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Should the U.S. Olympic setback vs. Honduras fall on Klinsmann?

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It’s not over yet; This much must be noted as we swim through the murky waters of reaction after the U.S. U-23 side blinked in the face of instant qualification to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Honduras got a pair of goals from Alberth Elis, a 19-year-old Olimpia player with a pair of caps for his senior team, as the U.S. road to Rio got much trickier after a 2-0 loss in Utah.

Now, the States need to beat either Canada or Mexico just to get a shot at CONMEBOL playoff qualifier Colombia.

[ MATCH RECAP: Yanks’ Olympic hopes take terrific blow vs. Honduras ]

Keep in mind that Colombia finished second in CONMEBOL’s qualification tournament, thanks to Brazil’s status as host nation. A side that did not lose in the South American Youth Football Championship, one with 19-year-old Chelsea star-in-waiting Joao Rodriguez and Juventus prospect Andres Tello, awaits the U.S. should it win the third place game.

What does this tell us about the Yanks under the guidance of Jurgen Klinsmann? And maybe the better question is does it tell us anything at all?

The States allowed a total of two goals in a three-match unbeaten group play, both after the 80th minute of play with multi-goal leads in hand.

Yet with the money on the line Saturday, the U.S. puked. Honduras was livelier, and worked the Yanks into such frustration that head coach Andreas Herzog was tossed from the contest.

[ EDWARDS: The case for firing Klinsmann with a loss vs. Mexico ]

So to the question at-hand: Should Klinsmann bear most of this burden, some, or not much at all? He took over the U.S. technical director position on July 29, 2011, when this entire roster was between the ages of 14-18.

That moves to 15-18 if you discount the youngest player, Spurs’ Cameron Carter-Vickers, who looked formidable in the qualifying tournament. Is that a realistic timeframe to implement major change, considering that the U-23s bombed out of 2012 qualifying in group play while being directed by Caleb Porter?

To rewind: With group advancement on the line, they drew El Salvador 3-3. El Salvador. The lineup for that final match has plenty of names MLS and USMNT fans will know well: Hamid (Johnson ’39); Sarkodie, Opara, Kitchen, Villafana, Diskerud, Okugo, Corona (Stephens 88′), Adu (Gyau 90+’), Boyd, Shea.

Klinsmann’s position as senior team coach is easier to quantify; results and player selection fall squarely on his shoulders. But should his guidance as technical director have made a bigger impact on this unit, one with six players getting regular minutes in MLS, a keeper amongst the most prominent in Norway, and players on the First Team set-ups in the top flights of Germany, Switzerland and Scotland?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

It’s hard to say, isn’t it? Yet if the senior team loses tonight against Mexico, it will be all hands on deck in discussing whether Klinsmann should stay in the U.S. set up (And if they win, somehow it’ll be, “The Confederations Cup is a minor tournament” and “Mexico wins are nice, but we’re supposed to beat them.”).

I admit to being on the fence with Klinsmann, somehow, which is hard to do when most voices seem diametrically opposed; Either the German hero is working with a substandard pot of ingredients to put together an elite side, or he’s poisoning everything that’s good and holy about the U.S. Soccer universe.

There are no easy answers here. For those who think it’s simple, I ask how? For sanity’s sake, let’s hope for a big “W” tonight.

La Liga roundup: Atletico Madrid win first opener in four years

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Spain’s top flight is two days into a new season, and here’s a roundup of all of Sunday’s action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Getafe

It wasn’t done in aesthetically pleasing fashion, but Atletico Madrid won their first opening season game in four years.

In fact, the first half was rough with both Atletico and Getafe loosing players to straight red cards. Getafe’s Jorge Molina saw red for a studs-up challenge in the 38th minute, while Renan Lodi was asked to leave the field in his debut for Los Colchoneros. 

Summer signing Alvaro Morata proved to be the difference for Atletico, however. Assisted by former Tottenham fullback Kieran Trippier, the team’s academy product scored early on in the 23rd minute – the goal made Atletico one of eight clubs to start the season with three points.

$140 million signing Joao Felix also made his La Liga debut, and impressed the home crowd with a dazzling run in the second half that ended drawing a penalty for Atletico. Morata missed.

Not the smoothest of games for Diego Simeone’s side, but like Real Madrid, they already have an edge on Barcelona.

Espanyol 0-2 Sevilla 

Julen Lopetegui can finally breathe (and coach) in peace.

Following a series of unfortunate events with the Spanish national team and Real Madrid, Lopetegui and Sevilla started their new era in a winning way.

Sergio Reguilon got things started for the visiting side with a tap in inside the six-yard box. And in the final minutes, no stranger to stepping up for Sevilla, Nolito slotted one past Diego Lopez.

With only two shots on frame to speak for them, Espanyol was one, two steps behind Los Hispalenses, who look for another top-six finish in Spain’s top-flight league.

Sevilla’s young quest for that continues as they travel to Granada. Meanwhile, Espanyol have no time to waist with a Europa League play-off bout against Ukrainian side Zorya lined up midweek.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Real Valladolid

Alaves 1-0 Levante

Report: Edinson Cavani set to join Inter Miami next summer

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Edinson Cavani is reportedly set to make a big splash in Florida.

According to Uruguayan journalist Alvaro Izquierdo, Cavani, 32, is set to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami next summer. The club will make their MLS debut next season.

The specifics of the supposed move are not know, but per the report from Izquierdo, Cavani will join Miami on a free transfer after his contract with PSG expires in June. Since joining in 2013, El Matador has been irreplaceable for the French giants, scoring over 160 goals and becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. This season, Cavani is off to a perfect start -scoring in the first two games of the Ligue 1 season.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The striker is one of the first superstars linked to Miami, but the general vibe given off by owners Jorge Mas and Beckham is that the club will look to spend big – similar to Atlanta United, LAFC and LA Galaxy.

Miami has signed three players so far ahead of their 2020 MLS debut – Christian Makoun, Julian Carranza, and Matias Pellegrini all currently makeup the squad.

‘But hey this is MLS’: Wayne Rooney slams MLS’ travel arrangements

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Wayne Rooney is not a fan of MLS’ travel arrangements.

D.C. United lost 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday in Canada, and had to fly back to the nation’s capital before prepping for a midweek showdown with visiting New York Red Bulls. To the 33-year-old Englishmen the trip should’ve taken six hours, not half a day.

MLS is notoriously known for the lack of charter flights it offers its teams, a mere four per season is the reported amount each team is allocated. Traveling on commercial flights has caused routine delays for a slew of team’s this season, with certain teams arriving only hours before the first whistle in some cases.

Players, however, will reportedly push for better travel in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Not only for Rooney, but for the majority of professional athletes around the world, flying charter is customary.

Upon his arrival to D.C. in 2018, Rooney turned down first-class flights offered by the Black-and-Red, among other fine accommodations. “If you are going to be part of the team, you have to be part of the team,” Rooney said on his decision to reject first-class flights and private hotel rooms. “All in and do the same things. I don’t want special treatment — I wanted to be treated the same as the players. I’m part of this team.”

Rooney, despite being on his way out of D.C. to join Derby County in January, is certainly a part of the team.

He is also now a part of the complex fight for better travel in MLS.

Vela scores 24th, LAFC clinches playoff berth

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SANDY, Utah (AP) – Carlos Vela scored his MLS-leading 24th goal of the season, Tyler Miller had four saves and Los Angeles FC beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff berth.

LAFC played a man down after defender Walker Zimmerman, who was shown a yellow card for time wasting in the 17th minute, was given a red for unsporting behavior in the 48th., Real Salt Lake’s Aaron Herrera, who blocked two would-be goals in the first half, was shown a straight red for denial of a goal scoring opportunity on Vela, who then converted from the spot to make it 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Vela, whose 15 assists are tied with Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers for the league lead, broke the MLS record for combined goals and assists. Sebastian Giovinco’s had 22 goals and 16 assists for Toronto FC in 2015.

Miller has eight shutouts this season for LAFC (18-3-4), who have won four consecutive games and seven of their last eight dating to June 28.

Adama Diomande side-netted a rising right-footer to cap the scoring in the 82nd minute.

Salt Lake (12-10-4) had its six-game unbeaten streak, including three straight wins, snapped and allowed multiple goals for the first time since a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on June 1.