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Where is the USMNT’s balance of power: MLS or Europe? (VOTE)

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We’re more than a month away from the next time the United States men’s national team takes the pitch together, but here’s a fun exercise for those who might consider that side their favorite in the world.

There was a time when there was no doubt that a team of Europe-based USMNT players would be favored to topple a domestic-based unit, but many of the Yanks’ best-known names are now playing in MLS, and Tim Howard‘s coming back soon.

So we couldn’t help but wonder: Is there any question whether that balance of power has shifted?

[ MORE: Tim Howard speaks to JPW

Jermaine Jones turned New England into one of the better teams in the East before moving to Colorado, where he’s shone in the No. 10 role (!!) on debut last week. Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are together at Toronto FC, and Clint Dempsey plies his trade in Seattle.

It was less than one World Cup cycle ago that those players were at Schalke, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland, and widely considered the standouts of the USMNT.

Now the European set is headlined by Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron, Hertha Berlin’s John Anthony Brooks and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Fabian Johnson, a transition no doubt shaped by Jurgen Klinsmann’s status as the head coach of the national team.

And the generational shift has many of the brightest USMNT prospects in Europe still a bit away from really breaking through; For every Christian Pulisic getting real minutes at Borussia Dortmund, there are several players like Julian Green and Gedion Zelalem trying to keep their foot in the door.

[ MORE: Totti headed to New York Cosmos? ]

This isn’t a judgment on players coming home; That’s been done before, and the idea of Major League Soccer improving to the point where it isn’t a clear detriment to play in MLS or upgrade to go to most European leagues is awesome. Matt Besler opted to star in KC, while Matt Miazga chose Chelsea to test himself. Jordan Morris chose Seattle over Werder Bremen, but DeAndre Yedlin fled Seattle for Tottenham.

But how would it shake out? Here’s a very cursory look at the teams (We’ll give Howard to Colorado, and keep the sides in the same formation). Perhaps it tilts the way of North America?

USMNT Abroad

Brad Guzan

Yedlin, Brooks, Miazga, Edgar Castillo

Cameron, Danny Williams

Pulisic, Alejandro Bedoya, Johnson

Bobby Wood

Subs: Ethan Horvath; Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, Perry Kitchen, Emerson Hyndman, Julian Green, Jerome Kiesewetter.

***

USMNT MLS

Howard

Brad Evans, Steve Birnbaum, Besler, DaMarcus Beasley

Kyle Beckerman, Bradley

Gyasi Zardes, Darlington Nagbe, Dempsey

Altidore

Subs: David Bingham; Tim Parker, Brandon Vincent, Graham Zusi, Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones, Jordan Morris.

What do you think? Right now, who wins?

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from ChelseaFC.com:

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

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Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.