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FOLLOW LIVE: Sargent starts for USMNT vs. Peru

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There’s a veteran at the back and a kid up front as Dave Sarachan’s USMNT looks to post a win over Peru in Connecticut on Tuesday.

[ FOLLOW: Live updates on @USSoccer_MNT ]

Brad Guzan will start in net for his 59th cap and first since a 1-1 away draw against Honduras in World Cup qualifying last September.

Josh Sargent, 18, is up top for the Yanks, earning just his fifth cap in a lineup with several youngsters. Jonathan Amon, Timothy Weah, and Reggie Cannon also start.

Sargent has six goals and two assists in 10 matches for Werder Bremen II, and scored in his other start for the USMNT (May 29 vs. Bolivia).

Ben Sweat, Aaron Long, and Cameron Carter-Vickers join Cannon on the backline, while Wil Trapp captains the team in the midfield with Kellyn Acosta and Marky Delgado.

USMNT set to focus on result against Peru

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The United States fell to a 4-2 defeat to Colombia on Thursday, and the feeling after that match was overtly positive despite the final score. The team of mostly youngsters was more than competitive against a side that featured several well-known stars – James Rodriguez, Falcao, Juan Cuadrado to name a few – and only a pair of late goals proved the difference.

That will be less acceptable on Tuesday as the USMNT gets set to take on Peru at Rentschler Field in East Hartford at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Against a team with fewer recognizable stars and less international pedigree, a loss with positives will be far more difficult to swallow, especially after Thursday’s result. While Peru is certainly no CONMEBOL pushover – they’re coming off a 3-0 whipping of Chile – the opponent’s public perception goes a long way in determining the acceptability of a defeat in an international friendly.

Given the positive yet mistake-riddled performance against Colombia, a big focus will be on correcting mistakes. On Thursday, we saw some spotty man marking (see: Yedlin on Borja’s goal), poor wing play against speedy midfielders (see: Antonee Robinson vs Cuadrado), and struggles keeping up on the counter (see: Falcao goal). So against a more beatable opponent, how will the team respond? Mistakes are good if the players can learn from them.

Much of the focus last week was on Michael Bradley’s long-awaited return to the national team, and he delivered against Colombia, helping control play in the middle of the field, a vital resource against a superior opponent. So while Dave Sarachan promised “a lot of changes” to the starting lineup this time around, Bradley will almost certainly retain his place. Another pair of players we could see against Peru is Timothy Weah and Josh Sargent, who both came on late against Colombia and were positive influences on the game. Watching Bradley feed those two up front could be an excitable vision towards the future.

Brad Guzan will be in goal after Zack Steffan left the camp with an injury. He will face a Peruvian attack that looked positive last time out, but that lacks a proven goalscorer. The two true forwards in the Peru squad are Yordy Reyna and Raul Ruidiaz, who have a combined six goals in 52 appearances. The leading scorers in the squad are midfielders Christian Cueva and Edison Flores, and they will prove the biggest threat for Guzan at the back should they find the starting lineup.

Ultimately, while performances have been more important than results of late, a failure to earn three points will be a disappointment because in a match like this against a quality opponent, it will take a positive performance to earn the win.

Steffen leaves USMNT camp; Horvath, Guzan remain

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USMNT backstop Zack Steffen has been sent back to Columbus for precautionary reasons ahead of the Crew’s MLS run-in.

U.S. Soccer announced that tightness in the goalkeeper’s right hamstring would keep him away from the team for Tuesday’s match against Peru in Connecticut.Steffen, 23, allowed four goals in Thursday’s loss to Colombia, but at least three of them won’t give him much pause (James Rodriguez was on fire).

[ MORE: Henry hired by Monaco ]

That leaves Brad Guzan and Ethan Horvath as the keepers for Tuesday, and Dave Sarachan will be tasked with choosing between the veteran and a one-time presumed GK of the future.

Guzan, 34, has eight clean sheets in 31 matches for Atlanta United this season. He’s earned 58 caps for the USMNT and won the Golden Glove at the 2015 Gold Cup (so much gold!).

Horvath, 23, has two caps but has found his playing time scarce since transferring from Molde to Club Brugge in 2017. He has 24 appearances with five clean sheets, but is second choice to an even younger backstop in former Hajduk Split man Karlo Letica.

NYRB 2-0 Atlanta: Supporters’ Shield race not over yet

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The New York Red Bulls did the impossible. They held Atlanta United scoreless for a full 90 minutes.

The hosts kept their Supporters’ Shield hopes alive by beating visiting Atlanta United 2-0, ahead for good on a first-half penalty by Daniel Royer. The penalty was given after Chris McCann clearly handled the ball on a set-piece as Aaron Long looked to nod in a corner with his head. Royer sent Brad Guzan the wrong way from the spot to give New York the advantage.

They would kill the game off with 16 minutes to go as Alex Muyl timed his run perfectly and slid to chip the ball over a charging Guzan, leaving Tim Parker to tap in on the doorstep.

Atlanta struggled mightily against New York’s defense, holding 55% possession but only managing one lone shot on target out of seven attempts on goal. Meanwhile, Guzan had plenty of work to do, needing a big save to keep Kaku out late with Atlanta already down 2-0.

The result marked the first time since a May 9th loss to Sporting KC that Atlanta United was held without a goal in Major League Soccer play. It also means New York completes the double over Atlanta this season, although head-to-head record is not a tiebreaker used by MLS in the standings. The result does, however, push New York within two of Atlanta on goal differential, with Atlanta at +27 and New York at +25.

The win pulls New York within one of Atlanta, and each team has three games remaining. Atlanta has home games against New England and Chicago before a visit to Toronto to end the season. New York, meanwhile, has road trips to San Jose and Philadelphia before finishing at home against Orlando City.

MLS Three Things: TFC falls again, Guzan red ruins marquee match

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Five MLS matches hit midweek to join the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in bringing a busy Wednesday for soccer in the USA (and Canada).

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

We are here to talk about three of them.

Brad Guzan deprived us of cool dual litmus tests

Two of the top teams in Major League Soccer met in Atlanta on soccer, and we can’t really tell you which team proved its mettle (Not that anyone’s doubting the quality of either).

That’s because Yohan Croizet played a delightful ball to Khiry Shelton, and Brad Guzan… didn’t… get it… right. Sent off, Sporting KC was able to break through with a pair of second half goals in a 2-0 win.

Shots were still just 18-17 for KC despite the DOGSO red, but playing in Atlanta is no picnic.

Soccer is a funny game

Toronto FC took 24 shots, 10 of them from Sebastian Giovinco, but Seattle took its chances and spun a 2-1 win out of not much in an MLS Cup Final(s) rematch Canada.

Homegrown Sounders 18-year-old Handwalla Bwana scored the winner after Magnus Wolf Eikrem took advantage of overly enthusiastic center back Michael Bradley on the opener (see video below).

TFC’s seven points are seven back of a playoff spot, and Victor Vazquez left the game with injury (Jozy Altidore is already out). Uh oh.

By the way, TFC’s best player this year after Giovinco has unquestionably been Jonathan Osorio, who bagged another goal tonight. The 25-year-old hometown kid is completing better than 90 percent of his passes.

On the flip side, Auro has been a major defensive liability several times this season. Hey, maybe we’ll see a proper 90 (or more) from these two in December.

Kevin Ellis: Golden Boot candidate

In his first 90 professional games, Kevin Ellis scored six goals.

The 26-year-old defender now has two in his last two, and this one is pretty nice.

Chicago needed this win, which pulls it back within sight of the playoffs. Montreal did not need this loss, its seventh of the young season.