USMNT player ratings: How Klinsmann’s men fared against Germany

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They’ve done it again. The U.S. national team has come from behind to beat one of the world’s top teams — this time the top team, reigning world champions Germany — on European soil.

[ FULL RECAP: Germany 1-2 USA ]

Following last Friday’s thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Netherlands, Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT has a great deal of confidence ahead of this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup (July 7-26).

Without any further ado, player ratings for the USMNT’s 2-1 victory over the world champs…

GK — Brad Guzan: 7/10 — His save of Mario Gotze in the 31st minute kept the early deficit at one, allowing the late comeback to take place. A couple more strong saves shortly before the equalizer seemed to spread confidence throughout the team. Good luck winning “your job” back, Tim Howard.

LB — Fabian Johnson: 5.5/10 — The best of the four defenders in the first half, which isn’t saying a whole lot. The German goal began in Johnson’s part of the field, but his lack of closing down was hardly the most egregious error on the play.

CB — John Brooks: 5/10 — Wednesday was better from Brooks, but his tendency to fall asleep and leave massive areas of space wide open with some of the world’s best attackers (Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on Friday and Mario Gotze on Wednesday) has already and will continue to cost the U.S. at the highest level.

CB — Ventura Alvarado: 5/10 — Showed once again that he’s not yet ready to face the world’s top teams, but this week will be a very good learning experience for the 22-year-old in the end.

RB — Timothy Chandler: 3/10 — Speaking of the most egregious error on the German goal, what in the world is Chandler doing/where does he think he’s going? That’s inexcusable, and if we’re being honest, a sign that he isn’t fully committed to the team when he steps out on the field and/or simply not good enough for this level.

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

CM — Danny Williams: 5/10 — Came off at halftime following a subpar first half in which he was forced to run around like a chicken with his head cut off, thanks to the defensively failures of those in front of him. Somehow didn’t misplace a single pass in his 45 minutes on the field.

source:
Mix Diskerud, USMNT

CM — Mix Diskerud: 6/10 — Scored the equalizer, but an unmitigated disaster defensively in the first half. Was pulled out wide to create massive passing lanes far too easily, which kept Williams, Johnson and Brooks under constant pressure. It could should have been 2-0 or 3-0 early, and Diskerud was a key cog in the breakdowns.

RM — Gyasi Zardes: 5.5/10 — The first half was a huge test for Zardes — whether or not he could figure out the narrower-sitting midfield position in the 4-4-2 diamond. It didn’t go so well, but looked better in the second half after moving up and using his size and strength in hold-up play very well.

CM — Michael Bradley: 7.5/10 — He’s not a No. 10, but on Wednesday you sure wouldn’t have known that based on his man-of-the-match performance. The ball over the top to Diskerud for the equalizer was poetry in motion, and not only does he manage to work himself out of trouble on numerous occasions every game, but he does the same for others around him as well.

[ RELATED: Klinsmann names 35-man provisional roster for 2015 Gold Cup ]

FW — Juan Agudelo: 5/10 — The U.S. had so little of the ball in the first half that Agudelo had very little chance to affect the game in his limited action (came off at halftime). He still has to figure into the USMNT going forward (exceptional talent and all that), but this was his chance to stake a claim to a starting spot, and it just didn’t happen.

FW — Aron Johannsson: 5.5/10 — Johannsson was better than his nightmare against the Dutch, but showed once again why he’s also probably a better off the bench, thanks to his tendency to disappear for prolonged periods.

Subs

RM — DeAndre Yedlin: 6/10 — Not nearly the impact he had upon entering the game against the Dutch, but still brought more in terms of wing play than Chandler, the first-half right back, did on overlapping runs. In a way Yedlin gets credit for Chandler’s poor performance.

CM — Kyle Beckerman: 6.5/10 — Steady as ever (just three misplaced passes in 45 minutes, one of which was a 50-yard diagonal ball) and showed once again the difference between himself and any other defensive midfielder in the entire player pool. He’s an absolute lock for the Gold Cup, and a borderline guaranteed starter.

[ RECAP: Netherlands 3-4 USMNT | Player ratings | Three things we learned ]

RB — Brad Evans: 6.5/10 — It was Evans’ pacy through ball that found Bobby Wood for the game-winner. Much like Yedlin, Evans is made to look better in the second half by Chandler’s struggles in the first 45.

source: Getty Images
Bobby Wood, USMNT

CM — Alfredo Morales: 5/10 — Asked to serve as the left-sided shuttler upon entering the game in the 74th minute, Morales struggled to find his rhythm and connect passes. It’s pretty clear there’s only one position in which he’s serviceable, and unfortunately for him, Beckerman is currently holding onto that starting spot for dear life.

FW — Bobby Wood: 7/10 — I’m not really sure what else to say. There are certainly aspects of Wood’s game that make him an interesting prospect (he’s still only 22?!), but his finishing has long left much to be desired. His strike for the winner, a curled blast from nearly 25 yards, was pure perfection. Klinsmann has repeatedly called the kid in despite struggles for his club teams, yet Wood’s name is somewhat surprisingly absent from the Gold Cup roster.

FW — Jordan Morris: 6.5 — Jordan Morris comes off the bench for the U.S., and the kid changes games. That’s just what he does. Barely 20 seconds after entering the game on Wednesday, he went inches from scoring a winner of his own. He’s fearless, he’s ferocious and he’s confident. He runs at defenders, he turns defenders and he’s a better technician than most other (professional) forwards in the player pool. At this point, he almost has to be on the Gold Cup roster.

Liverpool reverse furlough decision

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Liverpool have announced they will no longer seek financial help from the UK government to pay non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic with the furlough scheme.

Over the weekend Liverpool announced they would take advantage of the furlough scheme from the UK government, which will pay 80 percent of wages of any staff impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Liverpool had announced that staff not needed over the next few weeks would be paid 80 percent of their wages by the UK government and they would make up the remaining 20 percent as part of the furlough scheme.

That decision by their billionaire American owners the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) enraged Liverpool’s fanbase.

Peter Moore, the chief executive officer of the runaway Premier League leaders, announced on Monday that the decision would be reversed after talks which included supporters groups, the Mayor of Liverpool and FSG.

“We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar, and are truly sorry for that,” Moore said. “Our intentions were, and still are, to ensure the entire workforce is given as much protection as possible from redundancy and/or loss of earnings during this unprecedented period. We are therefore committed to finding alternative ways to operate while there are no football matches being played that ensures we are not applying for the government relief scheme.”

Moore added that Liverpool will be financially impacted by this crisis and they are trying to find ways to offset the loss of revenue due to the season being suspended.

“But in the spirit of transparency we must also be clear, despite the fact we were in a healthy position prior to this crisis, our revenues have been shut off yet our outgoings remain. And like almost every sector of society, there is great uncertainty and concern over our present and future. Like any responsible employer concerned for its workers in the current situation, the club continues to prepare for a range of different scenarios, around when football can return to operating as it did before the pandemic. These scenarios range from best case to worst and everything in between,” Moore continued.

“It is an unavoidable truth that several of these scenarios involve a massive downturn in revenue, with correspondingly unprecedented operating losses. Having these vital financial resources so profoundly impacted would obviously negatively affect our ability to operate as we previously have. We are engaged in the process of exploring all avenues within our scope to limit the inevitable damage. We thank the many amazing people in our club, at all levels, who are committed to helping us do just that, despite the complexity and unpredictability in the world and our industry.”

The backlash against Liverpool’s decision follows plenty of criticism for Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur who did the same, as many leading voices believe that the billionaire owners of Premier League clubs should be paying their staff during this unprecedented pandemic instead of getting help from the government.

Many Liverpool’s fans and former players slammed the initial decision so it is good to those concerns have been addressed, as the Reds recorded a pre-tax profit of $51 million last year alone and $153 million profit the year before that.

VOTE: Premier League March Madness playoff final

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Our Premier League March Madness tournament began on Monday and we had some early drama in the relegation playoff semifinals.

The opening two games of our bracket produced two surprise winners, as #20 Norwich City edged out #17 Watford after winning 50.48 percent of the vote, while #19 Aston Villa comfortably beat #18 Bournemouth with 62.14 percent of votes.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub

That means Norwich will now face Aston Villa in the final, and Villa won both of their meetings in the Premier League this season. The first with a 5-1 win at Carrow Road, the second with a undeserved home win at Villa Park.

What do the winners get? If you win the relegation playoff final you are exempt from relegation and finish as the 2020 tournament as #17 seed, while the runner up will be relegated along with the two semifinal losers.

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final
Tuesday: Sweet 16
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

Plus, our own Nick Mendola handicapped the field and here is who he thinks will be the favorites to win it all and which teams you should look out for as dark horses over the next few days. His predictions are wild and Arsenal fans will want to prove he is correct and they pick up a first piece of silverware under Mikel Arteta.

Okay, vote below (until 3 p.m. ET) for the two relegation playoff finalists as our Premier League March Madness tournament continues!

Report: Premier League prepares for June return

Liverpool v Southampton recap highlights
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The Premier League is reportedly preparing to return to action in June as the current season remains suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Multiple reports across the UK, including this one from the Daily Mirror, claim that the government has given the Premier League the green light to return to action from June, provided the situation has improved as expected by then.

Per the report, Premier League clubs have been told that they should prepare for games to be played from June 1 onwards behind closed doors and there is a ‘tentative agreement for the top flight to resume behind closed doors after the 20 clubs mapped out a plan with senior officials on a resumption of matches.’

The report adds that ‘in principle, with government health officials hopeful of a coronavirus peak in the UK in the next few weeks, they will sanction games under strict guidelines.’ 

Plans are in place for players to be isolated together and away from the public, as they could begin training in May so they can prepare for the current campaign resuming.

With the situation in the UK deteriorating over the last week and the country on lockdown, these tentative plans can of course change quickly.

Premier League players have had differing views on what should happen to the 2019-20 season and Luke Shaw is the latest to say games should not be played behind closed doors. But if teams play two games per week in empty stadiums or training grounds from June 1, there is the real possibility the season could be finished by the start of July and then FA Cup and Europe competitions could follow.

The overwhelming feeling from Premier League clubs, the league itself and many other individuals is that the 2019-20 season should be finished whenever it is safe to do so. Recent PL club meetings came to that agreement and that is the official stance.

However, the next big question is whether or not fans will be able to attend games for the rest of the season and this report seems to suggest that is totally off the table and if the current campaign is concluded, fans will not be present.

Luke Shaw: Scrap season and start again

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Man United and England defender Luke Shaw has said the 2019-20 season should be scrapped and started again if games cannot be completed.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Shaw, 24, was speaking during a FIFA 20 competition which was streamed on Twitch to raise funds for UNICEF’s Combat Corona campaign.

“Scrap it and start again. Start it again, yeah,” Shaw said. “It’s got to be, you know. If we can’t carry it on, it’s got to be void.”

All 20 Premier League clubs remain committed to completing the 2019-20 season whenever ‘safe to do so’ but there’s no resumption date currently lined up.

One option is for games to played behind closed doors, when possible, but Shaw isn’t keen on that either.

“Fans are so important. You realise it even more (now),” Shaw said. “I think the sport is for fans really… I think if you don’t have fans, and you don’t play in front of fans, it just doesn’t feel right. Especially on matchday, the fans are always amazing and always help the team. Whether it’s home or even away, our fans are always brilliant and I feel like they’re always there with us.”

The view of Shaw differs slightly from other Premier League players who have discussed the current suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic but there is a general consensus that they want to move onto the next season as soon as possible. When it comes to Shaw, his views are very interesting as Man United had rallied to be three points off the top four and had plenty of momentum ahead of the final nine games of the current league campaign, as well as being in a great position in the latter stages of the Europa League and FA Cup.

Man City star Kevin de Bruyne wants to move on from the 2019-20 season as soon as possible as he doesn’t think the start of the 2020-21 campaign should be delayed and is concerned about players being injured if they are asked to resume the season quickly.

Other players are fine to wait to see what the Premier League plans but Tottenham forward Harry Kane has also expressed his desire to move on from the current campaign if games cannot be completed by the end of June.

It is intriguing to hear so many differing views from Premier League players on when the season should resume, if at all, but Kane, Shaw and De Bruyne are all saying something slightly different. Therein lies the problem. How will a consensus be reached between PL clubs with so many different ideas and opinions on what should happen next?

If you throw club affiliations and rivalries into the mix, why on earth would a Man United star want the current season to be deemed as ‘void’ when Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top of the table and just five points away from securing the Premier League title…