AP Photo/ Moises Castillo

Furthering the fallout: More questions from USMNT’s loss to Guatemala

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Unfortunately for USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States men’s national team, there aren’t European matches or even a full slate of MLS matches to take our minds off the carnage we witnessed last night Guatemala.

So we write more.

Disclosure: I love watching Major League Soccer and hope it continues its rise as a player in the world’s game. I also generally would prefer United States men’s national team members to be playing meaningful minutes at the highest level possible, and know that there are currently as many as 10 leagues in the world where that can occur — most of them in Europe — ahead of MLS.

[ USMNT: Match recap | Player ratings | Three things ]

It’s also important to note that Klinsmann’s roster omissions are not strictly MLS based. Defenders Jonathan Spector, Eric Lichaj and Tim Ream have not been given good chances to regularly play under his watch, and they play in England’s Championship (As an aside, I’d love to see a tournament between MLS and the Championship to settle some things). Destroyer of sorts Perry Kitchen is with Scotland’s Hearts and could’ve done a job in last night’s miserable loss to Guatemala.

And there’s a batch of MLS super fans, sometimes disguised as analysts, who dwell so heavily on which of their favorite domestic-based players aren’t being chosen by Klinsmann that it becomes near impossible to separate their legitimate gripes from the pathological features of their problems.

[ MORE: Why a Tuesday win would make everything pretty alright ]

Finally, there’s an argument to be made that Klinsmann’s sheer lunacy in Friday’s loss isn’t about player selection, rather where he put them (Michael Orozco aside. He doesn’t even start for his club).

Consider that Klinsmann’s absurd choices to play several players out of position would’ve looked much better and likely performed significantly better if they had just been lined up, well, adequately.

How they started vs Guatemala

Howard

Cameron — Gonzalez — Orozco — Castillo

Diskerud

Yedlin — Bedoya

Bradley

Wood — Dempsey

Wouldn’t this have been better/more natural?

Howard

Yedlin — Gonzalez — Orozco — Castillo

Cameron

Bedoya — Bradley — Diskerud

Wood — Dempsey

Even if he needed to go 4-4-2 and play Bradley as a No. 10, that still would’ve been preferable to putting Diskerud on the left than using Bedoya on the flip of his preferred right.

[ KLINSMANN: “I take the blame” for loss ]

Now here’s the thing: there is absolutely no debating that MLS provides plenty of options at natural positions who could’ve been called up. Without delving too far into who I think is or isn’t good enough to cut muster, let’s assume Klinsmann wanted cover in a traditional 4-4-2. Which of these players wouldn’t have deserved a chance over playing a maximum of five players at their second-choice (at best) position?

Left backs (and Castillo was fine once he settled into Friday’s match)
DaMarcus Beasley, Justin Morrow, Chris Tierney, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea.

Right backs
Michael Parkhurst, Sean Franklin, Tony Beltran, Raymond Gaddis, Chance Myers

Left mids
Brad Davis, Graham Zusi, Chris Rolfe, Sebastien Lletget, Lamar Neagle, Chris Pontius

Okay, so the right back ranks are extremely slim, but the point remains that bringing some of this crop would’ve helped supplement his team. Consider that of the players listed as defenders, five of the seven were center backs and Yedlin is clearly considered a winger.

It’s also almost like he doesn’t want to give a true DCM a run while Jermaine Jones is suspended, almost as if to say, “Don’t get any ideas guys, he’s mine forever.” And we know Matt Miazga and Tim Parker were with the U-23s and both John Brooks and Matt Besler picked up injuries, but what about Matt Hedges? Brad Evans? Chad Marshall? Either is preferable over Orozco, and it’s not like the Liga MX back is a spring chicken being prepped for the Copa America (He’s 30).

Here’s Orozco’s blistering form for his club from Transfermarkt (I almost feel bad… it’s not like the defender is demanding to start for his country. Klinsmann just called him up and plugged him. Was he supposed to say no?).

Orozco form

Look, I’m well aware of my limitations as a soccer mind in comparison to someone of Jurgen Klinsmann’s experience. That’s not a potshot. I’m not going to tell you m word is gospel, but these aren’t exactly lofty theories that I proffer.

What the heck is going on?

Gold Cup: Mexico secures place in knockout round with win over Canada; Martinique over Cuba

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The Mexico National Team at the 2019 Gold Cup has been very focused on introducing inexperienced players into the squad, and yet, it was a veteran on Wednesday that reminded everyone how much he still has left in the tank.

Mexico captain Andres Guardado, who came off the bench for the injured Erick Gutierrez in the first half, scored a brace as Mexico held off a surging Canada late in the match. Guardado’s first goal was an absolute golazo from 30-yards out, while his second showcased his poise and calm in the box.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Mexico – as is custom for El Tri – controlled possession and looked very confident on the ball, zipping it around midfield and at times, playing on a faster speed than Canada, it seemed. However, with Canada sitting in a low defensive block, it took until the 40th minute for Mexico to get on the board through Roberto Alvarado finishing into an empty net after a big save from Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Canada pushed higher up the field in the second half and seemed to be turning the tide before Guardado picked up a loose ball – and there may have been a foul on Canada – and el Principito unleashed a rocket that Borjan had no chance to keep out.

Canada made six changes in the starting lineup from its first game and it was the introductions of Scott Arfield, Jonathan Osorio and Jonathan David in the second half that began to get Canada back into the game. A mistake by centerback Nestor Araujo in the 75th minute, trying to be fancy with a Cruyff turn allowed David to advance down the Mexico goal on a breakaway. After a cutback, David played Luca Cavallini in the box and Cavallini scored to cut it to 2-1.

However, Guardado, and LA Galaxy winger Uriel Antuna, put the game away for good two minutes later. Antuna got around his defender and centered to Guardado. The wily midfielder took three Canada defenders out of the play with a quick touch to his right, before scoring a deflected goal off the post and in.

Earlier in the evening, Martinique recorded a dominant 3-0 victory over ten-man Cuba. Star striker Kevin Parsemain didn’t score, though he did play a role in Martinique’s third goal with an outstanding back-heel pass.

Copa America: Watch Newcastle’s Almiron sets up Paraguay opener with 60-yard sprint (video)

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For the second time in as many games, Argentina has allowed it’s opponent to score the first goal. This time, it has Miguel Almiron to thank.

Starting with a dummy that lead to a more than 60-yard sprint to the end-line, Almiron showcased his top-line speed, strength, and dribbling ability as he lead Paraguay down the field in transition, eventually crossing into the middle. It was there that Olimpia’s Richard Sanchez met the cross and sliced it home to put Paraguay up 1-0 in the first half.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Atlanta United fans saw plenty of that blazing speed during Almiron’s two years in the U.S. If Newcastle fans get to witness this in person more this coming season, Almiron will be a fan-favorite.

 

 

Transfer Roundup: Neymar to cost $337 million? Could Jorginho follow Sarri to Juve?

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Will he stay or will he go?

That’s the main question surrounding Neymar this summer. If reports out of France – and there are many – are to be believed, Neymar will have to stay.

[READ: Landon Donovan to lead USL franchise]

Le Parisien reported on Wednesday that if Neymar was to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer, it would cost an insane $337 million (€300 million) in transfer fees. With that price, and UEFA Financial Fair Play rules, it pretty much rules out any club from Europe from signing the Brazilian star. Neymar has recently been linked with a move back to Barcelona, with $112 million and other players reportedly included in a deal from Barcelona to PSG.

There’s so many moving pieces involved in any case. Antoine Griezmann is expected to leave Atletico Madrid, with Barcelona the rumored destination. But if Neymar goes to Barcelona, could Griezmann head to PSG? Meanwhile PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi pretty much called out Neymar for some of his off the field – and on the pitch – antics, likely hurting their relationship.

So while it seems like Neymar – and PSG – may want the relationship to end, PSG won’t miss out on getting its money back.

Here’s more transfer stories from around Europe:


Jorginho to Juventus? 

Jorginho is to Maurizio Sarri like red wine is to a medium-rare steak. They just go great together.

With Sarri moving to Juventus, that raises the question that Jorginho, who moved with Sarri to Chelsea, could move back to Italy this summer. There’s plenty of reasons why it could make sense. Despite playing 56 times for the Blues, including helping lead them to the UEFA Europa League title, he took plenty of criticism from the media and fans for his lack of defensive ability. Fans were also upset with Sarri’s insistence of playing Jorginho at the 6, and not at the 6 or as part of a double pivot with N’Golo Kante. In Premier League games that Chelsea was undone, it was because Jorginho was overrun in midfield.

Jorginho meanwhile could go back to Italy, where he has citizenship, plays for the national team and enjoyed so much success with Napoli.

According to reports out of Italy, Jorginho’s agent said that the player is happy in London, but they would wait and see what happens next from Juventus.

“Chelsea have a four-year contract with the man,” Joao Santos said, via Football Italia. “We’ll wait a few days to figure out whether there is any truth in this interest mentioned in the papers. His past at Napoli won’t be an issue, because Jorginho is a professional. Right now, Jorginho is happy at Chelsea. He found a great atmosphere and we can’t really say that he’d like to go elsewhere, but anything can happen on the transfer market. We’ll wait and see…”

Follow Live: Mexico faces Canada in Gold Cup doubleheader nightcap

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From Mile High USA, Denver, Colo., the 2019 Gold Cup continues with a highly-anticipated matchup between Mexico and Canada.

El Tri is coming off a 6-0 rout of Cuba in the opener at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena last week, while Canada thrashed Martinique, 4-0 in its opener. All of which leads to Wednesday, when an up-start Canada faces a young and firing Mexico in the 10 p.m. ET nightcap.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

The LA Galaxy’s Uriel Antuna, a late addition to the squad, scored a hat-trick against Cuba and is one of the many young players getting their first chance to impress new Mexico coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino. Meanwhile, Canada is having a recent resurgence, with young stars Jonathan David, Alphonso Davies and Mark-Anthony Kaye all making an early impact.

Meanwhile, Cuba and Martinique now battle it out in the first match of the night from Denver at 8 p.m., with both sides hoping for three points and a chance to emerge from the group in third place. Cuba has already lost one player to asylum in the U.S., but it’s unclear what kind of impact that will have on the team.

Follow along with us on the link above and in the comments below.