Three things we learned from the USMNT’s wild win over Netherlands

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AMSTERDAM — The United States men’s national team defeated the Netherlands 4-3 in a wild match at Amsterdam Arena.

[ RECAP: Netherlands 3-4 USMNT ]

Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t have his full side for the friendly, playing without key men Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Jermaine Jones. With a makeshift back line forced to mark the likes of Memphis Depay and Robin Van Persie, the U.S. recovered from a terrible ten minute stretch in the second half to come from behind for a shocking win thanks to two late goals from Danny Williams and Bobby Wood.

Here’s three things we learned from the match, as the USMNT will look to build on this win with the Gold Cup coming in July.

KLINSMANN IS STILL FIGURING OUT HIS FORMATION

The starting lineups came out with the USMNT in a 4-3-3, with Gyasi Zardes and Fabian Johnson flanking Aron Johannsson up top. It was a bold move by Klinsmann to start in this formation, considering the second-tier back line he was forced to play against the potent Dutch attack. With the speed of Holland on the outsides, Zardes and Johnson were forced to track back on defense quite a bit in the first half, playing more in a winger role than as strikers.

To start the second half, Klinsmann switched to a 4-2-3-1, with Kyle Beckerman and Alfredo Morales sitting in defensive central midfield roles, while Michael Bradley centered Zardes and Johnson. That change didn’t work out as planned, as the Netherlands scored twice in the first ten minutes of the half. The U.S. was unlucky as the third goal took a deflection leaving Brad Guzan helpless in goal, but the play was all Holland coming out of the break.

Yes, the USMNT pulled out a win, and yes they were playing against a Netherlands side that is ranked number six in the world. But with the Gold Cup coming up in July, Klinsmann needs to start getting some consistency in his tactics so the side is confident and comfortable when the games really matter.

YEDLIN WILL BE KEY AT THE GOLD CUP

After the Dutch scored two quick goals to open the second half, Jurgen Klinsmann made some changes, with DeAndre Yedlin replacing Brek Shea. The young Tottenham man immediately got involved in the play, using his fresh legs to add some spark to the U.S. attack. Yedlin is one of the few players who has the natural speed to keep up with the Oranje, and that was on full display when he helped create the United States’ second goal.

Yedlin took a beautiful through ball from Michael Bradley in behind the Dutch defense and found John Brooks wide open in the box for an easy tap in. Considering Yedlin was being marked by Manchester United’s Daley Blind, it was quite impressive to see him breeze by the back line.

At the Gold Cup in July, Yedlin will be one of the fastest players for the USMNT and his presence on the attack will be key to success. However, he must remember his responsibilities defensively first, making sure to track back as well as contributing to the offense.

Brad Guzan made several key stops for the USMNT.

YOU CAN NEVER COUNT OUT THE STARS AND STRIPES

After the first ten minutes of the second half, it looked like the United States was down and out. Playing against a top Dutch side that looked to be firing on all cylinders, Klinsmann’s men battled back. Substitutes Danny Williams and Bobby Wood both scored late, late goals to help the Stars and Stripes come from 3-1 down to leave Amsterdam with a 4-3 win.

While surely going down two goals isn’t in the plans, the guts shown by a relatively young U.S. side is a great positive moving forward to the Gold Cup. Gyasi Zardes scored his first goal, while Bobby Wood and Danny Williams scored off the bench for the USMNT, and doing so in Amsterdam against the Dutch should work wonders for their confidence.

A match is 90 minutes long, and you have to play every minute. This match shows that no matter what, the U.S. is going to fight to the final whistle.

Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

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Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.