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USMNT looks to build with Nations League visit to Canada

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The United States has faced much criticism since failing to miss out on the World Cup two years ago. If Gregg Berhalter is to silence the naysayers, he must use the Nations League as a building block for sustained success with a view towards 2022 World Cup qualifying.

Step 1 was completed Friday with a 7-0 demolition of lowly Cuba, and Step 2 comes Tuesday evening as the USMNT heads to Toronto to meet Canada at BMO Field, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

[ MORE: An in-depth look at Canada ]

The United States did the job at hand, soundly beating a far inferior opponent, allowing the squad to move forward quickly and emphatically. There is plenty more to prove, but the engine is revved and the gas pedal pressed. Still, Berhalter and company must remember this is a marathon not a sprint, and even the slightest slip in Nations League play will open the floodgates of criticism.

Seeing the bigger picture

The biggest thing for the USMNT to piece together in the Nations League is a sustained run of success that builds not just positive feelings but true momentum born by consistency. It will be fascinating to see the team chosen by Gregg Berhalter as he looks to put together consistent starting lineups that help build not just victories on the scoresheet but also chemistry between players who have a legitimate chance of seeing future lineups in more high leverage matches.

Against Cuba, positive performances can lend themselves to more opportunities down the line, but Berhalter must also be realistic about who has a chance to be contributors not just against the minnows of CONCACAF but also against teams the United States has aspirations of competing with. Against Cuba, Jordan Morris continued his revival as a winger, and he should be given more opportunities to build a relationship with Josh Sargent and Christian Pulisic up front. Jackson Yueill is another player who can earn his way into long-term contention, but it remains true that Michael Bradley is still the team’s best option at holding midfielder and requires minutes with the other consistent starters (although it would be interesting to see if the two can play together coherently). Reggie Cannon played well at right-back but incumbent DeAndre Yedlin deserves the chance to prove he’s still the correct choice after returning from a long injury layoff.

A view towards the future must be in the back of Berhalter’s mind, not just looking to achieve results but also achieve results with the right players. Meshing the correct squad now will unquestionably pay dividends down the road as the United States hopes to turn around recent negative results against teams like Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay, Italy, and Colombia which fans aspire to be competitive against. With the start of World Cup qualification less than a calendar year away, the time is now to end the wild experimentation and begin dividing up the precious minutes between players who are considered legitimate possibilities for the potential 2022 squad.

18-year-old Alphonso Davies represents a youth movement with the Canadian national team that gives fans hope for the future (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

Switching gears to Canada

Canada will no doubt present a tougher test than Cuba, but the United States will still be expected to emerge victorious, and anything less will represent yet another two steps back after one step forward.

The northern neighbors have high aspirations, hoping to challenge for World Cup qualification. Head coach John Herdman said in the run-up to Tuesday’s match that the United States may be a rival, but they’re also “standing in the way” of the ultimate goal, confident speech ahead of such a difficult test. LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye took it a step further, saying his play with the Canadian national team over the next few years “is going to help shape the foundation of how Canada is going to be in the next 10 years.”

Canada has a crop of young talent with Kaye joined by 18-year-old Bayern Munich winger Alphonso Davies and 19-year-old Gent youth product Jonathan David.

Still, they have not defeated the United States in their last 17 tries, dating back to 1985. Their last match was a measly 1-0 victory over the same Cuba squad that was obliterated by the US, forced to play 35 minutes a man down after Vancouver Whitecaps defender Doneil Henry was sent off. Canada still managed to hold a whopping 81% possession in that match, but worked just a single shot on target, which resulted in Davies’ 9th minute opener. They will need to be both more disciplined and more dangerous if they wish to pull off the upset in Toronto.

Projected lineup

— Steffan —

— Yedlin — Long — Ream — Lovitz —

— McKennie — Bradley — Roldan —

— Morris — Sargent — Pulisic —

Brad Guzan started the Cuba match in goal, but Zack Steffan is the true long-term option here and it would be natural to see him return to the lineup against the tougher opponent. Gregg Berhalter loves Aaron Long and his return could also be expected. As stated above, Bradley is a contentious selection among many fans but his presence calms the midfield, and he delivers a long ball forward like nobody else on the roster. The front three played exceptionally well against Cuba and it would be questionable to see anyone but those players start again with Jozy Altidore injured.

Prediction

The United States will no doubt face a tougher challenge, and the young attacking talent will test the in-flux back line. Yedlin at right-back will have the toughest test matching up with Davies defensively which could force him back more than Berhalter wants. It will be imperative for the midfield trio to establish control of the central areas and work forward from there. It can be expected that the United States will control the tempo, and if they stay calm, cool, and collected when Canada counters, they should come away with a nervy 2-1 victory.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund falls to Augsburg, Bremen sinks Schalke

Bundesliga results
Photo by Guido Kirchner/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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It says something about Bayern Munich’s dominance that there are temptations to write off the field when the Bavarians’ four perceived title rivals all drop points in Week 2.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Borussia Dortmund was stunned by Augsburg while Bayer Leverkusen drew RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach only managed a point against Union Berlin on Saturday.

Bayern’s Sunday task at Hoffenheim isn’t easy coming off a UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla at midweek, but they’ll be motivated by the knowledge that a win gives them the chance to match the world record consecutive win streak of 24… and set up a chance to set their own mark against Dortmund in the German Super Cup.

Schalke 1-3 Werder Bremen

Niclas Fullkrug scored a hat trick in the match’s first hour, the opening tally assisted by USMNT man Josh Sargent, as Bremen heaped misery on under-fire David Wagner at Schalke.

Sargent was back at forward following a week in the midfield and went 87 minutes. He put three shots on target and had three key passes in addition to his assist. He converted both of his dribbles but was also debited with a “big chance missed” via SofaScore.

The hosts had much of the ball but saw their Bundesliga winless run reach 18 matches, adding a late red card for Ozan Kabak and stoppage time goal from Mark Uth.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 RB Leipzig

All the scoring was done in the first 20 minutes, as Emil Forsberg’s 14th-minute marker was leveled by the hosts’ Kerem Demirbay.

Bayer had 59 percent possession and took 11 of the match’s 18 shots including four on target.

They’ve now drawn both of their matches to start the season, while Leipzig is one of three teams on four points.

Augsburg 2-0 Borussia Dortmund

An 18-6 edge in shot attempts was not enough for the visitors to increase their record to 2-0 on the season.

Augsburg scored before and after halftime with Daniel Caligiuri setting up Felix Uduokhai for an opener before scoring off a Florian Niederlechner feed to collect the win.

American teen Giovanni Reyna put together a decent stat line in the loss, passing at 85 percent amongst his 90 touches and winning 7-of-12 duels while drawing four fouls (SofaScore).


Elsewhere

Hertha Berlin 1-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
Mainz 1-4 Stuttgart
Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 Koln
Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Union Berlin
Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich — 9:30 am ET Sunday
Freiburg v Wolfsburg — Noon ET Sunday


Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Augsburg 2 2 0 0 5 1 4 1-0-0 1-0-0 6
 Eintracht Frankfurt 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 0-1-0 1-0-0 4
 RB Leipzig 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 1-0-0 0-1-0 4
 Arminia Bielefeld 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 1-0-0 0-1-0 4
 Bayern Munich 1 1 0 0 8 0 8 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Stuttgart 2 1 0 1 6 4 2 0-0-1 1-0-0 3
 Hertha BSC 2 1 0 1 5 4 1 0-0-1 1-0-0 3
 Freiburg 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Hoffenheim 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Borussia Dortmund 2 1 0 1 3 2 1 1-0-0 0-0-1 3
 Werder Bremen 2 1 0 1 4 5 -1 0-0-1 1-0-0 3
 Bayer Leverkusen 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 0-1-0 0-1-0 2
 Wolfsburg 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Union Berlin 2 0 1 1 2 4 -2 0-0-1 0-1-0 1
 Mönchengladbach 2 0 1 1 1 4 -3 0-1-0 0-0-1 1
 1. FC Köln 2 0 0 2 2 4 -2 0-0-1 0-0-1 0
 Mainz 05 2 0 0 2 2 7 -5 0-0-1 0-0-1 0
 Schalke 04 2 0 0 2 1 11 -10 0-0-1 0-0-1 0

Chelsea completes 3-goal comeback, draws West Brom

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West Brom – Chelsea: Chelsea spotted the hosts three goals as West Brom scored thrice in the first 28 minutes but drew the Blues 3-3 after Tammy Abraham cleaned up a stoppage-time rebound to produce a point at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Callum Robinson bagged a brace and Kyle Bartley also scored as the Baggies built their big lead but only earned its first point of their fifth spell in the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi crafted beautiful goals in the second half to lead the comeback bid as Chelsea moved to 1-1-1 on the young season.


3 things we learned: West Brom – Chelsea

1. Bold Baggies: Slaven Bilic’s men took advantage of moments, as their 23 percent possession in the first half yielded a remarkable 3-0 lead thanks to Chelsea errors and a clinical bit of finishing from Robinson. The Bartley goal came off a set piece and West Brom would’ve targeted that from the start and embraced a 1-0 lead. That it was the third goal of the first half-hour had to have Bilic and his Baggies in a fit of amused laughter. Remember: This West Brom team lost 3-0 to Leicester and 5-2 against Everton.

2. Chelsea delivers on chances but laments defense: Chelsea fans have heard this before, again and again, but their 2019-20 Blues created more chances than any Premier League team outside of Manchester City. They scored 33 less goals than City and 16 fewer than Liverpool. Chelsea needed all of its 76 percent possession and 22 total shots to come back from an absurd first half at the Hawthorns. Ugly. A penny for Antonio Rudiger’s thoughts.

3. Impact subs: Lampard pushed two buttons at halftime. Taking off Marcos Alonso on a yellow for Cesar Azpilicueta was nothing risky considering the latter has been so good for such a long time, bu removing influential Mateo Kovacic for Hudson-Odoi deserves a high-five. It could’ve backfired — though what would that have really mattered given the 3-0 deficit? — but Hudson-Odoi combined for a wonderful second goal and Azpilicueta was steady on the left and assisted Mount’s marker. Would Olivier Giroud’s 73rd-minute move for Thiago Silva make a difference, too? No, but Mount’s rip rebounded to Abraham and credit to Lampard for not removing the otherwise wasteful center forward.

Man of the Match:

It’s difficult to look past Robinson and Mount but West Brom center back Bartley had the third goal to go with nine clearances and a perfect 5-of-5 success rate on long balls. He also made a brave stoppage time stop on Werner at the back post.

West Brom - Chelsea
West Bromwich Albion’s Bartley (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

West Brom – Chelsea recap

Willy Caballero’s start between the pipes was under duress, as Robinson got a pass from Matheus Pereira and slashed a shot from the edge of the 18. It went through the legs of Reece James and Caballero couldn’t locate it.

The pink-clad Blues soon found possession and Kai Havertz forced a strong save out of Sam Johnstone with an obscured strike from distance.

James spotted Tammy Abraham in the 12th minute but the striker’s left-foot was inadequate to the back post task. Mason Mount then crossed hard for Werner in traffic, the German’s shot kissing the crossbar for a goal kick.

A poor touch from Thiago Silva gifted Robinson a 1v1 break on goal and the ex-Sheffield United man lashed past Caballero for 2-0.

Bartley made it 3-0 off a corner kick, Darnell Furlong heading the set piece to the back post for a cool finish.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Mount gave Chelsea hope in the 55th, a terrific shot from distance that froze Johnstone and made it 3-1.

Johnstone then reacted well to slap away a deflected effort from Havertz.

Hudson-Odoi took some time to find his place in the match but his work to produce Chelsea’s second was good stuff. The 19-year-old worked with Timo Werner on his right and Kai Havertz on his left to work his way into the 18 and slot past Johnstone.

That was it, though, as Giroud’s introduction for Thiago Silva and five minutes stoppage time could not produce an equalizer.

Werner nearly lashed one in but Bartley dove headfirst into the path to turn a would-be goal into an equalizer.

That’s when the equalizer arrived at the Hawthorns, a handball on Havertz neither called in the buildup nor legislated by VAR.

Burnley – Southampton: How to watch, start time, team news, odds

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Burnley – Southampton: Two committed and hard-working clubs clash at Turf Moor on Saturday (Watch live at 3pm ET online via Peacock) as both teams are aiming for their first points of the season.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Sean Dyche’s Burnley lost at Leicester in their opening game of the season last weekend, while Ralph Hasenhuttl saw his Southampton side hammered 5-2 at home by Tottenham are losing at Crystal Palace on the opening day.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

These clubs are evenly-matched as Burnley finished 10th and Saints 11th last season, but both clubs know they have increasing competition to finish in midtable.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of what should be an extremely physical early-season clash.


Team news: Burnley – Southampton (INJURY REPORT)

Dale Stephens goes right into the mix for Burnley, who are without a host of players as Jay Rodriguez suffered an injury in the midweek League Cup win at Millwall and joins Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Robbie Brady, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes in the treatment room.

Southampton only have one player missing through injury, Nathan Redmond, while Mohammed Salisu isn’t quite up to full speed following his arrival this summer.

 


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

With all of their injuries Burnley (+220) are the underdogs but Southampton (+135) have never fared well at Burnley and last won at Turf Moor in 2007 when both teams were in the second tier.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Burnley – Southampton prediction

This is a real clash of style as Hasenhuttl’s Saints will press high and look to force the issue, while Burnley will sit back and soak up the pressure and look to go direct. Burnley always seem to catch Saints out on the break or from set pieces and I think that will be the case here too, but with all of the Clarets’ injuries I think Southampton will come away with something. Burnley 1-1 Southampton.


How to watch Burnley – Southampton stream and start time

Kickoff: 3pm ET Saturday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Everton stays perfect in energetic win over Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace – Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison scored as Everton won a battle of unbeatens with Crystal Palace on Saturday at Selhurst Park.

The Toffees claimed a 2-1 win to go 3-0 on the young Premier League season, handing Palace their first loss.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

Palace’s goal came from a Cheikhou Kouyate header.


3 things we learned: Crystal Palace – Everton

1. Ancelotti pushing the right buttons, especially with James: Carlo Ancelotti’s first full season guiding the Toffees could hardly be going better, with away wins at Palace and Spurs and a home blowout of 10-man West Brom. Yes, Everton got penalty luck on a similar play that was deemed not an offense when Palace took a shot, but few would argue that the visitors didn’t do enough anyway for a win. James Rodriguez remains on another level when playing under the Italian, which is reason enough to celebrate the relationship.

2. Palace a bit unlucky in losing perfect mark: Roy Hodgson’s men will feel they should’ve had a point when Calvert-Lewin’s half-torso, half-arm block in the 18 was not given to Palace as a chance to level from the spot, especially with Ward’s handball being awarded as a pen. With Guaita getting a piece of Calvert-Lewin’s opening goal and Palace having a strong late run of possession, these were fine margins even if Everton likely deserved no less than the point.

3. Is goalkeeping an issue for Everton? Jordan Pickford is being questioned again, days after a silly giveaway cost Everton a goal. Maybe we’re not talking about the goalkeeper’s inability to get a hand on Kouyate’s hammered header if not for the midweek moment, but the goal was Palace’s only shot on target. Pickford hasn’t been great since the season

Man of the Match:

Seamus Coleman. It’s difficult to choose who was better in attack between Calvert-Lewin and Rodriguez, but the Irish right back was dynamic at both ends in setting up the first goal and making three tackles, an interception, and a blocked shot.


Crystal Palace – Everton recap

The Toffees are playing really good football and the opening goal exemplified their attacking prowess as Seamus Coleman started a move with Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez which returned to the Irishman for a pass inside the box that Calvert-Lewin put off Vicente Guaita and into the goal.

Palace found a leveler off a set piece, Andros Townsend’s corner kick finding the leaping Kouyate for a header through the flailing arms of Jordan Pickford.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Joel Ward had two close-range handball penalty shouts reviewed by VAR. The second was just a bit closer to the real deal and VAR awarded Richarlison his chance from the spot. 2-1, 40′.

VAR did not give Palace a chance to level from the spot when Calvert-Lewin blocked a shot inside the box with a combination of his arm and torso, the appendage squeezed close to his side but