Friendly

Player ratings: Stars and flops for the USMNT in 1-1 draw at Switzerland

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A Jozy Altidore red card, the type you don’t normally see given in friendlies, forced the United States men’s national team to try in vain to keep Switzerland from canceling out Brek Shea’s first-half free kick goal in a 1-1 draw in Zurich on Tuesday.

How did each Yank fare on the day? Some were very good (John Anthony Brooks, Ale Bedoya), while some struggled a great deal. The States again allowed a second-half goal, though this one feels much different than the previous friendly failures.

[ MATCH RECAP: Switzerland 1-1 USMNT ]

Without further ado, let’s go!

U.S. player ratings (out of 10)

Nick Rimando – 6

Didn’t have much to do, which always gives the “player rater” a problem assigning a number.

Brek Shea — 8

His free kick goal was a splendid (WATCH HERE), dipping ball that traced the top of the Swiss wall and ducked into the goal. Shea has a big, big body and good physical skills, and he’s looked better and better as a back. It’s an experiment worth continuing for sure. #brekfeast

John Anthony Brooks — 8

More and more impressed by the young Hertha Berlin man, and would love to see him alongside Geoff Cameron or Omar Gonzalez sometime soon (Matt Hedges?). One potentially big poor clearance late, but it came right back to him.

Michael Orozco — 6

Don’t have much to say about his performance, which is pretty decent considering the USMNT allowed zero goals in his 45 minutes.

Timmy Chandler — 5

His crosses are marvelous. We knew that. Still waiting to see a consistent defensive effort, or at least a match where he doesn’t commit a gaffe in his own end.

Danny Williams — 6

Solid, if unspectacular, and a big part of helping Bradley close down the Swiss through the middle. Good return to the pitch for the Reading midfielder.

Michael Bradley — 5

Likely among the poorer USMNT offensive performances in his distinguished career, but don’t let the two missed sitters take away from the lack of chances for Switzerland in the engine room.

[ MORE: Brek Shea’s good-looking free kick goal ]

source: Getty ImagesAlejandro Bedoya — 9

He was absolutely magical in the first half, more of what we expected from Klinsmann giving more license to the Nantes man. Bedoya moved well with and without the ball, and showed good creativity.

Alfredo Morales — 4

For 60 minutes, he had his longest stretch of solid play in a U.S. kit. He still looked shaky, though, and it’s hard to imagine the 24-year-old featuring on a full-strength roster any time soon. Kasami abused either him or Ventura Alvarado for a free header that should’ve been a goal in the 76th minute, then he clearly woofed a headed clearance on the equalizer.

Gyasi Zardes — 5

There was a moment in the 65th minute that shows why the 23-year-old could do well to move to Europe. Made a scything run down the left and cut inside with a touch that would’ve allowed him a strike in Major League Soccer. Against Switzerland, it was gobbled up. Chance over. But he did yeoman’s work as the lone man up top after Altidore’s red card, grinding out consistent pressure when the ball did reach the Swiss backs or keeper.

Jozy Altidore — 4 (7 minus 3 for red card)

Before his double yellow for a poor tackle and protest to the referee put the States down a man, Altidore was strong. That doesn’t excuse his condemning his side when a result meant all the difference in the world, especially for a silly “bleep you” or “bleep off” to a referee. Needless. What if it was in a big match?

Maybe he’s a guy who just feels more comfortable for country than he did at Sunderland, but the big man was a presence in both games. He’s looking more and more like the player the USMNT missed at World Cup.

Subs

William Yarbrough (halftime) — 6

Bailed out Chandler on some poor touches, and probably would’ve liked to get a piece of the goal (though Stocker was left point blank). Also liked his positioning on Kasami’s free header, as he had a good chance to make the save if the former Fulham man didn’t botch the job. Decent first cap in a tough spot.

Ventura Alvarado (halftime) — 5

It was either Alvarado or Morales who missed Kasami on the free header. Otherwise wasn’t poor.

DeAndre Yedlin (77′) — 5

Collided with Morales on the equalizer, but it was the Ingolstadt man who ducked out of the way of Yedlin’s clear.

Tim Ream (89′) — N/A

Jordan Morris (89) — N/A

Pro-Palestinian protestors attack Israeli players on pitch in Austria

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War knows few boundaries, and a select group of Pro-Palestinian protestors ignored both the physical and metaphorical lines of sport when they attacked players from the strong Israeli club Maccabi Haifa during a Wednesday friendly against Lille in Austria.

As evidenced by the photo at right and video below, it went well beyond a symbolic pitch invasion. Thirty-year-old Israeli international defender Eyal Meshumar took a kick to the chest.

[ RELATED: Israel sides banned from hosting European matches ]

The Daily Mail posted a number of surreal photos from the event, and some awful claims are coming out of Europe:

From the Jerusalem Post:

Maccabi Haifa’s pre-season match against French club Lille in Austria had to be abandoned in the 85th minute on Wednesday after pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the pitch and confronted the players.

Punches and profanities were exchanged between the handful of youngsters, who waved Palestinian and Turkish flags throughout the match, and the Haifa players, who were mainly stunned by the scenes.

The security stewards on hand were slow to react, but ultimately the situation calmed down, with several of the protesters being escorted out of the stadium and the Haifa players leaving the pitch unscathed.

The contentious issues in Israel continue to boil over into other parts of the world, and here’s some background from the BBC:

Israel launched a military offensive on 8 July, with the declared objective of stopping rocket fire from Gaza.

At least 649 Palestinians and 32 Israeli soldiers, plus three Israeli civilians, have been killed in the past 15 days of fighting, officials say.

Separately on Wednesday, a court in France jailed three men for rioting after a pro-Palestinian rally in a mixed suburb of Paris degenerated into anti-Semitic violence.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence, which erupted at a protest over Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Here’s how people watching the friendly at home saw the incident:

Report: USMNT will head to Dublin to face Ireland in November friendly

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A report in Ireland’s The Independent says the United States will head to Ireland for a November friendly.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s men have a Sept. 3 friendly set up in the Czech Republic, and this report gives the Yanks a second European trip on Nov. 18.

The match against the Republic of Ireland is reportedly set for Dublin.

The match would be the first between the two nations since a 2002 friendly that saw the Boys in Green defeat the US 2-1 (The goal scorer? How about Eddie Pope?).

From The Independent:

Ranked 13th in the world, the visitors are likely to include English Premier League stars Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Geoff Cameron, as well as Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, in their squad.

This will be the ninth time the nations have met and the first occasion since April 2002, when Ireland won 2-1.

Martin O’Neill’s Irish will welcome the Americans just four days after their Euro 2016 qualifier in Scotland. They open their campaign in Tbilisi against Georgia on September 7.

The Yanks last win against Ireland came in 1996, and Ireland boasts a 3-2-2 record in the series. The Irish are ranked 70th in the world, 36 spots behind the Czechs and 57 behind the States.

Green, Bradley among those named to roster for USMNT friendly versus Mexico

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Jurgen Klinsmann has released his roster for the upcoming April 2 friendly against Mexico in Arizona, and newly-minted USMNT member Julian Green is among an otherwise MLS-heavy  group of players coming to Glendale to play El Tri.

Bayern Munich’s Green is joined in the forward ranks by Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson, while the midfield has Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Brad Davis, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Luis Gil and Graham Zusi.

There are eight listed defenders making the trip: DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Michael Parkhurst and DeAndre Yedlin.

The goalkeepers are Bill Hamid of DC United, Sean Johnson of the Chicago Fire and Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake.

Aside from Green, only Orozco and Beasley — both of Liga MX’s Puebla — are competing outside of MLS.

From USSoccer.com:

“Everyone knows the clock is ticking,” said Klinsmann. “This is a huge opportunity for our players to show where they are at and to make their case. We expect them to give a really strong performance against a Mexican team that is now basically coming back on track. They need to prove now that they badly want to go to Brazil.”

The USMNT is 2-0 in Glendale, with wins over Mexico and Venezuela.

US Soccer confirms USMNT headed to Czech Republic for September friendly

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Who’s thinking post-World Cup? Well, teams that aren’t going to World Cup, obviously.

The Football Association of Czech Republic announced it’ll be hosting the United States for a friendly on Sept. 3 as the European nation gets ready for 2016 Euro qualifying. US Soccer confirmed the date via Twitter and promised details to follow.

From the Associated Press:

Czech Republic coach Pavel Vrba said he chose to play the U.S. because of the team’s attacking style under coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Vrba said “we will be tested by an offensive opponent who wants to attack. We expect from them a similar style as the Netherlands.”

The Czechs are 2-0 against the States all-time, including the 3-0 beating at the 2006 World Cup, with Arsenal star Tomas Rosicky scoring a brace. How long has Rosicky been a Gunner? He had just signed a deal with Arsenal weeks before the game, and is now the 33-year-old captain of the team.

The Czechs finished third to Italy and Denmark in UEFA Group B during qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.