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Three Things from the USMNT’s Hex-opening loss to Mexico

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The United States let a valiant second half comeback go for naught off a late set piece, and Mexico claimed a crucial three away points in a 2-1 decision at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus on Friday.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

What went wrong? Well, obviously, the equalizer, and also poor implementation of a questionably-chosen formation. Yet the Yanks also saw a cohesive performance from strikers Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore.

All of that is a part of the three things we gleaned from a stinging loss to Mexico.

3-4-3 held much tinkering

With Geoff Cameron missing, Jurgen Klinsmann started the Yanks in a 3-4-3 with Timmy Chandler, John Brooks, and Matt Besler at the back (It looked like a 3-5-2 to many of us, but Klinsmann set the record straight after the game).

It wasn’t good. Hindsight’s 20/20 and Klinsmann should get some grief for thinking this time it would work despite past struggles, but the midfielders allowed a lot of room for Mexico’s attack-minded midfielders to turn, dribble, and fire.

Once Miguel Layun belted Mexico in front, Klinsmann went to a 4-4-2. It was certainly the right move to correct a wrong, but the players didn’t do much justice to the 3-4-3 effort.

The two part, though…

Klinsmann resisted the urge to stick Altidore alone up top, or to play three across the front, and the partnership between Altidore and Bobby Wood paid off big time.

The Yanks struggled to get the ball to either in the first half, but Altidore still had some quality moments in opening 45.

The second half was a different story, as Wood raced off the hold-up play of Altidore on several occasions including the goal. Later, Wood nearly belted Altidore’s chest-pass of a Michael Bradley free kick home in the 75th minute.

Gut punched… again

The USMNT had a knack for giving up late goals earlier in Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure, and the Rafa Marquez winner came in the 88th minute.

Somehow, no one was directed to mark the back post. Marquez slipped John Brooks and Jozy Altidore failed to move with the ex-Red Bulls man (video below).

This was a Mexico team that looked set to pack up and go home after the U.S. equalized, but the Yanks left the door open far too long.

 

Tyler Boyd scores 1,000th goal in USMNT history (video)

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The 700th game in USMNT history has birthed the 999th and 1,000th goals in program history.

The Yanks led Guyana 1-0 at halftime of their 2019 Gold Cup debut on a Paul Arriola goal set up by Weston McKennie when they hit their milestone.

Fittingly, the goal was produced by a vintage ball from one of the program’s all-timers.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores, stats, lineups ]

Michael Bradley swept a delightful diagonal ball to a seemingly offside Tyler Boyd, who scored his first goal for the USMNT via a low driven shot across the goal and into the side netting.

The first goal came on Aug. 20, 1916 from a fella named C.H. Spalding, who later played baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators.

The 1,000th came via a New Zealand-born dual national who played last season in Turkey on loan from a Portuguese club.

U.S. Open Cup: Goals a-plenty as Atlanta, Minnesota advance

Frank de Boer justin Meram Atlanta United
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The first two quarterfinal berths in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were earned Tuesday with 3-2 away wins.

Columbus Crew 2-3 Atlanta United

A pair of goals from Brandon Vazquez helped Atlanta United overcome both the Columbus Crew and a 48-minute weather delay.

Miles Robinson also scored for Atlanta, while David Accam bagged a goal for the hosts.

A 71st minute Brad Guzan own goal set up a nervy final 20 minutes for the Five Stripes, but they navigated the obstacles and emerged into the quarterfinals

Atlanta will play the winner of FC Cincinnati and Saint Louis FC.

Houston Dynamo 2-3 Minnesota United

The Houston Dynamo thought they were cruising to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, and instead just waltzed right out of the tournament.

Up 2-0 at home and at halftime, the Dynamo conceded three times in the final 24 minutes to bow out of the USOC.

The victor, who deserves full marks, is Minnesota United. Darwin Quintero struck twice and Mason Toye scored in the 89th minute as the Loons advanced to play the winner of New Mexico United and FC Dallas. No Texas Derby in the cup this year.

Berhalter names first USMNT Starting XI for Gold Cup

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Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Michael Bradley all start as the United States men’s national team will look a bit more like its best for Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener against Guyana.

The 10 p.m. ET kickoff in Minnesota will see the Yanks without injured Tyler Adams, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, and Sebastian Lletget, but Jozy Altidore has been relegated to the bench — perhaps not fully fit — behind Gyasi Zardes.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores, stats, lineups ]

The back line will see Nick Lima, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, and Tim Ream, while Bradley, McKennie work atop them.

Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd will be out wide, with Christian Pulisic central underneath Zardes.

The substitutes are Sean Johnson, Tyler Miller, Omar Gonzalez, Wil Trapp, Jordan Morris, Reggie Cannon, Cristian Roldan, Daniel Lovitz, Jozy Altidore, Jonathan Lewis, Matt Miazga, Djordje Mihailovic.

[ MORE: Mata staying with Man Utd ]

Chinese club reportedly offers $15M contract to Newcastle’s Benitez

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It would be peak Newcastle United of recent seasons to lose their coach to a squabble over the sort of players the manager wants to sign.

Rafa Benitez‘s contract expires at the end of this month, and he makes decent money at St. James’ Park, but his $6 million pales in comparison the money being offered by a Chinese Super League club.

[ MORE: Mata staying with Man Utd ]

Benitez wants to stay at Newcastle, but his concerns aren’t about his wages as much as being allowed to build a contender under stingy owner Mike Ashley. With the team possibly getting a takeover, Benitez is not guaranteed the chance to improve his roster. Not to mention Newcastle operates under club-wide restrictions.

Sky Sports says, “the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Valencia boss wants to be given the green light to sign players over the age of 26, which has been against club policy in previous years.”

Sky Sports reports that Benitez is mulling a $15 million offer from Dalian Yifang, the CSL team currently sitting in 11th place under former South Korea national team manager Kang-hee Choi.

Dalian Yifang currently employs transfer rumor mainstay Yannick Carrasco, as well as Marek Hamsik and young Ghanaian striker Emmanuel Boateng.

If Newcastle allows Benitez to leave and the takeover is not completed, it would be the most embarrassing thing for the club since Joe Kinnear couldn’t pronounce half of his players’ names. That’s saying something.