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

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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.

Everton reportedly set for sale of $28M Lookman

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Will Everton regret its failure to find the right fit for Ademola Lookman at Goodison Park?

The Toffees are set to sell the 21-year-old striker to RB Leipzig this summer for just $8 million more than they paid Charlton for her services, according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: De Gea wants captaincy ]

Lookman scored five goals with four assists in a half-season loan for RBL in 2018, but could not find regular feature time for the Toffees upon his return.

Yes, the $28 million is still a decent fee, but Lookman is an English striker with U-20 World Cup-winning experience, and was given just three starts from his 21 appearances in the Premier League for Marco Silva‘s men last season (posting two assists in 601 minutes.

Lookman prefers to play left wing, but also operates on the right. Everton has Richarlison, Bernard, and Theo Walcott amongst a relatively deep wing corps.

The stats seem to show that Lookman simply had trouble getting the ball at Everton in comparison to RBL. Maybe he needs to be a bigger part of the show, and we’ll find out whether he can do that with Tyler Adams and Co. in Leipzig.

De Gea hopes for Manchester United captaincy

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Given his seemingly biannual links to returns to Spain and bigger paydays, it might be a bit of a surprise to hear Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea preach up the badge.

Aside from a stumble late last season, however, the 28-year-old has been a dynamo at Old Trafford for several managers.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

He’s also been through the wringer from his early days struggling to find his form in the Premier League, and now has 362 appearances in the Red Devils shirt to go with trophies from the PL, FA Cup, League Cup, and Europa League.

So, yeah, he’s qualified to lead. And as we wait for United to announce his new expensive contract, De Gea is speaking out on his delight in captaining the team and hopes of doing so on a full-time basis.

From Sky Sports:

“I need to show that on the pitch and try to help the young guys know what Manchester United means and that’s important. We have to improve a lot. We are Manchester United; we need to fight for trophies.

“When you put on this badge, that’s what it means – fight for everything, give your best and bring the team again to the top.”

Is there a case to be made for anyone else on the current roster? Probably not, at least not in the form of players who will be expected to suit up nearly every match.

Chicago adds 2010 World Cup qualifying hero Bornstein

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There’s probably part of you who thinks Jonathan Bornstein is on an MLS staff somewhere, that he’s about 46 years old, and the news that he’s joined the Chicago Fire means he’s taken a coaching role like Josh Wolff (who is only 42. Don’t age shame).

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

And we’ll admit that “Chicago adds Jonathan Bornstein” gave us similar vibes, because, hey, didn’t this cat score an amazing, World Cup berth-clinching goal against Costa Rica at RFK in 2009? Yes! He was! I was there with my sister and a couple of buddies, and it was awesome.

Bornstein was, however, just 25 then and a member of Chivas USA (That was an MLS team, young bucks). Bob Bradley drafted him out of UCLA and turned him into a left back.

Now 34 and still a left back, Bornstein spent 2010-present outside of the United States. He’s played in Mexico for Queretaro, Tigres, and Atlante, as well as Israel last season with Maccabi Netanya. He won a Copa MX, a Supercopa MX, and an Apertura title while south of the border.

From Chicago-Fire.com:

“We began pursuing Jonathan back in January but, unfortunately, his insertion into the lineup made him too invaluable to his former club,” said Chicago Fire President and General Manager Nelson Rodrίguez. “In addition to providing a steady presence and competition on the field, we believe Jonathan will be an excellent mentor for our younger players.”

As a returning USMNT international, even no caps since 2011, Chicago had to send $50,000 to Columbus for the top spot in the allocation order.

Bornstein will hope to help Chicago turn around a miserable season which began with such promise. Chicago has been extremely unlucky this season, with a difference of minus-11.7 between expected goals and goals scored.

And I will continue to remember nearly throwing my beverage miles into the air from the upper deck at RFK. Thanks for the memories, Jonathan.

Barcelona exec on Neymar: “We aren’t looking at it”

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Neymar’s reported discontent at Paris Saint-Germain has caused rumors to fly this summer about if he could leave, and where any potential destinations could be.

His old club Barcelona is thought to be a major contender to rescue the Brazilian superstar from his misery, but that may be dead in the water after Barcelona vice president Jordi Cardoner again claimed the club has no interest in his return.

“The president already spoke about it,” Cardoner said from Tokyo where the club is in preseason. “There is no Neymar saga. There is a lot of talk and he doesn’t appear happy there but we aren’t looking at it.”

This is not the first time Cardoner has gone public to deny Neymar rumors. Even as far back as last October, Cardoner said “No one on the Barcelona board has talked about the possibility of bringing back Neymar, right now we can’t talk about it because no one has even mentioned it.”

Cardoner is not the only Barcelona member talking down a potential Neymar return. New arrival Antoine Griezmann also made statements claiming the club would struggle to make it happen even if they wanted to. Speaking about possibly linking up with Neymar with Barcelona, the former Atletico Madrid striker spoke highly of Neymar’s playing ability, but admitted it would take some significant time to complete. “We have to get it done first because it is a difficult transfer, but he is a great player,” Griezmann said from Tokyo.

Neymar has had a troubled past 12 months, facing rape charges in Brazil, suspensions in both European and domestic French competitions, and even taking Barcelona to court last year for payments he believed he was owed.