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.

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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.

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

Pochettino upset with attacking stars, speaks on Eriksen status

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Mauricio Pochettino might’ve understood Tottenham Hotspur dropping points last week at Man City, but he didn’t plan on not taking anything from Newcastle United on Sunday at home.

“You need the capacity to step up in this type of situation but we didn’t show that quality today,” Pochettino said. “When the ball arrives in the last third you need something from the talent and quality we have there and today we didn’t have that.”

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle | Bruce reacts ]

So that’s pretty straight forward, but Pochettino was less happy to answer the question of why he didn’t start Christian Eriksen. Some (read: this writer) have questioned the philosophy of putting a man you may sell for $50 million on the bench. Either put him in the Starting XI and risk him, or leave him off the 18.

“When you lose, the players who don’t play are the best. With Christian we win and we lose a lot of games. I accept that situation is like this. If we won 3-0 today no one talks about different names.

“I cannot find excuses about the transfer window being open to justify that performance or the result. We cannot find the way to be solid and to have consistency for different reasons. I am going to be happy in 10 days after we play Arsenal when the transfer window closes in Europe and to have the player involved until the transfer window again in January.”

We’re not gonna read too much into it, but it does sound a bit like Pochettino is daring teams to bid for Eriksen. Would it make sense for him to hold onto Eriksen until January before cashing in?

Newcastle’s Bruce heard criticism, happy to beat Spurs

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Steve Bruce heard a lot of the criticism from fans upon his hiring at Newcastle United, and it rang out louder after the Magpies started 0-2 including a loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle ]

He may well hear plenty more down the road, but the childhood Newcastle supporter was feeling relieved and maybe redeemed after a fortunate and wonderful 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed. I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.”

Newcastle faces struggling Watford at St. James’ Park next week, and another result will ease a lot of nerves (though certainly not all of them.

Wolves snatch late point versus Burnley

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Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]