@ussoccer

Saint Vincent 0-6 USMNT: Altidore dominates, Pulisic electrifies off the bench

1 Comment

Teenage wonder Christian Pulisic had two goals and an assist in under 25 minutes off the bench as the United States men’s national team clobbered Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6-0 on Friday at Arnos Vale Stadium in Kingstown.

Bobby Wood, Matt Besler, Jozy Altidore, and Sacha Kljestan also scored for the Yanks, who can advance to the final round of World Cup qualifying if Trinidad and Tobago defeats Guatemala later.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned | Player ratings ]

Altidore’s goal, his 35th, moved him out of a tie with Eric Wynalda for third place on the all-time list for USMNT players. Dempsey is second with 52, five behind leader Landon Donovan.

Kellyn Acosta started at left back for the U.S., and is now cap-tied to the country (Brian Sciaretta points out that he had the opportunity to represent Japan).

[ MORE: Men in Blazers chat with Pulisic ]

The Yanks charged hard out of the gate, and Altidore won a first minute corner kick.

That was cleared, and Fabian Johnson played Wood through for a should be opener only to see the Hamburg man flub his left foot shot into a diving Lemus Christopher.

Altidore won a free kick in the fifth minute, and the U.S. saw its training ground routine fall flat with a weak pass in the left of the 18.

Wood came down the left with acres of space and worked his way into the 18 where he was felled in pursuit of goal, but no whistle.

The one time SVG had a legit scoring chance it was headed poorly by a diving Oalex Anderson.

[ WATCH: Pulisic, Kljestan combine… twice ]

The Americans went ahead moments later, as Altidore used a combination of skill and force to open space for Johnson. The ‘Gladbach man laid off for Wood, who curled home a gorgeous finish from 20 yards.

Besler added his within five minutes, with the team giving birth to the ball in celebration after SVG nodded a Zusi free kick back post. Besler’s wife gave birth to a daughter earlier Friday.

Guzan was called into action on a back post corner, slapping the offering out for another corner that the U.S. controlled in the 42nd minute.

Roy Richards chopped down Wood in the box in the 43rd minute, a kick to the stomach earning a yellow card and a penalty. Altidore had no problem, and it was 3-0 into half.

Klinsmann did not sub at the half, and SVG has a goal called back for offside early in the period.

Sacha Kljestan and Christian Pulisic subbed into the match with 24 minutes to play, and linked up for a goal within 10 minutes; The savvy veteran used his set-up to indicate shot before altering his foot to play Pulisic in on goal. The kid didn’t miss.

Moments later, the provider turned finisher and vice versa. Pulisic dribbled into the 18, squaring the ball right for Kljestan to pass home.

5-0. Impact subs. Watch those goals here.

La Liga roundup: Griezmann shines in Barcelona’s 5-2 drubbing of Betis

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wins from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid highlight La Liga’s Sunday action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis

Antoine Griezmann’s Camp Nou debut was one for the books.

With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez sidelined with injuries, the floor was all Griezmann’s. He didn’t disappoint.

Down 1-0, Griezmann, sneaking past his markers inside the box, acrobatically tapped a lofting ball from Sergi Roberto into the back of the net.

The best was yet to come, however.

In the second half, as Barcelona pinned Real Betis back in their defensive third, the Frenchman’s magic came to life.

Soon after, the floodgates opened – Barcelona’s skill effortlessly began to pick apart a weaker Betis side. Just 30 minutes after the 28-year-old’s second goal, Ernesto Valverde’s side posed a 5-1 lead.

Loren Moron’s superb strike gave Betis a second, but the defending champions had already done the damage behind goals from Carles Perez, Jordi Alba, Arturo Vidal and Griezmann.

With Sunday’s performance in mind, how will Barcelona function with Messi, Suarez and Griezmann spearheading the attack?

Osasuna may soon find that out firsthand as they host the Catalonians next. Elsewhere, looking for their first points of the season, Betis host Leganes.

Leganes 0-1 Atletico Madrid 

With a goal in the 70th minute, Vitolo played the unlikely hero for Atletico Madrid in their 1-0 win over Leganes.

Following a smooth lay-off from Joao Felix, the 29-year-old calmly slotted the ball past Juan Soriano, ten minutes after replacing Mario Hermoso.

The goal certainly meant a lot to Vitolo and Atletico Madrid, who along with Sevilla, are one of two teams to start the season with six points after two matchweeks.

Although not entirely dominant throughout the course of the match, the home side was inches from stripping two points from Los Colchoneros with Jonathan Silva’s free-kick hitting the crossbar.

Despite having a pair of clear-cut opportunities on Sunday, Atletico’s $142 million summer signing is yet to celebrate his first La Liga goal. Alvaro Morata, too, is waiting to catch fire.

With Atletico hosting an underperforming Eibar next, the narrative that Simeone’s side is lacking efficiency in the attack can soon fall flat. On the other hand, no points to their name, will look to exploit a confidence-battered Real Betis.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 0-0 Espanyol

RCD Mallorca 0-1 Real Sociedad

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

Getty Images
Leave a comment

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

Pochettino upset with attacking stars, speaks on Eriksen status

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mauricio Pochettino might’ve understood Tottenham Hotspur dropping points last week at Man City, but he didn’t plan on not taking anything from Newcastle United on Sunday at home.

“You need the capacity to step up in this type of situation but we didn’t show that quality today,” Pochettino said. “When the ball arrives in the last third you need something from the talent and quality we have there and today we didn’t have that.”

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle | Bruce reacts ]

So that’s pretty straight forward, but Pochettino was less happy to answer the question of why he didn’t start Christian Eriksen. Some (read: this writer) have questioned the philosophy of putting a man you may sell for $50 million on the bench. Either put him in the Starting XI and risk him, or leave him off the 18.

“When you lose, the players who don’t play are the best. With Christian we win and we lose a lot of games. I accept that situation is like this. If we won 3-0 today no one talks about different names.

“I cannot find excuses about the transfer window being open to justify that performance or the result. We cannot find the way to be solid and to have consistency for different reasons. I am going to be happy in 10 days after we play Arsenal when the transfer window closes in Europe and to have the player involved until the transfer window again in January.”

We’re not gonna read too much into it, but it does sound a bit like Pochettino is daring teams to bid for Eriksen. Would it make sense for him to hold onto Eriksen until January before cashing in?

Newcastle’s Bruce heard criticism, happy to beat Spurs

Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Steve Bruce heard a lot of the criticism from fans upon his hiring at Newcastle United, and it rang out louder after the Magpies started 0-2 including a loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle ]

He may well hear plenty more down the road, but the childhood Newcastle supporter was feeling relieved and maybe redeemed after a fortunate and wonderful 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed. I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.”

Newcastle faces struggling Watford at St. James’ Park next week, and another result will ease a lot of nerves (though certainly not all of them.