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How will USMNT line up against Uruguay?

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After winning eight of his first 11 matches in charge of the United States, things have suddenly turned sour, and in a hurry.

Back-to-back losses to arch-rivals Mexico in which the USMNT was thoroughly dominated have left the fanbase searching for answers and reasons to hope for the future. The damage done in those two matches – a Gold Cup final and a friendly just days ago – will take some time to undo, proving the United States still has acres of ground to cover before seriously competing with not just the big boys in CONCACAF but the world.

Still, steps can be taken as the United States meets Uruguay in St. Louis. The world’s fifth-ranked national team arrives with a full strength squad, and while not all the stars will play for the visitors, it will provide another stiff test for the USMNT to measure itself against some of the best teams in the world.

Unfortunately for the home side licking its wounds after the disappointing Mexico performance, a number of players have returned to their club for a few extra days rest, treatment, and training. Christian Pulisic, chief among them, has returned to Chelsea as he continues to fight for consistent playing time with the Blues as staying with the national team would have created a potentially harmful short turnaround for a player who has far to travel. The 20-year-old saw some criticism for a rare poor performance against Mexico, although he still showed flashes of his brilliant self in what few attacking moments the United States had. Also leaving the squad are Alfredo Morales, John Brooks, Sean Johnson, Weston McKennie, and Zack Steffen.

The departure of Morales is unfortunate, as he was one of the few bright spots against Mexico over the weekend. McKennie still has plenty of growing up to do, and another 90 minutes with the national team against a top opponent would have done him a world of good, so his departure is also a bummer. The health of Brooks is probably more important than more playing time at this point as the defender looks towards a full fall and winter with Wolfsburg, while Steffen is not off to the greatest of starts at Fortuna Dusseldorf.

So, that leaves Berhalter to scrap together a competitive starting lineup that will not only be up to the task against Uruguay, but also provide the right players valuable minutes moving forward. How will he put together a lineup and substitution play against the South American giants?

Possible USMNT lineup v. Uruguay:

— Guzan —

— Cannon — Robinson — Long — Ream —

— Trapp — Pomykal —

 — Morris — Roldan — Lletget —

— Sargent —

It’s tough for fans – and admittedly, writers – to separate what we want to see in a lineup and what we think the head coach will do. The biggest glaring miss here from the lineup is Sergino Dest, who was occasionally sloppy but also occasionally brilliant in his USMNT debut, and while he got the start against an arch rival and could benefit not only from more experience as well as more loyalty shown as he decides who to represent between the U.S. and the Netherlands, it’s unlikely Berhalter throws him on for another start against a world power. To be honest, it’s a bit surprising he’s still with the squad and didn’t depart along with the other European-based players. With Ajax returning to club action on Saturday, it’s hard to see Berhalter overworking the 18-year-old by starting him in a second straight friendly.

It would also be great to get Jesse Gonzalez some time in goal, but with so many other young players set to see time in this match, it’s more likely that Berhalter sticks with veteran Brad Guzan who can help lead and allow Berhalter to sacrifice experience in other areas. Same goes for Tim Ream who will once again deputize at left-back in Dest’s absence. Reggie Cannon has earned another start after showing well over the weekend. This seems a good time to hand Miles Robinson his full debut as Walker Zimmerman got the start against Mexico and struggled, and with Guzan behind him and Aaron Long next to him, Robinson will be well supported.

In midfield, we could see Paxton Pomykal on his USMNT debut as well, and it will be interesting to see where Berhalter utilizes the 19-year-old. He has seen an offensive-minded push at FC Dallas, but could sit deeper with the United States, still able to get forward at times with Trapp covering the space. Corey Baird could see time on the wing, but Jordan Morris is the more likely option on the wing to help Josh Sargent up front who gets a look after adding a spark off the bench against Mexico. It’s fully believable that Berhalter could once again turn to his infatuation with Gyasi Zardes, but that would be disappointing and harsh on Sargent.

Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

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Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.