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USMNT player ratings from 2-0 loss to Brazil

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The United States men’s national team played out a bit of a snoozy second half against Brazil after going down 2-0 to the Selecao at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Friday.

[ RECAP: USMNT 0-2 Brazil | 3 things ]

Mission: Don’t Embarrass Yourselves was generally a success for the USMNT and interim manager Dave Sarachan, whose young bucks played well despite a lack of Christian Pulisic.

Next up for the USMNT: Mexico on Tuesday.

Starting XI

Zack Steffen — 8 — Couldn’t have done anything on the opener given the acres of space afforded Roberto Firmino, and Neymar’s penalty kick run-up is a tricky one even for a PK-stopping ace.

Antonee Robinson — 3 — The young Everton man will have a lot better days in a U.S. shirt, as he was habitually cooked by Douglas Costa for much of the night. Did play better as the match wore on.

Matt Miazga — 6 — Huge mistake in marking on the Firmino goal keeps him from getting a 7 or maybe even an 8. Having a solid early campaign in Ligue 1, too.

John Brooks — 7 — The United States’ best defender, unsurprisingly, was the United States’ best defender. Didn’t have his towering header game in-form, or would’ve bagged a goal.

DeAndre Yedlin — 6 — If anyone had been prepared for this match by their early season, it was Yedlin. The Seattle Sounders export has faced Spurs, Chelsea, and Man City already this season. Forgivably worked over a few times by Neymar, he also chipped in the viral moment of the evening and should probably be upped to a 7 for it.

[ MORE: Rudiger apologizes for neck stamp ]

Wil Trapp  — 6 — Pretty good set piece service, and was fooled on the penalty when Fabinho felt his arm on the side and hit the deck like he saw a gold brick.

Julian Green (Off 55′) — 5 — Struggled to make any sort of impact despite some decent energy going forward at left mid. To be fair, left mid against Brazil isn’t his bag. Left wing against Costa Rica would be another story.

Weston McKennie (Off 82′) — 8 — Would’ve cemented his U.S. Man of the Match credentials had he got more than a glance of purchase on a late sliding bid to turn a free kick past Alisson. His finish is the only thing missing from his game, and he was not overwhelmed in several tussles with Casemiro.

Tyler Adams (Off 82′) — 5 — Average, although if you’d like to up his score given the competition and his age (19), you’d be justified.

Paul Arriola (Off 55′) — 4 — Less than ideal performance typified by a wildly overhit cross from the right side.

Bobby Wood (Off 70′) — 5 — Starved of possession for most of the match, as expected, failed to make much of an impact on the proceedings.

Substitutes

Kellyn Acosta (On 55′) — 5.5 — Just fine. Looking forward to seeing him play in a match without as much defensive responsibility (though that’s kind of his thing).

Tim Weah (On 55′) — 6.5 — Had enough moments for me to break my “no half point” rule. Good energy, effort, and commitment from the PSG man.

Gyasi Zardes (On 70′) — 5 — Wasn’t really noticeable, but was good to see the long-struggling striker get back in the U.S. fold.

Marky Delgado (On 83′) — N/A

Cristian Roldan (On 83′) — N/A

Man City’s attempt to block UEFA investigation denied in court

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MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) Manchester City lost its attempt Friday to block an investigation into allegations it deceived UEFA while violating rules that monitor soccer club finances.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that City’s appeal against UEFA’s handling of the investigation was inadmissible. The two-time defending Premier League champions tried to stop UEFA’s club finance panel from handling a referral by investigators to impose a punishment.

“At CAS we can only hear appeals against final decisions,” said Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general.

UEFA investigators had called for a severe penalty — that City be excluded from the Champions League for one season.

The file will now proceed to UEFA’s club finance judges. Any sanction they impose can also be challenged at CAS.

The latest UEFA investigation started after leaks of City’s internal correspondence and documents to German news outlet Der Spiegel last year.

The leaks implied City deceived UEFA for several years, including by hiding information that revenue from potentially overvalued commercial deals came from the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi to curb losses.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

City has never disputed the authenticity of the documents.

“There was absolutely no examination of the merits,” Reeb said of the three-judge panel’s ruling. “We cannot say whether the decision of the alleged breach of financial fair play rules are real or not.”

Friday’s ruling extends a long-standing conflict between City and UEFA in the era of “Financial Fair Play” rules which began in 2009 after consultation with clubs. The project was intended to protect clubs from reckless overspending.

UEFA rules limit cash injections from wealthy owners, which critics say penalize emerging clubs with big ambitions. Commercial deals such as shirt sponsorships that are suspected of being inflated are also assessed for the fair market rate.

City was deducted $22 million of Champions League prize money by UEFA in 2014 in the first round of FFP judgments.

Report: Bruce hopes to bring Xhaka to Newcastle in January

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Steve Bruce has prioritized a loan move to bring Granit Xhaka to Newcastle United in January, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

Xhaka, now the former captain of Arsenal after his recent confrontation with the club’s fans, is expected to leave Arsenal in January and Bruce hopes that Fabian Schar, a longtime teammate of Xhaka with the Swiss international team, will be able to persuade the 27-year-old midfielder to choose the Magpies over what will surely be a long list of clubs desperate to acquire his services.

According to the report, a number of clubs in Italy have already expressed an interest in signing Xhaka — whether or loan or permanently — therefore Bruce and Co., are likely to face plenty of competition. However, the chance to remain in the Premier League and prove his detractors — many of them Arsenal fans — wrong could be appealing to Xhaka.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

Xhaka, who is not currently injured, hasn’t made an appearance for Arsenal since the incident occurred late last month. Schar recently said that he “can’t wait to give [Xhaka] a hug” next time the two players see each other.

VIDEO: Each PL team’s best and worst player of October

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PST’s Joe Prince-Wright looks at the best (and worst) player of October for each Premier League team as the league enters its final international break of 2019.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Liverpool and Leicester City flying high, picking the Reds’ or Foxes’ best player presented plenty of worthy candidates. As for terribly underperforming sides like Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Southampton, it was a challenge for the opposite reason, though JPW wasn’t short on options when it came to worst performers.

Hit Play on the above video to see who graded out well — and not so well — for your club, and feel free to agree or disagree all you want in the comments below.

Unhappy in Madrid, Bale ‘more excited’ to play for Wales

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Thanks to the ongoing FIFA-mandated international break, life is currently pretty good for Gareth Bale, who says he “definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales” compared to when he’s playing — or not playing — for his club, Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Sterling backs Gomez after boos were heard at Wembley ]

Bale confirmed on Friday what the entire world has known for a couple of years now: that he’s thoroughly unhappy at not being allowed to leave Madrid this summer; that he never truly adapted to his home since the summer of 2013; and that his on-field performance has suffered for those reasons, as well as his extensive injury history — quotes from the BBC:

“With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feeling more comfortable. I definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales.

“I’ve been with most of the players, especially the older ones, since we were in the Under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday.

“But it still doesn’t change what I give on the pitch. I always give 100 percent wherever I am, and that’s what I always strive to do.”

As for how Bale has been painted by the Spanish media, he says he only pays attention to the negative coverage when his friends since him “funny pictures or whatever they write,” but it’s clear he feels like an outsider and that’s a key reason he was so keen to leave the club and country when a(n even more) mega-money offer came from China this summer.

“I’ve heard some stories but I don’t really take notice. My friends tend to send me some funny pictures or whatever they write.

“I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me. On one, it said ‘triple bogey’ and I’ve never had a triple bogey. At least give me an albatross! It’s funny.”

Unfortunately for Bale, he’ll have to continue playing nice with manager Zinedine Zidane, until January at least.