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.

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 ]