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Three things we learned from the USMNT’s blowout of Saint Vincent & The Grenadines

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It comes as little surprise that the United States roared past Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in its penultimate game of third round qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

Bobby Wood, Matt Besler, and Jozy Altidore scored first half goals before the Yanks took their foot off the gas pedal. The foot went back down, in no small part due to SVG’s continual fouling, and the U.S. came away with a 6-0 win.

Christian Pulisic added a pair in the second half, with Sacha Kljestan deservedly adding one of his own.

1) Jozy Altidore is a CONCACAF killer — We can argue about whether a healthy Altidore could’ve been the difference for the Yanks at the 2014 World Cup, but no one is debating whether the USMNT’s third leading all-time scorer isn’t a match-up problem for almost every CONCACAF team.

Altidore is in-form for Toronto FC right now, and his hold-up play bought Fabian Johnson and Bobby Wood acres of space. The only way for SVG to handle him was to grab him, and this led to multiple dangerous free kicks for the United States.

The 26-year-old is 22 goals behind Landon Donovan for the Yanks’ all-time standard, and 7 back of Clint Dempsey. While neither was an out-and-out forward, it’s only a question of when (barring grievous injury).

2) Yes, it was against minnows… but those 66th minute subs — Christian Pulisic and Sacha Kljestan picked apart the SVG with little regard for emotions and feelings for the home crowd.

That their motivation was such is no surprise, for every different reasons. Kljestan is 7 years removed from a hat trick against Sweden that hoped to signal the start of something special, and he’s been electric for New York Red Bulls (but hasn’t seen a USMNT recall until now).

[ MORE: Men in Blazers chat with Pulisic ]

As for Pulisic, we’re at a loss for words. Borussia Dortmund’s teenage magician thrilled with two goals and an assist, and drew SVG defenders like magnets. Even considering the opposition, it’s fun to daydream about what this kid will be like at an older age (like the 18 he turns later this month).

Both deserve more time on Tuesday. If Trinidad and Tobago handles its business against Guatemala tonight, that means Tuesday is for the group. Seems like a good spot to put a little pressure on Pulisic (but not too much).

3) It’s borderline crazy that the hosts finished with 11 men — Saint Vincent and the Grenadines borrowed the Honduran playbook by fouling and fouling hard for the duration of the contest. There were multiple flying kung-fu style kicks that should’ve been red cards, and only one brought the yellow out (and a penalty kick to the USMNT that Jozy Altidore converted).

[ WATCH: Pulisic, Kljestan combine… twice ]

The U.S. maintained its composure on the whole, and nearly avoided all cards. One, a yellow to DeAndre Yedlin, will hamper Jurgen Klinsman in roster selection for Tuesday’s home match against Trinidad and Tobago.

Southgate, England players sound off on racist abuse

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England took care of business in Monday’s 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria, but the Three Lions had to endure some horrendous racist abuse from the crowd during the game.

The match was paused on two occasions I’m the first half by the match officials after racist chanting could be heard from a section of supporters, and a large group of Bulgarian fans were ejected towards the end of the half. However, racist abuse continued during the match from small pockets of fans in the stadium.

[READ: England v. Bulgaria delayed after racist abuse from stands]

“I have to say that the officials were on to everything very quickly,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after the match. “We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee. I was in contact with the players, all the way through the first half in particular, and then again at halftime.

”We know it’s an unacceptable situation, and I think we’ve managed to make two statements. By winning the game, but also we’re raised the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice, I know for some people that won’t be enough, but we as a group were on board with that process.”

Raheem Sterling, who scored a brace in the win, also sounded off on social media, as did former England and Arsenal star Ian Wright.

Ultimately, UEFA and the match officials followed the protocol, but the sad part about this is that England and the officials had a plan for racist abuse, and it was predictable that it would happen.

In a statement after the game, the FA confirmed they would be asking UEFA to investigate what happened. However, any punishment is too little, too late for the players who endured the abuse.

Kane, Sterling star as England rout Bulgaria

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On a night where racist abuse from the stands in Bulgaria marred the overall spectacle, England’s players produced an incredible result and spectacle for the visiting fans, with all things considered.

Harry Kane scored once and assisted on three others as England rolled over Bulgaria, winning 6-0 on Monday evening in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley both scored a brace for the Three Lions and Marcus Rashford’s thunderbolt from a tight angle gave England the opening goal it needed.

The blowout result was the perfect response after England had suffered its first loss in qualifying for a decade, losing on Friday, 2-1 at the Czech Republic. The six goals England put past Bulgaria was also the fourth time out of six games that England had scored at least five goals in a match. The only other time, aside from the defeat, was a 4-0 win last month at Wembley Stadium over Bulgaria.

This story will be updated.

 

Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

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England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

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With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.