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Three things from the USMNT’s very bad night

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The day began with bad news, with star center back John Brooks unable to play with a groin issue, and it just kept coming once the ball went into play.

Once Mexico weathered the first 15 minutes from the hosts, they were essentially home free. A mistake-riddled sequence put Mexico up top, and it never got better.

[ MORE: USMNT player ratings | Match recap ]

And let’s get this out of the way: Mexico is miles ahead of the United States at this stage. El Tri is in a Golden Generation, and most of that generation is in its prime. The USMNT is young, and its depth has been exposed by injuries to John Brooks and Tyler Adams.

Savvy El Tri punishes sensationally poor marking for opener

Javier Hernandez entered Friday’s friendly with 51 international goals, more than anyone in Mexican national team history.

He also entered the United States’ 18 like it was a serene national park.

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona absolutely cooked 18-year-old Sergino Dest, playing at his unfavored left back slot, with a nutmeg and the young back wasn’t wise enough to foul the Mexican attacker.

Aaron Long is slow to react to the move and Wil Trapp doesn’t mark any of the three players available to him.

Weston McKennie is most at fault here, as the center midfielder is pushed so far up the field that right winger Tyler Boyd is the one racing back in futility as Chicharito plants a header past Steffen.

Very poor.

Pulisic impresses (despite a little bit of pressing too hard)

The United States’ clear No. 1 player was hounded by Mexican markers all game and was still the most dangerous weapon on the field for Gregg Berhalter’s men.

He needs help. Pulisic pressed too hard at times, trying to take the game himself aside from a few bright moments. There was a good combination play with Weston McKennie in the mix.

Early on, Pulisic combined with Sergino Dest on the left in a sensational way, as both players mesh well with smooth ball skills, excellent flair, and exceptional soccer IQ going forward (They were both absolutely worked by Tecatito in the build up to the goal).

Pulisic doesn’t even turn 21 until Sept. 18, so it’s inspiring to see that his motor and engine are both well-equipped to match his more cosmetically appealing skills.

Two-thirds of midfield trio fails Berhalter

Tactically, Gregg Berhalter’s idea of playing a three-man industrious midfield against Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, and crew made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, only one of his players delivered the goods for more than a few moments.

As covered above, Trapp and McKennie failed the team in sensational fashion on Corona’s opener, but it was much more than that. While McKennie had a couple of nice moments combining with Pulisic and Morales, but wasn’t close to what we see most weeks at Schalke (and many times in his a U.S. shirt).

I’m not going to pile on Trapp, but if ever there was a three-man midfield to make him perform well, it was alongside two mile-eaters in McKennie and Morales (though we just covered the former’s off night).

Every coach has his favorites and Berhalter coached Trapp for years at Columbus, but at this point it’s fairly comical that the USMNT boss continues to start him (especially against the aforementioned Mexican midfield). It’s not up to Trapp to turn down a cap. It is on Berhalter to note that Trapp isn’t even a Top 30 center midfielder in MLS right now, and knowing the system isn’t everything.

That said, Berhalter did not have the option of selecting Tyler Adams or Michael Bradley in his place. It might’ve been nice to ask Morales to handle the deeper lying stuff and use McKennie and Sebastian Lletget more advanced, but honestly Trapp over Jackson Yueill was a safer move.

Morales was mostly good until the game fell apart and he was sauteed by Chucky Lozano in the run-up to Mexico’s third goal, and then — as if we jinxed it — he looks to have suffered a serious injury in the 90th minute.

VIDEO: Breaking down some celebrated Premier League derbies

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The kickoffs aren’t coming back soon, so we’re finding solace in anticipating the biggest matches on the Premier League calendar.

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Certain rivalries are circled on the fixture list when it arrives each summer, the sort of games that seem to level the playing field regardless of the gulf in class.

Is Arsenal struggling? No better way to bounce back than Spurs.

Liverpool sliding a bit? It’ll snap back to form when Everton hits Anfield.

PST lead writer and editor Joe Prince-Wright has prepped up for several of these derbies over the years, and here’s a cheat sheet for those new and a tasty summation for those missing their hated foes.

Liverpool-Manchester City

Arsenal-Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool-Everton

Manchester City-Manchester United

Chelsea-Tottenham Hotspur

Bournemouth’s Howe takes voluntary pay cut, first PL manager to do so

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Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is the first Premier League manager to take a pay cut due to the coronavirus suspension.

Howe joins Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake, first team technical director Richard Hughes, and assistant manager Jason Tindall in taking “significant, voluntary” pay cuts.

Howe is the longest-serving manager in the PL. He started with Bournemouth’s academy in 1994 and spent just a few short seasons away from home (Portsmouth and Swindon Town) during his playing career.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The club has also furloughed employees throughout the organization. From a Bournemouth statement:

There is no script for moments like this. No tactics and no set plays to find a winning formula. But as a board we are continually looking at ways to ensure the future of the club and our employees is protected when the season returns.

We have also advised a number of staff across all areas of the club that they will be temporarily furloughed, as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

These measures have been taken to safeguard the financial stability of the club during what is such an uncertain period, not only in football but for businesses in all industries across the world.

Surely Howe won’t be the last during this uncertain time for clubs and businesses all over the world.

Ex-Marseille president first coronavirus-related death in Senegal

Pape Diouf
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DAKAR, Senegal (AP) Pape Diouf, a former president of French soccer club Marseille, died Tuesday in Senegal after contracting the coronavirus. It was the West African country’s first COVID-19-related death, according to the health ministry. He was 68.

Diouf, who was president of Marseille from 2005-09, had been treated since Saturday in intensive care in Dakar, health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said.

Senegal President Macky Sall wrote on his official Twitter account that he had followed Diouf’s health closely after he was admitted for treatment.

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“I pay tribute to this great figure in sport,” Sall wrote. “I pay tribute to the medical staff at Fann Hospital who spared no effort to save him.”

Relatives said Diouf was meant to be moved to France. He had recently traveled to several countries in the West Africa region.

In its most recent count, Senegal has reported 190 cases of the coronavirus, with 45 of those having recovered.

Diouf was a charismatic and popular leader who was close to the fans and players at Marseille, the only French team to win the European club title.

“Pape will forever remain in the hearts of Marseille people and (is) one of the great architects of the club,” Marseille wrote under a photo of Diouf.

Shortly before his time at the club ended, Diouf signed Didier Deschamps as the new coach and Deschamps won the French league title and League Cup in his first season in charge. It was Marseille’s first league title in 18 years.

Deschamps, who coached France to World Cup success two years ago, described Diouf as “a man of convictions, a spirited man, passionate about football” adding that his “sudden and brutal death deeply saddens me.”

“I could measure his popularity, which was immense with the Marseille people whose hearts he had won,” Deschamps said on L’Equipe’s website.

The French soccer league called Diouf’s death “a moment of immense sadness for French soccer.”

Diouf was born in Chad to Senegalese parents. After arriving in Marseille at the age of 18, he became a sports journalist and then a players’ agent.

Diouf was not afraid to take risks in signing unheralded players, such as the diminutive Mathieu Valbuena from third-tier side Libourne in 2006 when he was 21.

The 1.67-meter (5 feet, 5 inches) Valbuena went on to prove Diouf right, and all the doubters wrong, playing 52 times for France.

“A great man with a great heart,” Valbuena said. “We were hypnotized by his speeches, he had a lot of charisma.”

Diouf was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal in 2012, one of the country’s highest honors.

Pugmire reported from Paris. AP reporter Babacar Dione in Dakar, Senegal contributed.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: Griezmann plus cash could finally get Neymar back to Barcelona

Neymar
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Neymar’s long-rumored return to Barcelona hasn’t quite reached the point of exhaustion, but it’s close.

A new report has said Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain may be coming to terms with what’s been a fairly obvious swap deal for some time.

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According to Sky Sports, PSG would send Neymar to Barcelona in return for French hero Antoine Griezmann and money.

The $167 million price tag attached to Neymar is significantly more than the $110 million on Griezmann, and there’s no doubt the former is more of a gamechanger at this point on their careers.

While Neymar gets both the #whenhealthy and #whenavailable tags to his rep, he’s scored 18 times with 10 assists in 22 matches across all competitions this year.

Before the full phrase ‘Ligue 1’ exits your lips, he’s scored against Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic, Galatasaray, Liverpool, Anderlecht, and Red Star Belgrade in his three seasons with PSG.

Griezmann is a full year older than Neymar and, while one of the world’s elite attackers, he’s a step below the Brazilian’s tier. He’s also said to want to keep finding his way at Barca, with Gerard Pique and others ready to lend support.