AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

USMNT player ratings from an optimism-sucking 4-1 home dismantling by Brazil


That was bad, real bad, Jurgen Klinsmann.

The United States men’s national team was crushed 4-1 by Brazil on Tuesday in Foxboro, but it was a way worse performance than the score line.

[ MATCH RECAP: USMNT 1-4 Brazil ]

With the Confederations Cup playoff coming up against Mexico next month, U.S. fans must be crossing their fingers in health hope for Fabian Johnson, DaMarcus Beasley and even, yes, John Brooks.

Starting XI

Brad Guzan — 4 — He has his legion of defenders who will arrive in the comments section I’m sure, but I want him to claim the Willian cross before the first goal. Really, no keeper was going to make enough saves to make the difference on Tuesday, but his No. 2 nearly did against Belgium in a similar match a couple summers ago.

Michael Orozco — 3 — He struggled mightily against Brazil’s attacking unit.

Ventura Alvarado — 4 — Made some solid individual plays, but there was clearly no command amongst the back line and you need a center back to step up.

Tim Ream — 5 — Hard to give anyone from the back line any sort of good grade, but Ream made some good tackles while being played out of position. He also got the assist on Williams’ goal. Otherwise, shoulder shrug.

Geoff Cameron (off 79′) — 5 — See Ream’s description.

Jermaine Jones (off 72′) — 4 — Was clearly frustrated in both attack and defense, and his flair didn’t show through against a team full of electricity.

Ale Bedoya — 4 — Abused by Willian on the goal amongst other occasions, leading to a 37th minute hook for Danny Williams. He’s better on the wing, and tonight better to the bench.

Michael Bradley (off 79′) — 5 — His free kick after 35 minutes was not pretty, but he was one of the only lively players in the first half. Looked lethargic and ready to be subbed off in the second half. When was the last time you heard that about Michael Bradley? (Alarm bells).

DeAndre Yedlin — 6 — His giveaway helped lead to Brazil’s opener, but at least he managed to draw the visitors’ attention for a spell or two.

Gyasi Zardes (off HT) — 5 — His movement was on, but his touch was off. Not sure he’s refined enough in his progression to go tit-for-tat with Brazil. In time, perhaps.

Jozy Altidore (off 57′) — 4 — Couldn’t finish his chances, and remains a slow starter. Could’ve taken a nap sometime in the first half.


United States’ Daniel Williams (14) defends Brazil's Luis Gustavo (17) during the first half of an international friendly soccer match Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Danny Williams (on 37′) — 6 — Scored a rocket when Brazil wasn’t paying attention, but that hardly makes up for a tough evening in the middle.

Bobby Wood (on HT) — 4 — Didn’t factor.

Jordan Morris (on 57′) — 5 — Livelier, but same as above.

Aron Johannsson (on 79′) — 5 — Made one good dribble on the end line, but also booted a ball into outer space.

Jonathan Spector (on 72′) — 7 — Guys like Eric Lichaj had to be screaming, “Heck yes” after Spector’s near-assist to Diskerud struck a note for the long-forgotten ghosts of the USMNT set-up.

Mix Diskerud (on 72′) — 4 — You have to score 1v1 from 12 yards out. And it might’ve been closer. Instead, right to the keeper.

Toronto FC-DC United postponed due to COVID-19 tests

Toronto - DC United postponed
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It happened just like that, after a day’s worth of hype for Sunday morning’s MLS is Back Tournament debuts from Toronto FC and DC United.

Two COVID-19 tests — an unconfirmed positive COVID-19 test and an inconclusive one — were enough to postpone the 9am ET kickoff from Orlando, where the participating teams are living for the month-long affair.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

MLS will announce details for the rescheduled match later Sunday.

Nashville SC and FC Dallas have been withdrawn from the tournament due to a series of COVID-19 tests while LAFC star Carlos Vela removed himself due to concerns for his growing family.

From TorontoFC.ca:

Under the league’s health and safety protocols, clubs are tested the day before each match.  The results of yesterday’s tests for D.C. United and Toronto FC produced an initial unconfirmed positive COVID-19 case for one player and an inconclusive test for another player.  Because of the arrival time of the clubs in Orlando, the league’s protocol called for retesting both teams this morning and to await the results of those tests prior to playing the match.

Wolves throttle sorry Everton

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Wolves overran sleepy Everton to snap a two-game losing skid with a 3-0 win at the Molineux on Sunday.

Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota, and Leander Dendoncker scored for Wolves, who are back within four points of the top four before Manchester United and Leicester City stage their 35th matches.

 [ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Wolves face Burnley, Palace, and Chelsea, and will be considering a berth in the top four with a little help on the out-of-town scoreboard.

Everton remains 11th with 45 points and will finish the season with Villa, Sheffield United, and Bournemouth.


Three things we learned

1. Everton awakened from European dreams: Carlo Ancelotti’s 2020-21 plans officially start now. The Toffees are five points back of the Europa League with three matches left and could be seven or eight behind should there be a winner of the North London Derby later Sunday. It just hasn’t come together for the Toffees starting with the myriad injury troubles for Jean-Philippe Gbamin — out until 2021 — in his bid to take over for influential Idrissa Gana Gueye. There were other long-term injuries like Andre Gomes as well as the continued decline of Jordan Pickford, but there are too many bright spots for this side to be bottom-half. A mentality shift must be coming to Goodison, but you would’ve expected that to be cemented over the coronavirus pause.

2. Podence deputizes: January buy Daniel Podence has found it hard to find a place in Nuno Espirito Santo’s Starting XI but he’s taking his chances well. Podence forced a good save out of Jordan Pickford early, then won a penalty. He converted four of his five dribble attempts and claimed 67% of his ground duels (SofaScore).

3. Carlo needs a keeper: Carlo Ancelotti has gone out of his way to defend Jordan Pickford in the past and it’s certainly nice to have an England keeper as your No. 1 if you’re a Premier League boss, but the Toffees aren’t firing on to Europe any time soon with shot-stopping of his quality. Pickford nearly fumbled a ball over the with the score line 2-0. He’s still capable of the show-stopping saves but he’s not producing them as often and he’s not as consistent with the average to above average stuff he consistently displayed while making his name at Sunderland.

Man of the Match

Ruben Neves — He is a special, special talent. Neves’ assist on Jota’s goal was just marvelous and capped off a day of both tidy and ambitious passing. He’s been one of their best players since the restart, a physical force with technical gifts.


Wolves – Everton recap

A slow-enough start was highlighted by Lucas Digne’s sliding intervention on Raul Jimenez in the 18.

Everton keeper Jordan Pickford then had to make a low save at the near post on Daniel Podence following a slick 1v1 move.

Yerry Mina didn’t last the first half thanks to a thigh injury, replaced a half-dozen minutes before halftime by Seamus Coleman.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Podence drew a penalty off Digne in stoppage time, sending Raul Jimenez to the spot. The Mexican center forward did not miss.

Everton took off Leighton Baines and handed a PL debut to 18-year-old January signing Jarrad Branthwaite.

Wolves made it 2-0 within moments and at the expense of the debutant, Dendoncker staying in front of Branthwaite to nod Pedro Neto’s free kick on goal.

Pickford nearly fumbled a low shot into his own goal but Goal Decision System proved he rescued the ball when it was half over the line.

Aston Villa – Crystal Palace stream: How to watch, team news, start time

Aston Villa - Crystal Palace stream
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Aston Villa – Crystal Palace preview: Dean Smith’s Villans need a win over Crystal Palace to keep hope of remaining in the Premier League alive (Watch live at 9:15am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Villa has just left a brutal run of fixtures and finds itself seven points back of safety with four matches to play. If that figure remains seven with three to play, well, the math is grim even with West Ham as the last name on that fixture list.


Palace’s European hopes have settled into a valley, eight points away from the 42 points and 14th place.

Team news

Both Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings start for Villa along with John McGinn in the middle and Pepe Reina at the back.

It’ll be the usual suspects for Palace, with possible subs including James McCarthy, Andros Townsend, and Max Meyer.


How to watch Aston Villa – Crystal Palace

Kickoff: 9:15 am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Add this season mark to the list of crazy Lionel Messi records

Lionel Messi records
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Barcelona is a long shot to claim a third-straight La Liga title but that isn’t stopping Lionel Messi from setting new standards.

Messi slipped Arturo Vidal through for the lone goal of Barcelona’s win at Real Valladolid on Sunday, collecting his 20th assist of the league season in the process.

The helper makes Messi the second player this century to record 20 goals and 20 assists in a top five European league season after his former teammate Thierry Henry did it with Arsenal (24+20). Messi has 22 goals this season.

He’s also the first player to do it in La Liga, and the first to record 20 assists in a La Liga season since another former teammate, Xavi Hernandez.

Messi is one of eight players in Europe’s top five leagues to score 20-plus goals and one of only two with 20 assists (Thomas Muller). Only five others have double-digit goals and assists: Kevin De Bruyne, Serge Gnabry, Jadon Sancho, Alassane Plea, and Mikel Oyarzabal.

Barcelona hosts Osasuna and visits Alaves on the final two match days of the season. Can he match or even beat Henry’s goal output? He has 30 goals in 28 career appearances against the aforementioned opponents.

Real Madrid will edge closer to wrapping up the league with a win at Granada on Monday. Zinedine Zidane’s men are on an incredible and near-imperious run, having won eight-straight games and riding a 457-minute league shutout streak.

Real currently leads Barca by a point with a match-in-hand, then finish with Villarreal and Leganes.