Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The morning after: Boiling down the USMNT loss to Argentina


It still stings, you know.

The United States men’s national team was overwhelmed by Argentina in a 4-0 loss at the Copa America Centenario semifinal in Houston on Wednesday, a reality check for Jurgen Klinsmann’s crew (and all of us).

Poring through the fallout from the loss can leave someone just as overwhelmed as the Yanks on the pitch, and I find it useful to channel William of Ockham’s oft-summoned principle for problem solving. To sum it up succinctly but not perfectly; among competing answers, choose the simplest.

[ MORE: Match recap |Three things]

So, which of these is working harder to prove a position, and which is a sad exhalation of fact?

A) Facing the No. 1 team in the world, the United States lost 4-0 and never looked in the game because it’s coach didn’t use the right players, neither committed to high-pressing nor parking the bus, and didn’t show its true class on the night.


B) Down three regular starters including two formation-critical midfielders, the United States was outclassed by a team of players who regularly compete, thrive and even win the UEFA Champions League, and went to a World Cup final two years ago.

Yeah. I’ll take B. Not Billy Madison honking on a woodwind after Eric Gordon whizzes through a performance, but closer than we’d like.

[ MORE: Player ratings — one or two bright spots … maybe? ]

That’s not to say that Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure atop the USMNT has been anywhere near a success, or that he hasn’t shown maddening inconsistency in lineup, substitutions and at times tactics, but here’s what I believe Tuesday night’s event was not: Killed by the coach.

Landon Donovan made an astute if not clairvoyant point in our talk Monday:

“Where the drop-off is, this team has been playing together the same 11 or 12 guys for 4 games,” Donovan said. “And that’s where it hurts. Not only is it a continuity issue, but it’s also a fitness issue. Whether it’s Zusi or Pulisic or Nagbe or Besler, they’re not going to be as sharp. That’s going to make a difference, as will fitness and they aren’t going to be as confidence who’s been running nonstop for four games.”

Beckerman was overwhelmed by the speed of Argentina, and it’s likely the same would’ve been said for one of Klinsmann’s other two defensive midfield options: Perry Kitchen hadn’t played a minute in the tournament. His other choice would’ve been to break up a dynamic center back pairing and move Geoff Cameron into the middle but, as we saw Wednesday, Cameron and Brooks likely saved the Yanks from a Mexico-Chile score line.

Zusi was arguably fine, but had played a bit more in the tournament. Wondolowski was terrible, like Beckerman answerless against the speed and technique of Argentina.

Now starting Wondolowski and Beckerman was not the world’s best idea, to be sure, but would slotting Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic — the two seemingly most-desired candidates on the bench — have made a big difference? Simplified: Would starting two men with only substitute appearances for their country have turned the tables against Argentina? Probably not, and it’s absolutely cool to criticize Klinsmann for not giving them a start in at least a friendly to prepare for this possibility. To fault him for not starting them Tuesday?

[ MORE: Klinsmann, players react ]

The tactical idea, perhaps, was that when the U.S. got to counter attack, Wondolowski would’ve been an adequate hold-up man as Bradley, Yedlin and Johnson joined the attack and Beckerman, Brooks and Cameron held position. As it turned out, Wondolowski was downright terrible.

Alexi Lalas said after the game that, rightly or wrongly, this game would provide a referendum on Major League Soccer. He’s right, and the referendum is wrong. Expecting MLS to be on par with the best leagues in the world is foolish, and American club soccer has grown exponentially in the past few decades.

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 21: Gyasi Zardes #9 and Fabian Johnson #23 of United States react after being defeated by Argentina 4-0 in a 2016 Copa America Centenario Semifinal match at NRG Stadium on June 21, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Gyasi Zardes and Fabian Johnson (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

However, awaiting that relatively nascent league’s competition with the world’s best is a daunting expectation. At the risk of counting a one-off as undebatable truth, the Yanks’ best players on Tuesday played for Hertha Berlin, Stoke City and Borussia Monchengladbach, and their key absences either play in Top Five world leagues (Ligue 1 and Bundesliga) or spent the majority of their careers there (Jermaine Jones).

One TV analyst said, “Argentina has great players, but so do we.” That was tough to stomach, given that La Albiceleste rolled out regular for Barcelona (2), Napoli, Inter Milan, Everton and Manchester City while keeping Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria on the bench. Great, but so do we? Holy smoke.

Online, the argument was made that the U.S. looked much better in defeating Spain in 2009 at the Confederations Cup, but that ignores some major plot holes: Besides Landon Donovan, the Yanks’ difference makers were all at better stages of their careers at bigger clubs. Clint Dempsey was 26 and with Fulham, Tim Howard 30 with Everton, DaMarcus Beasley 27 with Rangers, Michael Bradley 21 with Gladbach. The list goes on and on, and the U.S. needed a miracle to get out of its group after being convincingly thumped by Italy and Brazil, remember?

[ MORE: Hyndman joins Premier League’s Cherries ]

It’s depressing to just say, “We’re not good enough yet”, especially as American sports fans who expected the 2002 World Cup quarterfinalists or subsequent knockout round sides to be the weight that carried them over the tipping point.

It’s not nearly as bad as Tuesday appeared, as the Yanks are between generational highs. Take a look at the ebbs and flows of Mexico through a down generation and back up to this cycle’s golden group, Chile result aside. In the pipeline are MLS-developed players at their own clubs as well as Chelsea and Porto, showing progress for the system, and talent on the books at Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Bournemouth. Life is going to get better, and really soon. There are even points to be made about how the team would look if Aron Johannsson, Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd and/or Joe Gyau weren’t injured.

Just don’t expect a “tactical shift” to lift the Yanks to a 3-2 win over Chile or Colombia on Saturday. Instead, hope for some breaks and progress.

Gareth Bale to Tottenham official: Welsh hero back in North London

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Gareth Bale to Tottenham Hotspur is official, the Welsh hero bringing his talents back to North London on loan from Real Madrid.

Bale will wear the No. 9 shirt, and it’s fair to guess we may see the 31-year-old not just as a part of a trident with Harry Kane and Heung-min Son but also deputizing for Kane as the club is shy on center forwards.

[ MORE: Bale to Spurs a good idea? ]

Bale scored 105 goals and 68 assists in 251 appearances for Real Madrid, but scored just three and two in around 1250 minutes last season.

Can he recapture the prowess that made him one of the most prolific scorers in the world? We will certainly find out in the coming months.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Spurs say they expect Bale to be ready to play after the October international break. From

Gareth sustained a knee injury whilst playing for Wales on international duty earlier this month and this together with La Liga’s later start compared to the Premier League means he has had a limited pre-season. We currently anticipate that he will be match fit after October’s international break.

Arsenal – West Ham: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction

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Arsenal – West Ham: Mikel Arteta and Arsenal take on another London pal when his former manager David Moyes brings West Ham to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 3pm ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via

Arsenal beat Fulham in its first match of the Premier League season and will be further buoyed by a new long-term contract for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

West Ham has been very frustrated by the transfer market, with captain Mark Noble reacting publicly when the club sold Grady Diangana. That was before a 2-0 home loss to Newcastle on Saturday.


Here is everything you need to know ahead of Arsenal – West Ham this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.

Team news: Arsenal – West Ham (INJURY REPORT)

Shkrodan Mustafi and Pablo Mari are out for Arsenal, while Granit Xhaka is a question mark. Gabriel Martinelli and David Luiz remain long-term absences.

Jack Wilshere rolled his ankle at training this week for West Ham and is not expected to be available.

What they’re saying

New defender William Saliba on a lifelong affair with Arsenal: “I had an Arsenal jersey when I was little with Thierry Henry [on the back], so I liked the club since then. Now I am very proud to have the Arsenal jersey. I don’t know why! I went in the shop, and I only wanted Arsenal. I liked Vieira and Thierry Henry because I was little and I only knew the French players and they were very good. I am very, very proud to have the number four, so I have to be ready to carry number four.”

David Moyes on West Ham’s cup win after losing to Newcastle: “I just want to win whatever game we play next. I’d have taken 3-0 before the game but I thought that by the end I was disappointed that we hadn’t won by more. Keeping a clean sheet was good as well and we look forward to the next game and get a win in that. Any cup win, any competition I am thrilled to do so.”

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

The home Gunners are -190 to win while West Ham getting anything would surprise the bookmakers to the tune of +340 for a draw and +475 for Moyes’ boys to upset his former midfielder.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Arsenal did the double against West Ham last year and it will be interesting to see whether Moyes tries to beat the Gunners with his top talents or again opts for grinders as he did in the loss to Newcastle. We think Arteta will have more up his sleeve and the Gunners were off all week. Arsenal 4-0.

How to watch Arsenal – West Ham stream and start time

Kickoff: 3 pm ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN

Leeds edge Fulham in seven-goal thriller

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Leeds – Fulham was a belter of a game, as Leeds won for the first time since gaining promotion back to the Premier League but they didn’t make it easy for themselves as they squandered a 4-1 lead but held on for the win.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

Leeds took the lead through Helder Costa’s stunner but Aleksandar Mitrovic briefly leveled things up from the penalty spot. Mateusz Klich then made it 2-1 to Leeds from the spot before half time and after the break Klich set up Patrick Bamford to make it 3-1. Costa made it 4-1 but then goals from Bobby Decordova-Reid and Mitrovic made it 4-3 and set up a wild finish, but Fulham couldn’t find an equalizer.

The win was Leeds’ first in the Premier League for over 16 years, while Fulham have now lost their opening two games back in the Premier League and have conceded seven goals in the process.

3 things we learned: Leeds – Fulham

1. “Bielsaball” will deliver classics: Their first two games back in the Premier League have both ended in 4-3 results, one defeat and one win. Leeds will be fun to watch this season. Now, they should have wrapped this game up and created so many chances but they ran out of steam in the second half. That is because they press so high early on and “Bielsaball” is based on that. Maybe they will have to tweak their tactics to cope with the PL but probably not. That means it will be fun to watch Leeds for the foreseeable future.

2. Both teams hampered by defenses: Attack is not the problem for either of these team but at the back they made so many mistake. Bielsa and Scott Parker both love to watch their teams attack but if they’re going to fulfil their potential this season (top 10 for Leeds and staying up for Fulham) they have to cut out silly errors at the back. Both teams gave away sloppy penalty kicks and failed to defense crosses as they left huge gaps at the back. They have to shore things up.

3. New Leeds signings taking a while to settle: Rodrigo was okay but Robin Koch had another game to forget as it is taking Leeds’ two main summer signings a while to settle in. Fulham’s new boys did okay. Maybe the new boys had less time to settle in due to the shorter offseason? But when you look at Everton and Newcastle and Leicester in the opening week of the season, their new boys settled in quickly. Leeds have spent big on new signings and they need more from them.

Man of the Match: Patrick Bamford – He won a penalty, scored a goal and set up another and he is proving he is capable of making a difference in the top-flight.

Leeds got off to the perfect start as they were 1-0 up within the first five minutes. A Kalvin Phillips corner was flicked on to the back post and Helder Costa was somehow left totally unmarked but finished superbly as he smashed home off the woodwork and in.

Michael Hector’s header was deflected over by Robin Koch as Leeds were pinned back after taking the lead. At the other end Koch had a header on goal which Fulham’s new goalkeeper Alphonse Areola tipped over.

Fulham were handed a golden opportunity to get back in the game as Koch slid in and just caught Joe Bryan as a penalty kick was given and Mitrovic made no mistake from the spot. 1-1. In his first two Premier League games for Leeds, Koch has now given away two penalty kicks.

No sooner had Fulham looked settled, they gave away an equally soft penalty kick as Bryan pushed Patrick Bamford in the back at the crucial moment and Klich slotted home to make it 2-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

A few minutes into the second half Klich set up Bamford who exposed a huge gap in the Fulham defense and slotted home his second Premier League goal in as many games. Bamford then turned provider as he surged down the left and pulled it back perfectly for Costa to slot home and make it 4-1.

Fulham got themselves back into the game as substitute Decordova-Reid smashed home after good work from Andre-Frank Anguissa to make it 4-2.

Kenny Tete then whipped in a lovely cross which Mitrovic headed home to make it 4-3 and moments later Neeskens Kebano hit the post and Mitrovic flashed a shot just wide as the away side surged forward in search of an unlikely point.

In the end, Leeds rallied and just held on for their first Premier League win since 2004.

Diogo Jota to Liverpool confirmed

Jota to Liverpool
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Jota to Liverpool is confirmed, as the Portuguese international has sealed his switch to Anfield.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA

Diogo Jota, 23, has reportedly signed a five-year contract at Liverpool after the clubs agreed a fee which could rise to $58 million.

Jota is eager to add an extra dimension to Liverpool’s attack is ready to roll.

“It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my family,” Jota said. “All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool – the world champions – is just unbelievable. I just want to get started. It is one of the best teams in the world – the best at the moment because they are world champions. When you look at the Premier League, you always see Liverpool as one of the biggest teams in the country, so it’s impossible to say no. So we just want to come [here], to give our best and hopefully I can become a good option for Liverpool in the future.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could hardly hid his excitement that Jota is now a Liverpool player.

“He’s a player who gives us so many options to use him. He’s 23 years old, still far away from being kind of a finished article, so much potential,” Klopp said. “He has the speed, he can combine, can defend, can press. It makes it just more unpredictable and gives us real options for different systems because he can play pretty much all three positions up front in a 4-3-3, if we play with four midfielders he can play both wings.

“So, these kinds of things. It’s just nice. And he has some natural things which we have in our game, like this desire and the greed and the direction. He is part of this unbelievable Portuguese generation in the moment, where they have really a lot of obviously quite skilled players. We saw the Portuguese team last time, it’s quite impressive. So, I’m really happy to have him here. And on top of that, a really good guy and really happy to be here.”

This has all happened very quickly but it works out well for everyone. Would Wolves have loved to have kept Jota? Of course.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Wolves’ clash with Manchester City on Monday (start time, 3:15pm ET, stream live on Peacock), head coach Nuno Espirito Santo praised Jota’s contribution to the club and said he is joining the right club in Liverpool.

“Diogo is amazing and everybody knows the relationship we built. What Diogo did for us is absolutely fantastic,” Nuno said. “I think Diogo is going to the right place and we wish him all the best, knowing that it never be forgotten, especially by our fans, all the memorable moments that Diogo provided.”

Wolves have bought Portuguese starlet Fabio Silva this summer and have Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence and Adama Traore who can support Raul Jimenez in attack. They will be just fine without Jota. He joined them on loan from Atletico Madrid when they were a Championship club and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League and has been incredibly consistent in terms of goals and assists over the last two seasons.

At Liverpool Jota will have to wait for chances behind Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane but his style of play suits them perfectly and it is a great move for him. Working under Jurgen Klopp will take his game to the next level and Liverpool’s secondary attacking options have just got a lot better, plus they’ve added Thiago Alcantara to upgrade their midfield.

Diogo Jota to Liverpool is now a done deal and he leaves Wolves with the best wishes of everyone and for a transfer fee which justifies letting him go as he cost them just $16.5 million less than three seasons ago.