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Who are the key contenders for USMNT job?

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Fresh from the news that USMNT GM Earnie Stewart has begun interviewing candidates for the vacant managerial position, plenty of names are being thrown around regarding the favorite to land the gig.

Gregg Berhalter seems to be the overwhelming favorite to become the next permanent manager of the U.S. men’s national team, with the current Columbus Crew coach working wonders in Ohio in tough circumstances over the past few years.

He reportedly gave a “no comment” response when asked if he has been interviewed by his former USMNT teammate Stewart but with the Crew’s potential relocation to Austin, Texas, Berhalter has a natural break in his current job which could suit the USMNT. However, the LA Galaxy not having a current permanent head coach could suggest that Berhalter may head back to his former team. He is a man in demand.

Who are the other main contenders?

It appears the decision has been delayed until now (much to the annoyance of most USMNT fans) due to many MLS coaches being under consideration, with Peter Vermes, Greg Vanney and Gerardo Martino all said to be candidates.

Current interim head coach Dave Sarachan, who has held that role since last October when Bruce Arena resigned, will also be among the contenders but it is likely he will take up a coaching role within U.S. Soccer rather than the main gig.

Another contender is Jesse Marsch who took a slightly bizarre decision to leave the New York Red Bulls earlier this season and head to their sister club, RB Leipzig, in the Bundesliga to become an assistant coach for the 2018-19 campaign. Marsch, like Berhalter, worked miracles with the Red Bulls and his ability to nurture young U.S. talent will no doubt have him high on this list of candidates.

Both Berhalter and Marsch are former USMNT stars and know the program inside out, with Marsch Bob Bradley‘s assistant coach in the past. And for fellow former USMNT players Vermes and Vanney, well, they both have plumb jobs with two of MLS’ most successful franchises in recent years. Despite TFC’s downturn in 2018, Vanney still seems to be in a safe position for now. As for Tata Martino, his lack of English suggests he will not be in the running even though his time at Atlanta United is reportedly coming to an end.

There is also a list of what we call “fantasy appointments” with Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and David Moyes all included. The latter has been seen at recent USMNT games but the last thing the U.S. need right now is to hire a coach who is detached from the American game and will take 6-12 months to get to know the playing squad. They’ve stood still for too long in this search and a coach from within the domestic game would be the smart move.

Former Portland Timbers boss Caleb Porter and current U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos are also said to be among the more serious contenders, but when it comes to where the USMNT want to be in the future it appears two coaches stand out above the rest.

Berhalter and Marsch.

Both have turned their MLS clubs into hard-working, successful units where young U.S. players have been nurtured and turned into international caliber players. Both are passionate about the American game and both are in situations where they’d be able to head to the USMNT job quickly, which is needed after 12 months of stagnation.

Stewart is cracking on with his job to find a USMNT coach who will give young players a chance and give this team a much-needed identity in the coming months and years as they build towards qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. The U.S. must cast the net far and wide but Berhalter and Marsch are the most viable options if the USMNT’s talented youngsters are to reach their full potential.

Report: Mourinho to be fired after Newcastle match

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According to a report by David McDonnell of English publication The Mirror, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be fired this weekend no matter the result of United’s match against Newcastle on Saturday.

The report states that Mourinho is “past the point of no return” in the eyes of the Manchester United board. The Red Devils are off to their worst start to a top-flight season in 29 years, sitting in 10th place with 10 points through seven matches. They have failed to win in four straight matches across all competitions, with losses to West Ham in the Premier League plus one to Derby County on penalties in League Cup action.

The Mirror’s report cites “senior United sources” and states the leader of the charge to make a change is executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Letting Mourinho go would be a costly move to the club, as he signed a contract extension just nine months ago that runs through 2020 with an option for one more year. He reportedly makes upwards of $23.6 million per year, and United would be required to honor the remaining balance on his contract should they cut him loose.

Mourinho has come under fire from the media for his divisive treatment of players such as Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, but has managed to keep the supporters on his side, reflected by the repeated chants in support of Mourinho during Manchester United home matches at Old Trafford. However, the fans have also voiced their displeasure at the performances on the pitch, booing the team off in the most recent 0-0 draw with Valencia at Old Trafford in Champions League play.

The Mirror report does not address why Manchester United has decided Mourinho’s fate so late in the week and then left him with an apparent lame duck status for the Newcastle match. Should Mourinho indeed go, assistant coach Michael Carrick would likely take charge in an interim role, the report states. Zinedine Zidane has been repeatedly mentioned as a favorite for the potential opening, having been without a job since leaving Real Madrid this summer on his own accord.

Each and every day it feels like there is a fresh, newsworthy incident involving Mourinho. The most recent sign of Mourinho’s combative nature came Friday during his pre-match press conference ahead of the Newcastle match. He was asked, “Are the fans assured that you’re doing everything that you can to try and turn this around?” Instead of answering the question, Mourinho simply stared blankly at the reporters for several seconds before the press officer was forced to move the press conference forward. The press conference featured a mere six questions and took less than four minutes before Mourinho decided he’d had enough.

Should Mourinho end up sacked, it would mark his fourth tenure in his last five in which he was either fired or left in the third season. The only tenure that stands out of the usual path is his two-year stretch at Inter before he departed for Real Madrid.

Mourinho’s potential sacking would also mean that all three managers who have attempted to follow in Sir Alex Ferguson‘s footsteps will have failed, as the club has still yet to win a Premier League title in the wake of his retirement. David Moyes failed to last even a full calendar year, while Louis Van Gaal made it almost two years in charge and Mourinho has been at his current position since May of 2016.

Manchester United rocked at West Ham United

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  • Joint-worst start in Man Utd history
  • WATCH: Anderson puts Irons ahead
  • Wicked deflection makes it 2-0
  • Rashford pulls one back

Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic scored as West Ham United piled misery on Manchester United with a 3-1 win on Saturday at the London Stadium.

Andriy Yarmolenko authored a Victor Lindelof own goal before halftime, and both Mark Noble and Lukasz Fabianski were very good for the victors.

Marcus Rashford scored for Manchester United, who is off to its joint-worst start to a Premier League season. Jose Mourinho joins David Moyes with that bit of Red Devils infamy.

Once 0-4, West Ham is now 12th with seven points. Man United slips eighth with 10.

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West Ham won a corner in the first minute, though Fabian Balbuena couldn’t get purchase on Felipe Anderson‘s well-executed service.

Anderson gave United the lead when Pablo Zabaleta raced past Luke Shaw to meet a Mark Noble through ball, sending a cross into the box. Neither Ashley Young nor Ander Herrera could stay with Anderson, and it was 1-0 behind David De Gea.

United settled into the game by the quarter hour mark, and Romelu Lukaku headed a cross off the post in the 22nd minute.

The Irons, however, doubled their advantage with a deflected Yarmolenko strike in the 43rd minute, his left-footed hit taking a hard turn off Victor Lindelof (who was keeping pace with a Marko Arnautovic run).

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United threatened more in the second half, with its best moment coming when Marouane Fellaini nodded an Ashley Young cross toward the near post. West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski was on the scene to make a fine diving stop.

Jose Mourinho took out Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial in the 71st minute, and United scored on the next chance when Rashford turned a Luke Shaw corner kick on goal.

But Arnautovic restored the two-goal cushion on another Noble through ball, holding a Carlos Sanchez jersey aloft as Mourinho walked through a sea of bubbles.

Sunderland may sue two players from its Premier League relegation team

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You’ll no doubt remember Sunderland, who’ve suffered successive relegations and are competing for promotion to the Championship this season.

Their 10-year stay in the Premier League ended two seasons ago, when players like Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong were unable to help David Moyes stave off a Bottom Three finish.

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Neither spent the Championship season at Sunderland, with Djilobodji heading to Dijon and N’Dong to Watford, so it was safe to say they wouldn’t be angling to put on the red-and-white striped shirts in League One.

Narrator: They did not.

N’Dong is literally AWOL and Djilobodji’s efforts at performing under contract have amounted to showing up to the Stadium of Light overweight and speaking poorly of his odds of hanging out around town during his life on Earth.

“Didier Ndong has shown no interest in returning to the football club whatsoever, we don’t even know where he is. Papy has returned but in his last conversation [before coming back] he said: ‘You’ll never see me in Sunderland again’.”

New Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald claims he’s better fit to put in a performance than Djilobodji, and says the club is fining them and perhaps suing them for damaging their value.

The Black Cats are one of five unbeaten clubs in League One, four points behind leaders Peterborough. American midfielder Lynden Gooch‘s four assists lead the team.

Three years apart, USMNT losses to Brazil show hope

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Timely interventions from center backs and a hot goalkeeper helped the United States men’s national team keep damage down to 2-0 in its loss to Brazil on Friday in New Jersey, and the Yanks looked far less overwhelmed than the 4-1 hammering at the hands of Selecao three years ago to this morning.

[ USMNT-BRAZIL: Full recap | Player ratings ]

The player ratings that night were ugly; Brad Guzan was a veteran struggling between the sticks, and the back line was shielded poorly by Ale Bedoya, Jermaine Jones, and Michael Bradley. The lone goal came via Danny Williams, and the silver lining was the then-Reading man and young DeAndre Yedlin.

Of course part of that was down to Jurgen Klinsmann figuring it was a good time to trot out a back four of Tim Ream, Ventura Alvarado, Michael Orozco, and Geoff Cameron (lot of center backs, considering Yedlin was deployed at right mid). And give Dave Sarachan plenty of credit for doing God’s work without much hope of being named full-time boss. This is proper guardianship of a program.

Only two starters from that night in 2015 saw time on Friday: Yedlin and Gyasi Zardes. With all due respect to Zardes, Yedlin’s the one who matters to this discussion. He’s become a key part of a Premier League outfit, though at the time he was a bit player in Europe.

Had the Yanks been looking for results on Friday, they would’ve suited up Bradley and Altidore. They would’ve begged Cameron to come, asked Williams and Bedoya to do a job or two.

It can be difficult to keep the USMNT’s present in focus given the gigantic cluster that was failing to qualify for Russia and then failing to accept responsibility for said failure, but the future is genuinely bright.

There’s no guarantee that players will continue to develop, and the global reach of technology has meant that many countries have sent more prospects to bigger clubs, there is absolutely no denying that the potential of the USMNT right now is as high as its been since the 2001 U-20 World Cup roster of Donovan, Onyewu, and Beasley.

But look at the roster, even beyond Pulisic: Weston McKennie is a regular starter for Schalke at age 19. Teenage mid Tyler Adams is shining for RBNY and looks set to move abroad to the Bundesliga.

Timothy Weah is a factor in the Paris Saint-Germain first team set-up. Matt Miazga‘s early days on loan from Chelsea at Nantes are impressive. The elders at just 25, Yedlin and Brooks are week-in, week-out starters at Newcastle and Wolfsburg.

Also, Josh Sargent didn’t play, but he did play Saturday for Werder Bremen. He scored. Again (And imagine if the powers-that-were didn’t sleep on Jonathan Gonzalez, who the Yanks will see in an El Tri shirt on Tuesday).

This is all without a full-time strategy in the national team program, and at least three principal voices in 18 months. That’s about to be four in 24.

Whether it’s Tata Martino or Gregg Berhalter, Tab Ramos or David Moyes, someone is going to inherit the most promising collection of young American talent, skill, and experience in ages.

If not ever.

Now that’s cool.