Christian Ramirez

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USMNT 3-0 Panama: Mihailovic scores on debut as US impresses

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It was a day of debuts for the USMNT as they defeated Panama 3-0 to end January camp on a positive note. Gregg Berhalter led the United States for the first time as head coach, while five debutants earned their first senior international caps, the most in a single match since 1992.

One of those debutants, Chicago Fire academy product Djordje Mihailovic, bagged the game’s opening goal, giving the hosts tangible reward for an energetic and sharp showing. Walker Zimmerman grabbed the second goal, sealing the win, while substitute Christian Ramirez poked in the third at the death. Another debutant, Aaron Long, wore the captain’s armband over Michael Bradley, a surprising development when the lineups were announced.

The United States off the opening kickoff showed a fascinating tactical shape and clear purpose. Defender Nick Lima, listed as a right-back, often pushed forward into central midfield when the U.S. had possession of the ball. He would occupy the space next to Michael Bradley, with the other defenders forming a back three.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USMNT win over Panama ]

The hosts had the first look at goal, with debutant Jeremy Ebobisse – deployed on the left wing – crossing to Gyasi Zardes completely alone in the penalty area, but his wide-open header was sent over the bar.

Bradley was at the heart of every U.S. possession, and he nearly created another goalscoring chance on 20 minutes when Cristian Roldan had the ball down the middle and should have seen Corey Baird running clear on goal, but instead wasted the chance with a shot from 28 yards out. Five minutes later Baird had another chance, putting his layoff from Zardes just inches wide right. Nick Lima had a shot that also went a hair wide of the post a minute later from Zardes again laying off.

The U.S. continued to dominate and nearly found the opener on a corner in the 28th minute. Long had a touch at the near post and flicked it across the face of goal where a charging Walker Zimmerman put it over the bar. The attacks continued to prove dangerous but lacked the final ball, as Zardes again missed with a header in the 39th minute after Daniel Lovitz delivered a brilliant curling ball into the box.

Finally, the U.S. was able to celebrate after Panama failed to deal with a broken attack. In the 40th minute, the U.S. pushed forward after a turnover and Lima was the man on the ball through the middle. He threaded Zardes through the center, and while Zardes went down under pressure looking for a foul, the ball fell at the feet of Baird, and he cut across to Mihailovic who came charging in and blasted the ball into the back of the net with the help of a slight deflection.

It has to be said that Panama was horrific in the first half, but they picked things up after the break and worked a big chance in the 55th minute that required a reflex save from Zack Steffan, the first real action for the U.S. goalkeeper.

Mihailovic had another big chance on the stroke of the hour mark, charging again onto the ball at the top of the box, but his vicious shot was blocked. He came off soon after for Sebastian Lletget in Berhalter’s first substitution.

In the 70th minute, the U.S. was again put under pressure on a free-kick that saw two Panamanian attackers get behind the defense, but Ernesto Walker sent his glancing header just wide. With Panama beginning to find a bit of comfort, the United States bagged a second goal to put the game away, made by Lima with a wonderful bit of defense to offense. With Panama on the counter after the U.S. saw an attack fizzle out, Lima came thundering in with a thumping tackle, winning the ball off Edson Samms and then delivering a pinpoint cross to a host of bodies in the penalty area. Walker Zimmerman rose the highest and pummeled in a header for the strike.

With the game winding down, substitute Christian Ramirez came on for Zardes and poked home the exclamation point on great work from fellow substitute Jonathan Lewis down the left flank, bursting past his defender and cutting across to Ramirez all alone on the doorstep with the goalkeeper pulled out.

That was nearly the final kick of the game, with no stoppage time added. It was a solid win against a poor opponent for the United States, with few trouble spots to shake a finger at. Berhalter earned victory in his first coaching appearance for the USMNT, giving hope to fans as they move forward toward the Gold Cup, and eventually, the World Cup qualification cycle.

Kreilach’s ‘Karate Kid’ goal helps Real Salt Lake spring upset at LAFC

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Damir Kreilach scored two goals and assisted another as Real Salt Lake bounced No. 3 seed Los Angeles FC from the MLS Cup Playoffs in an entertaining 3-2 match at Banc of California Stadium on Friday.

One of Kreilach’s goals was straight out of “The Karate Kid,” a standing volley that called to mind Daniel LaRusso’s crane kick.

Danilo Silva and Christian Ramirez scored for Bob Bradley‘s LAFC, which goes down in its first playoff match.

Jefferson Savarino also netted for RSL, who will meet Sporting KC in the conference semifinals. Seattle and Portland will stage a Cascadia Derby in the other semi.

[ MORE: Columbus tops DC in PK thriller ]

The match started late, but the scoring arrived after just 20 minutes.

Former Liverpool academy man Brooks Lennon chased down a loose ball and sent an arrow cross to the penalty spot.

Kreilach settled the ball and had time to lash it home.

The lead lasted about 10 minutes, as LAFC leveled through Silva’s header of a Carlos Vela cross.

It stayed 1-1 into the break, but not much longer.

Lee Nguyen set up Ramirez for his goal in the 54th, with an answering coming from Kreilach within five minutes.

And, well, holy cow, guys and girls:

LAFC acquires Christian Ramirez from Minnesota United

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles FC has acquired goal-scoring forward Christian Ramirez from Minnesota United FC.

LAFC traded $550,000 in cash Monday night in a deal that includes a potential $200,000 more depending on future performances by Ramirez, the leading goal-scorer in Minnesota United’s franchise history.

Ramirez is a native of Garden Grove, California, who has been with Minnesota for five seasons. He stuck with the club during its rise from the NASL to MLS, and he scored the Loons’ first MLS goal last season before finishing the season as its leading goal-scorer.

Ramirez had an early-season slump this year, but was still Minnesota’s second-leading goal-scorer. He got two goals in the Loons’ rout of LAFC last month, and he had three goals in three games before getting benched last weekend.

Quintero, Loons pick LAFC apart in five-star win (video)

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Minnesota United throttled LAFC on Sunday, using a Christian Ramirez brace to batter the hot expansion team 5-1 in Minnesota.

Darwin Quintero had a goal and two assists for the Loons, who took advantage of LAFC’s decision not to start dominant forward Adama Diomande and center back Walker Zimmerman.

[ MORE: Marketing Pulisic with BVB ]

Quintero ripped off seven shots, putting five on goal. He now has 10 goals and five assists since joining the Loons after scoring two and eight in 29 matches for Club America last year.

Miguel Ibarra recorded a goal and an assist, while Rasmus Schuller also scored. LAFC’s goal came courtesy Benny Feilhaber.

Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth and LA’s Tyler Miller each made six saves in their goals.

LAFC fails in a bid to make up points on Western Conference first seed FC Dallas, while the Loons now can eye a playoff spot in the West.

Plenty of new faces aim to impress for USMNT against Bosnia

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With disappointment from a missed World Cup opportunity still fresh on the minds of those involved with U.S. Soccer, the U.S. Men’s National Team will take another step towards 2022 on Sunday night.

Interim manager Dave Sarachan has put out a young squad heading into tomorrow’s international friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the boss including several bright talents like Tyler Adams and Jordan Morris, as well as players aiming to impress for the very first time.

[ MORE: How will the USMNT line up against Bosnia? ]

Sarachan has selected 15 first-time national teamers for the Americans, which includes a trio of Real Salt Lake products that will look to shine if they are given the opportunity.

Danilo Acosta, Justen Glad and Brooks Lennon have all earned call ups for the first time this January camp, while Minnesota United striker Christian Ramirez has received the same chance up front.

The Yanks will be searching for some new faces to bring in the goals against Bosnia, as Sarachan’s men have a combined 17 goals scored amongst their entire roster. Recently-acquired Columbus Crew winger Gyasi Zardes has the most of any player, having scored six times for the U.S.

Meanwhile, Bosnia features a few familiar faces as well, with Haris Medunjanin of the Philadelphia Union and University of Nebraska-Omaha product Elvir Ibisevic each called up.

The U.S. and Bosnia have only met once previously, a 4-3 American victory back in 2013, which saw Jozy Altidore‘s hat-trick turn out to be the difference on that day.