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Reims ‘keeper makes brilliant saves in 0-0 draw at Nantes

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PARIS (AP) Reims goalkeeper Edouard Mendy made a series of decisive saves to help his team to a goalless draw at Nantes in the French league on Sunday.

Reims, which gained promotion last season by securing the second-division title, played with an efficient five-man midfield that smothered most of the hosts’ attacking moves. And when Nantes managed to break through, Mendy was decisive in his goal.

In the first half, Mendy stopped a dangerous cross from Enock Kwateng in the 31st minute then pushed away efforts from Emiliano Sala and Samuel Moutoussamy.

Gabriel Boschilia came close to breaking the deadlock in the 64th minute for Nantes with a well taken free kick but Mendy made a brilliant diving save.

Still looking for a first home win this season, Nantes remains in 17th place two points behind Reims after five rounds of matches, lagging 10 points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.

USMNT player ratings from 2-0 loss to Brazil

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The United States men’s national team played out a bit of a snoozy second half against Brazil after going down 2-0 to the Selecao at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Friday.

[ RECAP: USMNT 0-2 Brazil | 3 things ]

Mission: Don’t Embarrass Yourselves was generally a success for the USMNT and interim manager Dave Sarachan, whose young bucks played well despite a lack of Christian Pulisic.

Next up for the USMNT: Mexico on Tuesday.

Starting XI

Zack Steffen — 8 — Couldn’t have done anything on the opener given the acres of space afforded Roberto Firmino, and Neymar’s penalty kick run-up is a tricky one even for a PK-stopping ace.

Antonee Robinson — 3 — The young Everton man will have a lot better days in a U.S. shirt, as he was habitually cooked by Douglas Costa for much of the night. Did play better as the match wore on.

Matt Miazga — 6 — Huge mistake in marking on the Firmino goal keeps him from getting a 7 or maybe even an 8. Having a solid early campaign in Ligue 1, too.

John Brooks — 7 — The United States’ best defender, unsurprisingly, was the United States’ best defender. Didn’t have his towering header game in-form, or would’ve bagged a goal.

DeAndre Yedlin — 6 — If anyone had been prepared for this match by their early season, it was Yedlin. The Seattle Sounders export has faced Spurs, Chelsea, and Man City already this season. Forgivably worked over a few times by Neymar, he also chipped in the viral moment of the evening and should probably be upped to a 7 for it.

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Wil Trapp  — 6 — Pretty good set piece service, and was fooled on the penalty when Fabinho felt his arm on the side and hit the deck like he saw a gold brick.

Julian Green (Off 55′) — 5 — Struggled to make any sort of impact despite some decent energy going forward at left mid. To be fair, left mid against Brazil isn’t his bag. Left wing against Costa Rica would be another story.

Weston McKennie (Off 82′) — 8 — Would’ve cemented his U.S. Man of the Match credentials had he got more than a glance of purchase on a late sliding bid to turn a free kick past Alisson. His finish is the only thing missing from his game, and he was not overwhelmed in several tussles with Casemiro.

Tyler Adams (Off 82′) — 5 — Average, although if you’d like to up his score given the competition and his age (19), you’d be justified.

Paul Arriola (Off 55′) — 4 — Less than ideal performance typified by a wildly overhit cross from the right side.

Bobby Wood (Off 70′) — 5 — Starved of possession for most of the match, as expected, failed to make much of an impact on the proceedings.

Substitutes

Kellyn Acosta (On 55′) — 5.5 — Just fine. Looking forward to seeing him play in a match without as much defensive responsibility (though that’s kind of his thing).

Tim Weah (On 55′) — 6.5 — Had enough moments for me to break my “no half point” rule. Good energy, effort, and commitment from the PSG man.

Gyasi Zardes (On 70′) — 5 — Wasn’t really noticeable, but was good to see the long-struggling striker get back in the U.S. fold.

Marky Delgado (On 83′) — N/A

Cristian Roldan (On 83′) — N/A

USMNT’s Matt Miazga joins Nantes on loan

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USMNT and Chelsea center back Matt Miazga has joined Ligue 1 side Nantes on loan for the 2018/19 campaign.

Miazga, 23, has spent the past two seasons on loan at Chelsea’s partner club Vitesse Arnhem in the Dutch top-flight, and after standout displays in Holland (where he won the Dutch cup in 2016/17) and for the U.S. national team over the summer, Miazga was courted by several teams.

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He appeared set to join another Ligue 1 side, Cannes, on loan, but Nantes swooped for the New York Red Bulls product and they have the option to buy him permanently at the end of this season.

Is this a good move for Miazga?

You have to say that it is step up for the young defender and he will be tested by the big boys in France’s top-flight such as PSG, Lyon, Monaco and Marseille. He will get the chance to compete for a starting spot at Nantes but it could take him some time to break into their first team.

Nantes is coming off the back of a top 10 finish in Ligue 1 last season as they were ninth in the table under Claudio Ranieri but over the summer the Italian boss left and Portuguese coach Miguel Cardoso has arrived.

As for his time at Chelsea, he made just two appearances back in 2015/16 when Gus Hiddink was in charge on an interim basis and he isn’t in Maurizio Sarri’s plans at Stamford Bridge. At this stage of his career the composed center back needs to play regularly at the highest level possible and a move to Ligue 1 certainly offers him the chance to do that.

After his fellow USMNT teammate Alejandro Bedoya, Miazga becomes just the second American to play for the Canaries.

Nantes confirms coach Claudio Ranieri’s departure

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NANTES, France (AP) Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri is leaving the French club at the end of the season.

Ranieri confirmed his departure on Thursday, a day after club president Waldemar Kita said the Italian manager would be in charge of his final game this Saturday against Strasbourg.

[MORE: U.S. Open Cup wrap]

In a statement released by Nantes, Kita thanked Ranieri and his staff for “all the work done this season. We wish them a lot of success in their future projects.”

The 66-year-old Ranieri was appointed last June on a two-year deal following the surprise departure of fans’ favorite, Sergio Conceicao.

After challenging for European qualification this season, Nantes has been in poor form in recent weeks, winning just one of its past eight league matches. The club is in 10th place.

“I want to thank the president because he offered me the chance to come to Nantes and to return to the French league,” Rannieri said.

He coached in the league from 2012-14, when he won the League 2 title with Monaco then led the Principality side to a runner-up finish in the topflight.

Ranieri, who guided Leicester to a stunning English Premier League title triumph in 2016, has also coached Juventus, Roma and Inter Milan in his much-traveled career. Ha has been in charge of other Italian sides as well as Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.

“I want to thank my players because the first half of the championship was wonderful, although the second part was more difficult,” Ranieri said. “They gave everything, it really matters to me.”

Ref suspended for kick at player: “Clumsy gesture was inappropriate”

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Ligue 1 referee Tony Chapron has been suspended from work and has apologized after kicking out at a player who knocked him over on Sunday.

Chapron was knocked to the turf by Diego Carlos in Nantes’ match against Paris Saint-Germain. The referee then sent Carlos off via a second yellow card.

He’s been suspended “until further notice” as a Nantes player has called for a 10-match ban.

[ PL PLAYBACK: Man City blueprint, Alexis, VAR, relegation ]

Chapron, for his part, admits he made a pretty significant mistake.

The incident baffled Nantes boss Claudio Ranieri, who said he’d “never seen anything like it. I am sure you haven’t either. I do not know what happened. … What I do know is that I could not have one of my players in the closing minutes and, more seriously, that he will be suspended for the next match. But why? Why?”

The red card, to no one’s surprise, will not come with a suspension.