We all know the genuine dislike that stands between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Mexico, and the two CONCACAF nations will once again renew their rivalry on Sunday night.
[ MORE: How will the USMNT line up on Sunday against Mexico? ]
As the USMNT continues to find its identity under second-term manager Bruce Arena, one player has found himself at the center of everybody’s radar, and that player is Christian Pulisic.
The Borussia Dortmund youngster dazzled for the Bundesliga side in 2016/17 and now he’s backing up that consistency with strong performances for the USMNT, who look to inch closer to Russia 2018 with a win against El Tri.
One man who knows Pulisic’s value very well and is cautiously aware of the 18-year-old… Mexico boss Juan Carlos Osorio.
“Pulisic is a great player and very important for them,” said the Colombian coach. “In Borussia [Dortmund] he can play on either wing and now he’s playing behind the two No. 9s in a structure that looks to be a 4-3-1-2… narrow in the middle in the field.
“He’s a player we have to watch out for and be careful of because he has individual talent and is capable of assisting the two forwards.”
In four USMNT matches this year, Pulisic has scored as many goals for the Stars and Stripe, including two during the second half of Thursday’s 2-0 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying win over Trinidad & Tobago.
Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.
[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]
Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.
The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.
Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.
Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.
Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).
Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.
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Santi Cazorla hasn’t played a match for the Gunners since suffering a gruesome Achilles injury back in October 2016.
[ MORE: No World Cup for Spanish Chelsea trio ]
And unfortunately for the Spaniard, Cazorla won’t feature for Arsenal again after six years at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal released a statement on Monday revealing the veteran midfielder won’t return to the club in 2018/19, which isn’t unexpected given the extent of his injury.
In his time with the Gunners, Cazorla made 180 appearances in all competitions for the club, and helped Arsenal win two FA Cups.
Cazorla was also a member of the Spanish national team squads that won back-to-back UEFA EURO competitions in 2008 and 2012.
Wolfsburg managed a 1-0 win (4-1 on aggregate) over Holstein Kiel on Monday in the second leg of its German promotion playoff as the Bundesliga side kept its place in the top flight.
Robin Knoche scored the game-winner in the second leg, which ensured Wolfsburg’s stay in the Bundesliga ahead of the 2017/18 season.
The hosts boasted a number of quality chances in the first half, including David Kinsombi’s close-range shot that tested Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels with a save, however, Holstein couldn’t break through.
U.S. Men’s National Team defender John Brooks went the full 90 minutes for Wolfsburg, after the 25-year-old made nine starts this season for the German side in league play.