Getty Images

Three things we learned from the USMNT’s loss to Mexico

6 Comments

It took 120 minutes, but Mexico defeated the United States 3-2 at the Rose Bowl tonight. While Mexico heads on to the Confederations Cup, the U.S. has some questions to answer.

[ RECAP: USA 2-3 (a.e.t.) Mexico ]

Here are three things we learned tonight, although the list could have been much longer.

THE UNITED STATES HAS NO IDENTITY

Is the United States a possession team? Is the United States a counter-attacking team? Tonight against Mexico, the United States was neither. It’s been four years with Jurgen Klinsmann as manager, and the USMNT is still without an identity.

[ PLAYER RATINGS: Cameron shines while Dempsey struggles ]

Mexico controlled possession and kept the U.S. pinned in their own half for a good portion of the match. On the few times the U.S. got forward, they didn’t have enough numbers to create anything meaningful. One way to combat this would have been to slow down the play and control possession for a few minutes, allowing the tired players to catch their breath. Then, the team could move forward as a unit and try to attack. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as Mexico walked away with a deserved win.

It looked like the U.S. went out as eleven guys playing a soccer game, with no gameplan and no identity. It showed, and it cost them.

DEMPSEY FAILED TO TAKE CONTROL

Clint Dempsey is one of the most important players for the United States, but was invisible tonight. While Dempsey tried to press forward, sometimes it would have been better suited for the U.S. for Dempsey to check back and demand the ball.

Dempsey is known for scoring goals, his 48 tallies are second all-time in USMNT history, but his biggest asset for the national side is his playmaking ability. Especially in a match like tonight when Mexico had more of the possession, if Dempsey was able to come back and collect the ball, he would have had an opportunity to dictate the tempo for Klinsmann’s men. Dempsey getting on the ball more often would have helped keep possession for the U.S., while allowing Clint to spread the play and then turn on the attack.

In the biggest moments, you want your biggest players to take control. Dempsey sat back as a bystander.

LACK OF CONTINUITY HURT THE DEFENSE

The defense continues to be a soft spot for the United States. While the back-line settled in and played better as the match progressed, early errors gave Mexico the lead. Mexico started the match flying, and their pace and continuous movement was a handful.

[ WATCH: Wild extra-time sees three goals ]

On the opening goal, Matt Besler was pulled way out of position leaving acres of space behind him, and El Tri took full advantage. While Mexico players checked in-and-out and swapped positions on runs, a lack of communication left the defense exposed. The back-line of Johnson, Cameron, Besler, and Beasley played together in the 2014 World Cup, but since then, Klinsmann has failed to stick with a consistent defensive unit. The strongest national sides have defenses that rarely change, with four names locks to be in the starting lineup. Moving forward, the United States needs to choose a back-line and let them get a prolonged run of matches together as a unit.

No deal: Willian, Wan-Bissaka bids rejected

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to Sky Sports Chelsea have reportedly rejected $44 million bids from both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona for their Brazilian winger Willian.

Willian, 29, has just 12 months left on his current contract at Chelsea but given their transfer ban and after losing Eden Hazard to Real Madrid already this summer, the west London club are not willing to lose a player they believe will be key for them next season.

With Pedro and Christian Pulisic also around in the wide midfield positions, the fact that Callum Hudson-Odoi is recovering from a long-term injury also means that Willian is needed at Stamford Bridge.

He turns 30 soon and he has been linked with a move to Barca in the past. That said, his experience and quality will be needed for this young Chelsea squad and with Hazard gone he can now step up and be the main man cutting inside and scoring goals.


Another London club have turned down a bid, as Crystal Palace have brushed aside an offer of $44 million up front plus another $19 million in add-ons from Manchester United for right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

The 21-year-old was Palace’s Player of the Season in 2018-19 and excelled in his first full season as a professional.

Man United are desperate to bolster their defense, with right back and center back key areas where they want to strengthen this summer.

Wan-Bissaka is currently away with the England U21 squad for the European Championships in Italy and Palace know it will be tough to hang on to both him and Wilfried Zaha this summer as the latter has reaffirmed his desire to challenge for trophies and play in the UEFA Champions League.

Sky Sports believe that a straight offer of $65 million would be accepted, and United will likely return to pay what Palace want for one of the most promising right backs in the Premier League.

Watch Live: 2019 Women’s World Cup – Day 11

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The first double headers of the 2019 Women’s World Cup has arrived, as Groups A and B come to a close on Monday.

Hosts France are already through to the last 16 of the tournament but they face Nigeria who are aiming to finish in second place as they have three points from their first two games, and so do Norway who face South Korea in the other Group A finale.

[ MORE: Women’s World Cup news

Germany are already through from Group B and a win against South Africa, who sit bottom of the standings, will see them top the group. The real drama will be in the game between Spain and China as both teams have three points heading into their final group game.

You can watch every single game from the tournament live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes and via the NBC Sports App. All you have to do is click on the links below.

[ LIVE: Watch every single 2019 Women’s World Cup game ]

Here is your full schedule for Monday, June 17 at the Women’s World Cup.


2019 Women’s World Cup schedule

Group B: China v. Spain – 12 p.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Group B: South Africa v. Germany – 12 p.m. ET – STREAM LIVE

Group A: Nigeria v. France – 3 p.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Group A: South Korea v. Norway – 3 p.m. ET – STREAM LIVE

USWNT: “We have best team and second best team in world”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Well, I’m sure this will calm down the folks who believe the USWNT are overconfident and a tad arrogant after scoring 16 goals and conceding zero in their opening two games of the 2019 Women’s World Cup…

Via Andrew Keh from the New York Times, defender Ali Krieger believes that such is the incredible depth of Jill Ellis’ U.S. women’s national team, they actually have the best team on the planet and also the second best team.

“We have the best team in the world, and the second-best team in the world,” Krieger said of the no. 1 ranked team on the planet.

Alex Morgan added that the USWNT have “two starting lineups” and the fact that Ellis made seven changes from the team which beat Thailand 13-0 and the U.S. then beat Chile 3-0 on Sunday says a lot.

All 20 of the USWNT’s outfield players have now played at the World Cup, and ahead of their Group F showdown with Sweden on Thursday for top spot it is likely the U.S. will continue to rotate its starting lineup.

In a month-long tournament, having such a large squad of talent to call on is enviable and Ellis knows it.

The USWNT toned down their goal celebrations from the 13-0 hammering of Thailand to the relatively run-of-the-mill victory against Chile, but their confidence levels haven’t dipped at all.

Just as the fresh legs will take them far in this tournament, so too will a whole squad brimming with confidence after getting valuable minutes at a World Cup.

It will be intriguing to hear what France, England and Germany think about these claims that the USWNT’s reserve squad is better than they are…

How does Sarri’s exit impact Chelsea, Pulisic?

Twitter/Chelsea FC
Leave a comment

USMNT fans will have been thinking about one thing after Maurizio Sarri left as Chelsea’s manager to take charge of Juventus on Sunday.

How does this impact Christian Pulisic?

Pulisic, 20, signed for Chelsea in January for $73 million and was then loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the rest of last season. He is now officially a Blues player and even though Sarri was initially a little bemused about the signing, he had recently spoken positively about Pulisic’s arrival.

But now those words do not matter. Sarri is out.

Chelsea legend and a member of their coaching staff, Carlo Cudicini, has also been speaking about the high hopes Chelsea have for Pulisic as they hope he fill the considerable void after Eden Hazard departed for Real Madrid, but it all hinges on who the new manager is.

If, as expected, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard arrives as their new manager in the next few weeks, this could change things drastically for Pulisic at Chelsea.

On the face of it, Pulisic working under Lampard day in, day out would be wonderful for his development. Having one of the best attacking midfielders in history to learn from would be the perfect fit. Who better to teach Pulisic about timing runs into the box and when to shoot and pass in the final third?

But with Lampard and his assistant coach Jody Morris (former U-18 head coach in Chelsea’s academy) eager to give other youngsters from the academy the chance to shine, Pulisic could be the odd man out in some regards.

With a heavy emphasis to play youngsters next season, whoever the manager is, here’s what a Chelsea ‘young XI’ could look like post-Sarri and maybe under Lampard.


Chelsea’s young starting XI, 2019-20 season

—– Kepa —–

— Ampadu — Timori — Rudiger — 

—- James —- Loftus-Cheek —- Mount —- Emerson —-

—- Pulisic —- Abraham —- Hudson-Odoi —-


The team above would have 10 players 24 years old or younger in the starting lineup, with Rudiger the eldest at 26. The lineup above is drastic and leaves out experienced players like Cesar Apzilicueta, David Luiz and N'Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud and Jorginho, but it shows you what the future could look like at Chelsea. Not bad, right?

Of course, Pulisic’s quality on the pitch will be the determining factor of whether or not he plays regularly. But there’s a sense that if Lampard and Morris are in charge, they could favor the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek (when they are back fit) in attacking midfield positions over Pulisic. There is also the case that neither Willian or Pedro seem likely to move on this summer now that the transfer ban, barring a last-minute reprieve from the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), will be confirmed.

Throw in the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount returning from hugely successful loan spells at Aston Villa and Derby County last season, and there’s even more competition for places in the attacking lineup for Pulisic to get past.

Look, he’s been in this situation before at Borussia Dortmund and handled it pretty well. His quality is undoubted and Chelsea will give him plenty of chances to prove his worth over the next 12 months as they have to work with the squad of players they have and cannot add any new faces.

But Sarri’s possession-based style suited Pulisic’s game well. Now, that will change, and Lampard’s more direct, counter-attacking will take over if he takes charge. Pulisic can certainly launch counters and thrive on the break with his pace, trickery and direct running, but some of Chelsea’s other wide attacking midfielders have more out-and-out pace than he does. That could be a problem for him.

Regardless of what happens with Chelsea’s transfer ban this summer, just look at this lineup below and what is their strongest XI, in our opinion, for next season. Plus, the players they can have on the bench is pretty mind boggling.

Not a bad 35-man roster for a club in the middle of a managerial and transfer crisis…


Chelsea’s strongest possible XI, 2019-20 season

—– Kepa —–

—- Azpilicueta — Rudiger — Luiz — Emerson —-

—– Jorginho —– Kante —-

—- Hudson-Odoi —- Barkley —- Pulisic —-

—– Giroud —–

Rest of the squad
Willy Caballero
Reece James
Davide Zappacosta
Ethan Ampadu
Matt Miazga
Jay Dasilva
Fikayo Timori
Kurt Zouma
Andreas Christensen
Marcos Alonso
Trevoh Chalobah
Tiemoue Bakayoko
Danny Drinkwater
Lewis Baker
Marco Van Ginkel
Charly Musonda
Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Kasey Palmer
Kenedy
Willian
Pedro
Tammy Abraham
Michy Batshuayi
Izzy Brown