Player ratings: Alvarado, Bradley impress in 2-0 USMNT win over Mexico

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It would be cruel to be too hard on any participant in Wednesday’s match between the United States and Mexico.

For one thing, there were a lot of new faces in different places for both sides due to the existence of this match outside of the international window.

[ MATCH RECAP: USMNT 2-0 Mexico ]

And the other thing, and it’s a big one, is the tough turf set-up at the Alamodome, which looked more like a Northeast pitch in late Fall than indoors in April in Texas.

For what it’s worth and for all his perceived and real flaws, Jurgen Klinsmann remains unbeaten as USMNT head coach versus Mexico. That means something to me (3W-3D).

Though on the other hand given the rosters, the States should’ve won… and did. Let’s see who shone brightest.

U.S. player ratings (out of 10)

Nick Rimando – 6

Struggled with kicks and first touch, but who wasn’t going to struggle on that playground-looking pitch? Had one extremely dicey first experience with a Diskerud back pass.

Greg Garza — 6

He was fine. Couple nice tackles, though saved by Alvarado on more than one occasion before subbing out at halftime.

Omar Gonzalez — 7

Strong at both ends of the pitch. One dicey moment from joining his center back mate as the high mark for players in this match.

Ventura Alvarado — 8

The 22-year-old Club America man made a very strong case for himself on Wednesday, and begs to be included in the Omar Gonzalez, John Anthony Brooks, Michael Orozco discussion at center back. Stole the ball that led to Agudelo’s goal.

DeAndre Yedlin — 6

“Quick, busy and active” could’ve been the motto for the team on the night, and Yedlin did fairly well on his side. Hopefully the Premier League training ground (and pitch) will continue to fast track his defensive acumen. His cutting runs and offensive flair may already be there.

Kyle Beckerman — 6

Killer tackle on Cubo Torres near halftime to eliminate a threat outside the 18. How horrible to watch him go down with what could be a Real Salt Lake-crippling injury on that surface? It was called a “left thigh contusion” on the broadcast, but the ice was on his knee.

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Mix Diskerud — 7

Like him more and more each time I see him play. For a player with real flair, he grinds and hustles at both ends of the field. A fixture for years, you’d have to think. How long will he stay at New York City FC if he keeps this up (Not that he has to leave, but you get what I mean)?

Michael Bradley — 8

Thought he played with purpose and provided some solid set piece service. Did the work to start Morris’ goal, and looked much more comfortable in his advanced role (and could he have been even better on much improved turf?). Classic Bradley service on the Agudelo ball, especially considering the surface (Have we mentioned the surface?).

Re-ignite the position discussion.

Joe Corona — 6

His highs were high and his lows were low. Clearly this is a guy Klinsmann would like to catch on, but subbed off at halftime for Miguel Ibarra.

Jordan Morris — 7

Go ‘head, young buck. Speedy as all get out, and made some handsome runs in the first half. Held up well against men. Of course, the goal was nice. Right place, right time, right pace, right shot. Come on, you Cardinal.

Gyasi Zardes — 6

Active and clean, given the field. Considering there was neither Jozy Altidore nor Clint Dempsey to take attention from him, and he was starting next to a college sophomore? Not bad. Ran well.

Subs 

William Yarbrough (halftime) — 7

Composed. Laid off shots wide of the frame and was positionally-sound. Didn’t seem as troubled by turf.

Miguel Ibarra (halftime) — 6

Was just fine. Obviously anyone who gets on this pitch for this team is a good ambassador for the NASL.

Brek Shea (halftime) — 6

Nice flying run up the left near the end of the match. Could be a legit left back in time, and his body frame would make him a freak at the position.

Perry Kitchen (63′) — 6

Came on when Beckerman suffered his knee injury. Showed no hesitation, and almost put a cracker in on goal.

Juan Agudelo (65′) — 7

Good on you, Juan. The 22-year-old took down a high diagonal ball from XXXX, got the benefit of a slipping Mexican defender and a waltz across the edge of the 18 before besting the keeper with a low shot to make it Dos a Cero.

Brad Evans (81′) — 6

Came in at right back with something to prove after vocally calling his World Cup roster omission a mistake. Made a hard, crunching tackle as the clock struck 85.

Italy women’s team awarded for ’emancipating’ female game

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ROME (AP) The Italy women’s national soccer team was awarded the Foreign Press Association’s Invictus award Monday for promoting and “emancipating” the female game in the country with its run to the World Cup quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Sheffield United beat Arsenal with stellar defensive display (video) ]

Head coach Milena Bertolini and forward Barbara Bonansea were given the award during a ceremony at the Rome-based association.

With soccer dominated by men in Italy and few opportunities for girls, Bertolini recounted how she had to dress up as a boy to play as a kid.

“Now things are changing, thanks to the Italian federation’s school programs,” Bertolini said.

Bertolini and Bonansea lamented that female players are still not considered professionals and therefore are not permitted to earn more than $33,500 per year by Italian law.

“It’s not about the money, it’s a question of rights,” said Bonansea, who also plays for Italian champion Juventus.

[ MORE: Referee officials explain VAR decision on Rashford goal ]

While Italy’s men’s team is a four-time World Cup champion, the women had not played in a World Cup for two decades and entered as a prohibitive underdog during its opening match against Australia in France in June. But the Azzurre came back from a goal down for a 2-1 win courtesy of Bonansea’s two scores , with her second coming in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

“That goal shaped our World Cup, both in terms of results and in terms of promoting women’s soccer in Italy,” Bertolini said. “The strong emotions on the field were transmitted to everyone who was watching. I still get goosebumps now just thinking about that goal.”

The Azzurre went on to win their group then beat China in the first knockout round before losing to eventual finalist the Netherlands.

In a country of 60 million people, a total of more than 20 million spectators watched Italy’s five matches on RAI state TV, setting audience records for women’s soccer game after game.

The Invictus award is dedicated to “promoting the positive effects of sports in terms of integration and emancipation by the vulnerable sections of society.”

UCL preview: Spurs desperate for a win; Man City host Atalanta

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By the end of the week, we’ll be at the halfway point of the UEFA Champions League group stage, and while some Premier League clubs (Manchester City and Liverpool) are currently in rather strong positions, a couple others (Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea) have some serious work to do to rescue their respective campaigns.

[ MORE: Sheffield United beat Arsenal with stellar defensive display (video) ]

Tottenham’s start to the group stage has gone about as poorly as it could have done, considering the positions in which they’ve found themselves early in games. Going from 2-0 up to a 2-2 draw away to Olympiacos was bad enough, but going from 1-0 up to a 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich was the real demoralizer.

Now, last year’s UCL runners-up find themselves third in the group with just one point. However, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side is set for a back-to-back home-and-away with (presumed) doormat Red Star Belgrade, beginning Tuesday when the Serbian side visits the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs will continue to be without goalkeeper Hugo Lloris following his dislocated elbow, while midfielders Christian Eriksen and Giovani Lo Celso are back in full training and expected to be available for selection. Tanguay Ndombele was only involved as a second-half sub during Spurs’ draw with last-place Watford over the weekend, so he is likely to return to the starting lineup.

[ MORE: Referee officials explain VAR decision on Rashford goal ]

Man City, meanwhile, are coming off a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace and feeling a renewed sense of PL title contention after Liverpool dropped their first points of the season. While a domestic three-peat is undoubtedly high on the list of priorities for Pep Guardiola‘s side, it’s probably safe to assume that breaking though in the UCL is the main objective for 2019-20. Since Guardiola took over at the Etihad Stadium, City have reached the quarterfinals twice and the round of 16 once. Under the direction of Manuel Pellegrini, City reached the semifinals the season before Guardiola’s arrival.

Outside of long-term knees injuries to Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, City have a clean bill of health.

Tuesday’s full UEFA Champions League schedule

Atletico Madrid v. Bayer Leverkusen — 12:55 p.m. ET
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Dinamo Zagreb — 12:55 p.m. ET

Tottenham Hotspur v. Red Star Belgrade — 3 p.m. ET
Manchester City v. Atalanta — 3 p.m. ET
Galatasaray v. Real Madrid — 3 p.m. ET
Juventus v. Lokomotive Moscow — 3 p.m. ET
Brugge v. Paris Saint-Germain — 3 p.m. ET
Olympiacos v. Bayern Munich

The 2 Robbies podcast: Man United 1-1 Liverpool; Struggles in North London

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe review the key results from Matchweek 9 in the Premier League focusing on Manchester United and Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford (0:50). The chaps also discuss Manchester City’s win at Crystal Palace (16:50), Arsenal’s defeat at Sheffield United (23:25), Tottenham’s draw at home to Watford (35:25) and debate who currently is the 3rd best team in the Premier League (42:05). Finally, the guys name their under-appreciated performances of the weekend (50:50).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

FA Cup qualifier to be replayed after team walks off for racist abuse

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LONDON (AP) The FA Cup qualifying match between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town that was abandoned following racist abuse will be replayed next week.

[ MORE: Sheffield United beat Arsenal with stellar defensive display (video) ]

The Football Association said Monday that the match will be replayed from the start on Oct. 29 at Haringey’s home ground.

Saturday’s game saw the players walk off in the 64th minute, shortly after Yeovil had gone 1-0 up via a penalty. Haringey officials said after the game that its Cameroonian goalkeeper Valery Pajetat and defender Coby Rowe had both been targeted by racial abuse by visiting fans.

London police said they had arrested two men, age 23 and 26, on Monday on suspicion of racially aggravated common assault in connection with the incident.

[ MORE: Referee officials explain VAR decision on Rashford goal ]

The FA said: “Following the incident in the original tie and the two arrests already made, the FA’s investigation is ongoing. We are continuing to work with the relevant authorities on our investigation into the matter.”

The winner of the game will advance to the first round of the FA Cup.