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U.S. Soccer announces Player of the Year nominees

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The USMNT’s 2018 Player of the Year is going to be one of the new breed, while the USWNT’s list of nominees is a bit unusual as well.

Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Matt Miazga, Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp are the men vying to become the fifth different name to win the Male Player of the Year in as many seasons.

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There are three players on the Female list to have won the award in previous years with Julie Ertz, Tobin Heath, and Alex Morgan having laid claim to the honor. Megan Rapinoe and Lindsey Horan are the other two nominees.

The two teams could hardly have had more different years, as the USWNT was undefeated behind a prolific season from Morgan.

The men stalled as U.S. Soccer failed to enlist a full-time coach, leaving interim coach Dave Sarachan to meld new players into a “part-time” system.

Steffen is probably the favorite to win the men’s award, though Miazga and McKennie had some high-profile moments in red, white, and blue. Trapp is beloved by the staff and could grab the award as well, while Adams seems a true long shot.

USWNT takes care of Scotland 1-0 on Morgan strike

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Alex Morgan scored her 98th international goal just before halftime as the United States women downed Scotland 1-0 in a friendly in Paisley, Scotland on Tuesday. It wasn’t the prettiest performance the U.S. has put forth this year by a longshot, but they got the job done despite a Carli Lloyd missed penalty. The win completed an undefeated 2018 for the U.S. women, a fabulous feat on the whole.

The United States was dominant throughout the opening 45 minutes, controlling 70% possession and holding the hosts to just a single shot. Morgan struck four minutes before the break as Mallory Pugh sent in a deep cross from the right flank that sailed just over the head of a leaping Lloyd but dipped right to Morgan unmarked at the far post. The 29-year-old finished with a powerful volley, connecting with the ball mid-flight and rocketing it inside the right post.

The goal is Morgan’s 18th of the season and 25th goal over her last 26 international matches. Otherwise, the United States held the possessional advantage but struggled to produce too many clear-cut chances. That changed after halftime.

The US came incredibly close to a second in the 53rd minute as Julie Ertz trailing the play received a layoff from Morgan, and while her effort deflected off a defender, it was saved wonderfully by halftime substitute Shannon Lynn who managed to get her leg up to block the deflection despite laying out for the initial shot.

The visitors were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute as Kirsty Smith clipped the toes of Pugh in the box, and Lloyd took the spot-kick, smashing it against the crossbar and out of play with Lynn right there looking on, having guessed correctly.

Scotland had its best chance of the evening in the 75th minute as they won the ball in the attacking third and charged forward to Erin Cuthbert. She charged forward splitting U.S. defenders, but eventually the ball was cleared by Becky Sauerbrunn after a heavy touch by Cuthbert as she looked to take aim on the doorstep. They would get another good look five minutes ltaer as Julie Ertz was caught out by a wonderful chipped ball over the top toLana Clelland who rifled on net, but the shot was turned wide by Ashlyn Harris.

That was it for the game as both teams brought on late subs, but no more big chances were created. The victory is the 18th of the season for the United States, going a full calendar year without a loss through its 20 total games. The USWNT also extended its clean sheet streak to a whopping 884 minutes, extending nine full shutout matches, the longest streak since 2004/05 when they went 10 straight matches.

For Scotland, the defeat snaps a five-game winning streak that dates back to an April 5th loss to Switzerland in World Cup qualifying.

Lavelle goal leads USWNT to CONCACAF Championship

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Rose Lavelle’s early goal was enough for the United States women’s national team to seal its eighth CONCACAF Women’s Championship with a 2-0 win over Canada in Texas on Wednesday.

Alex Morgan scored an offside goal in stoppage time, a deserved marker despite the captain’s transgression. The dominant striker has 17 of her 97 national team goals in 2018.

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Both sides had already clinched berths in this summer’s World Cup in France, while Jamaica earned a spot via a third place match win over Panama earlier Wednesday.

The USWNT is 15W-2D in 2018 and in fine form heading into a World Cup year. The last loss came in the 2017 Tournament of Nations.

The game was vicious, with Tobin Heath the target for a number of hard Canadian fouls and Megan Rapinoe responding on behalf of the Americans.

“Obviously, we hate Canada and they hate us,” Rapinoe said after the game on Fox Soccer. “It was very apparent tonight.”

Lavelle sent a second minute loose ball just past the reach of Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.

USWNT obliterates Jamaica, qualifies for 2019 World Cup

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The United States needed one more win to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, and they did so in roaring fashion, taking down Jamaica 6-0 in Frisco on Sunday.

Tobin Heath scored a first-half brace, while Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz, and Alex Morgan all got on the scoresheet before the halftime break. It was a rousing success, such that head coach Jill Ellis yanked Rapinoe and Ertz at halftime, while Rose Lavelle came off before the hour mark.

Heath picked up the first less than two minutes into the game. Lindsay Horan collected a failed clearance by the Jamaica defense, and while her shot was saved by Sydney Schneider, Heath was there to pounce on the rebound.

The second was all too easy, capitalizing in the 15th minute on lackadaisical defense. From the back, Ertz picked out Rapinoe on the left, and after chesting down the ball, she ran right by her mark and into the box where she roofed the shot from a tight angle.

Ertz would score herself six minutes later when heading in a cross, while Heath grabbed her second just before the half-hour mark as she got behind the defense and latched onto Horan’s long-ball. With the rout on, Morgan would score two minutes later as Rapinoe swung in a free-kick and while Ertz whiffed, Morgan did not.

The United States cruised through the second half, and when a penalty was give in the 84th minute, Heath didn’t push for the chance for her first international hat-trick, it was Morgan who stepped up and delivered instead. That would complete the scoreline, and send the United States to the 2019 World Cup.

USWNT wins Group A, Mexico eliminated from World Cup qualifying

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The United States women’s national team is one win away from clinching a spot in next summer’s World Cup, and it will have two chances to do it.

The Yanks pounded Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 on Wednesday to win Group A of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in dominant fashion.

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Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle each scored twice in the win, which sends the USWNT to Sunday’s semifinals.

Earlier, Panama stunned Mexico with goals in each half of a 2-0 win that eliminated Mexico from qualification for the World Cup.

Mexico had qualified for the last two World Cups and was one of three automatic qualifiers to the CONCACAF tournament.

Now Panama will meet the winner of Group B, while the USWNT will face the second place team in Group B.

The semifinal winners qualify for the World Cup, while the losers play a winner-take-all third place game for the third CONCACAF spot in France.