Kenwyne Jones

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Kamara, Zimmerman move in half-day MLS trade window

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One of the quirks of Major League Soccer is on full display Sunday.

Hours after Toronto FC won its first MLS Cup, the league saw its half-day trade window unleash a variety of deals on the league.

Kei Kamara leaving New England is going to steal the headlines, but LAFC may have made the top move of the day.

[ MORE: Liverpool 1-1 Everton ]

The first-year club reportedly sent $500,000 in combined GAM and TAM plus the top spot in the allocation order to FC Dallas for center back Walker Zimmerman. The 24-year-old big back will be a horse for Bob Bradley in California.

Kamara has been sent to Vancouver as a Designated Player in exchange for the ‘Caps’ “2019 natural first round SuperDraft pick and a conditional 2020 second round SuperDraft selection.”

Sporting KC shook things up as well, collecting Kenwyne Jones — who’s announced his retirement — Alexander Tambakis, and a fourth round pick from Atlanta United for Tyler Pasher, Kevin Oliveira, and a second round pick.

Oh, and this:

New York City FC has acquired $75,000 of General Allocation Money and a 2018 international slot in exchange for French back Frederic Brillant, who has signed a two-year deal with DC United. DC also acquired an attacking piece in the negotiating rights to Jamaican winger Darren Mattocks from Portland for an international roster spot.

Minnesota coach Adrian Heath has acquired his son, Harrison Heath, from Orlando City for a fourth-round draft pick. Heath will count as a Homegrown Player for the Loons.

USMNT player ratings from a big 2-0 win over T&T

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It was a game they had to win and a game they should have won, and Christian Pulisic made sure the United States men’s national team did just that.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

The 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund playmaker scored twice, with assists going to DeAndre Yedlin and Jozy Altidore, as the Yanks handed Trinidad and Tobago a 2-0 defeat in Colorado on Thursday.

How did the others fare?

Starting XI

Tim Howard — 7 — It’s an actual joke that anyone else has been considered as an option. Have you felt safe with anyone else between the sticks?

Jorge Villafana — 7 — Terrific going forward, not so good at the back. A huge tactical choice looms for Bruce Arena at Azteca.

John Brooks — 6 — He lost Kenwyne Jones at what could’ve been 1-0 to the visitors, but had an excellent sliding tackle and a bullet of a shot.

Geoff Cameron — 7 — A calming presence at the back, his Odd Couple relationship with Brooks is something that can push the Yanks deep into tournaments when functioning well.

DeAndre Yedlin — 8 — Very well done on both ends, and an integral part of both goals. Newcastle’s right sided man is a better player since going to England.

Michael Bradley — 6 — Hit a couple outstanding long balls and mostly played the smart, short passes well, but is in dire need of a star turn to restore confidence.

Fabian Johnson (Off 74′) — 5 — By no means a star performance, but industrious enough in helping a defensive-strapped midfield.

Christian Pulisic — 9 — Grew into the game, then took it over in the second half. Already the United States’ best player, and he’s 18 years old.

Darlington Nagbe — 6 — Kind of infuriating; Hemorrhaged possession in the first half, but took the second half by the scruff of its neck in helping to engineer the opening goal.

Jozy Altidore (Off 83′) — 7 — A sloppy first half in terms of finishing, but an excellent assist of Pulisic’s second goal and outstanding hold-up play.

Clint Dempsey (Off 61′) — 4 —  Dempsey is USMNT royalty and probably its best ever attacker, but this is two successive matches where he’s very much looked his 34 years.

Substitutes

Kellyn Acosta (On 61′) — 6 — His day as the starting holding midfielder is going to come.

Alejandro Bedoya (Off 74′) — 6 — Comically tumbled in his most memorable moment of the match.

Bobby Wood (On 83′) — N/A

USMNT 2-0 T&T: Pulisic on parade

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  • Yanks move into Top 3 slot
  • Pulisic scores two (video)
  • Altidore, Yedlin assist

Christian Pulisic scored his sixth and seventh international goals to give the USMNT’s World Cup hopes a major boost following a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in Commerce City, Colorado, on Thursday.

The U.S. now heads to Mexico for Sunday’s qualifier at Azteca, and stands a good chance of finishing this international break in an automatic World Cup qualifying slot.

Trinidad and Tobago stays dead last in the Hex table, with three points. Costa Rica hosts Panama, and Honduras visits Mexico later Thursday.

[ MORE: Player ratings ]

The touches weren’t there to start, even if the ideas were going forward. Clint Dempsey plugged consecutive through balls into Trinidad legs, and Jorge Villafana’s chest level cross sailed through the box.

Through 10 minutes, it was scoreless and T&T would have to be happy with its play.

Dempsey had a shot from 19 yards after Bradley sprayed a diagonal ball to Villafana, who moved it to Johnson and onto the former Fulham man. Moments later, Yedlin cued up Altidore from the right side, but the Toronto FC striker went for a fancy back leg finish and whiffed on his shot.

Yedlin was on the end of a terrific ball to the end line, but Altidore got a late start on reaching a cut back. Then Brooks lashed a shot that was parried from trouble by Jan-Michael Williams, who then stopped a strong offering from Altidore. It was coming.

[ MORE: Pulisic projects win in Mexico ]

A relentless run from Pulisic morphed into a gilt-edge chance, and the Borussia Dortmund teenage claimed a deflection when his left-footed lash went over the bar.

Trinidad’s first real chance came when Khaleem Hyland was gifted an acre of space and his long rip flew wide of goal.

Yet it was still 0-0 after the half hour mark, and the Yanks nearly threw it away when Kenwyne Jones beat Brooks to a cross and headed the ball off the bar.

Villafana then tested Williams, and Dempsey chased down the rebound to feed Altidore. The big man’s header was popped over the bar by Williams for a corner.

Now the 37th minute, Nagbe chipped a pass to Altidore that wound up headed over the bar.

[ MORE: USWNT tops Sweden ]

Howard needed to make another stop on a shot through traffic in the 42nd minute, but the U.S. was superior over 45 minutes despite the 0-0 score line.

A Molino cross just missed Nathan Lewis in the 51st minute, and despite its dominance the U.S. was lucky to not trail (again).

The Americans finally scored thanks to Nagbe, who had struggled with his touch but produced a wonderful goal by dribbling into a 1-2 with Dempsey before Yedlin sent a ball into the goal mouth for Pulisic’s sliding finish.

Lewis had a goal called back for offside off the ensuing kickoff.

Williams was injured in the 56th minute, the no-doubt Man of the Match at that point needing a break after scrambling to stop Pulisic and Altidore.

Pulisic nabbed his second when Yedlin played square to Altidore, who snapped a ball beyond the defense for the youngster to bend near post.

Substitutes Kellyn Acosta and Bobby Wood teamed up for a late chance that the latter snapped off the post from 16 yards.

USMNT-Trinidad and Tobago: Don’t screw it up

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Win Thursday and finish this international break in at least the inter-confederation playoff spot.

That’s what’s at stake for the United States men’s national team heading into Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago in Colorado.

Sure, the Yanks could go down to Azteca and win against a Mexico team as difficult to figure out as them, but Thursday’s three points should be a sure-fire and wonderful thing.

[ MORE: How will Arena line ’em up? ]

That’s not to say Bruce Arena’s men are going to get the job done. They are, Christian Pulisic’s growth and Geoff Cameron‘s health aside, the exact same flawed bunch that saw Jurgen Klinsmann fired after underperforming late last year.

This is a group that only drew Venezuela 1-1 on Saturday night in Utah, allowing a goal off another set piece to a team that entered the match on a 2W-2D-6L kick.

But it’s also a group playing a Trinidad and Tobago team that just doesn’t win here in meaningful games. Say what you will about MLS standouts Kenwyne Jones and Kevin Molino, but they are just that and facing a strong enough U.S. side in the high altitude of Commerce City. The Soca Warriors lost their last away WCQ 3-1 to Honduras, the same Honduras side that fell 6-0 to the U.S. last international break.

This should absolutely, positively, be a comfortable win. Frankly, it’s the sort of match-up that makes Jozy Altidore one of the scariest men in CONCACAF, whether paired with Clint Dempsey, Bobby Wood, or a tiny toy dog. Altidore scored twice when the Yanks waxed T&T in September, and has five in five career appearances against the Soca Warriors.

So, yeah, like the headline says: Don’t screw this up, fellas. Don’t overlook T&T but also be sure to enter the match with the swagger of a heavy favorite. The bettors say the Yanks are more of a lock (1:9) to beat T&T then Mexico is to beat visiting Honduras and Costa Rica is to handle Panama.

Simply put, if Arena spent the last few days firming up his defending on corner kicks, and if Geoff Cameron’s center back mate doesn’t turn into a turnstile, the Yanks win this easy and we turn our attention to Mexico.

MLS Snapshot: ATLUTD suffer 3rd loss in 4 games, fall to NYCFC

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The game in 100 words (or less): After a red-hot start that saw the MLS newcomers become the talk of the league in March, Atlanta United cooled off a fair bit in April, and have come all the way back down to earth as May begins. Sunday’s trip to the Bronx resulted in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of New York City FC (Atlanta’s third loss in four games, having conceded eight goals in the three defeats). NYCFC, once again, were miles and miles better with Andrea Pirlo dropped from the starting lineup, and picked up their fifth win of the season as a result. Rodney Wallace turned in a sterling performance, bagging the game-winning goal right on the hour mark, and assisting David Villa and Maxi Moralez for NYCFC’s other two tallies on the afternoon.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS roundup — FCD still unbeaten; Houston 4-0 Orlando ]

Three Four moments that mattered

17′ — Villa storms through midfield, makes it 1-0 — Rodney Wallace’s backheel is perfectly executed and creates just enough space for Villa, who needs very little in which to operate, en route to the game’s opening goal.

39′ — Carmona smashes home after a “long” throw-in — As long as a throw-in can be at Yankee Stadium, this was a long throw-in. Kenwyne Jones applied the knock-down header, and Carlos Carmona smashed the ball past Sean Johnson for 1-1.

46′ — Insanity in the goalmouth — Not scoring here was exponentially tougher than scoring would have been.

60′ — Wallace turns it home for 2-1 — NYCFC wouldn’t have to wait long for another chance inside the six-yard box, and this time Wallace would make no mistakes.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Rodney Wallace

Goalscorers: Villa (17′), Carmona (39′), Wallace (60′), Moralez (61′)