6/21/19 US Men vs Trinidad & Tobago Sat 7 pm FS1, US Ladies vs Spain Monday 12 noon Fox, Indy 11 home Sat 7 pm, Copa & Gold Cup this Weekend & Next Week

WWC

I have really enjoyed watching this Women’s World Cup so far – there has been some great play and some close games even with so many new teams in the World Cup.  Now we are down to the Sweet 16 so it gets real. Nice wins for the US in games 2 and 3 – I am still thinking Sweden played it smarter resting 6 starters – thusly (allowing the US win) and an easier road to the Finals in Lyon.  The US for winning the revenge game vs a depleted Sweden team 2-0 (really 1 – since Lloyd was offsides on that play – and DID AFFECT THE PLAY.)  It should have been 1-0.  The truth is I thought Sweden exposed the US back starting back line – as converted forward /Left Back Crystal Dunn was EXPOSED time and time again.  The centerbacks didn’t cover her well enough a number of times – and anyone who doesn’t think France will slice and dice that back line and Actually put difficult shots on our untested Goalkeeper have not been watching this tourney.  The truth is the US have to play the toughest road to the finals.   The US faces Spain on Monday at 12 noon on Fox in a game they should definitely win with or without Alex Morgan who was hurt in the first half of the Sweden game.  Then it will be FRANCE in PARIS in the Round of 8.  If we face France in the Finals – I think the nerves get to France and we win going away.  But in the Quarter Finals on Friday at  9 or 12 pm on Fox with all of France – and hell after the 13-0 game – the entire world rooting against the US – it will be a HUGE test for the US.  I really think Horan did a great job in the #6 slot the last 2 games for Ertz – which sets up Ertz to move back to Center Back to solidify the back line with both speed and BITE!  Will be interesting to see if Morgan is healthy enough to start – if not Lloyd can get us to France – but we will need our best team vs France to have a chance.  I hope I am wrong – but I don’t feel good about that France match-up.  Come on US – prove me wrong on this one!!

Some surprises this world cup have been how good Italy has looked – and just how exciting some of the last group games were with Cameron scoring in extra time to make the sweet 16.  Oh and Argentina knocking poor Scotland out with the 3-3 tie – man Scotland got ripped off having the PK save overruled. But man how can you give up 3 goals in 15 minutes in a game you must win to advance?  How?  Oh and VAR Are you kidding me – VAR and the level of Reffing in this Women’s World Cup has been an absolute farce.  Listen I am ok with VAR – but you still have to make the right call VAR – and more times than not they have missed it.  Questionable penalty calls, offside decisions, and ridiculous penalties have made VAR a farce at this World Cup – unlike it was in the men’s game for World Cup, Champions League, or league games. Not sure why they are screwing it up – but no one would vote for the women’s version of VAR – especially on GK’s leaving the line early – my goodness – nice to hear the Men’s game say they will not use VAR on PKs.  The whole thing has been a joke – and it has really affected games – hell the US was gifted 2 goals and France was gifted both of their winning goals in the last 2 games to win the group.

Congrats on the solid fan #s as Fox and Fox Sports 1 – who is doing a great job delivering these games with proper pregame and post game coverage, had the 2nd rated soccer game in the US this year behind the Men’s World Cup Finals last year.  Unfortunately the US has had mostly weekday afternoon games – FIFA could mess up an Ice Cream Sunday.  World Cup tonight every night at 10 pm or 10:30 has been solid and they replay the day’s games every night on FS1, FS2 and Fox Soccer – in case you miss the games. is smart.  Great to not have to pay a fee to watch soccer in America (ESPN+ or TNT)!  Oh and the Commercials have been pretty good too! Hulu ,  Germany’s AdUSA Fox David vs GoliathNike’s,  Coca-Cola

Gold Cup Underway – US to Play Trinadad and Tobago Sat 7 pm. 

The busy slate of soccer continues this weekend as both the Gold Cup and Copa America continue.  USA vs Trinadad and Tobago for the 1st time after beating the US to knock us out of the World Cup will take place on Saturday night at 7 pm on Fox Sports 1.  Don’t ask me why this game is not on Fox?  Come on Guys!!  Anyway – after a solid 4-0 win vs Guyana on Thursday night – I expect the US to handle T&T with a 2-0 maybe 3-1 win in Cleveland.  Hopefully Weston McKinney is healthy enough to go – at least the first half – and hopefully Pulisic will come alive in this game.  I thought the US – especially new US winger Boyd looked really good Thursday night.  Even Michael Bradley unlocked a lot of good passes from the #6 spot – just not sure he has the speed to hold down the middle by himself vs better teams.  The US will finish up group play Wed at 9 pm vs Panama on FS1.  All games the US men should win in root to winning the group.

Indy 11 host Atlanta United 2 Sat 7 pm at the LUKE

Don’t look now but our Indy 11 are making a run now in the Eastern Division –heading into a big run of home games tomorrow night, Wednesday night at 7 pm vs Birmingham and next Sat Night vs Louisville City at 7 pm.

CFC_GK_Cash

Carmel FC Head GK Coach – Indy 11 GK Jordan Farr -is looking for a couple of 8th grade or high school aged kids to fill out a training group – email him at FARRJordn12@gmail.com

Women’s World Cup  

US has toughest Gauntlet to the Finals Si – Grant Wahl

Will the Alex Morgan injury overshadow a perfect group stage for the United States?

U.S. gets revenge against Sweden to win Group F

Women’s World Cup predictions: Who will win the title in France?

Best Goals of the Group Stages S&S

US fans take over Paris

No cards for off-line WWC keepers on shootouts

Chile GK Endler Was Player of Game vs USA

USWNT agrees to mediation over pay after WCup

The 1999 U.S. women’s national team: Instant icons, lasting legends

USWNT family members make emotional visit to Omaha Beach

Scotland out after dramatic Argentina draw

White scores brace as England top Group D

Netherlands down Canada to win Group E

Last-gasp goal sees Cameroon into round of 16

France secure Women’s World Cup win over Nigeria after VAR saves the day

VAR helps France to group-topping win over Nigeria

Kerr nets four in Australia’s win over Jamaica

Marta sets World Cup goal record in Brazil win

What it’s like to play against (and with) Brazil’s Marta

Germany thrash South Africa to win Group B

Spain, China book last 16 spots in scoreless draw

USA Men

Bradley Talks Grudge Match vs T&T Sat Night

US Wins but Questions Remain –MLS.com

Boyd double guides U.S. to Gold Cup-opening win

Boyd emerges with 8/10 showing as U.S. stars struggle to victory – Jason Davis ESPNFC

Player Ratings – Greg Seltzer

Jose Mourino as USMNT Coach ?  – Yahoo Sports

Freddy Adu exclusive: ‘I’m not ready to give it up’

Fifa Releases Details on Yedlin Youth Case

Gold Cup  

Guardado saves Mexico in win over Canada to keep up Martino’s 100% record

Orgill hits brace in Jamaica’s win over Honduras

Jimenez stellar but Antuna the perfect 10 in Mexico rout

Canada rout Martinique in Gold Cup opener match

Costa Rica hits four past Nicaragua

COPA America

Messi ensures Argentina live to fight another day

Venezuela’s draw with Brazil was no fluke – it’s proof of their U20 plan

Colombia in Copa quarters with win over Qatar

Lionel Messi is throwing Argentina off balance

Brazil overcome early jitters to win Copa opener

VAR cancels out Brazil goals in Venezuela draw

 

Transfer Rumors

– Pogba wants out. How should Man United respond?
– Transfer hot list: Five players every club wants
– Ogden: Liverpool De Ligt’s best option; expect him to join PSG

– United won’t consider Pogba sale

– PSG nearing €75m De Ligt deal

– United to improve De Gea offer

– Oblak wants Atleti exit, favours Utd

– Rabiot could stay at PSG

PSG’s interest in Donnarumma leaves De Gea with one fewer landing place

 

 

GAMES ON TV

USA Women’s World Cup June 7-July 7

  • Thurs, June 20: 3 p.m. ET, Fox S. vs. Sweden
  • Sun, July 7 3 pm ET, Fox Women’s World Cup Finals from France

Sat, June 22

11:30 am Fox Sports 1            WWC Germany vs   Round of 16

3 pm Fox                                                 WWC Norway vs     Round of 16

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          Peru vs Brazil

5:30 pm FS1                            Guyana vs Panama Gold Cup

  • 7 pm ESPN+, Myindty Indy 11 vs Atlanta United 2

7:30 pm ESPN+                       Cincy vs LA Galaxy

8 pm FS1                     USA Men vs Trinadad & Tobago – Gold Cup

Sun, June 23

11:30 am Fox Sports 1            WWC     vs   Round of 16

3 pm Fox                                                 WWC France vs     Round of 16

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          Colombia vs Paraguay

3 pm beIN Sport                     Mallorca vs Deportivo – La Liga Promotion Playoff

5:30 pm ESPN+                       Columbus vs Sporting KC

6 pm FS2                                 Canada vs Cuba Gold Cup

8:30 pm FS1                            Mexico vs Martinique Gold Cup

Mon, June 24

12 Fox                          WWC  Spain vs USA Round of 16

3 pm Fox Sports1                    WWC   vs     Round of 16

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          Chile vs Uruguay COPA

9 pm FS1                                                 Haiti vs Costa Rica Gold Cup

Tues, June 25

12 Fox Sports 1                       WWC  vs   Round of 16

3 pm Fox Sports1                    WWC   vs     Round of 16

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          Chile vs Uruguay COPA

8 pm FS1                                                 Jamaica vs Curacao Gold Cup

10:30 pm FS1                          Honduras vs El Salvador Gold Cup

Wed, June 26

  • 7 pm ESPN+, Myindty Indy 11 vs Birmingham Legion

9 pm FS1                     USA Men vs Panama- Gold Cup

thur, June 27

3 pm Fox                                                 WWC  vs   QF

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          COPA QF1

Fri, June 28

3 pm Fox                                                 WWC  vs   QF

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          COPA QF

8 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          COPA QF3

Sat, June 29

9 am Fox Sport 1                    WWC  vs   QF

12:30 pm Fox                          WWC  vs   QF

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          COPA QF

4 pm ESPN                              Minn United vs Cincy

  • 7 pm ESPN+, Myindty Indy 11 vs Louisville City

7 pm FS1                                 Gold Cup  QF

10 pm FS1                               Gold Cup  QF

Sun, June 30

2:30 pm ESPN2                       Euro U21 Final

5:30 pm FS1                            Gold Cup  QF

8:30 pm FS1                            Gold Cup  QF

Tues, July 2

3 pm Fox                                                 WWC  vs   Semi-final

8 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          COPA Semi

10:30 pm FS1                          Gold Cup  Semi

Wed, July 3

3 pm Fox Sport 1                    WWC  vs   Semi-final

8 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          COPA Semi

9:30 pm FS1                            Gold Cup  Semi

Sat, July 6

11 am Fox                               WWC  3rd Place Game

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          COPA 3rd Place Game

Sun, July 7

11 am Fox                               WWC  FINALS

3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo          COPA FINALS

9 pm FS1                                 Gold Cup FINALS

Gold Cup TV Schedule June 15– July 7

Indy 11 TV Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

NWSL. You can stream every game live on Yahoo Sports.

International Champions Cup Schedule July 16-Aug 18

 

Women’s World Cup predictions: Who will win the title in France?

10:03 PM ET

Thirty-six games are in the books. Only 16 teams remain in the Women’s World Cup. Which teams are the favorites to reach Lyon for the final three matches in France? And which players have performed most impressive in goal and on the field? ESPN FC’s Tom Hamilton and Julien Laurens, ESPN Brasil’s Natalie Gedra and ESPN’s Graham Hays, Julie Foudy and Alyssa Roenigk make their picks for how the rest of the World Cup might play out.

Which teams will reach the semifinals in Lyon?

Foudy: England, Germany, Netherlands, United States

Gedra: England, Germany, Netherlands, United States

Hamilton: England, Germany, Netherlands, United States

Hays: Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands

Laurens: England, Germany, Netherlands, United States

Roenigk: Australia, Germany, Netherlands, United States

Which teams will reach the final?

The U.S. women were a near unanimous pick to win the World Cup, and Alex Morgan is a favorite to win the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. Thomas SAMSON / AFP)THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

Foudy: Germany vs. United States

Gedra: Netherlands vs. United States

Hamilton: Germany vs. United States

Hays: France vs. Netherlands

Laurens: Germany vs. United States

Roenigk: Germany vs. United States

Which team is your Cup winner?

Foudy: United States

Gedra: United States

Hamilton: United States

Hays: France

Laurens: United States

Roenigk: United States

Which goalkeeper will win the Golden Glove?

Goalkeeper Almuth Schult posted clean sheets in each of Germany’s group stage games. Up next? Nigeria on Saturday in the Round of 16. TF-Images/Getty Images

Foudy: Christiane Endler, Chile

Gedra: Sarah Bouhaddi, France

Hamilton: Almuth Schult, Germany

Hays: Almuth Schult, Germany

Laurens: Almuth Schult, Germany

Roenigk: Christiane Endler, Chile

Which player will win the Golden Ball?

Foudy: Alex Morgan, United States

Gedra: Alex Morgan, United States

Hamilton: Sara Dabritz, Germany

Hays: Wendie Renard, France

Laurens: Alex Morgan, United States

Roenigk: Alex Morgan, United States

USA Refuses to Avoid Harder Women’s World Cup Route–and Is Dealt a Knockout Gauntlet

By GRANT WAHL June 20, 2019

LE HAVRE, France — The U.S. women’s national team just got through its easiest group stage ever at a Women’s World Cup–and now begins what on paper looks like the Americans’ hardest knockout stage ever.The U.S. beat its old nemesis Sweden 2-0 in their Group F finale on Thursday and set up a round-of-16 clash against Spain, thanks to a third-minute set-piece goal by Lindsey Horan and a 50th-minute Swedish own goal that came after a shot by Tobin Heath. But after beating overmatched Thailand and Chile by a combined 16-0 in its first two games, the U.S. didn’t even get a full-strength Sweden team to play.Swedish coach Peter Gerhardsson decided to make seven changes and even said afterward that “we didn’t think in advance that it was important to end up first or second” in the group—a nod, most likely, to the fact that the first-place team in the group would end up on the harder side of the bracket and be on a course to face host and favorite France in the quarterfinals.“I think after the game that might be a fair comment,” cracked U.S. coach Jill Ellis when she heard about it.The U.S. players, by contrast, said not going 100% to win just is “not even in our DNA,” as winger Megan Rapinoe put it. In the end, it only took three minutes for the Americans to show they wouldn’t be doing any sandbagging.“We’re winners, and we want to win,” said left back Crystal Dunn. “For anyone to think we were going to throw this game to not play France in France in Paris is crazy. But of course they have to go through to that round, and we obviously have to go through to that round.”Even with the seven changes, Sweden still provided significantly more resistance than the U.S.’s first two opponents, which gave the American defense more opportunities to get some game action. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had to make two saves, and while she was never really troubled, it was good to knock some rust off.Meanwhile, when Sweden did manage to get forward, it appeared to target Dunn, especially in the first half. Dunn is not a natural fullback, but Ellis has put her in that spot to get her on the field in a position that is extremely attack-minded in the U.S.’s 4-3-3. She still has to defend on occasion, though, and she won a few one-on-one battles on Thursday that had the American Outlaws chanting her name in the stands.“I think the way we were set up is we were caught a little bit in transition, and the opening was just down my side,” Dunn said. “But at the end of the day, as an outside back do I love this position all the time? Absolutely not. I’m yelling at my midfielders all the time to disallow that person to run in acres of space like that. But at the end of the day, it’s my job to limit opportunities, and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”It’s not hard to imagine, say, France’s Delphine Cascarino challenging Dunn in a high-speed transition game in a potential quarterfinal against France. By that time, of course, Ellis will hope to have her full compliment of starters available. Defensive midfielder Julie Ertz was a surprise precautionary scratch from the lineup after picking up a hip contusion against Chile. Ertz is probably the U.S.’s most indispensable player, but Horan filled in without much dropoff against a less-than-full-strength Sweden. What’s more, Sam Mewis got another start in the midfield as a result and played well, including unspooling some penetrating diagonal passes.Ellis also took off forward Alex Morgan after 45 minutes for what Ellis called “a knock” Morgan suffered in the first half. Ertz said she expects to be ready for the Spain game, while Ellis said Morgan’s removal was merely precautionary.The win against Sweden put some closure on the 2016 Olympics loss to the Swedes, and it also sets up a dramatic upgrade in challenges moving forward for the Americans. After beating Thailand (FIFA ranking: 34), Chile (39) and Sweden (9), the top-ranked U.S. could now potentially face Spain (13), France (4), England (3) and Germany (2) in their next four knockout-round games.The Spaniards put up a fight when the U.S. beat them 1-0 in a friendly in January, and Sauerbrunn said she learned a lot about Spain in that game.“Very good passing team, very good at finding different seams, breaking lines,” she said. “They played a little bit with a false nine, and so they weren’t really making runs in behind, but they were kind of playing in front and trying to slip people through. So that’s something that our back line will have to be vigilant about, and I’m sure we’ll watch plenty of film.”The U.S. defense can feel good for now that it went through an entire Women’s World Cup group stage without conceding a goal for the first time ever. But the Americans are also well aware that the degree of difficulty has been low so far, and it’s about to go sky high very soon.

U.S. gets revenge against Sweden to win Group F

Jun 20, 2019ESPN

Goals either side of half-time saw the United States beat Sweden 2-0 to win Group F at the Women’s World Cup on Thursday night in Le Havre, setting up a round-of-16 match with Spain.After making seven lineup changes for the match against Chile, coach Jill Ellis went back to the front three she used in the opener: Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath. Julie Ertz was not in the lineup for the U.S. as a precautionary measure because of a hip contusion after she started and scored in the 3-0 win against Chile.

– FIFA Women’s World Cup: All you need to know

– Full Women’s World Cup fixtures schedule

The U.S., looking for a bit of revenge after losing to Sweden in the 2016 Olympics, got off to a perfect start when Lindsey Horan poked home from close range in the third minute after Megan Rapinoe’s corner kick skipped past goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.Despite the early goal and plenty of pressure from the U.S., Sweden settled into the game and looked dangerous on the counter-attack, with Sofia Jakobsson in particular causing the Americans’ back-line problems.The U.S., unbeaten when leading at half-time in World Cup play, brought on Carli Lloyd in place of Alex Morgan at the start of the second half. Morgan was involved in a couple of collisions in the first half and at one point held her right knee.”Alex took a knock in the first half and it was just, ‘Let’s be smart about this.’ Similar vein to Julie. It is a zero risk game in terms of having players available for the next round,” Ellis said.Tobin Heath had the ball in the net minutes after the restart, beating her defender at the near post and benefitting from a slight deflection from Joanna Andersson that beat Lindahl. The play was reviewed by the referee on the pitchside monitor as Lloyd appeared to be offside in the buildup, but the goal was allowed and ruled an own goal by Andersson as the U.S. took a 2-0 win.”It’s a good performance and we wanted to continue to build momentum,” Ellis told a news conference after the match. “We have things to work on to make sure we’re sharper next game, and the players know that. It was a rival game and I thought the players showed a great mentality.”The U.S. did not concede a goal in the group phase and extended its team record of 13 games without a loss in the Women’s World Cup dating back to a 2011 group stage defeat to Sweden.”It’s huge and a big part of what we’re trying to do both offensively and defensively. We talk about the idea of 360-degree defending where everyone is defending,” said Heath.The goal was the 18th for the U.S. in group play, breaking the Women’s World Cup mark set by Norway in 1995.The U.S. plays Spain, who finished second in Group B, on June 24 in the knockout round, while Sweden will play Canada on the same day.

USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 2019 Gold Cup: What to watch for

Time to start exorcising some demons.By Donald Wine II@blazindw  Jun 21, 2019, 8:00am PDT

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The United States Men’s National Team enter their second matchday at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and they face a familiar opponent in Trinidad and Tobago. We don’t need to discuss all the storylines behind this match. We know what happened, and some of us still have nightmares from being in the stands the last time these two teams played each other. Still, the USMNT will want to put that night behind them and exorcise at least some of the demons by taking care of a Soca Warriors side that has not performed well lately. A win will set themselves up to possibly qualify for the knockout stage should Panama beat Guyana. Can the USMNT do what it takes to defeat Trinidad and Tobago and not leave a knockout stage berth to the last matchday?

Recent Form

USA

W (4-0) – Guyana – Gold Cup Group D

L (0-3) – Venezuela – Friendly

L (0-1) – Jamaica – Friendly

D (1-1) – Chile – Friendly

W (1-0) – Ecuador – Friendly

Trinidad and Tobago

L (0-2) – Panama – Gold Cup Group D

D (0-0) – Japan – Friendly

L (0-1) – Wales – Friendly

L (0-1) – Iran – Friendly

L (0-1) – Thailand – Friendly

What To Watch For

Gregg Berhalter needs to account for variable change. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has a formation and a system, and for better or worse, we’ve seen him stick to that system so far in his short tenure. Sometimes, that system seems too scripted, taking off players that could make a difference down the stretch. If a player is playing well, Berhalter needs to give that player the confidence that he believes in his ability to finish the match. We should also be looking for guys who are tired or not performing well or reading the changes in the match tactically and making the adjustments necessary to win the game. We didn’t do that last time we played Trinidad and Tobago, and Berhalter needs to make sure he does that tomorrow when the situation arises.

We need leaders. There are a lot of veterans on this team and some young players who fans would call part of that future core of the team. The team needs a leader to emerge. Is it Christian Pulisic? Is it an older veteran like Michael Bradley? Is it someone else? They don’t need to have the captain’s armband, but at times against Guyana, the leadership wasn’t visibly present, which led to some chaotic moments. For this team to get back to its core and defend its title, it needs to have leadership visible at all times, from the defense up to the attack. Who’s going to assert themselves tomorrow?

Will Jozy be in the lineup over Gyasi Zardes? Jozy Altidore, who has the most goals of anyone on the roster and the 3rd-most in USMNT history, is on the bench in favor of Gyasi Zardes, who scored a goal by getting the ball deflected off his face against Guyana. Say what you will about Altidore and what his role in the disastrous 2018 World Cup qualifying failure may have been in your eyes, but most would think that he should be in a lineup that is desperate for goal scorers over Zardes. We’ll see if Berhalter elects to finally see what Jozy can do in his offense or if he continues to rely on Zardes in his system.

Lineup Prediction

With this match being the 2nd of the group stage and with the most dangerous opponent, Panama, looming on the 26th, there is a chance that Gregg Berhalter rotates his players to give some of them opportunities against Trinidad and Tobago. However, given the recent history of these two teams when they play, the more likely prediction is that Berhalter only makes a couple changes from his lineup against Guyana.

Predicted Lineup: USMNT vs. Trinidad & Tobago

In goal, Zack Steffen will still be the guy, only having to stop a couple shots against Guyana. The changes we will likely see will be on the back line, with Nick Lima and Aaron Long remaining in the starting lineup. Matt Miazga could be the option at centerback along with Long, while Daniel Lovitz could replace Tim Ream at left back.In the middle, Michael Bradley once again gets the start and the captain’s armband. Christian Pulisic will occupy the right wing, while Weston McKennie, who was substituted off against Guyana after picking up a knock, will likely reappear on the left wing. It wasn’t deemed serious, and he’ll want to get back out there.Up front, Tyler Boyd, who had a dream brace Tuesday night, and Paul Arriola, who had a goal as well, will man the wings, while Gyasi Zardes will once again get the call at center forward. However, expect Jozy Altidore to appear as well as a substitute.

Match Prediction

This is a match that fans have circled on their calendar ever since the Gold Cup groups were announced. The team will be ready to, and they will not take the Soca Warriors lightly. Expect this game to be a match that doesn’t ease many concerns about whether the USMNT can compete against Mexico or Costa Rica, but it will be a 2-0 victory for the United States.

Bogert: US national team win Gold Cup opener, but questions remain

June 19, 20194:55PM EDTTom BogertContributor

Playing against a country rated 177th (of 211) in the FIFA world rankings was never going to serve as the magic elixir to cure all symptoms and obviate all fears for the US men’s national team, especially the ones diagnosed following a pair of entirely disappointing friendly defeats to Jamaica and Venezuela.It wasn’t perfect, and head coach Gregg Berhalter may be disappointed his side didn’t find the back of the net more times. But it sure felt good to see the USMNT plunder four goals against Guyana in their victorious Gold Cup Group D opening match. Posting a shutout wasn’t bad, either. But Berhalter’s reign won’t be judged on Gold Cup group-stage games against minnows. It was the bare minimum. Anything short of a comprehensive victory would have triggered a sky-is-falling meltdown, particularly after how a shorthanded Mexico demolished Cuba 7-0 a few days prior. All that said, some data can still be analyzed from the United States’ first competitive match in 20 months:

It’s time for Pulisic to take over this squad

…And he seemed to embrace that on Tuesday night. He’s undisputedly the best player on the squad at the moment, something he wasn’t in his time at Borussia Dortmund, nor in his first run with the national team. As such, he carries more expectation and responsibility, both to perform consistently and also be a leader. From the opening whistle, Pulisic was demonstrative in his movements, confident in his touches and didn’t drift out of the game until his substitution after 60 minutes. For young wingers – a position he played for Dortmund and is expected to play with Chelsea – that last part can be tricky. The U.S. attack won’t float on if Pulisic goes missing.What will he look like against Panama, then Trinidad and Tobago in group play. What about Mexico, should the two regional powerhouses meet in the final? How will he deal with the full-on Concacaf star treatment from opponents should they deem he’s worthy to be kicked at every chance?

Still, the attack didn’t quite hum as hoped

…Especially against an inferior opponent. It’s a concerning trend of late. Would Panama or T&T capitalize on a number of loose passes in their own half? Breaking lines from the defensive third to midfield, then midfield to the attacking third, weren’t always smooth, the former of which specifically when Guyana focused on man-marking Michael Bradley. Things started to break down when he wasn’t quarterbacking possession. That’s why it was so important that Pulisic demanded the ball, seeking not just the creative burden but helping out as much as he could in building possession. Jozy Altidore‘s underrated hold-up play should help on this front whenever he makes his tournament debut.

Starting places on the wing are up for grabs

…And Tyler Boyd went ahead and took one. Paul Arriola did, too. Arriola did what Arriola does: High work-rate, unselfish, solid (if unspectacular) for much of the game, and even opened the scoring.Boyd’s ceiling is higher, in part because he is more unknown, but he showed real upside with regularity against Guyana. Daring forward passes, direct runs and a pair of goals is an injection of creativity Berhalter’s side have been lacking on the wing as long as Pulisic has featured through the center.Keeping in mind the caveat above regarding Guyana’s standing in the FIFA rankings, it’s still a strong Gold Cup debut for the 24-year-old.

Left back is also up for grabs

…While Tim Ream has it now, he’s not the long-term solution. His once-a-game mistake manifested itself Tuesday night in a nutmeg that set Twitter ablaze, which, considering recent cases of fatal back passes, isn’t too bad.

Berhalter unfurled another little tactical wrinkle

…Which showed he isn’t married to one ideal, one philosophy. More on that abstract thought in a second; first the literal tweak: Instead of the right back (Nick Lima) joining central midfield in possession as the left back (Ream) shifted to form a back three, it was the right winger (Boyd). So, with the ball, Arriola provided the width down the left flank, Lima on the right with Boyd drifting infield.

One way to view it, with a positive outlook, is that Berhalter won’t be stubborn. Being flexible, and bending the tactics to the personnel, is a good trait. But, how much is too much? What is there to be said of picking one system with the aim to master it, or at least maximize it? TBD.

  • Still left entirely unanswered: What is this squad’s strongest XI? Obviously, in a macro sense, we won’t see it at this tournament. Tyler Adams and John Brooks feature in that. Tim Weah and Josh Sargent (hopefully) will in the near future.

For this squad… it’s still very much up in the air. Altidore and Matt Miazga started on the bench. Ream remained unconvincing. Will Berhalter reinstate Wil Trapp over Bradley at the base of midfield? What if Arriola or Boyd go cold? It’ll be a game-by-game development on this front until the US are eliminated or lift the trophy.

  • Weston McKennie limped out of the game injured: It was a brutal sight for USMNT supporters because, simply put, that would be a gut punch if it’s serious enough to keep him out of a team already missing a few regulars. But after the game Berhalter downplayed the significance, saying he “should be okay” and that he had “a little bit of a cramp.”

So, on to Trinidad and Tobago in Cleveland on Saturday, out to exorcise the demons from 20 months ago. Oddly enough, the last time the US won a competitive match 4-0? The game before that fateful day in Couva.

 

USMNT Player Ratings: High marks for creators Boyd, Pulisic, Arriola

June 19, 20191:59AM EDTGreg SeltzerContributor

It took a while for their field tilt domination to pay dividends, but the US men’s national teamultimately pulled away from underdogs Guyana to post a comfy 4-0 victory in their opening Concacaf Gold Cup group stage match.Wingers Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd keyed the happy result by forcing the visitors onto their heels time after time. The duo combined for three goals and an assist, and could have chalked up more counting stats with a little more final-third cutting edge from teammates.

Zack Steffen (6.5) — The US netminder was reduced to spectating for most of the game, but came up with a solid stop the one time he was called upon.

Nick Lima (7) — Even if his cross accuracy wasn’t always optimal, the San Jose right back gave Guyana a torrid time by racing into the final third. Lima also slid inside to test the goalkeeper on one surge forward and did well making defensive challenges.

Walker Zimmerman (6.5) — The main takeaway from this game was  Zimmerman’s ability to prod the team forward with incisive passes and creeping possession support, especially in the first half. The LAFC defender’s grade takes a slight hit for one iffy pass out of the back and a case of wayward positioning, each of which put the team under duress.

Aaron Long (5) — The New York Red Bulls center back was mostly safe with the ball and in positioning, but he twice misjudged potentially dangerous crosses as they sailed past in the area. That can’t happen when the opposition gets tougher.

Tim Ream (5) — After making some solid defensive interventions early, the Fulham veteran had a few shaky moments at the back. Ream largely played it safe on the ball, but with tougher tests ahead, it would be nice if his splitting-pass game returned on short order.

Michael Bradley (6.5) — The US skipper was playing his first game in a month, and the rust was plain to see on both sides of the ball in the first half. Bradley was considerably better after the break, both in guarding the gate and passing. In the 51st minute, his trademark diagonal-ball assist for the second earned the team some needed breathing room.

Weston McKennie (6) — The Schalke youngster definitely had his moments playing wingers into the final third, such as when his perfectly-weighted entry pass sent Arriola into the box for the opener. However, he can still be more consistent in winning midfield battles and controlling the flow of play.

Christian Pulisic (6) — The fresh Chelsea catch will have much better nights finishing plays around the area, but his insistent attacking nature in the middle of the field helped open up space for the wide threats.

Tyler Boyd (9.5) — The new flank terror on the scene was far and away the best US player in the opening frame, and eventually got his just rewards with a pair of well-struck goals. Boyd repeatedly got behind the Guyana defense, picked all the proper crosses, delivered tempting corners and even worked hard to get back on defense. Bravo and welcome aboard, sir.

Paul Arriola (8) — The D.C. United man’s constant exploitation of space out wide effectively set the table for the rout. Arriola lashed home a beaut for the opening goal and repeatedly played the team into dangerous positions until he notched a late assist.

Gyasi Zardes (5) — Setting aside his “oopsy daisy” goal, the Columbus striker could have provided a lot more in attack. The effort was always there, but clumsiness in touch and choices kept Zardes from making the required impact up front.

Coach Gregg Berhalter (7) — The boss asked for a methodical win prior to kickoff and that’s precisely what he got. Berhalter wisely tinkered with his right back wrinkle, electing to send Lima straight down the flank instead of having him overload central midfield. With Ream acting as a stay-at-home left back, the plan eventually paid off.

Subs

Wil Trapp (6) — The Columbus midfielder didn’t open up the game with his usual traffic direction passes, but sticking to the safe routes was enough against this opponent.

Cristian Roldan (6.5) — When the US build started to flag, Roldan hopped off the bench to bring some needed juice. He also battled much better in his own end than in recent caps.

Djordje Mihailovic (6) — In a short shift, the Chicago midfielder showed that he’s capable of being a late transition weapon during this tournament.

 

Boyd emerges with 8/10 showing as U.S. stars struggle to victory

Jun 19, 2019Jason DavisU.S. soccer writer

While it was never comfortable, the United States opened up its Gold Cup defense on Tuesday night in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a 4-0 win over tournament debutants Guyana. After taking a one-goal lead into halftime, the Americans put in three more goals in the second half to secure maximum points.

Positives

Following two warm-up friendlies that ended in losses and no goals scored, the clean sheet and the offensive output are significant positives for Gregg Berhalter’s team. The needed confidence boost on both ends of the field will serve the team well moving forward into the tournament.Both wingers stood out, with Tyler Boyd putting in a particularly impressive showing. The newly minted U.S. international scored twice and was a constant menace on the right side of the Americans’ formation.

Negatives

It took too long for the United States to get going against the 177th-ranked nation in the world. The lone goal in the first half was a good one, created through the work of Weston McKennie and finished by Paul Arriola, but Berhalter’s team struggled to create clear-cut chances through the first 45 minutes.A couple of dodgy defensive moments nearly allowed a breakthrough from Guyana, a warning sign for future matches against better competition. The late injury to McKennie is a cause for concern.

Manager rating out of 10

6 – The choice to start Gyasi Zardes over Jozy Altidore is hard to defend in a vacuum, but it appears that Altidore was not fit enough to be in the first XI. With the U.S. up 3-0 after the first hour, Berhalter was able to pull two key players in Christian Pulisic and Michael Bradley. Tactics were of a secondary concern against an overmatched opponent, which means that judgment will have to be reserved for games against the stronger teams in the group.

cite=”https://twitter.com/cboehm/status/1141192419582627840″ data-tweet-id=1141192419582627840 data-scribe=”section:subject” data-scribe=”element:user_link” aria-label=”Charles Boehm (screen name: cboehm)” style=’color:inherit;text-decoration:inherit;-webkit-box-flex: 0;flex: 0 0 auto; outline: 0px;font-weight:inherit’ class=”imageLoaded lazyloaded” data-image-container=.inline-photo v:shapes=”_x0000_i1025″>Tyler Boyd had a night to remember with a two-goal showing. AP Images

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Zack Steffen, 6 — Forced into one reasonably difficult save and made it. Made no obvious errors with distribution, an improvement over recent matches.

DF Nick Lima, 5 — Occasionally dangerous up the field, overlapping with Boyd on the right side. Crossed effectively. Exposed in one vs. one defensive situations a few times.

DF Aaron Long, 4 — Showed signs of rust. Slow to respond to two crosses in the box, unnecessarily complicating what should have been simple defending.

DF Walker Zimmerman, 5 — Far from perfect but provided the passes from the back needed to help spark the U.S. going forward. Part of a back line that wasn’t clean enough for comfort.

DF Tim Ream, 5 — Mixed a number of competent defensive moments in with intermittently poor passing and a bad moment 10 minutes from halftime scrambling to deal with a Guyana cross.

MF Michael Bradley, 4 — Struggled in the first half, committing several giveaways after getting caught in possession. Provided a patented diagonal to set up the second goal.

MF Tyler Boyd, 8 — Best of the Americans on the night. Aggressive and dangerous going forward. Scored twice and could have had a third.

MF Weston McKennie, 5 — Provided a pair of key passes in the first half. Sloppy with possession and close control with the U.S. pushed up and vulnerable.

MF Christian Pulisic, 5 — Frustrating night for the best American attacker. Showed ability to dribble through defenders, but lacked the final ball or shot to make those moments count.

MF Paul Arriola, 7 — Scored an excellent goal to relieve the pressure on the U.S. in the first half. Consistently good with first touch and decision-making.

FW Gyasi Zardes, 4 — Made good runs but was let down time and again by a bad first touch. Scored, but not intentionally.

Substitutes

MF Wil Trapp, NR — Smart and in control with the U.S. well ahead in the final half-hour.

MF Christian Roldan, NR — Got off a shot and helped spray the ball wide into space after coming on for Pulisic.

MF Djordje Mihailovic, NR — Made one clear poor decision with the U.S. pushing for more goals late in the game and had a limited impact because of it.

 

Boyd double guides U.S. to Gold Cup-opening win

Jun 18, 2019ESPN and Jeff Carlisle

Tyler Boyd scored twice as the United States started its Gold Cup campaign with a 4-0 win over Guyana at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday night.

U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter made three changes from the lineup that started a 3-0 loss to Venezuela on June 9, the last of 18 exhibitions for the Americans since the October 2017 loss at Trinidad and Tobago that ended a streak of seven World Cup appearances. He inserted Michael Bradley as captain for the first time in his tenure, Christian Pulisic into the midfield and Walker Zimmermanin central defence, removing Wil Trapp, Christian Roldan and Matt Miazga.  Guyana frustrated the U.S. in the opening 30 minutes, but the Americans found a way through just before the half-hour mark when Paul Arriola picked up a pass from Weston McKinnie and blasted a shot past Akel Clarke to make it 1-0.

“We knew we had to get started on the right foot and after breaking the ice, we were able to break them down,” Arriola said.”The most important thing was to win with confidence and clarity and I think we did that today. It’s a great start for us but it’s just one game.”Gyasi Zardes had a golden chance to double the lead right before half-time but inexplicably whiffed on the doorstep after Arriola had headed the ball back across the goal to him.he U.S. got off to the perfect start in the second half when Boyd cut inside to his left foot in the 51st minute and hit a nice low line drive past Clarke to double the lead.Boyd’s 52nd minute-goal, his first for the U.S. national team, marked the 1,000th in program history in match No. 700.=Zardes was credited for the third goal in somewhat bizarre fashion as a headed clearance from the Guyana defense bounced hard off the Columbus Crew forward’s forehead and went into the back of the net.Such was the manner of the result that Berhalter could afford to joke about the fortuitous manner of Zardes’ goal.”It was a great reaction from him. It was a really good reaction. You see strikers, they can just sell things like that,” Berhalter joked after the match.It’s funny, the two goals that he’s scored so far for us, since I’ve been around, have been very interesting goals. But I talked to him after in the locker room, and he said, ‘I’ll take it,’ and I don’t blame him. I’d take that also.”Again, Gyasi is a tremendous worker, a guy who you know exactly what you’re going to get from in the game. I’m really proud of him and how he performedBoyd then scored another excellent goal, this time courtesy of a slight deflection, this time cutting onto his right foot firing home from just outside the area to make it 4-0 in favor of the U.S.The victory was the biggest yet for Berhalter, who was hired in December after the United States failed to make last year’s World Cup.”The first game of a tournament is always a little bit nervy,” he said.”I remember back in the day in youth soccer tournaments, the first game it’s always a little bit nervy, and we expected a lot of the same. We told the guys to enjoy the experience, it’s competition time. And I felt that we slowly got out of the nerves and started playing.”I think we got stronger as the match went. I liked how we kept going.”We, for the most part, stayed organized. That was the focus, not getting too stretched even though the scoreline was what it was. We wanted to stay compact and keep moving. Overall, I think it was a good start to the tournament.”If there was one concern from the match, it was the sight of midfielder McKennie hobbling off in the 74th minute with what looked like a hamstring injury. But Berhalter indicated he didn’t think the injury as serious.”Weston should be okay” he said. “It seemed like it was a little bit of a cramp, so we think he’s alright.”Next up for Berhalter’s side, which is atop Group D on goal differential, is a much-anticipated match against Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, while Guyana will face Panama on the same day.

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