Player ratings: Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman impress in USMNT’s 2-1 loss to Colombia

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The US national team continued a disturbing trend of conceding late goals (nine in nine games after the 80th minute) in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of current FIFA No. 3-ranked Colombia on Friday (highlights above). A handful of players showed well for 45 minutes, and then fell off.

This is how I rated the 16 players who saw the field.

Starters:

Brad Guzan, GK — 6.0: While not heavily tested in the first half, Guzan calmly guided a center back pairing featuring a learning-on-the-job convert and a 21-year-old with seven total caps to a 45-minute shutout. The defense looked solid in the first half, and then the second half happened, for which Guzan was largely not at fault.

DeAndre Yedlin, RB — 5.5 : Oh yeah, Yedlin played in this game. Relatively quiet — meaning few moments where he looked lost defensively — which is usually a good thing for a 21-year old, though the bulk of Colombia’s attack came down the USMNT’s left.

[WATCH: Jozy Altidore’s first-half goal ]

Jermaine Jones, CM masquerading at CB — 5.0 : He was fine for 45 minutes without much to do, but was massively out of position for Colombia’s first goal and more than a full second late seeing and closing down the run that led to the game-winner. Once he got there, he did well to block the initial cross, but it was pretty much over the second Edwin Cardona took his first touch that close to the 6-yard box. Can you really blame Jones, though? He’s not a center back. Him playing there rests at the feet of someone else.

source:
John Brooks, vs. Colombia — Getty Images

John Brooks, CB — 6.5 : At fault for neither of the goals and a 17-time winner of the ball in this one, Brooks gave maybe his best full-game performance of his short USMNT career.

Greg Garza, LB — 5.5 : After three promising outings in a row, he finally had a bit of a stinker in this one. Not entirely his fault as Johnson, the winger ahead of him, was a train wreck and left him with lots of 1-v-2 defending in space against a superbly talented Colombian counter-attack. Garza is still only an OK defender, but very good going forward.

Kyle Beckerman, CM — 7.5: His left-footed chipped ball onto the head of Rubin in the 37th minute was a thing of beauty. An inch or two lower, Rubin gets his head on it and scores. Beckerman operates so comfortably on every level of the midfield and could very well make the 2018 World Cup team at age 36.

[ RELATED: Three things learned from USA vs. Colombia at Craven Cottage ]

Mix Diskerud, CM — 5.0: First things first, we’re halfway through the month and that mustache gets a 10/10. By Dec. 1, it might be worthy of a Ballon d’Or nomination. Otherwise, Diskerud struggled on Friday, losing the ball time and again, and watching opponents dribble by as if he wasn’t there.

Alejandro Bedoya, RW — 6.5: Bedoya’s set-piece and open-play service was maybe the best he’s ever shown for the USMNT. Rubin’s second should-have-scored moment came in the 47th minute when Bedoya clipped a perfectly weighted ball to the Colombian back post and Rubin headed inches wide.

Fabian Johnson, LW — 4.5: As the right back, Johnson was superb — perhaps the USMNT’s best player — at the World Cup. As a winger on Friday, he was anything but. His number one job had to be to pin back Juan Cuadrado and Santiago Arias, Colombia’s right midfielder and right back, respectively. He didn’t do that, and he gave the ball away continuously.

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Rubio Rubin, vs. Colombia — Getty Images

Rubio Rubin, FW — 5.5: Should have scored once — maybe twice — which certainly hurts his overall marks, but was dangerous on too many occasions to simply write off this 18-year-old making his senior-team debut. The FC Utrecht youngster combined very well with Altidore, who holds the ball up and drags defenders across the backline. Rubin showed a great understanding of how to fill those vacated spaces created by Altidore. He’s still got a long way to go, but early signs look good.

Jozy Altidore, FW — 7.0: Scoring a goal doesn’t automatically equate a “good performance” for a forward, in my mind — there’s so many other facets to the position: holding the ball up, linking play and running the channels — but in Altidore’s case, anytime he scores it’s big news, even if it’s and extremely nervy penalty kick. Outside of the goal, he was a beast for the Colombian defenders to deal with. He earned himself a look from some forward-starved teams in Europe.

Subs:

Bobby Wood — 5.0: Had the USMNT’s best chance of the second half, but was turned away by Camilo Vargas, one-on-one with the Colombian goalkeeper. It was the kind of chance a young forward hoping to continue earning future call-ups has to finish, and he didn’t.

Alfredo Morales — N/A: Not enough action to rate.

DaMarcus Beasley — N/A: Not enough action to rate.

Lee Nguyen — 6.0: He was the only reason to get excited for this game, so we’re going to critique his cameo and cry out for more USMNT minutes, and soon, regardless. Had one moment of involvement in attacking buildup, and made the most of it. This clever backheel flick created Wood’s 1-v-1 chance. Three players in the USMNT player pool try and frequently enough pull off that move: Diskerud, Clint Dempsey and Nguyen. We’ll see you in January camp, Lee, where you’ll have a chance to earn a first-team starting spot.

Julian Green — N/A: Not enough action to rate.

WATCH: Hartford Athletic scores wild 90th-minute winner

Hartford Athletic goal
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It’s very rare in this age full of soccer on our screens that we catch a goal of unique ingenuity.

The USL Championship delivered the goods on Wednesday.

Hartford Athletic had blown a two-goal lead to Philadelphia Union II on Wednesday and was staring down a 2-2 draw when Danny Barrera swung into action.

[ REPORT: Spurs land Mourinho’s “top target” ]

Well, perhaps he lunged into action. Or flailed. On third thought, swung is good.

Heck, you pick the verb.

Barrera, 30, turned Philadelphia goalkeeper Mitchell Budler into a gift horse, reacting quickly to flick his back boot into the path of the keeper’s attempted outlet throw in the 90th minute.

The 81st-minute sub became the match-winning goalscorer off the play, which gives him two goals and seven assists on the season.

Hartford has 32 points and is a point off table-leading Tampa Bay Rowdies with one match to play. Second-place Louisville City is also on 32 points and Pittsburgh Riverhounds have 31.

Hartford may be able to look back at Barrera’s goal as the surprise three points that swung a title race in its favor.

Leeds – Manchester City: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

Leeds - Manchester City
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Leeds – Manchester City: It’s been so far, so good for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds in their return to the Premier League, but a visit from Man City to Elland Road is a stiffer test (Watch live at 12:30 pm ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Leeds fell 4-3 to Liverpool on Opening Day but has since beaten Fulham and Sheffield United to sit top half of the table in this very young Premier League season.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Man City fell 5-2 to Leicester City at home last weekend after beating Wolves to start their PL season. A midweek clean sheet of Burnley shows that Pep Guardiola’s men aren’t dead, and the Catalan mastermind will relish the chance to match wits with a man he hails as a role model in Bielsa.

Guardiola once called Bielsa the best manager in the world.

“Winning titles helps to have a job next season but at the end of your life, what you remember is not the titles you have won, what you remember is the memories you have and whether the manager taught you a lot,” Guardiola once said when asked about Bielsa. “What we remember are the experiences and the memories, the players you have had, the managers you have had. Marcelo is at the top of the list. Absolutely at the top of the list.”


Team news for Leeds – Manchester City (INJURY REPORT)

Leeds will not have emerging star winger Jack Harrison, who is in his second season on loan to the club from Man City and ineligible to play against his parent club. Gaetano Berardi (knee), Adam Forshaw (groin), Pablo Hernandez (groin) are on the injured list.

Things are getting better for Manchester City, who got Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva back in a midweek League Cup win over Burnley. Still out are Gabriel Jesus (undisclosed), Sergio Aguero (knee), Joao Cancelo (foot), Ilkay Gundogan (COVID-19), and Oleksandr Zinchenko (undisclosed).


What they’re saying

Leeds’ young goalkeeper Illan Meslier on keeping a clean sheet: “I’m happy because in the last game against Fulham I felt I could have saved the last two goals, but against Sheffield I saved two important chances and we arrived at half time at 0-0 which was important. It is just one game though, and we are focused on the next game now and then the one after that. For the spectators I think 4-3 games are better, but for the team and me it is better one-nil. We managed to do that on Sunday and win the game so it is all good.”

Man City boss Guardiola on new signing Ruben Dias: “We know Ruben Dias’s personality and I am sure he will be an incredible player for the next six or seven years. We’re very happy to have him. Our back four are now a young team. We start training tomorrow and get going as quick as possible.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

This line has probably become a lot tighter than it would’ve been in August since Leeds has burst onto the scene while Man City has been up-and-down (relatively speaking). Leeds is +675 to win at home and +440 to draw, while City is -290 to collect all three points.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Leeds – Manchester City prediction

Leeds is a talented side and only getting better and deeper in terms of talent and experience. And Bielsa can plan for any opposition. But injured or not, City still has Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Raheem Sterling, and more. Man City 3-1.


How to watch Leeds – Manchester City stream and start time

Kickoff: 12:30 pm ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Manchester United – Tottenham: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

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Manchester United – Tottenham: Jose Mourinho’s latest Premier League project waltzes into his previous stop when Tottenham Hotspur visits Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Both clubs boast midweek wins in the League Cup, though Tottenham’s Thursday visit from Europa League foes Maccabi Haifa have complicated Mourinho’s planning for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Tottenham may have a new striker in the fold, with reports claiming the North Londoners have loaned Mourinho’s No. 1 target, Carlos Vinicius, from Benfica.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer has grown frustrated of answering questions on United’s transfer activity with days to go in the window.


Team news for Manchester United – Tottenham (INJURY REPORT)

Same old, same old for United, which is still dealing with long-term injuries to Axel Tuanzebe (ankle) and Phil Jones (knee).

Tottenham is still waiting for Gareth Bale to regain full fitness after a knee injury, while Heung-min Son is unlikely to play Sunday but manager Jose Mourinho was unwilling to completely rule the South Korean out.


What they’re saying

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Man Utd’s transfer activity“I can’t give you any news. We are working with what we have got. We have a big squad. If there is any update, we will let you know. I don’t comment on other teams’ players. I can’t concern myself with other clubs. I know the club is working well and hard to have a strong squad as possible. Sometimes speculation is there and we can’t control that.”

Spurs’ boss Mourinho on midweek League Cup win over Chelsea“We were ready to fight, I told you. I told the players before the penalties that they were magnificent in the second half, we made Chelsea look ordinary. The team waited for the right moment…. I have to think about three games at the same time but the players only thought about this game, they were phenomenal. Phenomenal.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Man United is -108 to win while visiting Spurs register a +290 odds to get all three points against Jose Mourinho’s former club. A draw nets the bettor +260.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Manchester United – Tottenham prediction

Tottenham’s looked the superior team in all competitions so far, though United’s stars have yet to really fire on all cylinders aside from Bruno Fernandes. The variables for this weekend, however, favor United. Spurs will have played Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday while United played Saturday-Tuesday. If Old Trafford was full of screaming fans we might expect a little more advantage for a home side, too. Son’s absence looms large, though, and that will tilt the scales from a 2-2 draw to a 2-1 Man United win.


How to watch Manchester United – Tottenham stream and start time

Kickoff: 11:30 am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Report: Tottenham lands Mourinho’s No. 1 striker target from Benfica

Carlos Vinicius to Tottenham
Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images
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If Gareth Bale doesn’t have “it” anymore, then Jose Mourinho’s gonna have other options.

Heck, even if he does.

Tottenham will soon announce the signing of Benfica striker Carlos Vinicius on a one-year loan and $50 million-plus option-to-buy after the season.

[ MORE: Champions League draw preview ]

Not to be confused with Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior, Carlos Vinicius is a 25-year-old Brazilian striker coming off a career-year in Portugal.

Vinicius scored 23 times with 13 assists in a breakout 2019-20 season, his 18 league goals tied for the Portuguese top flight lead with teammate Pizzi and Rio Ave’s Mehdi Taremi.

He’s also comfortable coming off the bench, scoring those six of his 18 league goals in substitute performances.

[ MORE: Mourinho on League Cup defeat of Chelsea ]

Football.London reporter Alasdair Gold says Vinicius was Jose Mourinho’s No. 1 summer target but the price tag was too high earlier in the window.

Vinicius used to belong to Napoli but twice went out on loan, one of those a 16-appearance, 2-goal campaign for Monaco in Ligue 1.

The player shares an agency with Cristiano Ronaldo, Ederson, Ruben Neves, Ruben Dias, and Matt Doherty.