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Three things from the USMNT draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina

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There wasn’t a ton to takeaway from a friendly nil-nil between the United States men’s national team and Bosnia & Herzegovina on Sunday in Carson, Calif., but we could find three things.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

That’s because “That’s Entertainment” is a song by The Jam, not a way to describe this match.

Playmakers needed in the Starting XI

In what would’ve qualified as infuriating had this game meant anything besides minor evaluation, Dave Sarachan kept Paul Arriola, Kelyn Rowe, and Juan Agudelo on the bench in favor of — in no particular order — Gyasi Zardes and Cristian Roldan.

There weren’t many chances in the opening 45, with CJ Sapong providing the best chances for the U.S. (Young Tyler Adams had a moment or two as well).

It was no surprise that Jordan Morris (above) and the rest of the U.S. squad found chances almost immediately once Rowe and Arriola were subbed into the match at halftime. In fact, a slightly tamer touch from Morris in the second half probably produces a goal that may have just busted open the match.

Opara meets his chance head-on; Zimmerman? Well…

Sporting KC center back Ike Opara is 28 years old and a much more finished product than the kid who represented his country at youth levels. He had some fantastic interventions in the first half, was aggressive when meeting Bosnian attackers out wide, and nearly mistake-free aside from giving away a free kick.

LAFC’s Walker Zimmerman, so good for some time in MLS, was not as solid as his partner, and gave away a bad but unconverted penalty kick early in the second half. A foul should’ve been called a moment earlier against the player he dropped in the boss, but it was a silly foul.

“Just had fun,” Opara said on FS1 after the match. “Sort out the aftermath later. It was a good time. … (I’ll remember) just the hard work that I put in over the years and the people who helped me get here. I know it’s my reward but a lot of people helped me get here.”

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

This match was so non-descript and so much of a slog at times that it bears repeating the USMNT produced what was essentially a C-Team.

Don’t believe us? Assume 23 players in any given call-up, and here are nearly 40 players who weren’t there: Pulisic, Brooks, McKennie, Dempsey, Yedlin, Cameron, Chandler, Acosta, Bedoya, Gooch, Williams, Bradley, Howard, Guzan, Nagbe, McCarty, F. Johnson, Kljestan, Jones, Lletget, Altidore, Wood, Miazga, Lichaj, Miazga, Ream, Sargent, Saief, Spector, Hedges, Zusi, Besler, Beasley, Horvath, Carter-Vickers, Palmer-Brown, Feilhaber, Evans…

So while we didn’t really learn anything from point No. 3, we are reminded that it shouldn’t be surprising when two less than ideal groups culled from sides that missed the World Cup fail to entertain the masses.

Peru’s World Cup foes lobby to overturn Guerrero’s ban

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Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.

“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”

[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]

That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a fail drug test.

SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

Rayo Vallecano win promotion back to La Liga

Photo credit: Rayo Vallecano / @RayoVallecano
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MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.

Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.

Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.

The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.

FOLLOW LIVE: West leaders SKC host East’s 2nd-best Crew SC

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]

Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.