Three things we learned from USA vs. Colombia at Craven Cottage

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LONDON — Following the USA’s late 2-1 defeat to Colombia at Craven Cottage on Friday, the U.S. withstood plenty of heavy pressure from Los Cafeteros after an early goal but Jurgen Klinsmann’s men couldn’t hold on for a point.

[ RELATED: USA 1-2 Colombia ]

Just as Klinsmann hoped, we learned plenty about the U.S. in this test against the No.3-ranked team in the world as his defense almost held the South Americans at a packed Craven Cottage.

Here’s three things we learned about the USA down on the banks of the River Thames.

Late goals continue to hurt the USMNT’s progress

In their last nine games the U.S. national team have given up nine goals in the final 10 minutes of matches. That says it all. In their last three internationals they have gone ahead and have not won a game and as we saw at the World Cup, the USA are eager to protect a lead whenever they get one rather than kick on and put the opposition to bed. This ominous Tweet from Matt Doyle set the scene for Bacca’s late winner at Craven Cottage…

How many more times are we going to see the USA drop deeper and deeper to give up leads? They dropped way too deep against a talented Colombian outfit and invited pressure time and time again. There was only going to be one outcome. Despite the best efforts of John Brooks, Jermaine Jones and Brad Guzan, Colombia finally found a way to net two goals in the final 30 minutes. The way the U.S. have been playing lately, what else did we expect?

Altidore at it for the USA, once again

All week in practice Jozy Altidore looked like a man on a mission. On Friday he captained Jurgen Klinsmann’s team at Craven Cottage and put them ahead after 10 minutes from the penalty spot. Altidore almost doubled his teams lead soon after with a header and was a willing runner in the channels all evening. With 18-year-old Rubio Rubin up alongside him, Altidore led the charge and infuriated the partisan Colombian fans who made up over 90 percent of the crowd at the Cottage. He bullied Colombia’s defense with powerful running and clever hold up play and gave a reminder to Sunderland manager Gus Poyet what he is capable of. One question was running through my mind during this back-to-the-walls performance from the USA: what if Altidore had been fit at the World Cup?

After the game I asked Klinsmann about Altidore’s performance and he said “he would have been good for 4 or 5 goals” at the World Cup this summer had he been fit.

Young full backs Garza, Yedlin prove they are ready

In a hostile environment on foreign soil against a team ranked No.3 in the world, DeAndre Yedlin and Greg Garza did not look out of place on Friday. Yedlin got to use his blistering pace to support Alejandro Bedoya down the right, while Club Tijuana’s Garza put in a solid shift on the left as he helped lock down one of the stars of the World Cup, Juan Cuadrado. Yedlin’s pace created problems for Pablo Armero and Colombia but his crossing needs to improve. On three occasions in the first half Yedlin clipped balls too long when a quick look up should have resulted in a pull back. He will learn that with time and was pushed forward to the right wing by Klinsmann for the second half. The USA’s two young full backs put in a promising display and proved they could be the go-to guys moving forward.

Jovic could see himself in Premier League, Serie A

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Maybe Luka Jovic’s presumed move to Real Madrid won’t happen this summer.

Or at all.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard price ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt striker has been tipped for a move away from the Bundesliga after another strong campaign, and taking the center forward reins from Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

Several outlets reported the deal as done, but Jovic isn’t speaking that way (or at least the Serbian is throwing us off the scent.

From Goal.com:

“In terms of the physique, the Bundesliga is very demanding, but after the games against Chelsea or Inter Milan, I personally had the feeling that I could feel even better [playing] in the Premier League or Serie A. … The way the teams play there suits me better.”

Jovic scored 27 times in 48 appearances for Frankfurt, adding seven assists at the tender age of 21. Ten of those came in the Europa League, and we’re not talking about flooding the nets of minnows; Jovic scored against Chelsea (twice), Marseille (three), Lazio (two), and Inter Milan (once).

Report: Chelsea, Real $38M apart on Hazard

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How much for Hazard?

Real Madrid are willing to pay $127 million, no small fee, to bring Eden Hazard from Chelsea, but that’s well off the Blues’ evaluation according to Sky Sports.

Chelsea sees Hazard’s price as $165 million. Belgian writer Kristof Terreur told Sky that Hazard wants his future sorted by June 4.

[ MORE: Bayern wins double ]

The Blues’ superstar is entering the final year of his contract, and could begin negotiating with other clubs in January and leave on a free transfer.

Hazard turns 29 in January. He recorded 19 goals and 16 assists in 51 matches this season, his best output in a Blues uniform.

The report says Chelsea feels no pressure to sell Hazard, but it would be a surprise if it dug in its heels too deeply considering the state of the Belgian’s contract.

Even for Chelsea, letting over $100 million walk out the door is wild, and for all Hazard’s won with Chelsea there’s also been consternation under several managers and a more than occasional habit of disappointing on the table.

MLS roundup: Timbers end road trip with emphatic win in Philly

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in MLS…

[ MORE: USA topped by Ukraine in U-20 World Cup opener ]

Philadelphia Union 1-3 Portland Timbers [ HIGHLIGHTS ]

Just when everyone had begun to take the Union seriously — to give them the respect befitting a first-place team — Jim Curtin’s side fell flat on its face and fell out of the Eastern Conference’s top spot. Saturday’s defeat to the suddenly streaking — and homeward bound — Timbers snapped Philadelphia’s six-game unbeaten run (four wins).

24-year-old attacker Brian Fernandez, signed as a Designated Player earlier this month, made his first MLS start and marked the occasion with two first-half goals (31st and 36th minutes). Diego Valeri added the third (87th) after Kacper Przybylko pulled the Union back to 2-1 in the 47th.

Now, with 14 points from their 12-game road trip to start the season, Portland heads home for 17 of their final 22 games to be played inside a newly renovated — and expanded — Providence Park. The gap between themselves and a Western Conference playoff place is just four points.

New England Revolution 1-1 D.C. United [ HIGHLIGHTS ]

With the Union slipping up and dropping all three points, D.C. United made the most of their opportunity to return to the top of the East on the back of Wayne Rooney‘s 90th-minute penalty kick to snatch a 1-1 draw with (what will soon be) Bruce Arena’s Revolution.

Juan Agudelo put the home side ahead with a header in the 61st minute, and the lead held firm for nearly the final half-hour. Alas, video review reviewed a handball late in the game, which presented Rooney the chance to play the part of hero. He duly obliged and hammered his spot kick past backup goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who replaced Matt Turner following his 56th minute red card for cleaning out Rooney.

Arena is expected to take charge of Revs training this week and make his debut as head coach next Sunday, when his new side visits… his old side, the LA Galaxy.

Colorado Rapids 3-2 Columbus Crew SC [ HIGHLIGHTS ]

Don’t look now, but the Rapids have won two straight games under interim head coach Conor Casey and appear set on clawing their way out of the league’s basement.

Sure, they blew a pair of leads at home, but they also hit back with another goal of their own every time Crew SC drew level, culminating in a stunning winner from Nicolas Mezquida.

The gap between Colorado and 23th place is now just three points, as expansion side FC Cincinnati come closer and closer on the horizon.

Elsewhere in MLS

Chicago Fire 1-1 New York City FC [ HIGHLIGHTS ]
Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 FC Dallas [ HIGHLIGHTS ]
FC Cincinnati 0-2 New York Red Bulls [ HIGHLIGHTS ]
Minnesota United 1-0 Houston Dynamo [ HIGHLIGHTS ]

Sunday’s MLS schedule

Sporting Kansas City v. Seattle Sounders — 6 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. San Jose Earthquakes — 7:30 p.m. ET

Will winning the double be enough to keep Kovac at Bayern?

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BERLIN (AP) Niko Kovac is the first to win a domestic double in Germany as a player and coach, yet it may not be enough to keep his job as Bayern Munich coach.

[ MORE: Valencia end Barcelona’s four-year hold on Copa del Rey ]

Kovac, whose side defeated Leipzig 3-0 in the German Cup final on Saturday, a week after clinching the Bundesliga title, is yet to be given assurances in public from the club that he will remain in charge, despite bringing a successful end to what had been a testing season.

The pressure and uncertainty appeared to cast a shadow on what was Kovac’s second successive German Cup win — he was Eintracht Frankfurt coach when the side defeated Bayern in the final last year.

“Last year I was leaving the team. This year everything is a little less emotional, no tears, but still, I’m happy,” Kovac said.

“Sometimes I would really wish that things went a little differently. It’s difficult to turn the wheel back. We should all work on it, we’re all human. We should make sure that we get along with each other.”

[ U-20 WORLD CUP: Ezequiel Barco’s golazo paces Argentina to big win ]

Kovac, who won the double as a player in 2003, acknowledged the cup win on Saturday was “very important” as “it shows that we have worked well.”

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was again coy when pressed on the coach’s future.

“At the end of the day, we have to get titles. Of course the coach plays a central role,” Rummenigge said. “It was never an issue for us with the term that he has until 2021, that he would simply not be there anymore as coach beforehand.”