AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

USMNT 1-2 Mexico: Marquez the villain as late corner dooms Yanks

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  • Layun ruins the Cero
  • Marquez heads home winner
  • Howard injured
  • Altidore levels

An inspired second half from the United States men’s national team was wasted when Rafa Marquez nodded Miguel Layun’s 88th minute corner home to give Mexico a 2-1 win in the opening match of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualification.

Layun also scored, ensuring there would be no Cero for Mexico in the World Cup qualifier, but Jozy Altidore found Bobby Wood for a second half equalizer at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

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Jurgen Klinsmann opened the match in a 3-5-2, and it did not work well at all.

A moment of promise in the fourth minute, as Christian Pulisic led a charge up the middle of the pitch before leaving the ball for Bobby Wood. Unfortunately, Fabian Johnson popped an attempted cross over goal.

The other end saw a neat bit of work from Miguel Layun on Mexico’s left flank end with Javier Hernandez turning the ball wide of Tim Howard‘s right post.

Tim Howard made a fingertip save that saw Jesus Corona’s 10th minute shot hit the far post, and Jozy Altidore then drew a yellow card on Diego Reyes off the counter.

John Brooks picked up the Yanks first yellow card when he chopped down Hernandez in the 15th minute.

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The Yanks finally got an effort on Alfredo Talavera in the 20th minute, but Jozy Altidore didn’t get enough power on his header of Fabian Johnson’s long cross and it stayed 0-0.

The goal came at the other end moments later, as Layun’s shot changed direction off Timmy Chandler to skip of a diving Howard’s gloves and into the goal.

Bobby Wood earned the U.S. a corner minutes later, and Altidore looked set to make it 1-1 until a Mexican intervention inside the six.

Mexico headed a ball off the crossbar through Vela, who outjumped Matt Besler in the center of the pitch only to see his offering bomb off the underside of the bar.

[ MORE: The evolution of Pulisic ]

Timmy Chandler earned a free kick for the United States on the right side in the 33rd minute. Michael Bradley lorded over the offering from 30-plus yards, and Altidore nodded it back into the mix before Pulisic bungled his chance to make it 1-1.

Jones came close to picking up a second yellow as Mexico won a central free kick about 30 yards out, but Giovani dos Santos fired over the goal.

Howard had to come out of the game with a groin injury, and Jurgen Klinsmann used his first sub to bring Brad Guzan into the game in the 40th minute.

Chandler picked up a yellow in the 45th minute.

The U.S. came very close to knotting it up in the first 30 seconds of the second half, with a flubbed volley from Johnson after a Pulisic dribble and cross from the left.

It was a harbinger of what was to come, as Altidore made a tremendous play in the center of the park to hold the ball before playing Bobby Wood between two defenders. Wood got around Talavera, who looked sketchy all night, and it was 1-1 in the 49th.

The Yanks would soon earner a corner through Johnson, but it came to nothing. Another one came courtesy of Wood, but Omar Gonzalez missed a free header. Then a turnover had Michael Bradley and Wood working on one defender, but Bradley inexplicably shot instead of playing Wood 1v1 with Talavera.

Johnson missed a decent chance from 20 yards out, belting a curling shot just over the frame.

Talavera made a good save on Wood’s turn and rip from 16 yards after Altidore chested him Michael Bradley’s free kick.

Altidore tore into a 22-yard free kick that Talavera tipped over the bar for a 78th minute corner kick.

Mexico countered and Johnson made a goal-saving clearance before Hernandez could strike.

El Tri won a late corner, and that’s when they struck. The Yanks failed to mark the back post and Marquez, and the ex-New York Red Bulls mad pushed the ball beyond Guzan for a gut-punching finish.

LINEUPS

USMNT: Howard (Guzan, 40′); Besler (Orozco, 81′), Brooks, Gonzalez, Chandler (Yedlin, 74′), Jones, Bradley, Johnson, Pulisic, Wood, Altidore.

Goal: Wood (49′)

Mexico: Talavera, Reyes (Ayala, HT), Marquez, Moreno, Layun, Guardado (Salcedo, 28′), Herrera, G. Dos Santos, J. Corona, Vela (Lozano, 73′), Hernandez.

Goal: Layun (22′), Marquez (88′)

Luis Enrique to return as Spain boss five months after resigning

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Luis Enrique will be named manager of the Spanish national team on Tuesday, five months to the day after stepping down from the same position to care for his nine-year-old daughter as she battled bone cancer.

[ MORE: Van Dijk leaves Netherlands squad for “personal reasons” ]

Robert Moreno is set to step aside to make way for Enrique. Moreno was previously an assistant on Enrique’s staff and had initially been put in charge of La Roja through the 2020 European Championship.

Enrique’s daughter, Xana, passed away in late August after a five-month battle.

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Moreno managed the team during Monday’s 5-0 thrashing of Romania to complete an unbeaten EURO 2020 qualifying campaign, but the 42-year-old was seen leaving the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in tears after the game. Neither Moreno nor any of the players spoke to the media.

He previously said that he would step aside should Enrique find himself able to return. Moreno insisted that friendship came first, above all else.

Preview: USMNT’s must-win Nations League finale v. Cuba

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The scenario is simple for the U.S. men’s national team ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Cuba (7:30 p.m.ET): Gregg Berhalter’s side will finish top of Group A with a victory, and only a victory. Period. It’s as simple as that.

[ MORE: Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video) ]

Friday’s victory over Canada righted the wrongs of last month’s defeat north of the border and laid the foundation for the Americans to reach the semifinals in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League, provided they take care of business in George Town, Cayman Islands, in what is set to be the final game of Berhalter’s first calendar year in charge. Despite trailing Canada (+6 goal differential)  by three points heading into Friday, the Yanks (+8) already have the tiebreaker in their favor.

Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes (twice) and Aaron Long scored to give the USMNT its 4-1 triumph over their northern neighbors. More importantly, it was a largely dominant display after going 1-0 up inside two minutes and carrying a 3-0 led into halftime.

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

The USMNT will once again be without Christian Pulisic (hip injury), leaving the attacking options on the roster quite thin. Morris, who got a goal and an assist against Canada, will likely start on the left again, with Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola playing centrally and on the right respectively. Zardes is the presumed starter up top, unless Berhalter opts for the youthful inexperience of Josh Sargent in a must-win game.

Berhalter appears to have settled on a pretty consistent backline, with Sergiño Dest and Aaron Long manning the right side and John Brooks and, at least on Friday, Tim Ream on the left. Weston McKennie’s place deep in midfield has been cemented for quite some time, but he’s partnered close to a half-dozen players alongside him this year alone. The 21-year-old Schalke midfielder was stellar against Canada, frequently starting counter-attacks and carrying the ball into the final third.

Projected USMNT lineup

I___________I
Guzan

Dest —— Long —— Brooks —— Ream

McKennie —— Roldan

Arriola —— Lletget —— Morris

Zardes

Man Utd debt climbs to $500m as club spends to halt decline

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United’s attempt to strengthen its underperforming squad has proved costly with debt rising more than 55 percent in a year to $498 million.

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

The cost of signing Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James ahead of the new season in the first quarter of the financial year was around 140 million pounds.

Although United reported record revenue last season of $812 million, the New York Stock Exchange listed business is now expecting the 2019-20 figure to drop to between $725 million and $750 million.

That is due to United missing out on Champions League television and prize money after finishing sixth last season. United could miss out again with the side in seventh place, nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester City after 12 of the 38 games.

[ MORE: Van Dijk leaves Netherlands squad for “personal reasons” ]

“Our ultimate aim is to win trophies, play fast, fluid, attacking football, with a team that uses graduates from our academy along with world-class acquisitions,” United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said. “We know this will not be achieved overnight, however we have made investments across the club that we believe will set us on the right path.

“We know our academy is a strong competitive advantage and an area we will continue to invest in as it is at the heart of the club.”

EURO 2020: Spain, Sweden finish top; Norway, Romania reach playoffs

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MADRID — Spain finished its qualifying campaign for the 2020 European Championship with a 5-0 rout of Romania in what could have been the farewell match for coach Robert Moreno on Monday.

Moreno did not show for the post-match interview and there were widespread reports in Spanish media he would not continue at the helm of “La Roja.”

The Spanish soccer federation did not immediately say why the coach did not talk to the media. It said a news conference was scheduled for Tuesday.

Moreno took over the job after Luis Enrique resigned in March to take care of his sick daughter. Moreno had been Luis Enrique’s assistant until then.

Gerard Moreno scored twice for the hosts, who had already secured a spot in the tournament but needed the victory to be among the top-seeded teams in the draw this month.

Spain also got on the scoreboard through Fabian Ruiz, Mikel Oyarzabal, and an own-goal by Romanian defender Adrian Rus.

“It was important to finish with the three points in front of our crowd,” said Ruiz, who scored his first goal with the national team. “We need to keep this same dynamic going into the Euros next year.”

Spain ended as the Group F winner with eight wins and two draws, at Norway and Sweden. “La Roja” finished five points in front of second-placed Sweden.

Romania, which had already been eliminated, ended in fourth place with four victories and two draws in 10 matches.

Spain, coming off routing Malta 7-0 in Cadiz, outscored its opponents 31-5.

It was in control from the start on Monday, with Romania threatening only a few times in front of a crowd of 36,198 at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, including many Romanians.

Ruiz opened the scoring from close range in the eighth minute, and Moreno added his goals with a header in the 33rd and strike from the six-yard line in the 43rd.

Rus found his own net while trying to intercept a cross into the area in first-half stoppage time, and Oyarzabal closed the scoring with a left-footed shot from outside the box in second-half injury time.

It was the second Spain match at Atletico’s Metropolitano stadium, the other a 6-1 rout of Argentina ahead of last year’s World Cup.