Negative vibes surround USMNT, as Jurgen Klinsmann’s side hammered by Brazil

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Make no mistake about it, this was only a friendly, but in terms of the performance and the manner of the defeat, it said a lot about where Jurgen Klinsmann’s side is at right now.

Things are not looking good.

[ MORE: Player ratings for USMNT vs. Brazil ]

Yes, Brazil is loaded with talented players but they way the U.S. collapsed in the second half was a shock and the Selecao could have easily scored more as they ran riot in their 4-1 win. It was the worst defeat for the U.S. on home soil since Brazil inflicted the same margin of victory three years ago and with the huge CONCACAF Confederations Cup playoff against Mexico coming up at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 10, this was hardly the type of result or performance Klinsmann would have wanted in his final game before that match.

[ RECAP: USMNT 1-4 Brazil ]

In his post-game press conference, here’s what Klinsmann had to say about Brazil’s dominant display as he urged his team to learn from this humbling defeat.

“Their tempo, their speed of play, speed of thought and speed of execution, all those elements were very impressive,” Klinsmann said. “For us, it was a huge learning curve. It was a completely different tempo they set, and we couldn’t go that tempo. It’s a tempo that is played in the [UEFA] Champions League. They’re always two thoughts ahead. That’s a level we’re trying to catch as fast as we can.”

Speaking after the match, U.S. national team captain Michael Bradley was trying to stay positive.

“We didn’t think we were the best team in world when we beat Netherlands and Germany in the friendlies in June, and we don’t think we’re the worst team in the world right now,” Bradley told reporters after the game. “We just have to maintain a level head and be able to look at things in a reasonable way. At the end of the day, this game is not the be-all, end-all for us this year.”

It’s true that a bad 90 minutes at Gillette Stadium — described as somewhat of a “debacle” by PST’s Nick Mendola here — will not be too decisive in the grand scheme of things, but after floundering to fourth place in the 2015 Gold Cup over the summer and plenty of question marks still surrounding Klinsmann’s personnel choices, the philosophy of the team and if things have improved since he arrived in 2011, you get the feeling things are unraveling.

[ VIDEO: Williams scores stunner in U.S. defeat ]

Rumors of a big divide among the players were thrown up by Fox Sports analyst and former U.S. national team forward Eric Wynalda, as a mishmash of players come together from the mostly German speaking German-American players who play in the Bundesliga, to young guys in MLS and veterans playing in the Premier League, plus even young college kids like Jordan Morris all in the same group. The identity of this team is the most puzzling thing. With so many players used by Klinsmann over the past four years (enforced due to MLS not playing to a FIFA calendar and various other issues with summer tournaments and player availability) and so many systems picked up and then chucked away, is there a clear direction? The U.S. put in a spirited second half display last Friday against Peru after a slow start at RFK Stadium, but if Klinsmann and his squad truly want to reach the next level and reach his oft stated goal of reaching the semifinals of the World Cup at Russia 2018, they have a long, long way to go.

Some of that is the players’ fault, some of it is Klinsmann’s and collectively there are plenty of issues throughout the team.

In defense things are especially all over the place, without first choice full backs for these two friendlies, both Tim Ream and Geoff Cameron were asked to play out of position at full back while their best positions are at center back. Those asked to play at center back — Omar Gonzalez, John Brooks, Ventura Alvarado and Michael Orozco — have proved on plenty of occasions that they are either not quite good enough for the international stage or are too young to make the step up. Klinsmann’s persistence with some of these players is perplexing.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from USA’s win vs. Peru ]

Earlier this week Klinsmann also raised concern about the development of U.S. youngsters in the striking department and with Jozy Altidore looking sharp in the second half vs. Peru but struggling for the rest of the two matches, who else does Klinsmann have to lean on in attack? The likes of Aron Johannsson, Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris have all yet to fully take the chances Klinsmann has handed them.

In midfield, especially against Brazil where Alejandro Bedoya was hooked off in the first half as he struggled to contain Willian, the U.S. was overrun and although that was the case, long-term it seems like starting in a 4-4-2 system with Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones in the middle, plus Gyasi Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin using their speed down the flanks is the way to go.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Herzog readying U.S. U-23 side for Olympic qualifying ]

We have learned a lot about the U.S. over the past two games, must of which confirmed our worst fears and exposed glaring weaknesses as the hangover from a poor Gold Cup display has yet to dissipate. Klinsmann has already said it’s highly likely the vast majority of these players who turned out against Brazil will line up vs. Mexico in just over a month in Pasadena.

That will give Klinsmann’s staff, and many fans of the U.S. national team, plenty of sleepless nights as the German prepares for one of the biggest matches in his tenure as the USA’s head coach.

Mourinho denies bust-up with Rose

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Jose Mourinho has denied he has had a training ground bust-up with left back Danny Rose.

Reports had circulated that Rose and Mourinho were involved in a heated argument in training on Monday after the England left back was unhappy to be left out of the squad for the 0-0 draw at Watford on Saturday.

Mourinho had said that Rose was out injured with a back problem but the left back has since denied he wasn’t fit to play against the Hornets.

Speaking to the media ahead of Spurs’ home game against Norwich on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:30 p.m. ET online via NBCSports.com), Mourinho wasn’t having any of it.

“I don’t know what you mean by tension in the air, I don’t have a problem with him,” Mourinho said. “On the Thursday before Watford late evening I got a call from my medical staff saying that Danny was calling them with a problem in his back and he wouldn’t train the next day. Friday it was a bit of a surprise to see him training, but even so I decided to play with (Japhet) Tanganga and have Ryan (Sessegnon) on the bench. That is the situation.”

Mourinho added that Rose’s display against Liverpool was “not phenomenal” and reading between the lines, he was dropped.

If there wasn’t an incident or at least some anger between Rose and Mourinho, why would reports of this nature surface?

With youngster Japhet Tanganga starting at left back for Tottenham, and doing a very good job as Mourinho praised him afterwards, it is understandable that Rose would have his nose put out of joint a little.

The England international has less than 18 months left on his current contract at Spurs and has already spoken publicly about his plans to run down that deal as chairman Daniel Levy hasn’t offered him a new deal.

It will be intriguing to see how this plays out as Tanganga now seems to be Spurs’ first choice left back and Rose will have to be happy with playing a bit-part role between now and the end of the season.

His experience and quality is undoubted but with Spurs’ defensive unit all over the place this season, Mourinho is well within his rights to mix things up with formations and personnel as he tries to make Tottenham tough to beat.

Solskjaer: United have made “strides forward”

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Ole Gunnaer Solskjaer believes his Manchester United side have taken “strides forward” following their 2-0 defeat at bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

United were outplayed for the vats majority of the game and were lucky to be only 1-0 down heading into the 90th minute but the grit and determination they showed impressed Solskjaer who lauded his young team.

Without the injured star duo of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba for the daunting trip to the Premier League leaders, United’s manager was in a positive mood ahead of their clash against Burnley on Wednesday (Watch live, 3:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

“We lost to Liverpool. A team that you all say are fantastic and we’ve been in the game until the last kick of the ball. For me, that’s strides forward,” Solskjaer said. “Of course we’re disappointed about losing the game. We don’t want to be behind them in the league. But there are signs there that we’re on the right track, definitely.”

Is Solskjaer’s positivity misplaced?

Some would argue that United were lucky that Liverpool’s finishing was lackluster and that is true but the Red Devils hung in there and should have equalized in the second half but Anthony Martial blazed over.

They were missing at least four or five players in key areas for the trip to United as Rashford, Pogba and Scott McTominay were out injured and they badly need another attacking midfielder (ahem, Bruno Fernandes) to help with their play in the final third.

Solskjaer is right, there were positives for United. Fred played extremely well in midfield and both Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka stood tall defensively out wide. But the main takeaway from their trip to Liverpool was that United were delighted to not lose by three or four goals. The gulf in class between the two teams was clear for all to see and although United are trying to sort out their disjointed and confused squad by signing young, talented players, they are so far off Liverpool it is scary.

USMNT youngster Vassilev praised by Villa boss

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18-year-old USMNT youngster Indiana Vassilev has been praised by Aston Villa boss Dean Smith after making his Premier League debut at the weekend.

Vasillev came on for the final 25 minutes at Brighton and Hove Albion with Villa 1-0 down and helped them rescue a point as his run opened up the chance for Jack Grealish to score a late equalizer.

The lively attacking midfielder/forward has excelled in Villa’s reserve side after his arrival in England in the summer of 2018 following impressive displays for the U.S. youth national teams.

With Villa struggling with injuries up top after main striker Wesley went down with a season-ending injury early this month, Smith is clearly ready to put his faith in Vassilev.

“He is definitely ready to start,” Smith said. “The kid’s a bright spark, and we’ve seen that when he’s come on so far. He gave them (Brighton) problems on Saturday when he came on. It was a super ball from Douglas but, unless Indi makes that run down the side, he doesn’t drag Webster across, and Jack get in for the goal. He knows what he’s doing up there, he’s got a lot of pace, and he can run all day as well.”

Villa’s boss didn’t stop there though, as he also revealed that the young striker born in Savannah, Georgia has the backing of the senior players around him to go on and become a regular contributor in the Premier League.

“I’ve never been afraid to go and put young kids in if I feel they’re ready. I congratulated him after the game and said, ‘You’re a Premier League player now.’ He’s surprised me in a good way,” Smith added. “Sometimes when you give an opportunity to a young player they can sink or swim. He is certainly a swimmer. He has looked really good so far. You can always tell how the reaction is through the other players, in their relationships with them. You can see them all behind him. He goes in and puts a shift in for them. If you do that and have quality to add to it you will do alright in the dressing room. He’s got a goalscoring ability, he knows where the back of the net is, he knows what runs to make. Tactically he’s intelligent. Physically he’s impressive as well.”

Vassilev comes from a long line of soccer players and his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all played in Bulgaria and he was born and raised in the USA after his parents emigrated from the eastern European country in the early 1990s.

It looks like the USMNT have another top talent breaking through in Europe which is great news for Gregg Berhalter and potentially even better news for Villa as they badly need a forward to deliver goals in their fight against relegation from the Premier League.

Expect to see more cameos, and maybe even starts, from Vassilev in the final months of the Premier League season.

Chicharito on LA Galaxy arrival: ‘Right place, right time’

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Javier ‘Chicharito‘ Hernandez has made a living out of being in the right place at the right time.

The LA Galaxy’s newest Designated Player believes he is now in the “right place at the right time” in his career as Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer confirmed his move to Major League Soccer.

Hernandez, 31, joins the Galaxy from Sevilla in La Liga and the former Chivas Guadalajara, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and West Ham United striker is ready to take MLS by storm.

“Like when people describe me playing. You know, that he’s always in the right place at the right time,” Hernandez said in his first interview as a Galaxy player, with the LA Times.

After a few years battling for minutes at West Ham in the Premier League and Sevilla in Spain after a successful spell at Leverkusen, Hernandez is heading closer to home as the Mexico star is ready to play week in, week out for the most-successful franchise in MLS history.

“I’m going to be playing. That’s what I want in my life,” Hernandez said. “People are going to say it was because I couldn’t make it [in Europe], but sometimes in football there are things that are not in your hands. The last two years, the managers decided on giving confidence to other players rather than me. And now, the LA Galaxy, the manager of the club and the league, are telling me, ‘Look, Javier, we want to give you all the trust, all the confidence to help us,’ and that’s why I’m taking this opportunity.”

He will link up with Mexico teammate Jonathan dos Santos in the Galaxy’s team as they try and wrestle back the City of Angels from MLS new boys and reigning Supporters’ Shield champions LAFC.

Hernandez was always destined to play in MLS before he retired and now that day has arrived. Following in the footsteps of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be easy but if anyone can score goals, it is Hernandez.

Get ready for his jersey to be the fastest-selling in history as Mexico’s favorite son is ready to become an even bigger star in MLS in the final years of his career.