Why public spat between Don Garber, Jurgen Klinsmann is good for soccer in USA

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When you first heard or read Don Garber’s riposte to Jurgen Klinsmann on Thursday, admit it, you were a little bit gobsmacked.

It’s okay, most people were.

In the hours which have passed since, everyone is still picking up the pieces from one of the biggest damnation’s in U.S. soccer history.

[RELATED: Garber slams Klinsmann’s comments]

Within moments “Garber” was trending on Twitter as the Commissioner of Major League Soccer questioned the head coach of the U.S. national team and came out all guns blazing to defend the league he has helped nurture and flourish over the past 15 years.

In case you missed what started all this, during the USA’s recent international break Klinsmann called out Clint Dempsey Michael Bradley publicly and insisted his players back in MLS “must do better.” Klinsmann suggested that promotion and relegation could be a good move forward for the U.S. soccer pyramid and claimed that the current level of play in MLS was holding some of his players back.

Garber issued a conference call, then issued the following damning comments about the head coach of the USMNT:

  • “Jurgen’s comments are very, very detrimental to our league. They’re detrimental to the sport of soccer in America and everything we’re trying do north of the border. And not only are they detrimental, I think they’re wrong.”

  • “Sending a negative message to any player that signing with Major League Soccer is not going to be good for their career or good for their form, is incredibly detrimental to Major League Soccer. When we have a national team coach who in essence is telling players when they sign with our league that it is not going to be good for their career – and not going to be perceived well by the national team coach who is selecting the US national team – that is incredibly damaging to our league.”

  • “[Klinsmann] has done a great job with the national team, but he needs to think very, very hard about how he manages himself publicly, and how he should motivate players that are playing in our league.”

In retrospect, perhaps Garber airing the dirty laundry of MLS and U.S. soccer out in public (including how the treatment of Landon Donovan was “inexcusable” by Klinsmann) wasn’t the best idea. It certainly didn’t show either figure in their best light. However, some good may come out of this.

[RELATED: Klinsmann says Bradley has to prove his MLS move wasn’t a step back]

Both Garber and Klinsmann are incredibly influential men for the future of soccer in the United States of America. I believe both have the same goal: to improve the stature of the game in the USA, both globally and domestically.

Here comes the kicker: Garber wants to do it through MLS, Klinsmann wants to do it through the USMNT. What this public falling out may do is help galvanize U.S. soccer and MLS and force them to work together closer than ever before to solve this differences.

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Klinsmann publicly hit out at Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey after their moves back to MLS.

Many may think Garber’s comments were rash, too strong or slightly strange, but he is making it public knowledge that we are at a pretty pivotal point in MLS’ future. With more clubs coming on board (Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, New York City FC and more in the next three to four years) the league is growing exponentially and it could be a big gamble. With U.S. soccer on board, MLS can go from strength to strength but Klinsmann’s latest comments seem to suggest he is sending out quite the opposite message to players either in MLS, or overseas.

We have seen a huge number of USMNT players return to MLS in recent months with Dempsey, Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Clarence Goodson, and Michael Parkhurst to name a few, plus the likes of Graham Zusi and Matt Besler turning down moves abroad to help MLS grow. But Klinsmann’s comments will make other U.S. players think twice before signing in MLS, or staying there.

[RELATED: Media, fans react to Garber’s comments]

Garber spoke about his close relationship with U.S. soccer president Sunil Gulati in the conference call and as a director of U.S. Soccer himself, Garber is, obviously, heavily invested in the success of the U.S. national team. If these comments from Garber get him, Gulati and Klinsmann in the same room sometime soon to discuss their issues, work them out and try to work in unison moving forward, then it was all worth it.

The big worry is that as long as Klinsmann is in charge of the USMNT, a divide will continue to grow between the national team and MLS. Middle ground needs to be reached, rapidly, but now we know where both parties stand. Everything is out in the open and how things move forward can now be closely monitored. Both sides will want to resolve this ‘dispute’ amicably but it will take plenty of willing to negotiate as topics such a promotion and relegation aren’t things you discuss lightly.

For me, the fact that we are talking about these issues suggests that both Klinsmann and Garber should be applauded for their leadership, direction and guts. In the aim of making soccer in the USA better, both domestically and on the international level, they are standing up for what they believe in. Rightly or wrongly, this is a key discussion to be having as new ideas need to be implemented and boundaries still need to be pushed in U.S. soccer circles for it to reach its true potential. These type of issues need to be discussed. Right here, right now.

If Garber and Klinsmann can now come together and mesh their ideas, work as one and put their difference of opinion aside, soccer across the USA will benefit. Despite the disparaging comments from both sides, plenty of good can come from this.

USMNT reportedly opens contract talks with Gregg Berhalter; Good or bad idea?

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Gregg Berhalter may be sticking around the United States men’s national team program, giving the USMNT coaching continuity as it moves from 2022 World Cup Round of 16 member to 2026 World Cup co-host.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle says that Berhalter is beginning contract discussions with the United States Soccer Federation but also interested in taking a job in Europe with his profile having risen alongside the USMNT at the World Cup.

Berhalter’s current contract ends at the end of the calendar year, and the Yanks have scheduled a domestic camp in January and friendlies against Serbia and Colombia.

[ MORE: USMNT transfer rumors for Musah, Dest ]

Berhalter has done some good things for the program, most notably winning the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup with two different groups. He also straightened out the defending, for the most part, and got out of the World Cup group.

Berhalter successfully recruited Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah, two of the program’s stars at the World Cup. He also convinced Malik Tillman, Gaga Slonina, and Jesus Ferreira that the U.S. was the right place for their national team futures.

He also, subjectively, was slow if not downright stubborn in acquiesing to certain points-of-view that made the team better. From Tyler Adams as a right back at the outset of his tenure to saying Tim Ream didn’t fit how he wanted to play about a month before the World Cup… then playing him every minute of the tournament.

But for the most part when lessons were learned, they stayed learned.

Should Gregg Berhalter continue as USMNT boss?

Let’s start here, because it’s necessary: It’s clear that Berhalter cared about his players and the project, whether you like the way he operated or not. This wasn’t a half-assed operation, but one with passion.

So does he still have that passion? Only he can answer that, and if he’d like to get more matchdays in his life then maybe he does want to go back to the club game.

And frankly, that’s fine either way, because his four years with the program were neither amazing nor pitiful. They can be described as anything from a slight disappointment to a minor success, depending on your perspective and expectations.

If you believe that picking up the pieces from the absolute travesty that was failing to qualify for the World Cup from the richest nation and one of the two most talented nations amongst CONCACAF men’s programs was really hard, then you think Berhalter getting the men to the 2022 World Cup and surviving the group with a young group was a solid step in the right direction and a minor success.

If you believe that the American soccer climate is such that you should always make the World Cup out of one of the world’s lesser confederations and that the Yanks progressed as the second team of a group in which they were the second-ranked team according to FIFA and Elo Ratings, well, you can have a different standard.

The Yanks will never again fail to qualify for the World Cup given the expanded field, but hosts have historically had a drastically-improved chance to reach the semifinals. THe federation would have to be confident that picking the best squad regardless of how it reflects on his previous selections — let alone a Best XI — is going to happen under a given coach.

Berhalter’s 49 and is far from the worst or best boss in USMNT history. Whoever’s in the job four years from now will have a chance to go down as either one. Choose wisely, fed. And Gregg! Who knows how far his star could rise with a solid run in Europe, and history says there will be the chance to reconnect with the USMNT job.

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Premier League table, 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

We’re at the 2022 World Cup break, and the final few rounds of Premier League fixtures caused so many shocks.

Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest.

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United are locked in a battle for the top four, while Liverpool have improved and will be back in the Champions League scrap and Chelsea are struggling.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Who are the early-season candidates for relegation?

Newly promoted Nottingham Forest moved off the bottom of the table with a win before the break, with Wolves and Southampton currently occupying the other two relegation places.

Leicester have picked up a few big wins, while West Ham, Everton and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom-three after a topsy-turvy start.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – Matchweek 16

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England vs France: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Match 59 of the 2022 World Cup features a pair of European heavyweights duking it out for a place in the semifinals when England faces France on Saturday.

Didier Deschamps’ France is bidding to become a back-to-back World Cup winner, but Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions are tournament-hardened and have shown their explosive nature three times this tournament.

STREAM ENGLAND vs FRANCE LIVE

France beat Poland 3-1 in its Round of 16 match while England overcame a dodgy start to pound Senegal 3-0.

Neither team can say its faced a test like this in the tournament, and this could be a fantastic fight in Qatar.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for England vs France.


How to watch England vs France live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday, December 1
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

England will look to Harry Kane, though the question remains who will flank the Tottenham center forward. Marcus Rashford’s been very good but Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden got the starting spots against Senegal and it paid off for Southgate.

Kylian Mbappe has been borderline unstoppable and will test Harry Maguire, John Stones, and friends and Antoine Griezmann pulls the strings in behind and Aurelien Tchouameni continues to strengthen his reputation in the center of the pitch.


England quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Pickford

France quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann

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Croatia vs Brazil: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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World Cup-savvy Croatia stands in the way of stylish Brazil’s pursuit of a sixth World Cup crown, and the pair promise a complex match-up on Friday in Al Rayyan.

Match 58 of the 2022 World Cup kicks off the quarterfinals as Neymar leads Tite’s star-studded CONMEBOL powers into a match against the 2018 runners-up.

STREAM CROATIA vs BRAZIL LIVE

Croatia got past Japan in penalties and will now dream of the two wins that could set it back in the final where France could again be waiting for a juicy rematch.

Croatia needed penalties to get past Japan in the Round of 16, while Brazil pasted South Korea 4-1.  Croatia has never beaten Brazil in four meetings, losing at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Croatia vs Brazil.


How to watch Croatia vs Brazil live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Friday, December 9
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic was fantastic in penalties versus Japan to get here, but Luka Modric continues to do the things that get Croatia out of trouble and puts the opponents into heaps of it. Josko Gvardiola has arguably been the defender of the tournament, and the 20-year-old looks to test his mettle again against the Selecao.

Pick a Brazil player who’s failed to impress and you’ve achieved a mighty feat. Neymar’s been fantastic when healthy while RIcharlison is in serious pursuit of the Golden Boot. Alisson Becker flexed his muscles once or twice versus South Korea and figures to be busier as the competition continues to heat up in Qatar.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol

Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Follow @NicholasMendola