DeAndre Yedlin

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Yedlin nears return, hoping for October USMNT call-up

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Hindsight being 20/20, it’s easy to see that DeAndre Yedlin didn’t look right last season.

The Newcastle United and USMNT right back was not up to his standards during the 2018-19 season, and Yedlin says the injury that’s cost him the start of this season has been the culprit for a long time.

[ MORE: Neymar ban reduced ]

Yedlin, 26, went through surgery this May for a sports hernia which he says bothered him on game days for almost a year and a half.

From NUFC.co.uk:

 “It was tough, and it was a bit confusing because it would come and go. There would be months that I’d be playing with it and I’d take pain killers before the game and try to get through it, then there’d be times when it didn’t bother me at all,” he said.

“Even in warm ups, I’d be thinking ‘it’s going to be tough to make it through this game.’ Once the pain killers hit in, you can’t really feel anything anymore and then adrenalin hits in but, yeah, it’s tough. As a player you don’t want to stop and then lose your place, but you’ve also got to do what’s best for you and for the longevity of your career.

That’s not good, and both USMNT and Newcastle supporters will hope the injury was the reason behind his decline in form.

Yedlin’s stats dropped in each of his last two PL seasons. For a player whose blessed with blazing speed, a sports hernia is only going to dramatically affect performance.

He says he has been in touch with USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter.

“That’s been tough. I’ve had contact with the manager and they’re keeping updated on how I’m doing. This last international break was just a bit too soon but hopefully the next one, I’ll be ready for and hopefully I’ll have some minutes under my belt by that time, then really crack on from there.”

Where does USMNT stand after Mexico, Uruguay friendlies?

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The USMNT has wrapped up yet another international break, and questions remain about the process, direction, and future that Gregg Berhalter is building.

The ultimate goal is qualification for and performance at the 2022 World Cup, there is no debating that, but how to get there is still very much up in the air. So what did we learn from the 3-0 friendly loss to Mexico and subsequent 1-1 draw against Uruguay? The feel of the fanbase is extremely negative, especially following the pasting at the hands of the southern rivals, but it doesn’t have to be.

[ MORE: Berhalter believes USMNT on right path ]

There are plenty of questions to be answered, debates to rage, and player performances to weigh. Here is a starting point, with three very real things we learned from this past international break, observations that must be considered before Berhalter and the rest of the USMNT staff can move forward.

1) The USMNT player pool is still extremely thin and top-heavy

There is no debating that the player pool – especially at the younger end of the spectrum – is as talented as ever. Players like Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent, and Weston McKennie are proving that it is possible to produce talent that can play at the highest levels in Europe.

And yet, at a few key positions, the USMNT player pool remains absurdly thin. When we say “thin” we do not mean “bad.” What we mean by “thin” is that a few injuries in the wrong places can absolutely decimate the squad.

For example, take the full-back position. Without DeAndre Yedlin‘s availability, the right-back and left-back positions are without direction and ability. Sergino Dest and Reggie Cannon are a promising young talents with growing to do (more on that in a moment), Tyler Adams is still learning the position and clearly does not offer what he does as a midfielder, Daniel Lovitz and Nick Lima are fine players who do not inspire long-term confidence, and Tim Ream is a veteran player who offers little more than leadership.

At center-back, who’s a proven consistent option alongside John Brooks? Omar Gonzalez, Matt Miazga, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Ream all have significant downsides. Is anyone truly a reliable option?

Look further forward to the defensive midfield position, an area of the pitch that has become extremely important – and valuable – in the modern game, especially in Europe. With Michael Bradley in and out of the squad as Berhalter looks for other options, Wil Trapp has not performed at an adequate national team level, Alfredo Morales has only proven his capability in bits and pieces, Jackson Yueill is promising but at 22 years old is nearing an end to the “youngster” status, Christian Roldan offers little in defensive cover and threat, and Adams has been moved to fill another position of need.

This is not to bash all of these players mentioned above – as one or two may well prove to be a more permanent option – but to explain how much jockeying Berhalter still must do to find a deep enough squad capable of competing not only at the highest level but also to cover the inevitable injuries bound to crop up and disrupt an otherwise humming national team. Which brings us to our next point…

2) Time is running out to trust the process

Friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay serve as solid barometers for where the United States is at heading into CONCACAF Nations League play, the precursor competition to World Cup qualifying. Yet Gregg Berhalter is still experimenting, rather than piecing together a consistent squad that can grow and build together, using rare and valuable national team time learning to play cohesively together as a unit.

It’s troubling that Berhalter is still unable to separate fringe and squad players from one another, still hoping someone will stand out as a consistent performer and earn further time on the field in more high-leverage situations. The time for experimentation is generally over.

And yet, as described above, who of the fringe players have stood out enough to be trusted with more important minutes? It seems much of the negative backlash from USMNT fans of late has more to do with a worrying feeling that time is running out before World Cup qualifying – and there’s still a full 12 months before that begins. A year out and fans are feeling a time crunch – that says a lot.

Berhalter must make the tough decisions soon and stick to them – soon – so this squad can have time to come together and gel. He speaks about building a culture, and instilling his own tactical mentality and system, but the players are still too numerous and playing time is too sparse for that to take effect. Even when it comes to friendlies, results must become more important that performances sooner rather than later, or the mentality will never stick.

3) The young talent still has growing up to do, and not much time to do it

The play of Sergino Dest, Reggie Cannon, Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent, Weston McKennie, and Paxton Pomykal is promising to say the least. For these young players, many of whom have become regulars in the starting lineup and others who seem destined for that role, the sky is the limit.

They’re clearly not there yet. Dest has miles to go with regards to defensive positioning and decision-making. Sargent must become a more clinical finisher and a bigger presence when the team plays more direct. Weah – once healthy – must take the leap from quality contributor to game-changer, as Pulisic did years ago. In Berhalter’s system, McKennie at times seems lost and frustrated.

As mentioned above, there’s just 12 months to go before the World Cup qualifiers begin. While that’s an eternity in terms of player development – good news for the United States – it’s also not that long in the eyes of a national team, which only comes together every few months.  In conjunction with the previous point, these young players need every opportunity to grow together and be able to absorb Berhalter’s vision for the present and future.

Every player saddled with expectations must make the successful jump from promising young prospect to career-long contributors, and that time is nearing for this crop of talent. Some are at different stages of the process than others, but with the critical stage of the 2022 World Cup cycle nearing rapidly, the key leaps of development must be seen soon. That falls on the players to continue developing, their club coaches to help them along on a day-to-day basis, and Berhalter’s staff to give them every opportunity for success. Constant rotation and experimentation with so little time and precious minutes remaining can only go so far.

Americans Abroad: Weekend roundup

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With the Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie all underway, several current USMNT players and prospects got the first taste of their respective league’s competition. Leading the long list of players applying their skills at clubs abroad is Christian Pulisic, who made his Premier League debut in Manchester United’s 4-0 drubbing over Chelsea.

In France, Timothy Weah made his Lille debut, while in Holland several familiar faces continue to add minutes. Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — The 20-year-old came off the bench in the 58th minute, replacing Ross Barkley and making his much-anticipated Premier League debut.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — Yedlin did not feature for Steve Bruce‘s side in their opening 1-0 loss to Arsenal. The fullback continues to recover from an injury to his groin, which required surgery back in May. There’s no timeline on his return.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — Robinson started and went all 90 minutes for the Latics in their 3-0 loss to Preston North End.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old center back keeps adding valuable minutes with Reading, going for another 90 minutes in Reading’s 2-1 loss to Hull City.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain has been a mainstay in England, and it doesn’t seem things will be changing this year. Lichaj recorded another 90 minutes in Hull City’s victory this weekend.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The defender’s spell with the Rs is off to a good start two games in: 4 points, one assist and 180 minutes played.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream is back playing in the EFL Championship. On Saturday, he went the full 90 minutes in Fulham’s 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Eredivisie

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — Wright is two matchweeks into his Eredivisie career, and he’s been quite busy. After playing 90 minutes in his league debut, the forward started and played 84 minutes against Sparta Rotterdam on Friday. VVV-Venlo lost 4-1.

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Pulisic wasn’t the only American making a league debut this weekend. Dest, 18, came on as a right back for Ajax and played 36 minutes in the Dutch giants’ 5-0 win against FC Emmen. ena

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — The U-23 MNT fullback played the final eight minutes against Ajax.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Following a $11 million move to Lille from PSG this summer, Weah finally donned Lille’s crest for the first time in a league match, starting and playing 65 minutes in a 2-1 victory against Nantes.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — The Washington D.C.-born striker featured for Rennes over the weekend, going 18 minutes against Montpellier in his side’s 1-0 win.

DFB Pokal

Weston McKennie, Schalke — McKennie did not captain Schalke, but he did come off the bench and play 32 minutes against SV Drochtersen/Assel. Die Königsblauen won 5-0 against the fourth-division side.

Bobby Wood, Hamburger SV — Wood continues to see very limited action (if any). On Sunday, the striker did not play in Hamburg’s shootout win over Chemnitzer FC.

Zack Steffen, Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf Steffen and Morales are slatted to be key contributors to the Bundesliga side this upcoming season. On Saturday, both players started and played 120 minutes in a 3-1 extra-time win over FC 08 Villingen.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  The 19-year-old is getting rhythm prior to the start of the Bundesliga season, starting and going for 62 minutes in Werder Bremen’s 6-1 battering of Atlas Delmenhorst.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach Johnson is going into his sixth season with Die Fohlen. On Friday, the 31-year-old versatile player was a substitute and played 27 minutes against Sandhausen.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt Chandler made the 18 but did not play for Eintracht Frankfurt in their 5-3 win over SV Waldhof.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams, 20, was a no-go  for RB Leipzig in their 3-2 win over Vfl Osnabruck. There is no reason to bring out the red flags, however, the USMNT midfielder will be a vital piece in Julian Nagelsmann’s system.

Honorable Mentions:

Ventura Alvarado, Necaxa  Alvarado was Necaxa’s silver lining in their 3-1 loss to Tigres, scoring in the 43rd minute and contributing on both sides of the field for all 90 minutes.

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland It might be League One, but the winger bagged a goal for the Black Cats in their 1-1 draw against Ipswich. Gooch has now scored in Sunderland’s first two games of the new campaign.

USMNT’s Yedlin out of Newcastle opener, may need new scans

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Newcastle manager Steve Bruce says DeAndre Yedlin‘s recovery from surgery has taken longer than expected, meaning new signing Emil Krafth may go directly into the Starting XI against Arsenal.

[ MORE: Newcastle United season preview ]

Yedlin had surgery on his groin in May, and missed the entire summer for the USMNT. The 26-year-old was expected to feature for Newcastle by preseason, but his delayed return may have pushed the Magpies into action in the transfer market.

He has been training with the team, but has apparently needed a fresh set of scans due to slow progression. He surely won’t like the idea of opening the door to another right back.

From The Chronicle:

“DeAndre Yedlin has had an operation and hasn’t recovered, so it became clear that we needed cover in that area,” Bruce said. “(Krafth) will certainly give us that. He’s an experienced player who has been on the radar for some time. He’ll bring us the experience and know-how that any team needs.”

Krafth has only one training session in the books for Newcastle, so that may be decent news for Arsenal’s amazing array of attackers.

The comments make you wonder whether Yedlin’s issues could extend deeper into the season, perhaps putting his status in question for the Gregg Berhalter’s September call-ups.

USMNT, Newcastle defender Yedlin has surgery

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DeAndre Yedlin has had successful surgery as he battles to be fit for the U.S. men’s national team this summer.

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Yedlin, 25, missed Newcastle United’s game against Liverpool on Saturday and now it has been revealed that he flew back to the USA to have surgery on his groin.

In a statement Newcastle said that Yedlin had “undergone successful surgery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this week to repair a groin injury” and added that his recovery “will be monitored by Newcastle United and US national team medical staff, with the CONCACAF Gold Cup taking place this summer.” 

The former Seattle Sounders star has been a consistent performer for Newcastle in his third season at St James’ Park, with 28 starts in the PL this season. Javier Manquillo has pushed him hard for minutes in the right back position, but Yedlin has improved defensively under Rafael Benitez despite a few errors leading to penalty kicks and goals for opponents.

Going forward his pace offers Newcastle plenty of options out wide (his goal at Man City earlier this season proved that) and it’s safe to say Yedlin is the first-choice right back for the Magpies with his distribution in the final third improving season after season. This injury seems like one he has been carrying for a while, and with Newcastle safe from relegation a few weeks ago, now was a good time to get this sorted out.

But does it mean his place in the USMNT’s Gold Cup squad is in doubt?

Recovering from surgery aside, Yedlin has some competition at right back in the USMNT setup, with new head coach Gregg Berhalter trying out Tyler Adams in that role in recent games.

This is a big summer for Yedlin to establish himself as a veteran leader of the USMNT and he will be hoping he is fully fit for the Gold Cup which starts on June 18.