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Americans Abroad: Weekend roundup

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With the Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie all underway, several current USMNT players and prospects got the first taste of their respective league’s competition. Leading the long list of players applying their skills at clubs abroad is Christian Pulisic, who made his Premier League debut in Manchester United’s 4-0 drubbing over Chelsea.

In France, Timothy Weah made his Lille debut, while in Holland several familiar faces continue to add minutes. Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — The 20-year-old came off the bench in the 58th minute, replacing Ross Barkley and making his much-anticipated Premier League debut.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — Yedlin did not feature for Steve Bruce‘s side in their opening 1-0 loss to Arsenal. The fullback continues to recover from an injury to his groin, which required surgery back in May. There’s no timeline on his return.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — Robinson started and went all 90 minutes for the Latics in their 3-0 loss to Preston North End.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old center back keeps adding valuable minutes with Reading, going for another 90 minutes in Reading’s 2-1 loss to Hull City.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain has been a mainstay in England, and it doesn’t seem things will be changing this year. Lichaj recorded another 90 minutes in Hull City’s victory this weekend.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The defender’s spell with the Rs is off to a good start two games in: 4 points, one assist and 180 minutes played.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream is back playing in the EFL Championship. On Saturday, he went the full 90 minutes in Fulham’s 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Eredivisie

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — Wright is two matchweeks into his Eredivisie career, and he’s been quite busy. After playing 90 minutes in his league debut, the forward started and played 84 minutes against Sparta Rotterdam on Friday. VVV-Venlo lost 4-1.

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Pulisic wasn’t the only American making a league debut this weekend. Dest, 18, came on as a right back for Ajax and played 36 minutes in the Dutch giants’ 5-0 win against FC Emmen. ena

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — The U-23 MNT fullback played the final eight minutes against Ajax.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Following a $11 million move to Lille from PSG this summer, Weah finally donned Lille’s crest for the first time in a league match, starting and playing 65 minutes in a 2-1 victory against Nantes.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — The Washington D.C.-born striker featured for Rennes over the weekend, going 18 minutes against Montpellier in his side’s 1-0 win.

DFB Pokal

Weston McKennie, Schalke — McKennie did not captain Schalke, but he did come off the bench and play 32 minutes against SV Drochtersen/Assel. Die Königsblauen won 5-0 against the fourth-division side.

Bobby Wood, Hamburger SV — Wood continues to see very limited action (if any). On Sunday, the striker did not play in Hamburg’s shootout win over Chemnitzer FC.

Zack Steffen, Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf Steffen and Morales are slatted to be key contributors to the Bundesliga side this upcoming season. On Saturday, both players started and played 120 minutes in a 3-1 extra-time win over FC 08 Villingen.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  The 19-year-old is getting rhythm prior to the start of the Bundesliga season, starting and going for 62 minutes in Werder Bremen’s 6-1 battering of Atlas Delmenhorst.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach Johnson is going into his sixth season with Die Fohlen. On Friday, the 31-year-old versatile player was a substitute and played 27 minutes against Sandhausen.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt Chandler made the 18 but did not play for Eintracht Frankfurt in their 5-3 win over SV Waldhof.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams, 20, was a no-go  for RB Leipzig in their 3-2 win over Vfl Osnabruck. There is no reason to bring out the red flags, however, the USMNT midfielder will be a vital piece in Julian Nagelsmann’s system.

Honorable Mentions:

Ventura Alvarado, Necaxa  Alvarado was Necaxa’s silver lining in their 3-1 loss to Tigres, scoring in the 43rd minute and contributing on both sides of the field for all 90 minutes.

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland It might be League One, but the winger bagged a goal for the Black Cats in their 1-1 draw against Ipswich. Gooch has now scored in Sunderland’s first two games of the new campaign.

Americans Abroad: Championship and 2.Bundesliga primer

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Plenty of focus over the next few weeks will be given to the many Americans playing in the Premier League and Bundesliga, but the seasons of several USMNT prospects, alumni, or current players in the lower levels are already underway.

[ MORE: Messi suspended ]

We already showed you Julian Green’s terrific goal for 2.Bundesliga side Gruether Furth on Friday. Here is a list of several other Yanks to monitor this season in Europe.

English Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — The Latics purchased Robinson from Everton, and USMNT fans will be hoping the left back continues to grow with full-time duty in England’s second tier.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — Reading also liked what it saw from the gumption-filled American center back, and Frank Lampard has shipped the former New York Red Bull out for a second stint.

Andrija Novakovich, Reading — A loan stint in the Eredivisie saw goals in bunches, but some cold streaks. Can he earn regular playing time at his parent club?

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain has been a mainstay in England, and has performed well when called upon by the national team. He just hasn’t been called too often.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The longtime Stoke City man just signed a deal to return to the R’s.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Will the creative midfielder rebound from his summer injury to impress new manager Phillip Cocu.

Tim Ream, Fulham — The longtime defender is back with the Cottagers following relegation to the second tier.

Luca De La Torre, Fulham — At 21, he’ll have a chance to impress Scott Parker. Relegation was good to the young center midfielder.

Also of note: Cameron Carter-Vickers is currently with Spurs, as he’s yet to play in preseason due to injury. He’s been linked with a loan to Leeds United after spending last season on loan to Swansea City and Ipswich Town. There’s also Lynden Gooch at Sunderland, still in League One after failing in a bid to reclaim a place in the Championship. Gboly Ariyibi of Nottingham Forest is reportedly wanted by Motherwell after a loan stint there last season. QPR’s Giles Phillips has been loaned to League One’s Wycombe Wanderers.

2.Bundesliga

Green, Greuther Furth — In addition to Friday’s goal, he’s gone 90 in both of Furth’s matches so far this season.

Khiry Shelton, Paderborn — He’s yet to appear in a match through two matches this season, but made two sub appearances last season.

Kevin Lankford, FC St. Pauli — The 20-year-old left winger is yet to appear for FCSP through two weeks.

Bobby Wood, Hamburg — The same is true for Wood, who went on loan to Hannover 96 last season.

There are several other dual nationals, like Ken Gipson of Sandhausen, but they are not yet on the USMNT radar.

Three things from USMNT’s loss to Mexico

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Gregg Berhalter’s first tournament, the 2019 Gold Cup, as U.S. men’s national team head coach is in the books.

Sure, Sunday’s final defeat to Mexico stings — as does any defeat to El Tri — but the 2022 World Cup is still more than 36 months away. With that in mind, what did we learn about the USMNT on Sunday and throughout this tournament?

[ MORE: USA beat Netherlands, win back-to-back World Cups (video) ]

Baptism by fire for so many players

The intensity, the speed, the rash challenges, the constant antics. These are the things that have come to best explain the U.S.-Mexico rivalry, and they were all on full display from the opening whistle on Sunday.

The likes of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, seasoned veterans of the last decade, weren’t at all bothered and have learned to embrace the extracurriculars. Surprisingly, many of the first-timers adapted quickly and found their footing without any major causes for concern, even in the game’s opening minutes.

Right back Reggie Cannon (21 years old with five caps) was arguably the best American player in the first half (non-Christian Pulisic division); Weston McKennie took it upon himself to play the role of enforcer on multiple occasions; Paul Arriola was his usual steady self and shied away from no dirty elbow.

No one backed down, no one played timidly, no one took the bait and harmed the team. As far as intense, high-stakes games go, this was a surprisingly mature performance.

[ MORE: Three things we learned: USA v. Netherlands | Player ratings ]

Berhalter got his subs wrong

Locked in a 0-0 game, Berhalter made the following substitutions early in the second half:

  • Cristian Roldan for Jordan Morris (61′)
  • Gyasi Zardes for Jozy Altidore (64′)

While bringing Zardes on for Altidore doesn’t look great on paper, he’s the only center forward Berhalter could realistically call upon off the bench. Not to mention, Altidore wasn’t having the best game of his career, even if you take out of his inexcusable miss in the 8th minute. The whole thing is… whatever.

The idea behind bringing Roldan on for Morris — with Tyler Boyd taking up space on the bench — is indecipherable. Did he want an extra body in central midfield to create more possession and slow the game down? Was it all about pushing Pulisic out to the wing? Can anyone make any sense of this?

Alternatively, Djordje Mihailovic, an actual no. 10.

Down a goal in a cup final, with fewer than 10 minutes remaining, Berhalter did the following:

I’m sorry, he did what?

The left back came off, which is a totally normal move when you’re down a goal and throwing all caution to the wind… to be replaced by another left back.

I don’t even need to launch into a tirade to explain why this is insane.

Alternatively, bring Boyd on and overload one wing, or give Pulisic a totally free role to drift anywhere and everywhere. Heck, bring Jonathan Lewis into a game that was entirely too stretched for anyone’s liking and let him run at defenders one on one. Simply put, there were a number of different ways Berhalter could have gone with his final sub, and what he did might have actually been the worst possible option.

[ MORE: Rose Lavelle “a straight up superstar” after stellar World Cup run ]

A positive tournament for the USMNT

Let’s end on a happy note, why don’t we?

The USMNT looked completely lost at sea when they began this tournament three weeks ago. By the time the quarterfinals and semifinals rolled around, that was no longer the case — and, against much tougher competition. It’s clear that Berhalter was able to make a lot of progress in a short period of time, and that should be held up as a hugely promising sign going forward.

We can bicker over whether or not “the system” or “the player pool” should dictate how the team plays on a given day, but when he has a full complement of players healthy and available for selection (e.g., Tyler Adams, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin and Josh Sargent), they actually match up quite well.

The issue, as always, is that the player pool is still the player pool. Even when Adams and Sargent come back into the team later this year, the USMNT will still be thin in those positions, but at least they’ll have a quality starter to build upon, right?

USMNT gets first chance to reassert its CONCACAF status

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Not going to lie to you: It’d be nice to see some vengeance.

No, beating Trinidad and Tobago at the Gold Cup isn’t going to magically put the United States men’s national team back in the 2018 World Cup, nor will it erase nearly two years of seething from the record.

But honestly, you just want to feel like something, anything, is emotionally different in U.S. Soccer from the federation that puked all over the qualifying process for 2018.

[ REPORT: De Ligt chooses Juve ]

Let’s start here: Regardless of what Michael Bradley says about Saturday night’s match versus Trinidad and Tobago — “I’m not sure inside of the group if it carries a whole lot of weight” — the Yanks should absolutely feel ready to come out firing against the Soca Warriors.

It’s Bradley’s job as a veteran leader to play down tension ahead of the second group stage game of a second-tier tournament, but we’re pretty sure Christian Pulisic isn’t sleeping on the nation whose B-team deprived him of his World Cup. Omar Gonzalez didn’t build himself back up from a terrible own goal in Couva to have this be “just another game.”

Want to send a message within the team, supporters, and CONCACAF that things are different, even if it’s just a preface to a latter tournament trophy-holding novel? Control the game despite the absence of Tyler Adams, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, Tim Weah, and possibly Weston McKennie.

Consider the make-up of both 23-man rosters. T&T has seven domestic players, three MLS players, seven USL Championship players, one USL League One player, one in Costa Rica, one in the Israeli Premier League, one playing in Saudi Arabia’s top tier and two in its second tier. The USMNT is comprised of MLS players plus Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Tim Ream (Fulham), and Tyler Boyd (Vitória de Guimarães)

Not to mention Panama outshot T&T 16-4 in a 2-0 win the other night, about the same as the U.S. advantage (20-4; 4-0) over Guyana.

Handle their A-team with your B-plus team.

Take that knowledge and then consider this: As the USSF prepares to anoint a new CEO who may well be hand-picked by the old CEO, reportedly not supported by the new president, and happens to be the USMNT head coach’s brother, wouldn’t it be cool if things felt just a bit like they were on the right track.

The U-20 World Cup helped, as has watching McKennie, Pulisic, and Adams blossom in the Bundesliga.

But we’re mere rounds away from, if we’re fortunate, seeing the first edition of Berhalter’s USMNT against Tata Martino’s Mexico (a Tata Martino, it must be noted, who the USSF didn’t feel the need to contact regarding the possibility of an interview). And we’re days away from a game against a Panama team who took a World Cup spot by scoring a ghost goal.

The losses against Jamaica’s B-team and Venezuela in a vacuum are just bad days at the office, but something fundamentally changed in the spirit of U.S. Soccer that night in Couva. The over-achieving teams of (a few of the) World Cups past gave way to what appeared to be an entitled coach and players failing to prove wrong the wandering mind of a German legend who helped put them in their predicament.

For at least this one night, it’d be great to feel that Couva not only mattered but that it’s put a chip on the shoulder of everyone in U.S. Soccer.

Win decisively, fellas.

USMNT player ratings from defeat of Guyana

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The United States men’s national team was solid, but not particularly impressive in its 4-0 defeat of Guyana early Wednesday to start its Gold Cup.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

There were stars in this one, with Weston McKennie and Tyler Boyd finding their strides, but still a lot of question marks (in some ways due to the competition).

Let’s get into it. As always, “6” is the baseline for ratings: a passable performance.

Starting XI

Zack Steffen — 6 — Had very little to do, even in possession, as expected.

Nick Lima — 6 — Looking comfortable moving forward and was aggressive in defense.

Walker Zimmerman — 7 — Passed the ball well, but like his goalkeeper and fellow defenders, was largely untested.

Aaron Long — 6 — A step up from his nightmare against Venezuela.

Tim Ream — 6 — An okay cog in the back three after a rough pair of friendly losses.

Michael Bradley (Off 63′) — 6 — For the first 20 minutes, it was clear this was his first match in a month. But his game improved, capped by a remarkable assist to Boyd for the 1,000th goal in USMNT history. Fitting.

Weston McKennie (Off 74′) — 7 — A slow start, but on the night not only assisted a goal but played three or four world-class touch passes. Gregg Berhalter said the injury that cost him the final 16 minutes was a cramp. Let’s hope so.

Paul Arriola — 8 — His aggression and ambition paid off, as he rebounded from some questionable performances to get a goal and set up two others (*thou

Christian Pulisic (Off 63′) — 7 — Instantly the most dangerous player on the field, would’ve likely had a couple assists with a capable finisher up top.

Tyler Boyd — 8.5 — The former New Zealand international made a lot of fans tonight, scoring two goals, and was in position to score four or even five.

Gyasi Zardes — 5 — Credit the motor, but look forward to Jozy Altidore being back at full fitness.

Substitutions

Wil Trapp (On 63′) — 6 — Better than his miserable pair of friendlies.

Cristian Roldan (On 63′) — 6 — Looked more lively in attack, but given the opposition that’s not terribly impressive.

Djordje Mihailovic (On 74′) — N/A —