USMNT vs El Salvador final score: ‘Jedi’ wills Yanks to 1-0 win

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Antonee Robinson scored the game’s lone goal in a Man of the Match performance at left back as the United States men’s national team continued its World Cup qualifying pace with a 1-0 win over El Salvador on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.

Gregg Berhalter’s Yanks weren’t at their very best but were active on a frigid night with a substandard pitch (not really Columbus’ fault but the fault of playing a January game on grass in Columbus).

[ MORE: Pulisic opens up on Chelsea role, mental struggles ]

The U.S. was led by Robinson and teenage midfielder Yunus Musah as the back line allowed zero shots to reach goalkeeper Matt Turner (who appears set to move to Arsenal in the coming days).

The Yanks could finish this matchday with as high as a Ifive-point lead on the fourth-place playoff spot and as much as a 10-point advantage on fifth.

Up next is a trip to Hamilton, Ontario, for a Sunday visit to Canada. The Canadians lead 1-0 in Honduras as of post time and will hold a one-point table lead on the USMNT should the lead hold.


USMNT vs El Salvador final score, stats

USMNT 1-0 El Salvador

Scorers: A. Robinson 52′

Shot attempts: USMNT 17, El Salvador 6

Shots on goal: USMNT 5, El Salvador 0

Possession: USMNT 63, El Salvador 37

USMNT
COLUMBUS, OHIO – JANUARY 27: Yunus Musah controlled the center of the park for the USMNT (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Three things we learned from USMNT vs El Salvador

1. Ferreira’s nerves delay cruise launch as first-half woes continue: Jesus Ferreira is a promising talent but a surprise starter, and his finishing was… less than ideal in the first 20 minutes. Ferreira was cued up by Antonee Robinson will a nice square entry in the 16th minute and flashed it over the goal, then missing Tim Weah’s headed flick of a Sergino Dest-led rush and cross in the 20th. For a team that very much wanted to be rotating for Canada by the 60th minute at the latest, halftime might’ve been on the menu if he finished both of those.

The Yanks out-attempted El Salvador 8-0 in the first half and didn’t allow a shot on target over the course of 90 minutes but because of the missing finish had to play to the final whistle knowing that one mistake could doom them to a draw.

2. Gregg Berhalter most important contribution to the program might be convincing Yunus Musah to commit to the USMNT: That’s it. That’s the thing. Musah is so smooth on the ball at 19 and he’s only looking better as he begins to play more central and attacking for Valencia after spending a lot of his time in La Liga at right wing or right mid.

3. Christian Pulisic has a rare blah — maybe very blah — day: The man who has a chance to rival Clint Dempsey and Claudio Reyna for the honor of best American player in men’s program history showed us all that even the best players in the world can be poor on a given day. Pulisic lost all 10 of his first-half duels according to SofaScore and was limited to 42 touches. He finished the day with three key passes, showing how special talents just cannot be completely shut out of the attack, but this was a bonafide rough one for the Chelsea man.\

Man of the Match: Antonee Robinson

No, his crosses weren’t always on point but the Fulham man did his best Andy Robertson on Thursday night in Columbus right down to his clinical, smashed finish to finally put the Yanks on the board. You can see why Everton liked what they had in him, why Bolton and Wigan both liked him on loan, and why AC Milan believed he could fit in their mix before a heart issue trampled on his transfer. And despite his status in (generally) solid defensive position, Robinson is seemingly always available for an overlapping run. The USMNT program has been waiting for its next DaMarcus Beasley for some time and Robinson right now looks like a man who could have the next two World Cups right in front of him.


Clearly superior early but nothing to show for it

Dest and Tyler Adams both took poor and aggressive positions that allowed El Salvador a break in the 29th minute that left Alex Roldan, brother of USMNT midfielder Cristian, alone just inside the 18. Luckily, Roldan’s back post effort missed its mark as a flying Matt Turner held his breath.

Aside from the two Jesus Ferreira chances discusses in “Thing No. 1” above, the best chance of the first half came on a Christian Pulisic led rush through the middle of the pitch. The Chelsea man eventually got the ball to Antonee Robinson for a cross. Timothy Weah settled it but had trouble addressing it with his first or second touch and his third was a shot that was blocked over the goal.

Return of the Jedi

Antonee Robinson’s big game deservedly found the Fulham man on scene for a quality finish and the game’s first goal.

The 24-year-old — again, always available — was in the right spot to take advantage of terrible El Salvador defending, confident dribbling from Timothy Weah, and a strong, headed pass from Jesus Ferreira.

USMNT reportedly opens contract talks with Gregg Berhalter; Good or bad idea?

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Gregg Berhalter may be sticking around the United States men’s national team program, giving the USMNT coaching continuity as it moves from 2022 World Cup Round of 16 member to 2026 World Cup co-host.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle says that Berhalter is beginning contract discussions with the United States Soccer Federation but also interested in taking a job in Europe with his profile having risen alongside the USMNT at the World Cup.

Berhalter’s current contract ends at the end of the calendar year, and the Yanks have scheduled a domestic camp in January and friendlies against Serbia and Colombia.

[ MORE: USMNT transfer rumors for Musah, Dest ]

Berhalter has done some good things for the program, most notably winning the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup with two different groups. He also straightened out the defending, for the most part, and got out of the World Cup group.

Berhalter successfully recruited Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah, two of the program’s stars at the World Cup. He also convinced Malik Tillman, Gaga Slonina, and Jesus Ferreira that the U.S. was the right place for their national team futures.

He also, subjectively, was slow if not downright stubborn in acquiesing to certain points-of-view that made the team better. From Tyler Adams as a right back at the outset of his tenure to saying Tim Ream didn’t fit how he wanted to play about a month before the World Cup… then playing him every minute of the tournament.

But for the most part when lessons were learned, they stayed learned.

Should Gregg Berhalter continue as USMNT boss?

Let’s start here, because it’s necessary: It’s clear that Berhalter cared about his players and the project, whether you like the way he operated or not. This wasn’t a half-assed operation, but one with passion.

So does he still have that passion? Only he can answer that, and if he’d like to get more matchdays in his life then maybe he does want to go back to the club game.

And frankly, that’s fine either way, because his four years with the program were neither amazing nor pitiful. They can be described as anything from a slight disappointment to a minor success, depending on your perspective and expectations.

If you believe that picking up the pieces from the absolute travesty that was failing to qualify for the World Cup from the richest nation and one of the two most talented nations amongst CONCACAF men’s programs was really hard, then you think Berhalter getting the men to the 2022 World Cup and surviving the group with a young group was a solid step in the right direction and a minor success.

If you believe that the American soccer climate is such that you should always make the World Cup out of one of the world’s lesser confederations and that the Yanks progressed as the second team of a group in which they were the second-ranked team according to FIFA and Elo Ratings, well, you can have a different standard.

The Yanks will never again fail to qualify for the World Cup given the expanded field, but hosts have historically had a drastically-improved chance to reach the semifinals. THe federation would have to be confident that picking the best squad regardless of how it reflects on his previous selections — let alone a Best XI — is going to happen under a given coach.

Berhalter’s 49 and is far from the worst or best boss in USMNT history. Whoever’s in the job four years from now will have a chance to go down as either one. Choose wisely, fed. And Gregg! Who knows how far his star could rise with a solid run in Europe, and history says there will be the chance to reconnect with the USMNT job.

Follow @NicholasMendola

Premier League table, 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

We’re at the 2022 World Cup break, and the final few rounds of Premier League fixtures caused so many shocks.

Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest.

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United are locked in a battle for the top four, while Liverpool have improved and will be back in the Champions League scrap and Chelsea are struggling.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Who are the early-season candidates for relegation?

Newly promoted Nottingham Forest moved off the bottom of the table with a win before the break, with Wolves and Southampton currently occupying the other two relegation places.

Leicester have picked up a few big wins, while West Ham, Everton and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom-three after a topsy-turvy start.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – Matchweek 16

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England vs France: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Match 59 of the 2022 World Cup features a pair of European heavyweights duking it out for a place in the semifinals when England faces France on Saturday.

Didier Deschamps’ France is bidding to become a back-to-back World Cup winner, but Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions are tournament-hardened and have shown their explosive nature three times this tournament.

STREAM ENGLAND vs FRANCE LIVE

France beat Poland 3-1 in its Round of 16 match while England overcame a dodgy start to pound Senegal 3-0.

Neither team can say its faced a test like this in the tournament, and this could be a fantastic fight in Qatar.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for England vs France.


How to watch England vs France live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday, December 1
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

England will look to Harry Kane, though the question remains who will flank the Tottenham center forward. Marcus Rashford’s been very good but Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden got the starting spots against Senegal and it paid off for Southgate.

Kylian Mbappe has been borderline unstoppable and will test Harry Maguire, John Stones, and friends and Antoine Griezmann pulls the strings in behind and Aurelien Tchouameni continues to strengthen his reputation in the center of the pitch.


England quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Pickford

France quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann

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Croatia vs Brazil: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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World Cup-savvy Croatia stands in the way of stylish Brazil’s pursuit of a sixth World Cup crown, and the pair promise a complex match-up on Friday in Al Rayyan.

Match 58 of the 2022 World Cup kicks off the quarterfinals as Neymar leads Tite’s star-studded CONMEBOL powers into a match against the 2018 runners-up.

STREAM CROATIA vs BRAZIL LIVE

Croatia got past Japan in penalties and will now dream of the two wins that could set it back in the final where France could again be waiting for a juicy rematch.

Croatia needed penalties to get past Japan in the Round of 16, while Brazil pasted South Korea 4-1.  Croatia has never beaten Brazil in four meetings, losing at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Croatia vs Brazil.


How to watch Croatia vs Brazil live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Friday, December 9
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic was fantastic in penalties versus Japan to get here, but Luka Modric continues to do the things that get Croatia out of trouble and puts the opponents into heaps of it. Josko Gvardiola has arguably been the defender of the tournament, and the 20-year-old looks to test his mettle again against the Selecao.

Pick a Brazil player who’s failed to impress and you’ve achieved a mighty feat. Neymar’s been fantastic when healthy while RIcharlison is in serious pursuit of the Golden Boot. Alisson Becker flexed his muscles once or twice versus South Korea and figures to be busier as the competition continues to heat up in Qatar.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol

Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Follow @NicholasMendola