AP Photo/ Moises Castillo

Three things from Guatemala’s shockingly easy win over the USMNT

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I’ve gotta warn you, we’re going to be wading into snark-infested waters over the course of these “Three Things” after the United States struggled to string multiple attacking passes together in a woeful 2-0 loss to Guatemala on Friday.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

But we can wade together, right? You’ll come with me?

Let’s wade…

W-T-J?!? (WHAT THE JURGEN)

What was he thinking? Even hamstrung by the injuries — see Thing No. 3 below — Klinsmann started a number of players in precarious positions.

He also started Geoff Cameron (right) at right back. The Stoke City man is capable there, but DeAndre Yedlin actually plays that position for Sunderland.

United States' Geoff Cameron, right, and Guatemala's Jose Contreras jump for the ball during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying soccer match at Mateo Flores Stadium in Guatemala City, Friday, March 25, 2016. (AP Photo/ Moises Castillo)
(AP Photo/ Moises Castillo)

Yedlin couldn’t play there, though, because he was playing right wing. And Mix Diskerud couldn’t play on the wing, because he was playing as, essentially, a box-to-box midfielder.

[ OLYMPIC PLAYOFF: Match recap | 3 things ]

Here’s the worst part: He made substitutions that made the team not only more competitive, but more logical. Michael Orozco was terrible and hadn’t been playing for his team, and Gonzalez isn’t a natural partner for him.

So Klinsmann moved Cameron central, dropped Yedlin to right back and moved Michael Bradley a bit further back in the midfield. He brought on Gyasi Zardes and Darlington Nagbe to open things up for Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey. And it kinda worked (as much as it could in a horrific 2-0 loss).

None of the above is good. Hamstrung by injuries or not — he was, this team has the depth of a kiddie pool — Klinsmann’s critics deserve the field days they will stretch through at least Tuesday. It bears asking: Is there a chance Klinsmann won’t make it to Columbus?

INJURIES (IT MUST BE SAID)

This is no way excuses Friday’s performance, but the U.S. is having a horrible run of luck. John Brooks has been thriving with Hertha Berlin, but was sent back to Germany after picking up a knock. Matt Besler was also hurt, and both Fabian Johnson and Jozy Altidore were unfit to start.

With the exception of Besler, those guys were major absences for a side already without Aron Johannsson and Terrence Boyd. Even Christian Pulisic, breaking through at Borussia Dortmund, got sick ahead of this one and only might be available for Tuesday’s return match in Ohio.

The United States men’s national team does not have good depth on the whole, and we’re seeing that they will struggle when down to their second-choice unit.

MOTTA WAS GOOD, YANKS MADE HIM LOOK BETTER

Paulo Motta won’t have to buy a meal in Guatemala any time soon after he made some terrific saves on Friday, but it was certainly American-aided.

Clint Dempsey should’ve pulled the Yanks to within one early in the second half after Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood combined to lay a ball right into the Clint Zone, but the American forward hit the ball right at Motta.

United States' Clint Dempsey, right, controls the ball against Guatemala's Jean Marquez during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying soccer match at Mateo Flores Stadium in Guatemala City, Friday, March 25, 2016. (AP Photo/ Moises Castillo)
(AP Photo/ Moises Castillo)

And while Motta made a tremendous save on Jozy Altidore late, you do want you striker to find a way to put that ball home.

That said, Motta was decisive and claimed seemingly every ball within his reach. He was vocal and, frankly, had me pumped up with his gesticulations. Sometimes, you’ve gotta tip your cap to the victor. I’m doing that now.

Carlos Vela scored a celestial goal. We are blessed to have seen it

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Carlos Vela is making all other spectacular individual MLS seasons look run of the mill.

I mean, look at the gumption on this guy.

[ VIDEO: Rooney sent off, Kamara scores golazo ]

The Cancun-born playmaker left the San Jose Earthquakes back line on the beach with a soft shoe routine to give LAFC its third goal in a 4-0 win on Thursday

Vela, 30, now has 25 goals and 11 assists in 25 league matches for LAFC this season. He added two goals and an assist in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.

But this one, yeah, this one takes the cake.

First, there’s Vela’s non-chalant dummy before picking up the pass.

Then, there’s Florian Jungwirth’s body language during and after his being cooked with a nutmeg. That’s an entire mood.

Next, Vela dribbles around the keeper and allows a slide tackler so glide past him before finishing with aplomb, the magic touch his going near post as if to say, “Can I beat this guy a second time, or do I have to use the easier route?”

Diego Rossi also had a goal and an assist, while Mark-Anthony Kaye continued his strong season with an assist to ex-Fiorentina prospect Joshua Perez. It’s a first MLS goal for the California-born Perez, now 21.

WATCH: Rooney sees red for forearm shiver, Kamara scores golazo

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Midweek MLS provided plenty to talk about on Wednesday, with two red cards and a golazo in one match alone.

The two main talking points from the New York Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over DC United weren’t really part of what led the victors to three points.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

How? Well, one of the world’s marquee names earned a red card via VAR and a returning star scores an absolute stunner, that’s how.

Here’s Ola Kamara’s debut marker for the Black-and-Red, adding to a record which included 49 goals in 97 matches between Columbus and the LA Galaxy before moving to the Chinese Super League for a wildly disappointing time with Shenzhen FC.

All of that is forgotten.

As for the Rooney incident, the Red Bulls already led 1-0 when DC’s star striker went forearm shiver on Cristian Casseres Jr.

It’s the second red of the season for Rooney, who is set for Derby County in January.

Amro Tarek was later sent off for the Red Bulls, who moved ahead of DC in the standings. Kaku and Daniel Royer had RBNY’s goals.

Newcastle takeover could be back on if in holiday relegation battle

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How much do Newcastle United supporters dislike their owner Mike Ashley right now?

Enough that this report is likely to condemn many to hoping their favorite club in the world is in the Bottom 3 come Christmas.

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The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas speculates that Ashley will lower his asking price for the club if it is in a relegation fight come December — something that looks certain after the Steve Bruce-led Magpies got bossed around by promoted Norwich City.

Nothing But Newcastle transcribed Douglas’ chatter from his podcast, in which he says,

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we hear more in December because there are still people sniffing around that football club and if the team are in the bottom three, there’ll be people thinking they can get a bargain out of Mike Ashley again. … He will probably more open to listening to lower offers in January and December which is what happened last December. He was basically saying ‘take it off my hands, you now have to take the risk’'”

This is notable for two reasons. First: the social experiment of wondering how many fans could see themselves rooting for their team to take a major and perilous back step just to see the back of a man they perceive is at the root of their failures (and that perception is widespread in this case).

But second, we can see if this rumor comes true because it’s difficult to imagine Newcastle as comfortably mid table by Christmas.

Fan protests and anger are nothing new, but here’s an effort to show how wobbly Ashley’s reputation is on Tyneside: Fans have taken to selling a black and white striped shirt with player name and number but no sponsor just so they can have a Newcastle jersey that doesn’t put money into Ashley’s pockets. And this is after he broke the club’s transfer record twice in one year.

If we’ve learned anything from the past few seasons, though, it’s that boycotts and anger will spur Ashley into insisting that he’s willing to sell and just conveniently enough it will be before the January transfer window. He “won’t be able to buy any players” with the takeover in play, and talks will hit a wall come late January, when they’ll loan a couple young players from Top Six sides.

Yes he spent significant money on Joelinton, Allen Saint-Maximin, and others this summer, but one decent window doesn’t make a culture. Count us amongst the skeptical, for now.

Messi back in training, could be fit for Betis

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi was back in full training again on Wednesday and may be fit to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been training separately from the squad since injuring his right calf in the preseason.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener on Friday.

Barcelona has not said how long it expects Messi to be sidelined.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also dealing with injuries to forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Dembele is certain to miss Sunday’s match at the Camp Nou because of a left thigh injury that should keep him out for about five weeks.

Suarez also isn’t likely to play this weekend because of a muscle injury sustained before halftime of Friday’s game in Bilbao.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona hadn’t loss a league opener in 10 seasons.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports