Germany 1-2 USA: USMNT complete another late comeback victory in Europe

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The U.S. national completed its last full round of pre-Gold Cup friendlies with a 2-1 away victory in Cologne, Germany, over the defending world champions on Wednesday.

The USMNT’s latest comeback victory caps off a spectacular European adventure after also defeating the third-place finishers at last summer’s World Cup, the Netherlands, in dramatic fashion last Friday. Wednesday’s victory was the Americans’ first-ever defeat of Germany on German soil, and the first time the two sides met since the final game of group play at the 2014 World Cup.

[ MORE: Klinsmann names Gold Cup roster ]

Wednesday’s exhibition began much the same as last Friday’s, when the Americans went behind the Dutch early on, and to the delight of many American hearts, it ended much the same way as last week’s triumph in Amsterdam.

Mario Gotze opened the scoring in the 12th minute, when he finished with extreme ease and composure Patrick Hermann’s simple cross to the back post with a classy, curled finished back to the near post.

Gotze nearly doubled the Germans’ lead in the 31st minute, when Mesut Ozil played the scorer of last year’s World Cup-winning goal behind the USMNT defense. Gotze found himself in side the penalty area, one on one with Brad Guzan, but the big American goalkeeper made the sprawling kick save as Gotze’s shot was headed for the inside of the same far post in which he’d scored 20 minutes earlier.

[ PLAYER RATINGS: How Klinsmann’s USA fared against Germany ]

Very much against the run of play — possession 67 percent to 33, in favor of Germany — the Yanks equalized in the 41st minute, when Mix Diskerud applied the right-footed finish after Michael Bradley launched a pinpoint diagonal ball into the German penalty area. Bradley’s ball and Diskerud’s finish capped off a 30-pass sequence for the Americans which covered 95 seconds on the clock.

In truth, the USMNT was much better following the halftime restart, thanks in part to a number of halftime substitutions which changed the shape of the side from the 4-4-2 diamond midfield, to a more conventional single-striker system. Though the overall possession numbers swung considerably more in favor of the U.S. after halftime, all of that possession was converted into just two shots on target in the second 45.

Jordan Morris, the Stanford University standout and second-half substitute against the Germans, nearly gave the USMNT a late lead in the 75th minute, when his right-footed shot sailed just wide of Ron-Robert Ziegler’s far post. Morris had been on the field for all of 20 seconds, and the 20-year-old nearly had his second international goal.

[ EDWARDS: After NED, GER victories, USMNT riding newfound wave of momentum into Gold Cup ]

Bradley nearly scored yet another late winner for the Yanks in the 83rd minute. Capping off a fluid, dynamic counter attack, the ball fell to Bradley near the top of the German penalty area, where he unleashed a powerful, left-footed effort, but his first-time shot was hit straight into the feet of Ziegler who made the reflexive save.

The winner came, once again, off the foot of nomadic club striker Bobby Wood, who Klinsmann has called in repeatedly despite poor form for various club teams over the last year and a half. From nearly 25 yards out, Wood unleashed a left-footed blast into the bottom corner of Ziegler’s far post in the 87th minute. Brad Evans provided the pacy through ball, and Wood applied the emphatic finish.

The USMNT currently has one more friendly scheduled, July 3 against Guatemala, before they kick off their Gold Cup campaign (July 7-26) against Honduras on July 7.

LINEUPS

Germany: Zieler, Rudy, Mustafi, Rudiger, Hector, Schweinsteiger (Khedira 46′), Gundogan (Kramer 60′), Herrmann (Bellarabi 73′), Ozil, Schurrle (Podolski 46′), Gotze (Kruse 73′)

Goals: Gotze (12′)

USA: Guzan, Johnson (Evand 46′), Brooks, Alvarado, Chandler, Williams (Beckerman 46′), Diskerud (Morales 74′), Zardes (Wood 74′), Bradley, Agudelo (Yedlin 46′), Johannsson (Morris 74′)

Goals: Diskerud (41′), Wood (87′)

Napoli scores on late penalty, rare Van Dijk error in 2-0 win

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The good news is that Liverpool lost to Napoli last season in the UEFA Champions League, then went on to win the whole darn thing.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jose Callejon won a late penalty that Dries Mertens converted, and Fernando Llorente took advantage of a Virgil Van Dijk error to pad the lead as Napoli held serve at home with a 2-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday.


Three things we learned

1. Goalkeepers immense: No, he’s not Alisson Becker, but Adrian is probably the biggest reason Liverpool didn’t open its UCL defense with a loss. He made a pair of early stops on Dries Mertens before a show-stopping effort in the second half. Napoli got two fine saves from Alex Meret, including a terrific denial of Mohamed Salah in the 65th.

2. Salah, Mane can’t deliver in key moments: Take away Salah’s penalty in the UCL Final, and Liverpool’s two top threats have not accounted for a goal in four matches inside the competition. Mane was mostly good on the day, but misled Salah on an early second half pass which would have almost certainly been a goal. Salah simply had an off day

3. Callejon sells the drama: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson lost a 50/50 with Jose Callejon, who ran into the fulback and hit the deck to win a penalty. That was the difference here, as Mertens beat Adrian.

Man of the Match: Meret was especially good, the 22-year-old Italian goalkeeper big in several key moments to edge Mertens for the honor.


Napoli thought it had gone ahead through El Tri star Hirving Lozano, who nodded over the line following two Alisson Becker saves on Dries Mertens, but the Mexican was offside.

Sadio Mane had a 20th minute chance at the other end, but pumped a point blank low shot to Napoli keeper Alex Meret which led to a corner kick.

Fabinho intervened in the 53rd minute as Napoli emerged from the locker room with energy, but the best chance of the early second half was flubbed in uncharacteristic fashion: Sadio Mane was through 2v1 with Mohamed Salah but made a miserable pass to his teammate.

The first goal arrived when Callejon tapped the ball past Robertson and leapt into the defender to earn a penalty from referee Felix Brych.

It was 2-0 in stoppage time when Fernando Llorente ran onto a Virgil van Dijk error and passed beyond Adrian.

UCL AT HALF: Marsch’s Salzburg rolling; Champions holding firm; Chelsea’s Mount hurt

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We’ve got news after 45 minutes of six more UCL matches, including a big injury at Stamford Bridge and a monumental start for an American in Austria.

[ UCL: Scores, lineups, stats, box scores ]

Chelsea 0-0 Valencia

No goals to report here, but early season hero Mason Mount has left the match with an injury for the Blues. He was not replaced by Christian Pulisic, rather Pedro.

Liverpool 0-0 Napoli

It’s been a pretty even affair, though Liverpool can thank Adrian for a pair of great saves on Dries Mertens before Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s goal was ruled offside.

Red Bull Salzburg 5-1 Genk

Jesse Marsch is now officially the first American man to manage a team in a UEFA Champions League game.

The Red Bull Salzburg boss is also the first to hold a second minute lead, as red hot striker Erling Braut Haland scored his 15th, 16th, and 17th goals in nine matches under Marsch.

Haland also five assists on the season, having entered Tuesday’s match with 658 minutes across all competitions.

Haland is the son of former Leeds, Man City, and Nottingham Forest manager Alf-Inge Haland.

Hwang-Hee Chan has Salzburg’s other goal, and two assists.

Elsewhere

Inter Milan 1-1 Slavia Prague — RECAP
Lyon 1-1 Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona
Ajax 1-0 Lille
Benfica 0-0 RB Leipzig

Yedlin nears return, hoping for October USMNT call-up

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images
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Hindsight being 20/20, it’s easy to see that DeAndre Yedlin didn’t look right last season.

The Newcastle United and USMNT right back was not up to his standards during the 2018-19 season, and Yedlin says the injury that’s cost him the start of this season has been the culprit for a long time.

[ MORE: Neymar ban reduced ]

Yedlin, 26, went through surgery this May for a sports hernia which he says bothered him on game days for almost a year and a half.

From NUFC.co.uk:

 “It was tough, and it was a bit confusing because it would come and go. There would be months that I’d be playing with it and I’d take pain killers before the game and try to get through it, then there’d be times when it didn’t bother me at all,” he said.

“Even in warm ups, I’d be thinking ‘it’s going to be tough to make it through this game.’ Once the pain killers hit in, you can’t really feel anything anymore and then adrenalin hits in but, yeah, it’s tough. As a player you don’t want to stop and then lose your place, but you’ve also got to do what’s best for you and for the longevity of your career.

That’s not good, and both USMNT and Newcastle supporters will hope the injury was the reason behind his decline in form.

Yedlin’s stats dropped in each of his last two PL seasons. For a player whose blessed with blazing speed, a sports hernia is only going to dramatically affect performance.

He says he has been in touch with USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter.

“That’s been tough. I’ve had contact with the manager and they’re keeping updated on how I’m doing. This last international break was just a bit too soon but hopefully the next one, I’ll be ready for and hopefully I’ll have some minutes under my belt by that time, then really crack on from there.”

Conte’s Inter avoids UCL upset in stoppage time

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The Champions League nearly began with an upset, as Slavia Prague led Inter Milan 1-0 into stoppage time at the San Siro on Tuesday.

But a pair of Inter loanees produced a play to tie the score in the second minute of stoppage, as Stefano Sensi (Sassuolo) curled a free kick off the bar and Nicolo Barella (Cagliari) first timed the rebound through traffic and inside the far post.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Peter Olayinka started and finished the play for Slavia Prague’s second half opener. The scorer took the ball to the end line and cut back for Lukas Provod, whose shot was saved by Samir Handanovic.

But Olayinka followed the play and took advantage of the marker who slid to block his initial pass. On the doorstep at the back post, the Nigerian smashed the ball into the top of the goal.

The goal was deserved, and the score line represented the tightness of the contest. Inter barely out shot the Czech visitors and had just a little bit more of the ball.

Romelu Lukaku nearly thumped home a header in the sixth minute of stoppage, but Slavia keeper Ondrej Kolar made a fine save.

Here’s the equalizer: