Matt Miazga

WATCH: USMNT’s Miazga scores at the death, reacts

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American defender Matt Miazga had a moment some players don’t get in their entire careers on Saturday, as the Chelsea loanee buried a stoppage time winner for hosts Reading against Preston North End in the Football League Championship on Sunday.

Miazga, 24, slammed a rebound near post in the eighth minute of stoppage to boost the Royals out of the relegation zone.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch  | Sargent scores ]

He leapt over the barriers to celebrate with the home support.

“It was the first time in my career that’s happened, so I didn’t know what to do,” Miazga said. “I ran into the crowd. It was an exhilarating feeling.”

“We were actually telling Jordan, ‘Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!’ but he put a great shot on, the keeper parried it away to the side and it fell to me,” he said. “At that point it’s instinct, just get it on target. I’m very happy and obviously it showed in the celebrations with me and the team.”

The Man of the Match center back was on the right side of a 3-5-2. He’s consistently rated as one of Reading’s best players during his two loan spells there, but this was his first goal as a Royal.

Miazga did not play for Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT against Canada on Tuesday, four days after going 90 minutes against Cuba in a 7-0 win.

USMNT continues progression into CONCACAF Nations League

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We’re closing in on ten months with Gregg Berhalter in charge of the U.S. Men’s National Team, and despite all of the results in that time span, give credit to Berhalter for one thing. He’s sticking to his plan.

Berhalter and a young USMNT (with an average age of just 25) open up the CONCACAF Nations League on Friday by hosting Cuba in Washington D.C. at 7:00 p.m. Based on the roster he called up, Berhalter plans to continue drilling his tactical and playing style ideas into his players heads until it becomes second nature. 20 players from the now-25-man squad were in his September camp and per U.S. Soccer, 24 of the 25 players have seen time for the USMNT this calendar year.

[READ: Pulisic details his journey so far]

While the Nations League is a competitive match on paper, there isn’t a whole lot that the U.S. can take away from a game against Cuba at home. All fans and the USMNT coaching staff would see individual performances and how the team performed at executing a gameplan.

It’s this gameplan, along with some of the young stars taking part, that will be most interesting to watch.

With Steffan starting again in goal, Cuba should provide more space or at least a better chance for the USMNT to play out of the box and start the buildup play early. From there, we can see players like Matt Miazga grow some confidence with good passes out of the back into the midfield or the long diagonal pass to the wingers in space.

It’s unclear whether Berhalter will start Bradley, his preferred No. 6, or save him for the game against Canada at his home stadium, BMO Field, on Tuesday. If not, it could be another cap for Jackson Yueill to show off his range of passing and keep the ball moving from side to side.

Speaking of wingers from before, it’s been a roller coaster of a last few months for Tyler Boyd. He completed his one-time switch to join the USMNT, started a few games and even scored in the early Gold Cup match against Guyana. But then he lost his national team starting spot to Jordan Morris, who’s had a terrific second half of the MLS season with Seattle, and Boyd has also struggled with his new club, Besiktas. He has just one start in all competitions since the beginning of September. He didn’t even make it off the bench in Besiktas’ 1-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the UEFA Europa League last week.

And yet, Berhalter has committed to Boyd and is willing to call him in, whether he’s in form or not. So the match against Cuba could be another chance for Boyd to show what he’s all about.

Somewhat similarly is Christian Pulisic. Everyone has watched as he started the season well but has found playing time hard to get. Even so, when he’s played he’s had an impact, as was seen last weekend in his 15-minute substitute appearance for Chelsea when he set up a goal. Clearly, even if he’s out of form, he is still the best attacking talent the USMNT has and will always be given a chance by Berhalter.

Lastly, there’s the striker position. It was announced earlier that with Jozy Altidore out injured again – missing his second straight USMNT camp, though last time was not injury related – 19-year-old forward Joshua Sargent would start up top against Cuba. This could be a changing of the guard, with Sargent preferred over Gyasi Zardes as Altidore’s backup with the USMNT. Or, it could have been the plan all along to play Sargent against Cuba and Zardes against Canada. We’ll see.

In any case, with Sargent getting starts for Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga, the Cuba match could be his chance to become a household name for many. It’s his first senior international game in a competitive tournament, and his hold up play, the way he reads the game and ability to play off the back shoulder of the centerbacks could lead to a goal or two on the night.

Ultimately, Friday’s test with Cuba will be a study in how this squad continues to absorb and understand Berhalter’s style of play, as he looks to prepare his team ultimately for the start of World Cup qualifying in September 2020.

Matt Miagza injured early in Reading win over Huddersfield

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Reading topped Huddersfield Town 2-0 on Saturday at John Smith’s Stadium, but for USMNT fans it was a net loss on the day as Matt Miagza came off injured just 10 minutes in, leaving the defender’s status in question less than two weeks before the upcoming friendlies.

Miazga was withdrawn after pulling up lame, with live reports claiming it appeared to be a hamstring problem, although nothing has been confirmed yet.

The potential injury blow is a big one to Gregg Berhalter with friendlies against Mexico and Paraguay coming up in early September before Nations League play starts in mid-October. Should Miazga confirm a strained hamstring, he would likely miss only the friendlies, while a more significant tear could leave his status for the first two Nations League group stage matches against Canada and Cuba in jeopardy as well.

The USMNT has struggled for consistency at center-back lately, with an injury to John Brooks leaving him out of action for the entire summer and the likes of Tim Ream, Aaron Long, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Walker Zimmerman filling in to mixed success.

With Miazga’s injury, Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson could see his way into the the USMNT squad as Berhalter looks for options. The Syracuse product has yet to earn his first international cap but has been mentioned occasionally as possibly in the mix. Brooks has since recovered from his summer knee problem, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in Wolfsburg’s 2-1 win over Koln to open the Bundesliga season last Saturday.

Americans Abroad: Championship and 2.Bundesliga primer

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Plenty of focus over the next few weeks will be given to the many Americans playing in the Premier League and Bundesliga, but the seasons of several USMNT prospects, alumni, or current players in the lower levels are already underway.

[ MORE: Messi suspended ]

We already showed you Julian Green’s terrific goal for 2.Bundesliga side Gruether Furth on Friday. Here is a list of several other Yanks to monitor this season in Europe.

English Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — The Latics purchased Robinson from Everton, and USMNT fans will be hoping the left back continues to grow with full-time duty in England’s second tier.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — Reading also liked what it saw from the gumption-filled American center back, and Frank Lampard has shipped the former New York Red Bull out for a second stint.

Andrija Novakovich, Reading — A loan stint in the Eredivisie saw goals in bunches, but some cold streaks. Can he earn regular playing time at his parent club?

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain has been a mainstay in England, and has performed well when called upon by the national team. He just hasn’t been called too often.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The longtime Stoke City man just signed a deal to return to the R’s.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Will the creative midfielder rebound from his summer injury to impress new manager Phillip Cocu.

Tim Ream, Fulham — The longtime defender is back with the Cottagers following relegation to the second tier.

Luca De La Torre, Fulham — At 21, he’ll have a chance to impress Scott Parker. Relegation was good to the young center midfielder.

Also of note: Cameron Carter-Vickers is currently with Spurs, as he’s yet to play in preseason due to injury. He’s been linked with a loan to Leeds United after spending last season on loan to Swansea City and Ipswich Town. There’s also Lynden Gooch at Sunderland, still in League One after failing in a bid to reclaim a place in the Championship. Gboly Ariyibi of Nottingham Forest is reportedly wanted by Motherwell after a loan stint there last season. QPR’s Giles Phillips has been loaned to League One’s Wycombe Wanderers.

2.Bundesliga

Green, Greuther Furth — In addition to Friday’s goal, he’s gone 90 in both of Furth’s matches so far this season.

Khiry Shelton, Paderborn — He’s yet to appear in a match through two matches this season, but made two sub appearances last season.

Kevin Lankford, FC St. Pauli — The 20-year-old left winger is yet to appear for FCSP through two weeks.

Bobby Wood, Hamburg — The same is true for Wood, who went on loan to Hannover 96 last season.

There are several other dual nationals, like Ken Gipson of Sandhausen, but they are not yet on the USMNT radar.

LIVE! USMNT meets Jamaica in friendly

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The kids are getting another chance to leave an impression on Gregg Berhalter, with one player making his full debut in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. ET kickoff against Jamaica.

[ FOLLOW: USMNT v. Jamaica ]

San Jose’s Jackson Yueill will be in the midfield for his first cap, working with Wil Trapp, Cristian Roldan, Paul Arriola, and Djordje Mihailovic.

Josh Sargent is up top, while the back line consists of Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Miazga, and Antonee Robinson in front of Zack Steffen.

The USMNT will play Venezuela on Sunday before opening its Gold Cup campaign with Guyana on Tuesday.