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How will USMNT lineup vs. Colombia?

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The U.S. men’s national team host Colombia in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, with Dave Sarachan without several of his brightest young talents due to injury.

[ MORE: 1 year on from World Cup exit ]

Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams all withdraw from the USMNT squad to face Colombia and Peru due to injury, meaning that Sarachan’s options are a little thin in midfield areas.

After recalling veterans Brad Guzan and Michael Bradley into the squad for the first time since the crushing defeat to Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 10, 2017 which ended the USA’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, this team expected to have a more experienced core compared with the youthful teams over the past 12 months.

Below is a look at two options for how I’d line up the USMNT against Los Cafeteros, with James Rodriguez and Co. beating the U.S. on each of the last three occasions they’ve played them since 2014.


JPW’s USMNT starting lineup option 1 (3-4-3)

—– Guzan —–

—- Carter-Vickers —- Miazga —- Brooks —-

— Yedlin — Bradley — Trapp — Robinson —

—- Weah —- Wood —- Green —- 


JPW’s USMNT starting lineup option 2 (4-2-3-1)

—– Steffen —–

—- Cannon —- Long —- Brooks —- Sweat —-

—- Delgado —– Acosta —-

—- Green —- Saief — Amon —-

—– Sargent —–

Evaluation

Option 1 is focused on having the most experience in the team, while Option 2 is all about getting as many of the USMNT youngsters players involved as possible. Will Guzan and Bradley start both games against Colombia or Peru? Probs not. It is likely that Colombia, despite having plenty of new faces in its squad, will provide a tougher test than Peru for the USMNT and I’d expect to see Guzan in goal in Tampa. Having a back three of Carter-Vickers, Brooks and Miazga would be wonderful to see and is something that would really help the U.S. stay solid against these top 10 nations in the latest FIFA world rankings. With the pace of Yedlin and Robinson in wing-back roles, that gets the best out of their strengths, while Michael Bradley and Wil Trapp are very similar players but the U.S. could do with two holders if Weah, Wood and Green play ahead of them.

Option 2 gives plenty of youngsters and newcomers a chance to shine, with Sargent and Amon particular rising stars in Europe. I’d likely use Option 2 against Peru and Sarachan should use as many players as possible across the two games to experiment and see if they are capable of being at this level. In November, when the U.S. head to Wembley to play England and then play Italy, it is likely a more senior squad will be announced along with youngsters who have taken their chances. The games against Colombia and Peru seem to represent the final few chances for quite a few players under Sarachan, with the interim boss likely to be coaching his final games for the national team in November before a new head coach is appointed.

West Ham playmaker Arnautovic admits he’s playing hurt

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West Ham playmaker Marko Arnautovic is in his second season with the Hammers, and while leading West Ham with five goals on the season, he’s definitely not 100%. Still, his team needs him – both club and country – and so he’ll keep suiting up even through the pain.

Arnautovic, on international duty with Austria, admitted to hometown media that he needs regular medical treatment to stay on the pitch this season.

“I can not say if I’ll get an injection on Thursday,” Arnautovic said. “In my knee, fluid accumulates again and again. Of course, there are people who say they should rest themselves and do nothing for a week, but it’s just difficult.”

Arnautovic would not elaborate on the type of injection he is receiving, but it’s likely a steroid or other anti-inflammatory injection to keep the swelling in his knee to a minimum. He also may be having his knee drained, a painful process that involves physically removing fluid buildup through a syringe.

The 29-year-old was originally injured in a 3-1 win over Everton in mid-September, the club’s first win of the season. He was withdrawn from that match in the 64th minute after scoring a goal and assisting another, and missed the subsequent Premier League match against Chelsea. He returned to play 83 minutes against Manchester United the next time out, and has missed only one match since, playing the full 90 minutes in the other three.

To keep his knee as healthy as possible, Arnautovic told Sky Sports earlier last month that he was avoiding training too much. “The knee is not the best but I am fit and I can play,” Arnautovic said. “I’m not training a lot at West Ham to try and my knee calm.”

“After a game I need some rest for about two or three days. By the middle of the week I am training normally with the team, training in full. And on the weekend I can play, that is the most important thing. Obviously you can’t do anything on this bone bruise.”

Report: Jadon Sancho to start for England vs United States

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Jadon Sancho and Christian Pulisic are teenage teammates for Borussia Dortmund, a shining light for the growing generation of young internationals. Now, they will face each other on the field as international opponents on Friday as the United States and England clash at Wembley.

According to a report by Sky Sports, Sancho is set for his full international debut as Gareth Southgate will include Sancho in his starting lineup. It will be Sancho’s second cap after earning his first against Croatia in October.

That means it’s likely that the two will both be included from the opening whistle, as Pulisic is as guaranteed a starter as they come on the United States, barring injury.

Sancho has been white hot at the club level this season, scoring four goals and assisting five while earning a starting role with his form. One of his main teammates affected with diminished minutes as a result of Sancho’s form is Pulisic, who has not started in any of the last five Bundesliga matches and has just 64 minutes in that span.

Pulisic started against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on October 24, and eventually saw Sancho replace him in the 79th minute, with the young English international scoring in the 4-0 win. The two then started opposite each other against Atletico in the reverse fixture a week ago in a 2-0 loss.

Sancho will get the opportunity to prove his worth with a critical match against Croatia is on the horizon, as England has the chance to secure a spot in the Nations League semi-finals with a win. This will come alongside Wayne Rooney, who will be included in the squad and get the opportunity to play in a farewell match. Sancho was just two years old when Rooney made his England debut.

2018 MLS awards: Tata wins Coach, Zlatan wins Goal

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Major League Soccer announced a number of its regular season awards on Tuesday, and a pair of the league’s international stars were at the forefront of the achievements.

Outgoing Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino won Coach of the Year, while LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the league’s Goal of the Year award for his incredible long-distance strike against rivals LAFC back in late March.

Martino, in his second year in charge as Atlanta United’s first and only manager in franchise history, came just a point from securing the team’s first Supporters’ Shield in just its second year of existence. The club just won its first playoff series in club history as well, beating NYFC over two legs to reach the Eastern Conference finals. The Argentine has announced he will depart the club at the end of the season, with reports pinning him to a job with the Mexican national team.

LAFC manager Bob Bradley finished second in the Coach of the Year award, having led the first-year club to a third-place finish in the Western Conference and a playoff spot before being dumped by Real Salt Lake in the knockout round.

Ibrahimovic won Goal of the Year with his audacious half-volleyed strike from almost 40 yards out that chipped LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller and leveled the score. It was Ibrahimovic’s first MLS goal after moving to the Galaxy in the offseason from Manchester United. He scored again that match, a stoppage-time winner in the brand new derby.

Other awards were handed out during the hour-long awards ceremony on Periscope, including the Save of the Year, which went to Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei for ranging across his net to stop Colorado Rapids forward Shkelzen Gashi.

Skill Play of the Year went to Portland’s Samuel Armenteros for an incredible dink past Colorado defender Danny Wilson just before scoring the game’s first goal. The Celebration of the Year went to Bradley Wright-Phillips for the aftermath of his 100th MLS goal where he proceeded to remove his jersey to reveal another underneath with the number 100.

Report: Sanchez unlikely to move from Man United this winter

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According to a report by The Telegraph, Alexis Sanchez is unlikely to move from Old Trafford in the 2019 winter transfer window due to a lack of interested parties.

The report states that Manchester City has long since decided against pursuing Sanchez further given their wealth of attacking talent and Sanchez’s poor form, with Sanchez having turned them down last year in favor of United. Now, despite Paris Saint-Germain’s recent interest, that option appears to be reportedly fading as well, given PSG’s decision that they, too, do not have room for Sanchez in their loaded squad.

The Telegraph also reports that the high wages for Alexis at Manchester United leave only a handful of teams able to consider him an option anyways, and now two of the notable clubs in that category have turned the idea down.

Sanchez has struggled mightily under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United since moving this past winter. He has just one goal this season and has started just five Premier League matches due to poor form. Sanchez has been out-shined by players like Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, as those two youngsters have combined for nine goals and 1,742 minutes. Overall, Sanchez has scored just three league goals for Manchester United.

It will be up to Mourinho to get the best out of Sanchez, a brilliant player at his best but at the moment just another among the squad at Old Trafford.