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U.S. players in the 2017-18 Premier League

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This post used to be more fun.

[ RECAP: Villa 0-0 (1-0 agg.) Boro ]

The United States only had three players hit Premier League pitches for more than a single match this season, and only two Americans are alive for promotion from the Championship (though well-traveled goalkeeper Chris Konopka signed a short-term deal late in Cardiff City’s promotion campaign).

Geoff Cameron
Stoke City

The soon-to-be 33-year-old had to be frustrated when his return from a concussion ended up with a stint on the bench under new coach Paul Lambert that cost him a chance to keep the Potters in the Premier League. Cameron played 20 league matches and one FA Cup match, spending time at center back, center mid, right back, and even a little more advanced as a right mid. Stoke was 3W-6D-8L when Cameron did not play, about the same pace as when he was available, but it notably earned points in four of six matches where he featured at center back (2-2-2). It seems likely he’ll move on this summer.

Cameron Carter-Vickers
Tottenham Hotspur

Went on loan to Sheffield United and then Ipswich Town, where he played regularly at center back. Still doesn’t seem on track to get in Mauricio Pochettino‘s mix, and another loan or permanent transfer feels on the horizon.

Emerson Hyndman
Bournemouth

The 22-year-old center mid played just four times in all comps for the Cherries, but Eddie Howe handed him a start in Bournemouth’s season finale. The Cherries won 2-1, though both goals came after he left the match. A candidate for transfer or loan next season.

Antonee Robinson
Everton

Went on loan to Bolton, where he managed four assists in substantial time at left back and left mid as the Trotters survived in the Championship. One of the great hopes to solve the long-held American need at left back.

Danny Williams
Huddersfield Town

There was a third very impactful American in the Premier League this year, and Huddersfield Town will be thankful that David Wagner brought fellow German-American international Williams to Town.

The 29-year-old played 20 league games and three Cup games with the Terriers, and was noticeably strong in his first season of top flight English football. Granted two of the wins came in substitute appearances, one at right back, but the center mid was good.

Terriers w/ Williams:  7W-5D-10L
Terriers w/o Williams: 2W-5D-9L

DeAndre Yedlin
Newcastle United

Soon to be 25, Yedlin had a strong return to the Premier League. The right back picked up two assists in 34 matches as Rafa Benitez really improved the American’s defensive acumen. Benitez would probably like to bring in better competition for Yedlin at right back, but the former Seattle Sounder should have every opportunity to continue to play a sizable role at St. James’ Park.

Elsewhere in England
Mix Diskerud – Man City (on loan at Goteborg)
Luca de la Torre – Fulham
Lynden Gooch – Sunderland
Duane Holmes – Scunthorpe United
Eric Lichaj – Nottingham Forest
Brendan Moore – Rochdale
Tim Ream – Fulham
Gedion Zelalem – Arsenal

So… how could the USMNT line up at its next tournament?

Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
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The United States men’s national team has one goal over the next 18 months since they decided to take a break from their regular World Cup participation.

That goal? Qualify for the 2021 Confederations Cup in Qatar*.

[ MORE: Mourinho rips forwards ]

(Insert next full-time coach’s name here)’s Yanks have not one but two paths to that appetizer for the 2022 World Cup. As the 2016 Gold Cup champions, they’ve guaranteed at worst a place in the 2020 CONCACAF Cup against the 2019 Gold Cup winner.

Or, and follow me here, they could win the 2019 Gold Cup and eliminate such a CONCACAF Cup.

Being CONCACAF, any number of things could happen during the tournament, but we learned something when the U.S. was not invited to the 2019 Copa America: Without a second tournament, Mexico, the U.S., Costa Rica, and friends will have access to their A-plus group of players should they desire to treat the competition seriously.

For the United States and (insert next full-time coach’s name here), it would be embarrassing to do anything less in the run-up to the return of World Cup qualifying the following Fall (though an expanded field could make qualifying for that tournament much closer to “just show up for a third of your games.”).

What will the United States’ top lineup look like come next summer? Well, the next 10-12 friendlies will tell us something, but plenty is up in the air. Assuming health, there are very few certainties in the group. Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, DeAndre Yedlin, and John Brooks are going and probably starting; Matt Miazga and Tyler Adams also seem close to locks.

Player pool (Ages come June 2019 in parenthesis)

Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (28), Zack Steffen (24), Alex Bono (25), Jesse Gonzalez (24), Ethan Horvath (24), Jonathan Klinsmann (22), Matt Turner (24).

Defenders: Brooks (26), Yedlin (25), Miazga (23), Shaq Moore (22), Cameron Carter-Vickers (21), Erik Palmer-Brown (22), Auston Trusty (20), Tim Parker (26), Walker Zimmerman (26), Danilo Acosta (21), Geoff Cameron (33), Steve Birnbaum (28), Timmy Chandler (29), Justen Glad (22), Ben Sweat (28), Nick Lima (24), Reggie Cannon (20), Antonee Robinson (21), Aaron Long (26), Keegan Rosenberry (25).

Midfielders: Adams (20), McKennie (20), Marky Delgado (24), Kenny Saief (25), Michael Bradley (31), Paul Arriola (24), Sean Davis (26), Jacori Hayes (23), Brooks Lennon (21), Cristian Roldan (24), Darlington Nagbe (28), Wil Trapp (26), Lynden Gooch (23), Danny Williams (30), Kellyn Acosta (23), Kelyn Rowe (27), Andrew Carleton (18), Luca de la Torre (21), Ale Bedoya (32), Sebastian Lletget (26).

Forwards: Pulisic (20), Tim Weah (19), Bobby Wood (26), Andrija Novakovich (22), Gyasi Zardes (27), Jordan Morris (24), Josh Sargent (19), Jozy Altidore (29), Clint Dempsey (36), Aron Johannsson (28), Terrence Boyd (28), Juan Agudelo (28).

Pick your 23. Here’s our best guess — GK: Steffen, Horvath, Klinsmann. DEF: Brooks, Miazga, Carter-Vickers, Cameron, Chandler, Yedlin, Moore, Robinson. MID: Adams, McKennie, Delgado, Bradley, Roldan, Williams, K. Acosta, Saief. FWD: Pulisic, Wood, Altidore, Sargent.

And an XI: I think the captain Bradley is going to have to play his way out of his job at CM (unless his TFC transition to CB become full-time), so we won’t always see McKennie and Adams together is the center of the park. Robinson gets the left back gig unless Danilo Acosta makes great strides or the new coach thinks he can play Moore or Nick Lima on the other side of the pitch. We’ll go hybrid 4-3-3/4-5-1, though Pulisic could well get every chance to be a No. 10 (and who knows where he’ll be playing next season in club ball).

Steffen

Yedlin — Brooks — Miazga — Robinson

McKennie — Bradley — Adams

Pulisic — Altidore — Saief

*-They still could move the 2021 Confederations Cup and 2022 World Cup from Qatar. It’s really not too late.

Newcastle comes back to top Arsenal

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  • Lacazette scores early
  • Perez levels, assists winner
  • Slimani impacts off bench

Matt Ritchie‘s second half goal helped Newcastle United to a 2-1 comeback win over Arsenal at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

Alexandre Lacazette and Ayoze Perez traded first half goals as Newcastle stayed unbeaten at home in 2018.

The 10th place Magpies now have 41 points, 13 clear of relegation with five to play.

Arsenal remains sixth with 54 points.

Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were among the Arsenal players rested after completing its defeat of CSKA Moscow in Europa League play on Thursday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Though Newcastle was on the front foot, with Kenedy forcing an early save out of Petr Cech, the Gunners went ahead when Lacazette feasted off the work of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka stopped to collect an Alex Iwobi effort in the 20th minute as the Gunners grew further into the control.

Newcastle went level through Perez, who flicked DeAndre Yedlin‘s cross past Cech as the match reached the half hour mark.

Arsenal quickly regained control, and probably should’ve been ahead on multiple occasions including a point-blank miss by debutant Joe Willock.

Ritchie put Newcastle ahead in the 69th minute, with substitute Islam Slimani winning a header that Perez nudged to the Scot.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

WATCH: USMNT’s Yedlin assists for Newcastle; Auba to Laca for Arsenal

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Alexandre Lacazette and Ayoze Perez have traded first half goals as St. James’ Park as Newcastle United aims to stay unbeaten at home in 2018.

[ STREAM: Newcastle-Arsenal ]

Though Newcastle was on the front foot, with Kenedy forcing an early save out of Petr Cech, the Gunners went ahead when Lacazette feasted off the work of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka stopped to collect an Alex Iwobi effort in the 20th minute as the Gunners grew further into the control.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Newcastle United 1-0 Huddersfield: Dominant Magpies break through

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  • Magpies miss myriad chances before Perez finishes late
  • Town remains in relegation trouble
  • Magpies’ third-straight home shutout

Ayoze Perez’s late goal sent Newcastle United seven points clear of the drop zone with a 1-0 win over visiting Huddersfield Town at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Town is just three points clear of the drop after the win, with David Wagner‘s men outclassed aside from a late push.

Chelsea loanee Kenedy now has two goals and two assists in seven matches for Rafa Benitez.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Town’s Aaron Mooy gave away a dangerous set piece and picked up a yellow card for a two-footed takedown of Ayoze Perez, and Newcastle presided over a 25-yard free kick just left of center. Jonjo Shelvey‘s effort was partially blocked by the wall.

The Magpies were buzzing, with Dwight Gayle having a bicycle kick blocked and Shelvey just missing the far post with his rebound bid.

Jonas Lossl slid to deny Matt Ritchie in the 16th minute, the visitors alive despite the early frenzy.

Shelvey used a quick free start to send Gayle 1v1 with Lossl, but the English striker’s cheeky chip was wayward. And Gayle lifted a DeAndre Yedlin cross over the bar in the 33rd. Messy.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

There was more Newcastle as the second half began, and the hard-tackling Magpies had the Terriers on the ground a few times over the first five minutes.

Newcastle was finally rewarded, with substitutes Christian Atsu and Islam Slimani (on debut) making an impact. Perez found Atsu on the right, and Slimani challenged Lossl for the cross before the ball fell to Kenedy. The Brazilian squared the ball to Perez for the finish.

Slimani won an 85th minute free kick, and Shelvey rocketed it over the bar.