Tim Ream

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Americans Abroad: Holmes stars, Boyd bags stunner

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With club play now earnestly under way after the international break, players are looking to get into a groove before the winter break hits – or, in the case of the Premier League, the winter festive period.

Terrence Boyd scored the only goal of the group – an absolutely breath-taking volley – but others like Duane Holmes and Geoff Cameron stood out, while the likes of Christian Pulisic and Antonee Robinson had forgettable performances.

[ MORE: Last week’s USMNT roundup ]

There are still a host of U.S. internationals struggling with injuries, like Timothy Weah, Tyler Adams, and DeAndre Yedlin. The former pair do not have timetables on what has become somewhat of a lost six months thanks to injuries that have become more troublesome than initially anticipated.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — The U.S. star came back to earth as Chelsea slumped to a 1-0 home loss to West Ham. Pulisic ripped off five shots in the match, but none of them were on target. The shots totaled 1.10 xG, meaning Pulisic likely should have scored. Still, he was electric in the build-up, completing four take-ons down the left wing and creating havoc for Ryan Fredericks on the wing. It was an off night in front of net, and a poor result for the Blues, but nothing major to worry about.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — DeAndre Yedlin missed Newcastle’s uphill battle against Manchester City with a hip injury, and low and behold, the Magpies mustered a 2-2 draw with the defending champions. Javier Manquillo played right wing-back in Yedlin’s place and split the defensive duties on that side of the ball with Federico Fernandez who fit in as part of the back three. Not a great thing for Yedlin, who could see his time decrease once he returns.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic —  The 22-year-old started and played the full 90 minutes as Wigan fell 3-1 to Reading at home. He struggled, playing bunch of balls long down the left that didn’t pan out. Robinson has played all but 3 minutes of the Championship season.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — Miazga started as part of a back three that was successful in a 3-1 win over Wigan. Miazga actually didn’t have a ton of defensive output in the game, starting as the right center-back. Reading dominated the match.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — Lichaj started at right-back as Hull lost to Barnsley 3-1 at home.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — Cameron played in midfield for QPR who drew 1-1 on the road at Derby County. He actually advanced forward at times and created a chance with a pass into the box, while completing four of five tackles. The goal they conceded came on a free-kick.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream has begun to develop solid chemistry with fellow defenders Alfie Mawson, Joe Bryan, and Denis Odoi as Fulham topped Swansea City 2-1 on the road Friday for their fourth win in a row. He was 55/59 passing and won 4/5 duels in the air. It is truly incredible how much better Ream has looked in the two Championship seasons that have sandwiched his one awful year in the Premier League. Ream has played every minute of this season in league play.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (loan Tottenham Hotspur) — Carter-Vickers started at right-back and was solid as Stoke lost at home to Blackburn Rovers 2-1. He created a pair of chances moving forward and recovered 9 loose balls, the most on the team. Still, it’s not a good look that of Stoke’s only two wins in their last seven matches, CCV was out of the lineup for both.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes was fabulous as Derby County drew 1-1 with QPR at home. Serving both as defensive cover and an outlet forward, Holmes was 31/38 passing, completed all four of his attempted take-ons, and was 6/8 tackling. It was only down to poor finishing that Derby did not come away with the win, putting just two shots of their 13 on net. It is honestly criminal that the 25-year-old has just two international caps.

EFL League One

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland – Gooch has been injured since late October and missed his fourth league match as Sunderland fell to Burton Albion 2-1 on Tuesday.

Bundesliga

John Brooks, Wolfsburg – Brooks started as part of a back 3 and conceded three goals in a 3-2 loss to Werder Bremen. Brooks was solid on the ball and generally defended well as Bremen seemed to have more joy down the opposite flank through Davy Klassen and Milot Rashica.

Weston McKennie, Schalke —  McKennie started and went the full 90 minutes as Schalke topped Union Berlin 2-1 on a late Suat Serdar winner. He took four shots (one on target), completed 35/47 passes, completed 2 of 3 take-ons, committed four fouls, and was successful with 2 of 3 tackles. McKennie was yellow-carded in the dying minutes as well.

Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf — Steffan and Morales both started as Fortuna earned a big road point with a 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim. Steffan was quite good, facing 12 shots from Hoffenheim, saving five of the six on target. The lone goal came just six minutes in on a broken play in the box that wasn’t really his fault. Morales struggled moving the ball forward, completing just 19 passes and whiffing on all five of his individual take-ons, but he was good in the air and tackled well to help cover the back line.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  Sargent was a 76th minute substitute as Werder Bremen topped Wolfsburg 3-2 on an 83rd minute winner from Milot Rashica.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams remains frustrated with his groin problem, sidelined again for RB Leipzig’s 3-2 win over Paderborn. No new timeline has been set for Adams, who’s missed several deadlines already thanks to this injury.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach — Johnson was left on the bench for the second straight game as Gladbach beat Freiburg 4-2. Johnson has missed significant time this season with a hamstring problem, and since returning to the squad in mid-November he has not seen the field in league action.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — Frankfurt’s league match this weekend is set for play on Monday against Mainz. Chandler has played just 12 minutes in their last six games.

Khiry Shelton, Paderborn – After five-straight league matches as an unused substitute, Shelton was not part of the squad as Paderborn fell to RB Leipzig 3-2.

2. Bundesliga

Julian Green, Greuther Furth – Green missed his second straight game with an MCL strain. He’s out for the foreseeable future.

Eredivisie

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest played 23 minutes of the blowout 5-2 win over Twente on Sunday morning, playing left-back for a change with mostly defensive work on his plate once seeing the field. It is the fourth straight game he’s been among the substitutes, seeing the field in three of those. 22-year-old Noussair Mazraoui seems to have taken the starting right-back job for the time being.

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — Wright started and struggled in a 1-0 loss at AZ Alkmaar. The 21-year-old wasn’t involved much down the left and when he was, struggled in one-on-one duels. VVV has lost a shocking 10 of its 14 games this season, including eight of its last nine.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — Payne is not in the squad for Sunday afternoon’s game against PSV.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah was originally supposed to be back from his hamstring tear around this time, but it sounds like the club is targeting a return to training during the winter break, with Weah coming back to the field competitively when the team restarts game action in 2020.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Jordan-Siebatcheu came on for the final half-hour of Rennes’ match against St. Etienne with the game 1-1 and was on the field for Damien da Silva’s 93rd minute winner in an eventual 2-1 victory. The 23-year-old put three shots on net in the 30-minute performance, his longest in league play since mid-September.

Honorable Mentions:

Terrence Boyd, Hallescher FC – Terrence Boyd produced the Americans Abroad moment of the week when he delivered an absolute THUMPING volley to see Hallescher top Duisburg in the 3.Bundesliga. It was a spectacular goal.

U.S. Soccer announces Player of Year nominees

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The United States men’s national team and women’s national team will each have a star elected Player of the Year, but the similarities end there.

The USWNT won the World Cup and choosing its top performer for 2019 is an improbably difficult task. The USMNT spent much of the calendar driving its supporters crazy.

Women’s nominees
Julie Ertz
Rose Lavelle
Megan Rapinoe
Alex Morgan
Alyssa Naeher
Carli Lloyd

It’s hard to find too much fault with the half-dozen World Cup winners chosen as finalists, though arguments for Kelley O’Hara and Tobin Heath would be well heard by the writer of this post.

It seems likely Rapinoe will claim the award, considering she’s yet to win it and was probably the most visible athlete in the world this summer.

Ertz, Morgan and Lloyd have all won the honor.

Men’s nominees
Christian Pulisic
Jordan Morris
Weston McKennie
Aaron Long
Tim Ream
Gyasi Zardes

As for the men, is there a scenario in which Christian Pulisic doesn’t win the honor? Reasonably? Yes.

Some will argue that Weston McKennie might get a look over Pulisic on the balance of their seasons, but there’s a strong argument to be made for Morris given his incredible comeback from injury and standout seasons for both Seattle and the USMNT.

Pulisic had three goals and three assists at the Gold Cup, and added goals against Chile and Cuba.

Morris bagged five goals and seven assists, including four and four in the CONCACAF Nations League group stage.

Three of the six men’s finalists ply their trade in MLS, while one is in the Premier League, another in the Football League Championship, and a sixth in the Bundesliga.

Pulisic won in 2017, while Zack Steffen nabbed the award in 2018. The other four nominees have not claimed one.

Americans Abroad: Dest assists in Ajax win; Boyd scores

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It was mostly a quiet first weekend back for Americans abroad following the international break, with only two U.S. men’s national team affiliates contributing on the scoresheet.

One of the two was Sergino Dest, who contributed an assist in Ajax’s 4-01win over Heracles on Saturday, despite coming off the bench in the 67th minute.

Over in Germany, Terrence Boyd continues to shine in the country’s third division, scoring his eighth goal of the season for Hallescher FC.

Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — After a fine run of form, Pulisic went mute in Chelsea’s 2-1 loss to Manchester City. The 21-year-old started and played 90 minutes, but failed to record any shots and contributed only a single key pass.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — Yedlin and the Magpies take on Aston Villa on Monday.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic —  The young left back started and played the full 90 minutes as Wigan dropped to Stoke City 2-1 on Saturday.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old started and played all 90 minutes in Reading’s 1-0 loss to Brentford.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The captain played the full 90 minutes for the Tigers in their 2-2 draw against Middlesborough.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The 34-year-old defender didn’t dress for QPR.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream started and played 90 minutes in Fulham’s 2-1 win over QPR on Friday.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (loan Tottenham Hotspur) — Carter-Vickers didn’t dress for Stoke City, who are on a surprising two-game winning streak.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes started and played 90 minutes in Derby County’s 1-0 win over Preston North End on Saturday.

EFL League One

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland – Gooch remains out with an injury. There is no timeline on his return.

Bundesliga

John Brooks, Wolfsburg – The 26-year-old defender started and played 90 in Wolfsburg’s 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Weston McKennie, Schalke —  McKennie came off the bench and played 17 minutes in Schalke’s 2-0 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf — Steffen played all 90 minutes in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 4-0 loss to Bayern Munich on Saturday. Morales also started and played 90 minutes on Saturday. A tough night for both Americans against the defending champions.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  Sargent was left on the bench in Werder Bremen’s loss.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams didn’t dress in RB Leipzig’s 4-0 thumping of Koln on Saturday. Nursing an injury the majority of the season, the midfielder opened up about his frustrations this season.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach — Johnson watched Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 2-0 loss to Union berlin from the bench this weekend.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — Chandler was on the 18 but didn’t play for Frankfurt on Saturday.

Khiry Shelton, Paderborn – The 26-year-old winger dressed but didn’t play in Paderborn’s entertaining 3-3 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Friday.

2. Bundesliga

Julian Green, Greuther Furth – The 24-year-old midfielder, who is having a positive season in the German second division, is out with a knee injury until December.

Eredivisie

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest came off the bench and recorded an assist in Ajax’s 4-1 win.

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — The 21-year-old striker started and played 90 minutes in VVV’s 2-1 victory over FC Twente on Sunday.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — Payne didn’t dress for FC Emmen over the weekend.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah remains sidelined with a muscular injury. There’s no timeline on his return.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Jordan-Siebatcheu came off the bench and played four minutes in Rennes’ 2-1 loss to Dijon on Saturday.

Honorable Mentions:

Terrence Boyd, Hallescher FC The 28-year-old striker played a mere four minutes on Friday, but he managed to score his eighth goal of the season in stoppage time. With the 3-0 win, Hallescher move third in the 3. Liga table. 

LIVE — USMNT v. Cuba in must-win Nations League finale

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Win and advance to the semifinals. It’s as simple as that for the U.S. men’s national team on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET), when they face Cuba in George Town, Cayman Islands, to wrap up the group stage of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League.

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Head coach Gregg Berhalter has made four changes to the team that beat Canada 4-1 on Friday. Most notably, Josh Sargent starts up top in place of Gyasi Zardes; DeAndre Yedlin will play right back after Sergiño Dest started there on Friday; Cristian Roldan replaces Sebastian Lletget in midfield; and Daniel Lovitz will play left back, where Tim Ream, who slides over to John Brooks’ center back spot, started against Canada.

Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras have already qualified for the semifinals. The USMNT or Canada are the last two teams with a chance to join them.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the game, and check back on PST for a recap, analysis and reaction after the final whistle.

Preview: USMNT’s must-win Nations League finale v. Cuba

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The scenario is simple for the U.S. men’s national team ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Cuba (7:30 p.m.ET): Gregg Berhalter’s side will finish top of Group A with a victory, and only a victory. Period. It’s as simple as that.

[ MORE: Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video) ]

Friday’s victory over Canada righted the wrongs of last month’s defeat north of the border and laid the foundation for the Americans to reach the semifinals in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League, provided they take care of business in George Town, Cayman Islands, in what is set to be the final game of Berhalter’s first calendar year in charge. Despite trailing Canada (+6 goal differential)  by three points heading into Friday, the Yanks (+8) already have the tiebreaker in their favor.

Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes (twice) and Aaron Long scored to give the USMNT its 4-1 triumph over their northern neighbors. More importantly, it was a largely dominant display after going 1-0 up inside two minutes and carrying a 3-0 led into halftime.

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

The USMNT will once again be without Christian Pulisic (hip injury), leaving the attacking options on the roster quite thin. Morris, who got a goal and an assist against Canada, will likely start on the left again, with Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola playing centrally and on the right respectively. Zardes is the presumed starter up top, unless Berhalter opts for the youthful inexperience of Josh Sargent in a must-win game.

Berhalter appears to have settled on a pretty consistent backline, with Sergiño Dest and Aaron Long manning the right side and John Brooks and, at least on Friday, Tim Ream on the left. Weston McKennie’s place deep in midfield has been cemented for quite some time, but he’s partnered close to a half-dozen players alongside him this year alone. The 21-year-old Schalke midfielder was stellar against Canada, frequently starting counter-attacks and carrying the ball into the final third.

Projected USMNT lineup

I___________I
Guzan

Dest —— Long —— Brooks —— Ream

McKennie —— Roldan

Arriola —— Lletget —— Morris

Zardes