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.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | MLS ]

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.

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 ]