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Player ratings: The good & the bad in USMNT’s loss to Colombia

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The U.S. men’s national team could do very little to slow down a star-studded, powerful Colombia side on Thursday, falling to a 4-2 defeat in Tampa, Fla.

There were a handful of good things to glean from the friendly, as well as plenty of bad things.

[ MORE: USMNT can do little to slow down prolific Colombia ]

GK – Zack Steffen: 5.5/10 — Steffen had no chance to do anything with three of the four goals conceded, given the quality of chances and finishes, but he was quick off his line on multiple occasions early in the game when Colombia could have blown it wide open and put up a crooked number.

RB – DeAndre Yedlin: 5/10 — The entire point of a player with Yedlin’s skill set is that he can bomb forward to overlap on the right wing and open up space for the attacker on that side of the field. Colombia simply had too much firepower, which pinned Yedlin back far too much for him to be effective.

CB – Matt Miazga: 5/10 — Similar to Yedlin, Miazga is at his best when he’s affecting the game further up the field — only in a defensive manner. Again, Colombia turned Miazga into an emergency defender running toward his own goal, which is far from his strong suit.

CB – John Brooks: 4.5/10 — Colombia repeatedly targeted the left side of the USMNT defense — and for good reason — which meant Antonee Robinson got roasted again and again (more on that in a moment). Brooks, the “veteran of the backline” at 25 years old and 34 caps, did very little — if anything — to remedy the situation.

LB – Antonee Robinson: 4/10 — Robinson had been a mostly encouraging piece for the future in his limited exposure with the USMNT. Tasked with defending one of James Rodriguez or Juan Cuadrado at all times — and the overlapping Santiago Arias, the 21-year-old struggled mightily. It’s almost as if he’d never played against anyone who’s been a star at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from USMNT’s loss to Colombia ]

DM – Michael Bradley: 5.5/10 — Back with the USMNT for the first time in a year — and wearing the armband — Bradley was finally deployed in a situation that works for him: as a no. 6, with a no. 8, who’s actually a no. 8, alongside him. However, Bradley’s effort on Colombia’s third goal stuck out as sorely lacking, which won’t have done him any favors in the minds of his many skeptics.

DM – Kellyn Acosta: 6.5/10 — Acosta scored a goal and was extremely active, but outside of his 50th-minute equalizer he could impact very little a game that was played at an uncomfortably high tempo.

RW – Tim Weah: 7.5/10 — With Christian Pulisic not in camp due to injury, all eyes were on Weah, and a standout performance was expected — and desperately needed — from the 18-year-old. His assist to Bobby Wood in the 53rd minute certainly stood out and showcased a part of his game that’s far more important — and yet unknown: vision, seeing the perfect pass and playing the pass.

CM – Julian Green: 6/10 — Green is 23 years old, and somehow it feels like he’s enjoying a career renaissance as a central midfielder. It was Green who forcefully won the ball back in the lead-up to Acosta’s goal, and it was Green — not Bradley or Acosta — who was most effective with his final-third passing.

LW – Kenny Saief: 4/10 — Speaking of players who did little nothing to help Robinson in his struggles, Saief offered nothing defensively. It was such a problem that Dave Sarachan flipped Saief and Weah at halftime.

FW – Bobby Wood: 6/10 — Wood scored a goal, which is a big part of a forward’s job, but did very little else during his 83-minute shift. The goal was a result of his straight-line speed as he outran a pair of defenders — we knew he could do that already, but is there anything else to his game?

Two USMNT players on shortlist for Golden Boy award

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The 40-man (boy) shortlist for the prestigious Golden Boy award has been announced and two U.S. national team players have made it.

Kylian Mbappe (who was named Golden Boy in 2017 and would become the first-ever player to win it twice) is the favorite to win the award dished out by Italian newspaper Tuttosport since 2003, as they crown the best player under the age of 21 in European soccer.

USMNT star Christian Pulisic once again makes the list and after his fine start to the season for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, the 20-year-old from Pennsylvania will be up there with the top contenders.

Pulisic’s teammate with the USMNT, Tim Weah, has also made the list as the 18-year-old has scored once in five appearances for the Stars and Stripes and has also become a regular squad member for PSG, scoring twice in three appearances for the French champions this season.

Having two U.S. players on this list after breaking through at two of Europe’s biggest clubs is certainly something to get excited about.

From a Premier League perspective, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Manchester City’s Phil Foden are also on the shortlist, as are Everton’s Tom Davies and Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot.

Below is the shortlist in full (see what we did there?), as you can vote for the elite youngsters in Europe here.


Shortlist for 2018 Golden Boy award

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Kelvin Adou Amian (Toulouse)
Houssem Aouar (Lyon)
Musa Barrow (Atalanta)
Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord)
Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg)
Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan)
Daniel Carvajal (Dinamo Zagreb)
Diogo Dalot (Manchester United)
Tom Davies (Everton)
Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)
Moussa Diaby (Paris Saint-Germain)
Moussa Djenepo (Standard Liege)
Ritsu Doan (Groningen)
Gabriel Eder Militao (FC Porto)
Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)
Evander (Midtjylland)
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Achraf Mouh Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund)
Amadou Haidara (Red Bull Salzburg)
Joao Felix (Benfica)
Jota (Benfica)
Jovane Cabral (Sporting Lisbon)
Dejan Joveljic (Red Star Belgrade)
Boubacar Kamara (Marseille)
Moise Kean (Juventus)
Abdoulaye Keita (Dijon)
Justin Kluivert (Roma)
Alban Lofant (Fiorentina)
Manuel Alonso Manu Garcia (Toulouse)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Pietro Pellegri (Monaco)
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
Marcelo Saracchi (Red Bull Leipzig)
Ismaila Sarr (Rennes)
Dayot Upamecano (Red Bull Leipzig)
Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
Moussa Wague (Barcelona)
Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain)
Nicolo Zainolo (Roma)

President George Weah, 51, plays for Liberia

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Not content with being the President of Liberia, George Weah is now back on the pitch as one of Africa’s greatest-ever players made a stunning comeback on Tuesday.

On the same night his 18-year-old son Tim was helping the U.S. national team beat Mexico, halfway around the globe the President of Liberia, George, came out of retirement to play for the national team.

Seriously. That happened. Son and father both playing for their national teams on the same night has to be some kind of first, right?

Weah, 51 years young, came out of retirement to captain his national side in a friendly against Nigeria and although the friendly was set up to retire his famous No.14 jersey, it wasn’t just a stunt. He played 79 minutes of the game which ended in a 2-1 win for Nigeria.

15 years after his last game as a professional, the former Monaco, PSG and AC Milan star (who was crowned the best player in world soccer in 1995) played up front for Liberia against a strong Nigeria side who fielded Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho during the game.

Simply stunning.

Tim Weah can’t escape famous name on back of PSG, USA jersey

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WHIPPANY, N.J. (AP) Tim Weah knows he can’t escape the name on the back on his jersey.

[ MORE: Best XI, USMNT v Brazil ]

The 18-year-old midfielder is the son of George Weah, the 1995 FIFA Player of the Year and current president of Liberia.

“I use that to my advantage,” Tim Weah said at training with the U.S. national team this week ahead of Friday’s exhibition against Brazil. “With whatever I do, there’s always going to be hate, there’s always going to be people who are going to say, `He’s not as good as his dad.”‘

Weah made his U.S. debut in March, just weeks after making his first senior appearance for Paris Saint-Germain, one of his dad’s former teams. Tim Weah in May became the fourth-youngest American to score, got his first competitive goal for PSG in the French Cup last month, and then scored his first Ligue 1 goal in the season opener against Caen.

His hair newly trimmed, Weah reported to camp as the youngest on the 25-man roster, already viewed as a possible part of a new-look U.S. national team for 2022 World Cup qualifying. He’s trying to join a forming core that includes midfielders Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams (both 19), midfielder Weston McKennie and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers (both 20) and defender Matt Miazga (23).

“You still have the next step. You can’t jump three places,” cautioned interim U.S. coach Dave Sarachan. “I think Tim’s certainly coming in with confidence, and he now knows me, my staff, this team, what’s expected. But he’s still very young, and so we can’t expect him to be a seasoned guy today.”

Weah is with a PSG team coming off its fifth league title in six seasons, on a roster that includes stars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria. He had the chance to accept a loan for the 2018-19 season but stayed at PSG under new coach Thomas Tuchel, who in early 2016 gave Pulisic his debut with Borussia Dortmund’s senior team.

“Watching Dortmund, seeing Christian play so many games at his age, really made me believe in his coaching tactics and techniques,” Weah said. “He’s really pushing us young guys to make our mark and get out there and do our thing, and that’s what makes him happy the most. And I love him as a coach and I love him as a person. He’s just really pushed me to be a better player, and I can’t wait to see where the season takes us.”

Weah is the rare player who would rather learn in training than seek increased playing time elsewhere.

“I don’t really want to rush anything. I’m only 18 – I’m still 18 and I have a long way to go, and right now is just me being an apprentice,” he said. “Maybe next year, who knows, I’ll take my talents on loan somewhere else and see what that really does for me, but right now I’m content with what I have and I’m content at PSG.”

George Weah endorses that mindset.

“He tells me, `Just wait your turn,”‘ Tim Weah said. “You’re playing with stars. It’s not going to happen immediately.”

Weah’s first league goal was the result of unusual drudgery. With PSG ahead by two goals in the 89th minute, he chased down a back pass to defender Alexander Djiku, who played the ball back to goalkeeper Brice Samba. Weah kept tracking back and when Samba took a touch and failed to clear the ball, Weah pounced and kicked the ball in with his left foot from 2 yards before the keeper could get a second touch.

“I stayed persistent,” Weah said. “I ran after the goalkeeper. And I think that’s the thing that we’ve got to look at, is me not giving up on the play. And I feel like hard work really does pay off, as that goal shows.”

Born in Brooklyn at a time his dad commuted from Europe to New York between games, Weah grew up in the New York area and Florida, then moved to France to join PSG’s academy at age 14. He believes he is part of the group that can reboot the U.S. team, which failed to qualify for the World Cup after seven straight appearances.

“We can only go forward. We’re still young, super young,” Weah said. “We have something big here, and it’s just developing in the right way, us getting used to each other and gaining maturity and I think that’s the most important thing. And once we have that, we’ll beat any team and I feel we can even do that now. But it’s just a matter of time before things start clicking together and we start getting the job done.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: PSG to reject loan offers for USMNT’s Weah

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Tim Weah appears to have locked down a first-team role under new Paris Saint-German boss Thomas Tuchel, as the defending Ligue 1 champions will reportedly reject any loan offers that come in between now and the end of the summer transfer window.

[ MORE: Pogba’s agent hits back at critics, dares Man United to sell Pogba ]

The 18-year-old U.S. national team attacker broke into PSG’s first team last season under then-manager Unai Emery. He went on to become the club’s breakout star during a preseason tour of Europe and Asia. Tuchel has called upon Weah as a second-half substitute in each of PSG’s two league games thus far, bagging his first senior-team goal in the process. He also started, played all 90 minutes and scored a goal in 4-0 thrashing of Monaco in the French Super Cup.

According to the ESPN report, fellow Ligue 1 side Strasbourg approached PSG about their desire to take Weah on loan for the 2018-19 season, but they were told that any such deal is unlikely to be agreed.

[ MORE: Martin Odegaard leaves Real Madrid for another Eredivisie loan ]

With the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria and Julian Draxler also on the books at the Parc des Princes, starter’s minutes will be very hard to come by for Weah, but the same was said of fellow USMNT Christian Pulisic when he forced his way into the Borussia Dortmund first team in 2016.