Zack Steffen

Zack Steffen Man City
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Report: USMNT keeper Steffen to be Man City No. 2 next season

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United States men’s national team starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen will not be loaned by Manchester City next season, according to ESPN.

Steffen, 25, is set to back up Ederson for Pep Guardiola’s side next season after a year on loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf in the Bundesliga.

Steffen needed the loan because he had not yet qualified for a work permit in the United Kingdom. Instead, he starred in plenty of games for promoted Fortuna before suffering a nagging knee injury. Fortuna was relegated to 2.Bundesliga on the final day of the season.

[ MORE: Man City sets a very Pep record ]

There were rumors earlier this year that Claudio Bravo might head for New York City FC in MLS in order to make way for Steffen.

The 17-times capped USMNT bolted for Freiburg in Germany after making his name at the University of Maryland. He returned to the U.S. and became a star with savvy penalty-stopping ability with now-USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter and the Columbus Crew.

Guardiola has usually given his No. 2 plenty of time to shines in cup matches, and City expects to compete for every trophy it can. If the club’s European ban is upheld, however, there will far fewer matches on the schedule for the serial Champions League qualifier.

USMNT’s Steffen, Adams express solidarity with Floyd

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BERLIN — USMNT players Zack Steffen and Tyler Adams have joined several other Bundesliga soccer players in expressing their solidarity in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

USMNT players are being loud and clear.

Steffen issued a statement on Tuesday titled “Enough is enough” in which he said he was speaking in honor of “Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and every other African American who has been killed by police brutality.”

The 25-year-old goalkeeper spoke of his pride in wearing the U.S. national team shirt but questioned why its leaders “won’t protect its citizens who look like me?”

[ MORE: Bundesliga schedule  ] 

Steffen, who plays for Fortuna Dusseldorf, was unable to play this past weekend because of an injury but posted a statement on Twitter.

“If I’m going to wear the U.S. flag, I need to know that it stands for something worth defending,” he wrote. “I need to know that it stands for something worth defending. I need to know that my country supports black lives. That our leaders see us. That they hear us. I am proud to defend my nation. All I ask is that my nation also defends me.”

Earlier, Steffen called U.S. President Donald Trump “a disgusting hypocrite” while quoting a Tweet that Trump sent on Jan. 12 asking Iran’s leaders not to kill protesters.

Trump faced criticism after police under federal command and National Guard soldiers aggressively forced back peaceful demonstrators near the White House with tear gas so he could walk to a nearby church and pose with a Bible.

Adams, a New Yorker who plays for Leipzig, posted a picture of the boots he wore during Monday’s game at Cologne, showing he had “Black Lives Matter” written on his left shoe and “Justice 4 George” on the right.

“As an African American who day in and day out is proud to represent America in the worlds game, I’m saddened and frustrated,” Adams wrote. “Collectively our voices will bring justice for these crimes. Enough is enough. Black lives Matter. Black lives inspire. Justice for Floyd. Forever one nation, one team. On and off the field.”

Adams followed by posting an image only in black on Tuesday with the hashtag “blackouttuesday” and along with Weston McKennie and Steffen, Jozy Altidore and many others, several USMNT players are speaking out on the movement.

Adams came on in the 59th minute of Leipzig’s 4-2 win, a game in which Cologne’s Anthony Modeste made a gesture against racism after scoring. The French striker stood briefly with his right palm facing out and his left palm facing in to display the darker skin on the back of his hand.

There were previous gestures on Saturday from Schalke midfielder McKennie, and on Sunday from Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram and Borussia Dortmund teammates Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi.

German soccer federation president Fritz Keller praised the four young players for taking a stand and displaying their solidarity with Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck even after he stopped moving.

While the federation said it would be forced to consider whether the protests on the field broke rules against making political statements, FIFA President President Gianni Infantino issued his own statement Tuesday saying the Bundesliga players “deserve an applause and not a punishment.”

USMNT injuries are piling up at a bad time

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It looked like a major piece of the U.S. National Team future was finally back, healthy and ready to go.

And then he wasn’t.

Timothy Weah returned from a six-month absence but lasted just 10 minutes before succumbing to another hamstring injury this past weekend, deepening what is already a troubling situation for the USMNT.

Several key players have missed valuable club time of late, causing worry for fans who want to see their players in good form through the club season before the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying later this summer.

Weah is far from the only young and talented American who has been absent from club matches of late. Christian Pulisic, who had finally begun to hit his stride at Chelsea, has been out since early November with a groin problem and suffered a setback two weeks ago. Tyler Adams was felled by a calf injury after only recently returning from his frustrating groin injury. Michael Bradley is down four months after ankle surgery that suspiciously cropped up two months after the MLS Cup final. Paul Arriola just went down with a serious knee injury, believed to be a torn ACL, the same injury that just saw Eric Lichaj end his season early. Duane Holmes is out “several weeks” with ankle injury, the same problem that has Matt Miazga is out for a “significant amount of time.” Paxton Pomykal went under the knife for the third time in three years this past October and still hasn’t recovered, and his FC Dallas teammate Brandon Servania has also missed time this preseason. Fortuna Dusseldorf sent Zack Steffen back to Manchester last week for further testing on a troublesome knee.

What’s worse is these are not older players who you’d expect to be struggling with injuries, nor are they players like John Brooks who have been previously established as injury prone. These are young players or those contributing well at the club level who have ended up all on the shelf at the same time. Guys Pulisic, Weah, Adams Steffen, and Pomykal who are the cornerstone of the next USMNT generation. Guys like Lichaj and Holmes who are pushing for a spot on the roster with excellent form at the club level. Guys like Bradley who, while 32 years old, has been an iron horse throughout their careers. Guys like Miazga, and Arriola who have been regular contributors for some time now and could use a boost at the club level to push them to the next tier of importance on the international stage.

The USMNT reconvenes in March for friendlies against the Netherlands and Wales, and while the Olympics (if they qualify) aren’t until the summer and CONCACAF doesn’t begin 2022 World Cup qualifying until early September, club form going into those competitions are incredibly important, especially for young players still developing and those looking to break into the squad. It would follow that many of the aforementioned youngsters would be in the mix for the Olympic squad. These injuries only serve to get in the way.

USMNT keeper Steffen heads back to Man City for tests

Zack Steffen
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Zack Steffen‘s knee problems aren’t going away.

The USMNT’s No. 1 goalkeeper has been out of the Fortuna Dusseldorf lineup since the start of winter break in the Bundesliga.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Steffen, 24, is heading back to parent club Manchester City alongside his loan side‘s therapist and “will undergo medical examinations” in England.

Steffen started the first 17 league matches of his tenure in Dusseldorf, keeping two clean sheets for a newly-promoted outfit often under duress.

From Fortuna Dusseldorf’s site, translated:

Fortuna’s physiotherapist Lucas Trittel, who is involved in all processes as part of the medical department, will accompany Steffen to act as a contact person. Both clubs are in constant communication: Fortuna’s sports director Lutz Pfannenstiel and Manchester’s sports director Txiki Begiristain have agreed this procedure in close consultation with the medical departments of both clubs.

This is a significant concern for USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter, as Steffen is as familiar with his system as any starter in the player pool.

The Yanks have the final stage of the CONCACAF Nations League this summer, and European-based friendlies versus Wales and the Netherlands in late March.

Steffen has 17 caps for the United States dating back to January 2018. He’s twice-captained the side under Berhalter.

Bundesliga wrap: Adams, Werner star as Leipzig pads lead

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The Bundesliga returned Saturday after its winter break, bringing a cavalcade of impactful American stories to the field.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule


RB Leipzig 3-1 Union Berlin

The table leaders got two goals from Timo Werner and a goal and an assist from Marcel Sabitzer to open the second phase of the season with a bang.

Leipzig has a five-point lead on second-place Gladbach, though Bayern Munich can pull within four points with a win at Jurgen Klinsmann’s Hertha Berlin on Sunday morning.

American midfielder Tyler Adams had another strong day in the win, going 86 minutes and gathering over 100 touches while completing 84 percent of his passes. He registered two key passes and a shot on target to go with a clearance, blocked shot, interception, and tackle. Adams was fouled four times.

Augsburg 3-5 Borussia Dortmund

Erling Braut Haaland became the first Borussia Dortmund player to score a hat trick on debut since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as BVB came back from 2-0 and 3-1 holes to move onto 33 points.

Watch Haaland’s incredible day here. Jadon Sancho had a goal and an assist, while Julian Brandt also scored for BVB. Florian Niederlechner scored twice for Augsburg, with Marco Richter also finding the back of the net.

American teenager Giovanni Reyna also made his debut in the win, earning praise from manager Lucien Favre.

Hoffenheim 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

That’s right wing Timmy Chandler to you.

After missing all but one match last season due to injuries and fitness, the 29-year-old former USMNT mainstay has his first Bundesliga goal since Feb. 19, 2018.

Chandler rose above the fray to power home a match-winning header to move Eintracht four points clear of the relegation places, surprising a Hoffenheim side with designs on a return to Europe.

Bas Dost scored Eintracht’s other goal, with Konstantinos Stafylidis equalizing just after halftime.

Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-1 Werder Bremen

American forward Josh Sargent made his return from injury, playing 86 minutes in a huge win for Bremen. The visitors climbed over the now 17th place hosts via a Florian Kastenmeier goal.

USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales played well over 71 minutes in the loss, while Zack Steffen missed out with a reported knee injury.

Elsewhere

Schalke 2-0 Borussia Monchengladbach — Friday| RECAP
Koln 3-1 Wolfsburg
Mainz 1-2 Freiburg
Hertha Berlin v. Bayern Munich — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Paderborn v. Bayer Leverkusen — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 18 12 4 2 51 21 30 6-2-1 6-2-1 40
 Mönchengladbach 18 11 2 5 33 20 13 7-1-1 4-1-4 35
 Bayern Munich 17 10 3 4 46 22 24 6-1-2 4-2-2 33
 Borussia Dortmund 18 9 6 3 46 27 19 5-3-0 4-3-3 33
 FC Schalke 04 18 9 6 3 31 21 10 5-4-1 4-2-2 33
 SC Freiburg 18 8 5 5 29 24 5 4-2-2 4-3-3 29
 Bayer Leverkusen 17 8 4 5 23 21 2 3-4-2 5-0-3 28
 1899 Hoffenheim 18 8 3 7 26 30 -4 4-1-5 4-2-2 27
 VfL Wolfsburg 18 6 6 6 19 21 -2 3-4-2 3-2-4 24
 FC Augsburg 18 6 5 7 31 36 -5 4-2-3 2-3-4 23
 Eintracht Frankfurt 18 6 3 9 29 30 -1 4-3-2 2-0-7 21
 1. FC Union Berlin 18 6 2 10 21 27 -6 5-0-4 1-2-6 20
 1. FC Köln 18 6 2 10 22 33 -11 4-1-4 2-1-6 20
 Hertha BSC Berlin 17 5 4 8 22 29 -7 3-1-4 2-3-4 19
 FSV Mainz 05 18 6 0 12 26 41 -15 3-0-6 3-0-6 18
 Werder Bremen 18 4 5 9 24 41 -17 1-2-5 3-3-4 17
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 18 4 3 11 18 37 -19 3-1-5 1-2-6 15
 SC Paderborn 17 3 3 11 20 36 -16 2-1-6 1-2-5 12