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USMNT stock up, stock down under Bruce Arena

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Like it, don’t like it, or be simply okay with it: Bruce Arena is back in charge of the United States men’s national team.

He’s the only coach to lead the U.S. to the World Cup quarterfinals, but also the last one to guide the team to a group stage exit.

So, yeah, there’s something for everyone, from Arena fans to his biggest detractors, when it comes to the hire.

[ MORE: Notable quotes from Gulati, Arena ]

There’s also something for the player pool. While Arena said, “It’s highly unlikely we’re going to bring many new players into the program” in his introductory conference call this morning, he’s obviously going to have some changes in mind. Here’s what we’re thinking, and there’s a lot to like about it.

Stock down

Timmy Chandler — The Eintracht Frankfurt has struggled at nearly every turn for the USMNT, but should still get a look from Arena given that he’s playing week-in, week-out for a top half Bundesliga team and Klinsmann was using him slightly out of position. Then again, Arena could turn on any given USMNT match that featured Chandler and say, “No way.”

Michael Orozco scored against Iceland (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Michael Orozco (right) — At center back, Arena knows he has better options all over Major League Soccer (Tim Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, etc.). At fullback, same.

William Yarbrough and Ethan Horvath —  I think Horvath is a possible long-term USMNT starter, but we bet Arena is going down the list of MLS keepers with glee (See “Stock up” for who).

Young guys — Unless you’re Christian Pulisic or some other exceptionally gifted young player already operating at a high level, this isn’t a good sign. Arena had a reputation for taking a while to break younger guys into the fold. This could also be something that changes. Arena said Tuesday that the player pool is better than ever before, and guys like Cameron Carter-Vickers (Spurs) and Julian Green (Bayern Munich) are an injury away from featuring regularly for top clubs. That matters (we think).

Stock up

Eric Lichaj and Jonathan Spector — Mainstays for their Championship clubs, the pair never got love from Jurgen Klinsmann (and we heard his displeasure with DeAndre Yedlin moving to England’s second tier with Newcastle). Lichaj has played nearly everywhere for Nottingham Forest, and Spector’s been a Birmingham City mainstay. Both could, and should, get looks.

Landon Donovan (but, really, all Galaxy players) — Who knows who Arena really trusts, but if he’s looking to plug a hole who better to ring than someone he’s worked with on a day-to-day basis for ages? We saw this with Michail Antonio during Sam Allardyce‘s short stay at West Ham.

We’re sure there are several Galaxy players who didn’t receive call-ups under Klinsmann, much to the chagrin of Arena. Maybe he adores Daniel Steres, or Sebastian Lletget (speaking of West Ham). You can count on Gyasi Zardes. Now, about Alan Gordon…

As for Donovan, he’s undecided on whether he’ll continue his “unretirement” into 2017. But if he does, we’ve seen what veteran guys like Carlos Ruiz and Christian Bolanos can mean in CONCACAF qualifying.

Bill Hamid, Luis Robles, David Bingham —  When it comes to sitting behind and perhaps challenging Brad Guzan and Tim Howard, we expect Arena is going to take his domestic looks first. And several of these names, including the veteran Robles, will have a January camp devoid of European competition to impress Arena.

McCarty has been a menace for RBNY (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Benny Feilhaber — This one’s obvious, as he was mentioned in conference call and Klinsmann had no interest in the Sporting KC midfielder. Yes he’s older and probably not going to overtake Sacha Kljestan, but getting even a moment’s consideration is stock up from the Klinsmann era.

Dax McCarty (right) — We doubt Arena is ready to pull the plug on Michael Bradley and even Jermaine Jones, but McCarty has long deserved a return to the fold, if only for a look-see.

Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman —  Arena watched FC Dallas’ center back duo help shutout his Galaxy over 180 minutes of October ball. And Zimmerman scored the lone goal in one of the matches.

Dom Dwyer — He can apply for U.S. citizenship in 2017, and has had a bit of luck against Arena’s Galaxy. The coach has praised Dwyer as a scorer in the past.

Some other MLS-based names who have had some success against Arena’s Galaxy this year: Keegan Rosenberry, Fatai Alashe, Jordan Morris, Lamar Neagle, Kelyn Rowe.

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Man United reveal plans for the future; financial results announced

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Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has a plan.

He shared it in a statement on Monday, as the Red Devils have picked up some momentum over the past few weeks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side back in the hunt for a top four finish in the Premier League.

The leading man at the PL giants confirmed that producing their own young group of players in the first team is now their main aim.

“We have a clear vision in terms of football philosophy and recruitment,” Woodward said. “The significant investments that we have made in recent years in areas such as transfers, recruitment infrastructure, analytics and our Academy are already beginning to bear fruit.

“We are very proud to be shortly approaching a milestone 4,000th game featuring an Academy player, and we are particularly optimistic regarding the considerable young talent currently coming through. Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing exciting football with a team that fuses graduates from our Academy with world-class acquisitions.”

Academy products Marcus Rashford, Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay are key players in United’s first team this season while the likes of Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe and Mason Greenwood have all gained valuable experience.

That said, Woodward will no doubt realize that United have to spend on key additions in the upcoming windows alongside promoting their talented youngsters.

Solskjaer has already mentioned that the January transfer window is something United will look at closely, as they are currently in seventh place in the Premier League table and nine points off the top four. An attacking midfielder is likely to be their key target as they failed to bring in Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes this summer.

With regards to the finances, United’s net debt rose by $177.9 million which was in essence due to bringing in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James this summer. However, their first quarter revenue for this year was slightly up to $175.5 million year-on-year.

They are expected to bring in $86.8 million less in the next 12 months from TV revenue and prize money as they failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, but players wages did fall 8.8 percent with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez off the wage bill, as that now stands at $90 million.

As always, a lack of success on the pitch doesn’t really seem to hurt United off it.

Senegal, Nigeria stay perfect in African Cup qualifying

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Famara Diedhiou scored a hat trick in a game interrupted by heavy rain as Senegal beat Eswatini 4-1 on Sunday for two wins out of two in qualifying for the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

Diedhiou missed an early penalty and it was 0-0 at halftime when Senegal coach Aliou Cisse substituted Sadio Mane.

Diedhiou netted all three of his goals in a nine-minute period from the 59th to keep this year’s African Cup runner-up on course in the final stage of qualifying for the 2021 tournament. Badou Ndiaye scored Senegal’s fourth in Manzini against the kingdom formerly known as Swaziland.

Senegal lost to Algeria in the final of this year’s African Cup of Nations in Egypt and is embarking on another attempt to win the continental title for the first time.

Like Senegal, Nigeria has also won its first two of six games in the qualifiers’ decisive group stage after the Super Eagles benefited from an outstanding performance by forward Victor Osimhen in a 4-2 win over Lesotho. Osimhen scored twice and set up the other two as Nigeria again came from behind to win, like it did in its opening qualifier.

South Africa beat Sudan 1-0 with a goal by Lebogang Phiri for its first win of the qualifiers after losing to Ghana first up. Cameroon, which will host the 2021 African Cup, also registered a first win by beating Rwanda 1-0. Midfielder Ngoumo Ngamaleu scored in Cameroon’s first competitive win under new coach Toni Conceicao and first in six games.

Cameroon has already qualified as host but is still taking part in qualifying. The top two teams in each of the 12 groups will qualify with the exception of Cameroon’s group. There, the highest-placed of the other three teams – currently Mozambique – goes through to the 24-team finals which will be played in mid-2021.

Guinea and Mali sit in the qualifying positions in Group A – Mali won 2-0 in Chad and Guinea 2-0 at home to Namibia. There were also wins on Sunday for Uganda, Benin, Republic of Congo and Gabon.

More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

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Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.