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What position should Pulisic play for USMNT?

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Christian Pulisic is ready to roll for the USMNT as they kick off their Gold Cup campaign against Guyana on June 18 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

But where should Gregg Berhalter play him?

[ MORE: How should USMNT line up? ]

Pulisic, 20, is the leading star of this team and after two disappointing defeats and plenty of criticism over the past week, the U.S. need him now more than ever. He has yet to play a part in the two friendlies and that is likely because he needed a bit of a rest after a busy end to the Bundesliga season, and because he wants to be as fresh as possible before heading to his new club Chelsea in July.

For much of the last few years Pulisic has been handed the no. 10 shirt and has played in that role or just off a central striker for the U.S.. He has spent time on the wing too, and that is his natural position and it is where the USMNT should keep him.

Pulisic’s ability to beat defenders one-v-one is his main strength and Berhalter must focus on getting him in those position as much as possible and not worrying about having to track back and defend if an inexperienced full back is playing behind him.

When it gets the latter stages of the Gold Cup, which the USMNT hope to be playing a part of, Pulisic could be man-marked in the central attacking role and therefore the U.S. would lose its main attacking weapon. But if he starts out wide, it is a lot tougher for him to be shut down.

His dribbling ability often sees him cut inside so even if he does start out on the left, naturally he drifts 10-15 yards inside to create space for himself and wreck havoc for opposition defenders.

With intelligent central midfielders such as Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie around him, they will slide over and plug any gaps out wide to balance the defensive side of the team and that will allow Pulisic more freedom to roam.

Simply put, Berhalter needs to play Pulisic out wide and not in the central attacking role.

He can cause more damage in that role and he will give the USMNT a better balance in attack as he feeds off Jozy Altidore and links up midfield and attack. Instead of floating behind Altidore, or whoever starts up top, Pulisic is better as an out-and-out winger with a clear mission to destroy the full back he’s up against.

Because of his incredible skill on the ball and eye for a pass it is tempting to get Pulisic on the ball as much as possible. But that slows things down too much for him. He’s at his best with a drop of the shoulder, a surging run inside and a killer pass or shot from the edge of the box.

Everyone connected with the USMNT will be hoping they see plenty of that this summer.

Haiti stuns Costa Rica to claim Group B at Gold Cup

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Poetic justice, put it in a Song.

Haiti’s Djimy Alexis made up for his early own goal by scoring a deserved winner as Haiti won Group B of the Gold Cup with an upset of Costa Rica on Monday.

[ ROUNDUPS: AFCON | Copa America ]

Los Ticos got everything they could handle from the upstart Gombey Warriors, who are now 3-0 on the tournament, and the World Cup mainstays tossed aside their early lead to meet Mexico in the quarterfinals.

Haiti will challenge Canada in the quarters, guaranteeing the semifinals an intriguing participant.

An early own goal had Costa Rica in control, but Duckens Nason’ 16th international goal was a part of a hard charge from the Haitians in the second half.

The other match saw Bermuda earn a 2-0 win over Nicaragua via goals from Lejuan Simmons and QPR’s Nakhi Wells. That gives the Gombey Warriors a 1-2 record while dropping Nicaragua to 0-3.

Bermuda was ranked 174th by FIFA to Nicaragua’s 129, but that will certainly change next month.

AFCON wrap: Diaby’s sensational rip highlights trio of matches

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The Africa Cup of Nations said hello to six more competitors on Monday, with a thrilling goal amongst the eight tallied across the competitions in Egypt.

[ MORE: Copa America roundup ]


Mali 4-1 Mauritania

Two different men named Adama Traore — neither of them the Wolves winger — joined Moussa Marega on the score sheet but it’s difficult to describe the class and small margins that defined the tournament’s goal of the day.

Sporting Lisbon’s Abdoulay Diaby somehow got this shot off through two defenders and into the upper reaches of the goal to open the scoring in the three-goal win for Mali, which is having some summer when you take into account the U-20 World Cup.

Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa

There were only 13 total attempts in the game, and Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodija scored the lone goal of a tournament opening win for Les Elephants.

Tunisia 1-1 Angola

A draw was probably fair, as Youssef Msakni’s first half penalty was met by Djalma Campos’ late goal to split the spoils in Group E.

Copa America roundup: Uruguay tops Chile; Full knockout bracket

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Ecuador and Japan drew to allow Paraguay to sew up the final knockout round spot, sending Miguel Almiron and Co. into a match-up with Brazil.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

And Uruguay rode Edinson Cavani’s goal into the other side of the bracket, moving ahead of Chile in a tight match.

Ecuador 1-1 Japan

There was a lot to like in a match with 30-plus shots and the ultimate prize of a match-up with Brazil on Thursday in Porto Alegre.

Shoya Nakajima put the Asian side ahead a quarter-hour into the match, but Angel Mena provided an equalizer before halftime to put both sides in danger of failure to reach the knockout rounds.

Chile 0-1 Uruguay

Cavani scored for the second time this tournament as Uruguay claimed first place in Group A and a knockout round meeting with Peru.

Cavani’s deftly flicked header of a Jonathan Rodriguez pass pushed Uruguay above Chile, which had won both of its group matches and now meets Colombia on Friday.

Knockout round schedule

June 27
Brazil v. Paraguay

June 28
Venezuela v. Argentina
Colombia v. Chile

June 29
Uruguay v. Peru

July 2
Brazil/Paraguay v. Venezuela/Argentina
Colombia/Chile v. Uruguay/Peru

July 6
Third place playoff

July 7
Final

Norwich City adds Switzerland international Drmic on free transfer

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Norwich City has added a new star striker to a unit which produced 93 goals in the Championship last season.

Josip Drmic will join Swiss national teammate Timm Klose with the Canaries for the next three seasons, hoping to bring his Bundesliga and international experience to a Premier League safety campaign.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

Drmic turns 27 next month, and scored two goals in five appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach last season. He has 31 goals and seven assists in 107 Bundesliga appearances between Gladbach, Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen, and Nurnberg.

Coach Daniel Farke got 30 goals from target forward Teemu Pukki, who plays a similar role to Drmic and has plenty of top flight experience with Celtic and Schalke amongst others.

Drmic can also operate on the wing, usually left over right, and has featured in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup. From Canaries.co.uk:

“I’m going to do everything and give 100% on the pitch. I will be ready to give everything for the club. My job is scoring but I also want to help my team and help us be successful.

“When I first came to Norwich, the first thing I noticed was how kind everybody was. It’s given me a lot of positive energy and I’m excited to see what happens.”

Between Pukki and Drmic, Norwich can have faith that its well-prepared to have an answer up top.