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With changes expected, how will USMNT line up v Peru?

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The U.S. men’s national team host Peru in their latest friendly game under interim head coach Dave Sarachan on Tuesday, with plenty of changes expected from the team which lost 4-2 to Colombia in Tampa on Friday. 

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Speaking at his pre-game press conference on Monday in East Hartford, Connecticut, Sarachan said “there will be a lot of changes” and confirmed that Brad Guzan will start in goal for the USMNT after his 12-month spell away from the national team setup.

Sarachan also spoke about where the USMNT must improve most against Peru, and perhaps with one eye on their friendlies against England and Italy next month.

“Over the last year, I believe there has been a real process of bringing together a number of players we feel will be part of the program for years to come…we’ve pushed this program forward in identifying guys that will make it or some that won’t make it,” Sarachan said. “I wouldn’t say the US is afraid of Peru. The group I’ve worked with over the last year has no fear — they embrace the challenge. I’d like us to do better with the ball. The other night, it was a combination of impatience and making plays that weren’t quite there. To use a tennis phrase, a lot of unforced errors. That part has to get better.”

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Below is a look at how Sarachan could line up his team from the start against their South American opponents.


JPW’s starting lineup for USMNT vs. Peru – Option 1, Newbies galore (4-1-3-2)

—– Guzan —–

— Cannon — Carter-Vickers — Long — Sweat —

—- Trapp —- 

— Picault — Delgado — Amon — 

—– Sargent —– Novakovich —–


JPW’s starting lineup for USMNT vs. Peru – Option 2, Best of both (3-4-3)

—– Guzan —–

—- Carter-Vickers — Miazga — Long — 

—- Yedlin —- Trapp —- Bradley —- Robinson —-

—- Weah —- Wood —- Amon —-


Evaluation

Well, Sarachan isn’t exactly keeping his cards close to his chest here, is he? The USMNT interim head coach said there will be “a lot of changes” for this game against Peru and it seems likely that anybody who didn’t start against Colombia (a stronger opponent, on paper, than Peru) would get a start in Connecticut. Cameron Carter-Vickers is due a full 90 minutes but if Sarachan does go with Option 1, the USMNT will be extremely inexperienced in defense with Aaron Long and Reggie Cannon yet to make their debuts. When has that stopped him throwing players into the mix in 2018 though, right? In midfield, Trapp didn’t feature against Colombia so we can expect him to play, while Picault, Amon and Delgado would be good bets to play in attacking midfield positions as they can interchange easily. Giving Josh Sargent and Andrija Novakovich a run-out up top would also be beneficial despite Tim Weah and Bobby Wood building a strong connection in recent games. Option 2 would be my selection, as I’d like to see the flexibility of this USMNT in a slightly more attack-minded 3-4-3 which allows the three center backs to possess the ball (something Sarachan wants to see more of) and have more options in front of them to pass to. Mixing in regulars Michael Bradley, DeAndre Yedlin and Bobby Wood would also give the U.S. a strong spine but still have plenty of youthfulness in the side.

Oxlade-Chamberlain back in Liverpool training

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in Liverpool training, nine months after a horrible injury cost him the chance to appear in the UEFA Champions League Final.

Initially ruled out for the duration of the 2018-19 season following an ACL year, “The Ox” is giving the Reds a boost in Dubai.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

The 25-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain posted five goals and seven assists in his first season at Liverpool.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has 32 England caps and 283 senior appearances between Southampton, Arsenal, and Liverpool. He left the Gunners in part because of a desire to play a more central role in the midfield.

Oxlade-Chamberlain detailed his recovery late last year. There’s yet to be discussion of when he might be fit to return to match play, but Liverpool will be careful with its industrious playmaker.

Montreal owner Saputo hands presidency duties to Gilmore

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Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo is giving the reigns of his club to a new president.

Saputo announced Tuesday that he’s handing over presidency duties to Kevin Gilmore, the former chief operating officer of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

The Saputo family founded the Impact in 1992, and Joey Saputo shepherded the club into Major League Soccer.

The Impact is coached by Remi Garde, the former Aston Villa boss, and has Designated Players in Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taidir. The Bleu-blanc-noir just started training camp.

Cardiff “very distressed,” “praying for positive news” regarding Sala

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Cardiff City executive director Ken Choo has released a statement on the missing flight from France to Wales which carried new signing Emiliano Sala.

Crews in Wales continue to search for the plane, which disappeared from radar late Monday night.

Fans have flocked to Cardiff City Stadium and Nantes town square to lay flowers in hopes of a miraculous recovery for Sala and his pilot.

From Cardiff City’s official site:

“We were very shocked upon hearing the news that the plane had gone missing. We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team.

“Our owner, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and chairman, Mehmet Dalman, are all very distressed about the situation.

“We made the decision first thing this morning to call off training with the thoughts of the squad, management staff and the entire Club with Emiliano and the pilot.

“All of us at Cardiff City FC would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family for their support at this difficult time.

“We continue to pray for positive news.”

Ronaldo pleads guilty to tax fraud at Madrid court

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MADRID (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and received a two-year suspended sentence.

The Juventus forward, who was facing charges stemming from his days at Real Madrid, was in court for about 45 minutes and signed an agreement which will cost him nearly 19 million euros ($21.6 million) in fines.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

Ronaldo arrived at court in a black van and was wearing a black sports coat and black pants. He walked up some stairs leading to the court house and even stopped to sign an autograph.

Ronaldo made the deal to plead guilty with Spain’s state prosecutor and tax authorities last year.

In Spain, a judge can suspend sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders.

In 2017, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.7 million). Ronaldo was accused of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights.

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