How will Jurgen Klinsmann line the USMNT up against Denmark?

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The United States men’s national team will take on Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel and Denmark on Wednesday, and Jurgen Klinsmann surprised some with his roster invitations for this international break.

Klinsmann calls the match against Denmark “a good benchmark” for his club, and he mentioned a great deal of his defenders in describing the set-up. It won’t be a surprise to see him go 3-5-2 again on Wednesday, but a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 are also quite possible given his pool of talent.

Let’s work through all three options, assuming Klinsmann will opt for veteran Nick Rimando in net over Cody Cropper or William Yarbrough.

EDIT: Clint Dempsey was injured in USMNT training and has returned to Seattle. He was listed as a striker with Altidore in all three below formations.

 3-5-2

Rimando

Brooks—Ream—Alvarado

Yedlin—Bedoya—Bradley—Morales—Shea

Altidore—Johannsson

The take: Denmark is a disciplined side, but one that doesn’t have of a heck of a lot of explosiveness. That’s something a 3-man back line can handle relatively well. Eriksen is a dynamite playmaker and Nicklas Bendtner has a load of international goals but has been in poor form for Wolfsburg, scoring just a pair of goals since coming over from Arsenal in January.

4-4-2

Rimando

Chandler—Brooks—Ream—Shea

Yedlin—Bradley—Bedoya—Johnson

Altidore—Rubin

The take: Maybe Klinsmann would like a look at Shea on the left side of a flat back four, and he’s spoken well about Fabian Johnson as a left-wing type player. That said, he’s also called Johnson one of the best right backs at the World Cup this summer, which is a bit of a leap (though he was very good). Keeping Bedoya inside as an attacking mid would be interesting, in how he would combine with Dempsey.

4-3-3

Rimando

Yedlin—Brooks—Ream—Shea

Bedoya—Bradley—Johnson

Zardes—Altidore—Green

The take: Klinsmann goes back to the three-man forward unit, and gives Julian Green a boost playing in front of Johnson.

What do you think is most likely?

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.

[ MORE: Surgery for Mendy ]

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.

[ MORE: Surgery for Mendy ]

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.

Lagerwey staying in Seattle after GM vote

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Seattle Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey will stay in his position for four more years after the club’s alliance members voted to keep him in the role.

The Sounders’ have an Alliance Council that can vote its general manager in or out of the job after a set period of time in the position.

[ MORE: Surgery for Mendy ]

Lagerwey, the ex-Real Salt Lake executive, has been in his role as Seattle’s GM since 2015, and led the team to two MLS Cup Finals, winning one.

The club demands 40 percent of alliance members to vote in order for the decision to be valid and only 37.2 percent did so, but the 87.2 percent of voters in favor or retention sent “a clear message” of approval.

The 45-year-old former MLS goalkeeper certainly had the right things to say in discussing his club’s disappointing end to the season. Seattle went on another late season red-hot run, but fell to its rivals in the playoffs.

“You can’t lose to Portland and call the season a success,” Lagerwey said. “You can’t be the only favorite to be knocked out and call it a success. Performance in the playoffs matters.”

Sure, but Lagerwey was able to pull the strings to fix the season, adding Raul Ruidiaz after forward Jordan Morris was lost for the season. He’s a future Soccer Hall of Famer, and Seattle is right to largely acknowledge that with his vote.