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Three things from the USMNT’s historic failure in Trinidad

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The United States failed in a major way on Tuesday, and that’s still somehow sugarcoating its 2-1 loss in Trinidad and Tobago.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Americans will not be plying their trade at a World Cup.

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Yup.


Bruce Arena, you played yourself

The USMNT manager preached squad rotation last month in an embarrassing two-match stretch that saw the Americans take just one point.

So what does he do following an exceptionally emotional 4-0 home win over Panama? Puts the same exact lineup out there.

The Yanks looked dazed and listless for the most part, aside from Jozy Altidore dropping deep into the midfield to help, well, whoever else was supposed to be there with Michael Bradley and some hard running from Paul Arriola and DeAndre Yedlin (I believe Jorge Villafana had a tackle in there, too).

Arena then doubled down on his domestic philosophy bringing on Clint Dempsey, Kellyn Acosta, and Benny Feilhaber as substitutes. Premier League mainstay Geoff Cameron was left on the bench for 180 minutes. Nevermind leaving international caliber players like Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, and even Danny Williams in the wilderness.

Adding to the embarrassment were Arena’s postgame comments, in which he seemed to imply he had better players he would’ve used in the future.

“If we had qualified for the World Cup, there needed to be a number of changes for the World Cup roster.”

In its hour of need, U.S. Soccer turned to its domestic heroes. And they failed.

But so did the players

Find a player who stood out on Tuesday.

I’m still waiting.

Yes, Pulisic scored a great goal. And both DeAndre Yedlin, Jozy Altidore, and Bobby Wood ran their socks off. Clint Dempsey provided an injection of fury and hit the post as a substitute.

But they needed far more than that and, as they had in every road Hex match and several home ones, showed an entitlement and lack of urgency that belied their status as the third- and later fifth-place team in CONCACAF.

Michael Bradley will probably not play at another World Cup. USMNT legends Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, and Geoff Cameron almost certainly will not.

And the guys Arena did use?

“Our center backs were not confident with the ball, and really we were playing eight against 10 in the first half. Our forwards were not able to hold the ball. We didn’t get Pulisic into the game. We played poorly.”

To be fair, it wasn’t both center backs, rather Omar Gonzalez. Arena’s former LA Galaxy charge scored an own goal and nearly gave a penalty kick away moments later.

Overhaul or nothing

This one is short and sweet: Arena was almost certainly not going to manage beyond the World Cup in Russia, but powerful president Sunil Gulati was almost certain to go onward. I’m not sure there are enough American Outlaws and moneymen on Earth to back that move now.

Charlotte MLS club files trademarks for eight potential names

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It is being heavily reported that Charlotte is the next city to earn a club in the rapidly expanding Major League Soccer landscape, and Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has taken the next step towards that possibility.

The new club needs a name, and they appear to be nearing a selection. Tepper filed for eight different name trademarks, according to multiple reports, including The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue who confirmed the filings were made under Tepper’s Panthers address.

Here is the list of names he filed copyright requests for:

“Charlotte FC” would be a bare-bones and generic name that follows in the footsteps of recent MLS expansion clubs such as Orlando City SC, NYCFC or LAFC. Others are a little more colorful, including “Carolina Gliders FC” or “Charlotte Monarchs FC,” while a few others like “Charlotte Town FC” or “Charlotte Athletic FC” clearly call forth thoughts of smaller English clubs.

Rodrigue speculated that the relative lack of “Carolina” encompassing names is potentially due to the possibility of an expansion bid from Raleigh down the road, and a Carolina team would potentially provide an unnecessary roadblock to that future prospect. There is a clear lack of region-encompassing names in Major League Soccer, with “New England Revolution” the only example, and there’s no real reason to break that mold with another potential bid city down the road.

Which name is your favorite? What would you have gone with if you could name the club?

LIVE, UCL: Two knockout spots remain; Man City, Tottenham in play

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Two more spots in the knockout round remain unclaimed as the final day of group stage play begins on Wednesday.

Groups C and D both require a second team to progress through to the Round of 16, with five teams still in the mix.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Manchester City has already won Group D, but the remaining three teams Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, and Atalanta all remain in contention for the second spot. Shakhtar currently sits second and has a home match with Atalanta, while Dinamo Zagreb host Man City in Croatia. Both those games feature in the early 12:55 p.m. ET kickoffs.

Group D, meanwhile, has a pair of sides vying for the last spot. Atletico Madrid has a point advantage, currently sitting in second with a home match against already eliminated Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow. Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, hosts group winners Juventus in Germany.

Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur has already locked up a spot in the knockout stage, locked into the second spot in Group A, and they finish out the group stage with a visit to confirmed group winners Bayern Munich. Jose Mourinho told the press he forbid his players from watching any footage of the 7-2 defeat to Bayern to begin group stage play, and is resting “a few players” ahead of the festive Premier League fixtures.

Finally, Group A has already been decided with Real Madrid confirmed to finish second behind winners Paris Saint-Germain, but the two still have to complete the fixture list. Madrid heads to Belgium to take on Club Brugge, while PSG hosts Galatasaray. The Spanish side is most likely to rest players, with a weekend visit to Valencia coming up on Sunday followed by a midweek El Clasico that was rescheduled from earlier in the season.

Below is the full schedule for the last UCL games on Wednesday, with all games kicking off at 3 p.m. ET unless otherwise noted, and you can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.


Wednesday Champions League action

Group A

Club Brugge v. Real Madrid
Paris Saint-Germain v. Galatasaray

Group B

Bayern Munich v. Tottenham Hotspur
Olympiakos v. Red Star Belgrade

Group C

Dinamo Zagreb v. Manchester City (12:55 p.m. ET)
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Atalanta (12:55 p.m. ET)

Group D

Atletico Madrid v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Bayer Leverkusen v. Juventus

Late goalkeeper strike seals knockout spot in UEFA Youth League

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Club Brugge goalkeeper Senne Lammens may just be 17 years old, but he just lived every goalkeeper’s dream: to score a dramatic equalizer in the dying seconds of a game to send the club through to a European competition’s knockout stage.

The young goalkeeper came forward on a corner in the 94th minute of a game against Real Madrid in the UEFA Youth League Wednesday morning in Belgium. With the visitors leading 2-1 and added time just about expired, Brugge needed to score an equalizer to secure passage to the knockout stage, lest they be left at the mercy of Galatasaray’s match against PSG.

Lammens delivered. The corner swung in to the top of the six-yard box and the youngster was on hand to head home a pinpoint effort inside the far post.

The header was quite literally the last act of the game, with stoppage time already creeping more than 60 seconds past the minimum three added minutes.

Lammens has shuttled back and forth between the youth squad and the senior squad this season serving occasionally as an emergency third goalkeeper behind Simon Mignolet and Ethan Horvath. Mostly, though, he’s been with the youth squad appearing in five of their six UEFA Youth League games, with three wins and a draw.

Report: Arsenal not interested in Ancelotti “profile”

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According to The Athletic reporter David Ornstein, Arsenal is not interested in a manager of Carlo Ancelotti’s “profile.”

The Italian was recently let go by Napoli after a disappointing first half of the season despite qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage.

Ancelotti has won a Premier League title, three Champions League titles, and a Scudetto during his career but apparently a manager with his resume does not interest the Gunners, who may be looking for a more youthful boss with a longer-term strategy and potentially stronger club or domestic ties.

At 60 years old, Ancelotti has been fired from posts at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and now Napoli over the last four years. Over those four seasons, he has just one league title, the 2016/17 Bundesliga crown he won with Bayern in runaway fashion, and has exceeded expectations in very limited capacities, instead seeing things turn sour at each job relatively quickly. This season at Napoli, the club sits seventh in the Serie A table, mired in a horrible seven-match winless run that has seen them tumble further from the Champions League places.

Ornstein’s report also touched on the timeline of a potential hire, with the club apparently still deciding on whether to see out the season with interim manager Freddie Ljungberg or make a mid-season appointment. He states that the club “want situation settled asap” but also prefer “right man over quick decision.” He does not identify who the number one target is, but suggests that if that person is available at this point in time, they will make the hire mid-season, otherwise there will be a waiting game.