DeAndre Yedlin

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Bruce: USMNT’s Yedlin possible broken hand amongst five Newcastle injuries

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Newcastle had a historically bad day with injuries, and it’s affected their American right back.

DeAndre Yedlin may have broken his hand in the Magpies’ 3-0 loss to Leicester City on Wednesday, which saw the Magpies play almost a full half with 10 men despite not seeing a red card.

“In the next week or so we hope to get some back (but) we have 10 out of 22 outfield players injured,” he grumbled. “It’s horrendous.”

Newcastle used all three of their substitutions by the time the second half kicked off. Jonjo Shelvey, Javi Manquillo, and Jetro Willems limped off the pitch, and Fabian Schar joined them just after halftime.

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And it was worse than we knew, as Yedlin played through the pain despite his injury. The Magpies were already without Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, and Matt Ritchie.

“It’s ludicrous, three players with hamstring injuries in a game and it’s because they have to play tired. I said before Christmas that the amount of games is ludicrous and this is the result.”

Aston Villa thumps Newcastle 2-0 to go seven clear of the drop

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Aston Villa and Newcastle came into the match at Villa Park just a point apart in the Premier League table, but on the day the gulf in ability was on full display.

A comprehensive 2-0 home victory saw Villa go seven points clear of the relegation zone, with first-half goals from Conor Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi, both on set-pieces. Needing some form of attacking mentality in the second half, Newcastle offered nothing going forward, and Steve Bruce will have plenty to ponder after a night when nothing went right.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Martin Dubravka was on hand to make sure the scoreline wasn’t worse, but the Magpies were soundly beaten on the road. Jack Grealish pulled the strings for the home side, providing a silky attacking display and delighting the Villa Park fans.


Three things we learned

1) Newcastle’s desire questionable against Villa onslaught

Aston Villa came out firing on all cylinders from the opening whistle to halftime, bringing into question Newcastle’s desire in such a critical match. Sure, Newcastle was playing on the road, but to concede so much attacking pressure to a fellow relegation candidate was problematic. It all came to a head on the half-hour mark when DeAndre Yedlin‘s foul of Jack Grealish on the edge of the penalty area led to a stunning free-kick by Conor Hourihane that delivered the game’s first goal.

It continued after the opening goal, with another set-piece situation doubling the Aston Villa lead. Newcastle had mental lapses all over the penalty area, with Paul Dummett just completely switching off, allowing a free-kick to reach Anwar El-Ghazi.

Seriously, what was the Newcastle defense doing? And goalkeeper Martin Dubravka hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory there either, putting forth a measly effort to stop that ball.

After the home side was 2-0 up and the Steve Bruce absorption plan was shot, they had very little to offer up front. Bruce threw on Andy Carroll – who hasn’t scored since April of last year – with a half-hour to go, but it had little effect on the game despite changing to a 4-4-2 formation. The Magpies had absolutely nothing when it mattered most, and that’s exceptionally worrying for a team fighting for its Premier League lives.

2) Aston Villa’s fight should keep them afloat

What Newcastle doesn’t have, Aston Villa does. Look, this isn’t the best team in the league, not by a long shot. They make mistakes and they have glaring weaknesses. But they have a fight which will earn the Claret & Blue enough points to stay afloat. Dean Smith should be proud of the way he prepares his team to play matches, milking just about as much effort from this squad as he can. It’s hard to see them going down when they play at this level during such important matches.

3) Jack Grealish continues to be Villa’s talisman

It’s been clear from the start of the season who Aston Villa’s best player is, and who will save them from the drop. Jack Grealish was fantastic again, distributing around the penalty area and pulling all the attacking strings. He completed 48 of his 56 pass attempts, including 25-of-31 in the attacking third, picking up four chances created and assisting the opening goal (to be fair, it was the cheapest assist of all time, simply there to tap the free-kick to Hourihane which opened the Newcastle wall). The 24-year-old ran the show at Villa Park and will surely be the one to lead the squad to safety this season, and he embodies the aforementioned fight that possessed the squad tonight. 

Man of the Match: Jack Grealish


Aston Villa was clearly the better side throughout the first half, holding 75% possession through the first half-hour. They went ahead on a pair of set-pieces, with Newcastle committing two fouls right on the edge of the penalty area. DeAndre Yedlin and Federico Fernandez were the guilty parties, and the defending was miserable on both goals.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Newcastle had a chance to pull one back, but a Fernandez header was saved by Tom Heaton was up to the task, keeping the effort out. That was by far their best opportunity, and put forth just one other shot on target the rest of the half.

El Ghazi nearly had a second before halftime on the counter but an excellently timed step by Jetro Willems played the Dutch international offside and the flag went up as the ball found the back of the net.

Newcastle came out inspired after the half, but the burst of energy barely lasted 10 minutes as Villa nearly scored a third on 52 minutes, requiring a great Dubravka save on Ezri Ngoyo’s header. Again Dubravka was on point in the 74th minute when Wesley poked on frame from short range with the goal gaping. He picked up a third big save on an 85th minute free-kick by Jack Grealish who was aiming for the far post with an attacker waiting to pounce.

What did we learn about USMNT during Nations League?

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The inaugural Nations League group stage is complete, and the U.S. men’s national team managed to finish top of Group A (on the final day of play) and secure its place in the semifinals next June.

[ MORE: USMNT cruises past Cuba to reach Nations League semis ]

So, what did we learn from the final four (semi-competitive) games of 2019?

No matter the competition, the chance creation isn’t there

Inevitably, eventually, the USMNT ends up attacking its opponents in one of two ways: with long, direct balls up to the forward line, or exclusively through wide attackers and constant crosses into the box. In beating Canada and Cuba by a combined score of 8-1 during this international window, Gregg Berhalter’s team relied almost exclusively on these “tactics.” Predictably, it’s also the default setting when facing tougher competition, such as Mexico and Uruguay earlier in 2019.

Neither of those plans are bad plans, per se, only neither of those plans are what the federation has pursued as its stated goal for the last decade: possession-based soccer featuring ample chance creation from midfield.

Five coaches have taken charge of the USMNT this decade, all with varying levels of promising the above stylistic improvements. Upon completing the USMNT’s final game of the decade, it’s fair to say that all five failed.

The worst part of all is that the presence of Christian Pulisic hardly cures anything. Sure, he’s the craftiest attacking player the U.S. has ever produced, but even a primary playmaker like Pulisic requires a stable midfield behind him to filter the ball upfield and give him a stage on which to perform. Weston McKennie was stellar against Canada on Friday, but he’s proven that, at just 21 years old, he can’t be counted on to that degree game in and game out.

The good news: they’re both 21 years old and have north of 50 caps between them. One day — and it could come soon — everything should click for each of them, at which point we could see them move to operate at a totally different level.


The full backs are suddenly a bright spot

Perhaps it’s a tad hasty to claim the full backs are trending positively, but the current crop of right backs sure looks deeper and more talented than ever before. Sergiño Dest chose to play for the USMNT and is now cap-tied, Reggie Cannon is coming along nicely, and DeAndre Yedlin has proven himself, at the very least, a non-problem plenty of times.

That’s three more reliable full backs than the USMNT has had since Steve Cherundolo retired in 2012. Unfortunately, they all play on the same side of the field.

Tim Ream and Daniel Lovitz, who started at left back  don’t inspire the most confidence or excitement at left back, but perhaps a defense-first option is the way to go given the attacking instincts of all three players on the opposite side.

If Berhalter has truly settled on John Brooks and one of Aaron Long or Matt Mizaga as his starting center backs, then the USMNT heads into 2020 with a relatively stable, non-fluid situation along the backline since… maybe the 2010 World Cup.

Small victories, but victories nonetheless.

USMNT’s Yedlin talks goal, hesitant celebration for Newcastle

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Make it three unbeaten for Newcastle United, who used a goal from USMNT right back DeAndre Yedlin to upend Bournemouth 2-1 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

The American got his second Premier League goal and third in 101 appearances for the Magpies, boosting them mid-table before he joined Gregg Berhalter’s national team for two decisive CONCACAF Nations League matches.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 2-1 Bournemouth ]

Yedlin called it a “massive result,” noting that manager Steve Bruce has been after him to get more involved in the attack.

He also admitted it’s a challenge to score a goal that could be offside. To celebrate, or not celebrate?

“The gaffer told me to get into the box more, I knew I was going to shoot but I was a bit nervous when they were checking VAR. It is hard to celebrate and then get if you get caught offside you look a bit stupid but thankfully in the end it was given as a goal.”

Yedlin ended up in the back of the net after a flying header tied the score, and finished the day with three tackles, three clearances, and four of seven duels won.

Magpies come back to sour Cherries at St. James

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DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark scored to lead Newcastle United back from an early deficit, as the Magpies collected a 2-1 win over Bournemouth at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Magpies are now unbeaten in three and sit 11th with 15 points, one behind seventh place Bournemouth.

The Cherries goal came via Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson off a delightful training ground corner kick.


Three things we learned

1. Magpies defenders are attackers (again): Steve Bruce‘s Newcastle has seen seven of its last nine goals come courtesy of backs, and today it was Clark and Yedlin rewarded for following the ball to goal. Clark scored for the second-straight match while his American teammate joined Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, and Jetro Willems on the score sheets this season. In game rife with harsh tackles and seedy moves, perhaps its fitting the backs made the difference.

2. Saint-Maximin a difference maker (also, again): Newcastle’s French wing wizard was again perplexing for a Premier League defense. While he still hasn’t found the required goals of his position, his passing, dribbling, and use of space remains upper echelon in the league. If he starts firing home, look out.

3. King butchers late chance: There should’ve been a late point for the visitors, but the Cherries long time finisher didn’t finish his chance. Joshua King was at the back ahead of Dubravka, who was a bit suspect all day, but couldn’t turn his header inside the far post with mere seconds to go in stoppage time.

Man of the Match: 


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Cherries were very lively from the jump, and Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka was called into action several times before the opener.

That’s when a clever short corner routine ended with Wilson’s goal, as the Liverpool loanee darted free of Jetro Willems to side-foot a shot inside the near post.

Newcastle took a second hit when captain Jamaal Lascelles was forced off with an injury.

The Magpies, oddly enough, then found the run of play and both Jonjo Shelvey and Joelinton came close. Allan Saint-Maximin set up both players.

Saint-Maximin cooked Steve Cook to beat Aaron Ramsdale but smashed off the cross bar as the match approached the first half’s final five minutes.

That’s when the American beat the Bournemouth back line and VAR, Yedlin heading Saint-Maximin’s cross into a yawning cage from a back post position.

[ WATCH: Yedlin’s equalizer ]

Newcastle took its first lead when Willems’ back post cross was knocked down by Fernandez into the path of Clark, who just poked past Ramsdale for 2-1.

Ramsdale bailed out his backs on a 78th minute Saint-Maximin chance, catching the ball and watching Almiron miss the empty cage under duress.

The Cherries did good work to find an equalizer, but King’s late miss was a symptom of their sickness.