to face the winner of Group B (Mexico, El Salvador, or Panama).

The U.S. has spread the scoring around, lead by 17-year-old Ulysses Lainez of LA Galaxy II (six goals). His former Galaxy Academy buddy, Alexis Mendez of Freiburg has five goals, as does Toronto FC 18-year-old Ayo Akinola.

Atlanta United sits atop Forbes’ list of most valuable MLS franchises

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Atlanta United came up just short of the Supporters’ Shield, but it’s off-the-field success is No. 1 with a bullet.

Giving high marks to attendance and merchandise sales, Forbes places the Five Stripes atop its list of the most valuable franchises in Major League Soccer.

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United sits first, with a valuation of $330 million. Both Atlanta and the second place Galaxy have valuations ahead of the two-least valuable teams combined (Columbus and Colorado). And the Five Stripes are worth twice the individual values of those teams and Vancouver. Full list here, from Forbes.com:

“Last season, average home-game attendance was 48,200, and this year the team is drawing over 50,000 fans per game. In just two seasons Atlanta has already laid claim to the league’s eight best-attended games ever, and nine of the top eleven.”

The margins are fine, relatively speaking, with Atlanta’s advantage over second place LA Galaxy by $10 million. Seattle is third at $310m, with newcomers LAFC at $305m, and Toronto FC at $290m.