2015 Gold Cup: USMNT player profiles – Defenders

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With the 2015 Gold Cup kicking off, it’s time to look at every single player on the USA’s 23-man roster.

[ MORE: Full 2015 Gold Cup coverage ]

Can Jurgen Klinsmann’s side defend the Gold Cup crown they won in 2013 to seal a spot at the 2017 Confederations Cup?

Here are the defenders who are tasked with making the U.S. national team champions of the CONCACAF region this summer.

Full name: Ventura Alvarado
Age: 22
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Position: Central defender
Caps/goals: 6/0
Club: Club America

Best moment in a U.S. shirt: Probably his display against Germany in the recent 2-1 friendly win in Cologne. Alvarado looks rough around the edges but against Germany he looked more composed than he had in other USMNT matches. After a shaky start, he and the rest of the U.S. defense improved in that one.

Starter or squad player at Gold Cup? Many believe Alvarado is still a bit too “green” to start consistently for the U.S. but with neither Brooks or Gonzalez putting in dominant displays, don’t be surprised to see him start at least one group game at the Gold Cup.

Full name: John Anthony Brooks
Age: 22
Hometown: Berlin, Germany
Position: Central defender
Caps/goals: 13/2
Club: Hertha Berlin

Best moment in a U.S. shirt: Does anybody remember Brooks’ late winner against Ghana in the 2014 World Cup group stages? Ah, I thought so. That is by far Brooks’ best moment in a U.S. jersey as he headed home Graham Zusi’s corner late on for the USA’s only victory of the tournament.

Starter or squad player at Gold Cup? He seems destined to start the tournament at center back with Omar Gonzalez as Klinsmann continues to persist with the hulking German-born defender. Yes, he wins everything in the air but his distribution and positional sense still needs a lot of work.

Full name: Timothy Chandler
Age: 25
Hometown: Frankfurt, Germany
Position: Right back, left back
Caps/goals: 22/1 
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt

Best moment in a U.S. shirt: Scoring a left-footed screamer against Guatemala in the final tune-up for the USA’s 2015 Gold Cup campaign. Chandler has improved steadily after playing in both the USA’s big wins over Holland and Germany.

Starter or squad player at Gold Cup? Looks like Timmy will be the starting right back with DeAndre Yedlin ahead of him. Many question his defense ability and carelessness with the ball, but he offers plenty going forward and his speed helps him make up for any mental lapses.

Full name: Brad Evans
Age: 30
Hometown: Phoenix Arizona
Position: Defense/midfield
Caps/goals: 19/1
Club: Seattle Sounders

Best moment in a U.S. shirt: Without doubt, his late game-winner from right back in a World Cup qualifier against Jamaica in Kingston. To date that is Evans’ only goal for the U.S. and it silenced the raucous crowd at “The Office” after Jamaica had the U.S. on the ropes late on. Huge moment.

Starter or squad player at Gold Cup? A utility player who is extremely useful to have in this squad, Evans will slot in where needed if injuries or suspensions crop up.

Full name: Greg Garza
Age: 23
Hometown: Grapevine, Texas
Position: Right back/left back
Caps/goals: 8/0
Club: Atlas

Best moment in a U.S. shirt: Garza looked the real deal for the U.S. in their friendly against Colombia in London back in November, 2014. Since then, after a few shaky displays and injury, he has fallen down the pecking order at full back.

Starter or squad player at Gold Cup? He was a late call-up to this squad due to Brad Davis’ injury, but he could get some minutes to help close out tight games late on.

source: AP
Gonzalez looks set to start at CB this summer.

Full name: Omar Gonzalez
Age: 26
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Position: Central defender
Caps/goals: 26/0
Club: LA Galaxy

Best moment in a US shirt: Like many of the defensive players, a performance that stands out is the 0-0 draw with Mexico at Azteca in August, 2014. Gonzalez was one of the best U.S. player on the pitch. The dual citizen of the USA and Mexico has stepped up time and time again versus El Tri.

Starter or squad player at Gold Cup: He will likely start at center back with John Brooks. However, his U.S. career can be described as somewhat of a rollercoaster. After blowing hot-and-cold for the USMNT, this tournament is huge for Gonzalez.

Full name: Fabian Marco Johnson
Age: 27
Hometown: Munich, Germany
Position:  Full back/winger
Caps/goals: 33/1
Club: Borussia Monchengladbach

Best moment in a US shirt: Johnson’s only goal for the U.S. so far was a belter. He played a great one-two with Michael Bradley before drilling home to put the U.S. ahead against Turkey during their sendoff series win before the 2014 World Cup. Majestic goal and his tireless running from deep-lying areas has continued ever-since.

Starter or squad player at Gold Cup? Looks to be the nailed on start at left back, but could be moved further forward if Klinsmann decides to give Tim Ream, Timmy Chandler or Brad Evans a go in that position.

Full name: Timothy Michael Ream
Age: 27
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Position: Central defender
Caps/goals: 13/0
Club: Bolton Wanderers

Best moment in a US shirt: 

Starter or squad player at Gold Cup? Looks like Ream won’t be given a starting role at the Gold Cup but his versatility is huge for Klinsmann as he’s played at center back, left back and in the holding midfield role during his time in MLS and with Bolton in England. Expect Ream to get some minutes somewhere along the line.

Liverpool – Arsenal: How to watch, updates, odds

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Liverpool – Arsenal: Two heavyweights clash at Anfield on Monday (Watch live at 3pm ET online via Peacock) as both team have a perfect record with two wins from two so far.

Heading to half time Liverpool lead 2-1 as Alexandre Lacazette’s opener was canceled out by Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson.

STREAM LIVE LIVERPOOL – ARSENAL

Reigning champions Liverpool have perhaps been more impressive as they’ve beaten upstarts Leeds United and then Chelsea, while Arsenal eased past Fulham but struggled past West Ham.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

When it comes to Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta, their playing philosophy as managers could not be more different as Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties at Wembley to win the Community Shield last month.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of a massive early-season clash as Arsenal look to put down a marker.


Team news (INJURY REPORT)

Liverpool have center back Joe Gomez back fit after he missed the win at Chelsea last weekend, while this game will come too soon for fellow defender Joel Matip and captain Jordan Henderson is also not fit to feature. Thiago Alcantara is not in the squad due to an minor injury, while new signing Diogo Jota is on the bench.

Arsenal have Kieran Tierney back fit for this game, which is a big boost. Gabriel, Bukayo Saka, Dani Ceballos and Sead Kolasinac all drop to the bench as Tierney, Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and David Luiz start. Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, Gabriel Martinelli and Shkodran Mustafi all remain out injured.


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Understandably Liverpool are the heavy favorites (-210) given their long unbeaten home record at Anfield. That said Arsenal (+520) do seem a high price after they beat Liverpool during ‘Project Restart’ and also in the Community Shield final. The draw at +360 is intriguing and the value perhaps lies there.

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Liverpool – Arsenal prediction

Arsenal have a lot more grit under Arteta and they ware capable of bending but not breaking. This is a huge test for them, though, and Gabriel against the fluid front three of Salah, Firmino and Mane will be his biggest test yet. Arsenal have the attackers to make the most of any more slack defending from Liverpool but I expect Klopp’s side to have just too much in midfield and attack. Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal.


How to watch Liverpool – Arsenal stream and start time

Kickoff: 3pm ET Monday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Aston Villa hammer sloppy Fulham

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Fulham – Aston Villa was ridiculously one-sided as Villa won 3-0 and barely got out of second gear at Craven Cottage.

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Early goals from Jack Grealish and Connor Hourihane set Villa on their way and Tyrone Mings sealed the win early in the second half.

Fulham were woeful defensively from start to finish as they’ve now lost all three of their games back in the Premier League and have conceded 10 goals in the process. Villa have won both of their opening games without conceding.


3 things we learned: Fulham – Aston Villa

1. Fulham’s defense all over the place: Denis Odoi, Tim Ream and Michael Hector were the center backs in a three-man central defense and Fulham were all over the place. Players were all pointing at one another and nobody seemed to know what was going on. Scott Parker was distraught on the sidelines as Fulham are making the exact same defensive mistakes which saw them relegated in 2018-19. Their transfer policy has been different this time around but the way Fulham are playing is eerily similar. Obviously, they cannot keep conceding three goals a game.

2. Grealish dazzles as Watkins gives Villa new dimension: What more can we say about Grealish? After signing a new long-term contract at Villa he seems to be playing with the weight of expectation on his shoulders, just like he did at the end of last season. With Ollie Watkins (who deserved a goal and went close on multiple occasions) stretching the Fulham back line, that allowed Grealish, John McGinn and others plenty of space to operate it. They made the most of it.

3. Mitrovic will get chances: Even though Fulham looked awful at the back, they whipped in some great crosses from the flanks and Mitrovic, as always, was a handful. At some point Fulham will be better going for it in games and winning 3-2 and 4-3. They have more of a chance of staying in the Premier League if they attack compared to trying to sit back deeper and being more defensive.

Man of the Match: Jack Grealish – Scored early, involved in the second and always a threat. Odoi will be having many a nightmare about Grealish.


Aston Villa got off to the best possible start as a lovely ball over the top from John McGinn found Grealish and he dinked the ball past Areola and in.

Fulham’s defense was totally caught out as Parker seethed in his technical area and soon he was even angrier. Watkins played in Grealish down the left and he played it to McGinn who tapped the ball to Hourihane to slot home and make it 2-0.

The hosts got the ball wide on plenty of occasions and whipped crosses in for Mitrovic but Villa dealt with that threat easily and always looked dangerous when going forward. Watkins wasted a few good chances.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At the start of the second half Villa went 3-0 up as Mings timed his run to perfection to prod home a free kick as Fulham’s defending was once again all over the place.

McGinn was denied by Areola as Villa were cutting through Fulham like a knife through hot butter time and time again.

It looked like Fulham were handed a path back into the game as Emiliano Martinez dropped a cross and Decordova Reid tapped home but VAR was used as Mitrovic pushed Ezri Konsa as the ball came in.

Grealish missed a good chance as Villa continued to create openings with Mings also going close and Joe Bryan clipped the crossbar at the other end as Martinez pulled off a good save.

Fulham – Aston Villa: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Fulham – Aston Villa: How early is too early to call a game “must-win” in the Premier League? Perhaps we will find out on Monday (Watch live at 12:45 pm ET, online via Peacock), when bottom-of-the-table Fulham host Aston Villa at Craven Cottage.

FULHAM – ASTON VILLA STREAM LIVE

Scott Parker’s side has had a torrid start to life back in the PL — not at all dissimilar to the way their last stint ended — and find themselves with zero points and seven goals conceded after their first two games. Losing 3-0 to Arsenal on the opening day of the season wasn’t altogether surprising, but following that defeat with four more goals conceded to Leeds United last weekend will undoubtedly have done a number on the Cottagers’ confidence.

Villa, on the other hand, have played just once and secured a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United earlier this week. A win on Monday would see Dean Smith’s side start the season with back-to-back PL victories for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

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Here is everything you need to know ahead of Fulham – Aston Villa this Monday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Fulham – Aston Villa (INJURY REPORT)

Fulham – No injuries or suspensions

Scott Parker makes three changes as Tom Cairney, Tim Ream and Bobby Decordova-Reid start.

Aston Villa – OUT: Bjorn Engels (thigh), Tom Heaton (knee), Wesley (knee), Ahmed Elmohamady (thigh)

Villa are unchanged from the team which beat Sheffield United last time out.


What they’re saying: Fulham – Aston Villa

Scott Parker, on a “must-win” game: “I don’t see it as drastic as a must-win. We want to win. I know it’s either high or low in a drastic world, but we need to stay level and take realism of where we are in the campaign and where we are as a team. We will try everything we can to take some points and be up to the challenge. I don’t think we’re the only team at this present moment in time who have let in some goals in the first two games. It’s not ideal, of course not. Villa at home on Monday is a game we’re going to try to get three points.”

Dean Smith, on needing another signing: “We’re always looking in the market, we’re probably one short in the squad at the moment so we’ll keep looking at that. I think there’s seven days left until the window shuts internationally, another seven days domestically. Our sporting director at the moment has got his finger on the pulse, hopefully we might get one more in and maybe a couple more out.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

This one is just about a coin flip with Fulham (+185) ever so slight underdogs to Villa (+150). In a game that could go either way like this one, the draw (+225) might just be the safe middle ground.

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Prediction: Fulham – Aston Villa

There’s not much to separate these two sides right now, and there likely won’t be much ground between them come the season’s final table. There should be a few goals, but that’ll be more down to poor defending than excellent attacking quality from either side. Fulham 2-2 Villa.


How to watch Fulham – Aston Villa stream and start time

Kickoff: 12:45 pm ET Monday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Transfer news: Kante to Man United; Dest to Barcelona

Kante to Manchester United
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In the latest transfer news N’Golo Kante to Manchester United is reported, while USMNT right back Sergino Dest to Barcelona is almost complete.

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Let’s take a look at some of the latest juicy rumors as we’re in the final week of the transfer window.


Kante to Manchester United couldn’t really happen… could it!?

N’Golo Kante is still among the finest holding midfielders in the world, which is why this report from the Daily Mirror seems particularly outlandish.

That said, Kante, 29, has been linked with a move away from Chelsea for most of this transfer window as the French central midfielder continues to be a man in demand. Per the report, Kante would have to take a pay-cut on his $385,000 per week wages.

Frank Lampard and Chelsea know that Kante’s value is extremely high, on and off the pitch, right now and they will also know his value may be at its peak. At times over the last 12 months he hasn’t quite been himself but he’s still been consistently excellent.

Is it time for Chelsea to cash in on Kante to help offset their incredible $300 million spending spree this summer?

Pretty much everyone who watches Chelsea knows this would be a bad idea. If you think Chelsea’s defending has been bad, think how bad it will be without Kante plugging as many gaps as he can in front of the defense. Chelsea fans everywhere are shuddering right now.

Kante to Manchester United would make sense for the Red Devils who still look badly imbalanced and need a destructive holding midfielder to get their dangerous attacking quartet of Rashford, Greenwood, Martial and Fernandes in the game more.

We would all be extremely surprised if Chelsea sell Kante to a direct rival, but stranger things have happened.

Sergino Dest to Barcelona almost complete

USMNT right back Sergino Dest to Barcelona is edging closer as the Dutch-American defender is said to have agreed personal terms with Barca.

Dest, 19, was chased by both Bayern Munich and Barcelona but his chosen the latter after Ajax agreed a $26.7 million fee with Barcelona.

Per a report from Sky Italy, Dest has agreed a five-year contract at Barcelona and will travel to Spain to complete the deal.

With Nelson Semedo sold to Wolves, Barcelona need a new right back and new head coach Ronald Koeman looks set to make Dest the first signing he has chosen. While manager of the Dutch national team Koeman wanted Dest to switch allegiances from the USMNT but he stuck with the nation he has played for throughout his youth international career despite being born in the Netherlands.

Dest will get plenty of opportunities to play at Barcelona and it will be intriguing to track his development.