11/22 US Men Advance to Finals, Chelsea vs Man City Sat 12:30 NBC, Champ League Tues/Wed, IU host UK in NCAA’s Sun 12 noon, Jordan Farr returns at GK for Indy 11

US MEN Advance to Final 4 on Nations League

So the US men did what they had to do this last week to secure the expected first place finish in the CONCACAF Nations League after pounding Canada at home 4-1 before defeating Cuba 4-0 in a neutral site game on Tuesday night.  Some good things we saw was a solid defensive effort led by Aaron Long and John Brooks in the middle.  Sergio Dest put in a solid game on the right side vs Canada – as he flew up and down the wing and actually provided our first assist.  Tim Ream continued his captaincy playing the left side vs Canada before moving to the middle (his more natural position) vs Cuba.  He continues to show ability to pass out of the back under pressure – combined with his defensive efforts in the air, are certainly valuable especially against CONCACAF sides.  He’s still a starter for Fulham in the English Championship and it shows.

EPL & World

Wow Tottenham – really? Mourinho for Pochitno?  Hard to believe – the Spurs have taken this move now – but they pulled the trigger earlier this week. I for one don’t see it working – Jose will call out his players, turn the top players against him and have this team flailing just outside top 4 if you ask me.  He certainly doesn’t have the money – in the winter window to buy players – which is what he normally does.  As for big games this weekend none is bigger than Chelsea vs Man City this Saturday at 12:30 pm on NBC.   US star Christian Pulisic is expected to play after resting his injury over the 10 day international break.  The American has notched 5 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 league games.  Other EPL games of note have Mourinho and Tottenham heading to West Ham at 7:30 am on NBCSN Saturday followed by Liverpool traveling to Crystal Palace without Mane at 10 am on NBCSN.  In Germany American’s Mckinney (Schalke) and Stuart for Werder Bremen will faceoff at 9:30 am on Fox Sports 2 or Fox Soccer while US GK Steffan and dMid Morales of Dussledorf will host Bayern Munich at 9:30 on Fox Sports 1.

Carmel FC Goalkeeper Coach Jordan Farr Returns to Indy 11 for 2020 Season! 

Fantastic news that Carmel FC Director of Goalkeeping Jordan Farr is returning for his 3rd season for the Indy 11 next season!  Jordan started the final 5 games of the season and helped lead the Indy 11 to the Eastern Conference Finals.  In 12 combined USL Championship regular season and playoff games (10 starts), Farr registered an impressive 0.66 goals against average (seven goals allowed in 956 minutes), while notching a 7W-1L-2D record and five shutouts – including clean sheets in both of Indy Eleven’s 1-0 wins during postseason play.We look forward to having Jordan back coaching our Carmel FC goalkeepers again this spring!

 

 

GAMES ON TV

Sat, Nov 23 

7:30 am NBCSN                                West Ham vs Tottenham

9 am ESPN+                                       Atalanta vs Juventus

9:30 am Fox Sport 1                       Dusseldorf (Morales & Steffan) vs Bayern Munich

9:30 am Fox Soccer                         Schalke (Mckinney) vs Werder Breman (Stuart)

10 am NBCSN                                    Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

12:30 pm NBC                                  Man City vs Chelsea (pulisic)  

3 pm beIN Sport                               Real Madrid vs Real Sociadad

Sun, Nov 24

9 am beIN Sport                               Monaco vs Bordueaux

11:30 am NBCSN                              Sheffield United vs Man United

12 noon FS1                         Hoffenhiem vs Mainz

Mon,  Nov 25 

3 pm NBCSN                                     Aston Villa vs New Castle (Yedlin)

Tues Nov  26

1 pm TNT                                         Galatasaray vs Club Brugge

3 pm fuboTV                                  Juventus vs  Atletico Madrid

3 pm                                                  Man City vs Shaktar

3 pm TNT                                         Real Madrid vs PSG

Wed, Nov 27

1 pm TNT                                         Valencia vs Chelsea (Pulisic)

3 pm TNT                                         Liverpool vs Napoli  

3 pm fuboTV/BRLive                   Barcelona vs Borussian Dortmund

3 pm                                                  RB Leipzig vs Benefica

3 pm                                                  Genk vs Salzburg (US Coach)

Thur Nov 28

11 am BRLive/fuboTV/TUDN   Astana vs Man United

3 pm BRLive/fuboTV/Unimas Arsenal vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Fri Nov  29

3 pm FS2                                         Schalke (McKinney) vs Union Berlin

Sat, Nov 30 

7:30 am NBCSN                               New Castle (Yedlin) vs Man  City  

9:30 am Foxsoccer                          Hoffieheim vs Dusseldorf (Morales & Steffan)

9:30 am Fox Soccer                         Hertha vs Dortmund

10 am??                         Liverpool  vs Brighton

10 am NBCSN                                   Chelsea (pulisic) vs Westham

3 pm beIN Sport                               Real Madrid vs Real Sociadad

 

Sun, Dec 1

9 am NBCSN                                      Norwich vs Arsenal

11:30 am                                           Man United vs Aston Villa

11:30 am   NBCSN                            Leciester vs Everton

12 noon FS1                         Wolfsburg vs Werder Bremen (Stewart)

12 noon  ESPN News                       Napoli vs Bologna

3 pm beIN Sport                              Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona

Wed, Dec 4

2:30 pm NBCSN                                Man United vs Tottenham

2:30 pm ???                                      Chelsea vs Aston Villa

3:15 pm ??                                        Liverpool vs Everton

 

 

 

 

USA

Does the U.S. have a leadership problem? 8hNoah Davis

USMNT takes care of what’s expected — but same questions persist  16hJeff Carlisle 

Berhalter: USMNT responded well to challenges of 2019

US to face Honduras in CNL semis

Warshaw: Three things from USMNT’s win over Cuba

U.S. ratings: Sargent, Morris solid in win

Player Ratings: Who was USA’s MOTM?

US Finally Shows Fight in 4-1 blasting of Canada ESPNFC  Jeff C

No Consistantcy with this US Squad – Leander Schaelaeckens – Yahoo Soccer

Brooks 8/10, Zardes 7/10 as U.S. avenges last month’s Canada defeat

Player Ratings: Who got top marks for USMNT, CanMNT?

Berhalter: USMNT “were ready to overcome anything” in revenge win over Canada

Sources: U.S.’ Konrad set to extend Barca deal

Some Ajax teammates ‘didn’t like’ Dest’s U.S. choice
US, Canada U-20s learn qualification path for 2021 World Cup

US Players on TV

 

 

Local College NCAAS

IU Hosts UK in NCAAs Sunday 12 noon

#8 Indiana U wins Big 10

Butler loses in 1st Round at home to WV

 

  • MLS

MLS Allstar Game vs Liga MX Allstars for 2020

MLS Players in Euro 2020

Piette on Henry as coach: Biggest announcement Impact could have made
Reyna quits New York City for Austin expansion team in MLS

Chicago Fire FC arrive as part of major rebrand

EPL

Chelsea-Manchester City Preview

PREVIEW-Soccer-Pressure on Man City as Lampard returns to the Etihad

Mourinho: Tottenham can win the Premier League

Hard to See how Mourinho will help Spurs before a messy Ending –
PL Preview: Can anyone put pressure on Liverpool?

Top Premier League storylines: Week 13

Stag’s Take – Gameweek 13

Pochettino leaves emotional whiteboard message to Spurs
Mourinho seeks quick fix to win over Spurs doubters

WORLD

Euro 2020 qualifying: All you need to know

·        Mexico beat Bermuda on Antuna’s last-gasp goal

·        Messi makes the difference but Argentina, Brazil remain works in progress

Brazil boss on Messi spat: He told me to shut up

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup

Ronaldo has goal record in his sights, Kane hot on his heels

Sources: Luis Enrique to return as Spain coach

England top Kosovo to secure seed for Euro ’20

GOALKEEPING

Below are the 10 goalkeepers shortlisted for the 2019 Yachine Trophy:

  1. Andre Onana (Cameroon/Ajax)
  2. Wojciech Szczesny (Poland/Juventus)
  3. Jan Oblak (Slovenia/Atletico Madrid)
  4. Kepa Arrizabalaga (Spain/Chelsea)
  5. Samir Handanovic (Slovenia/Inter Milan)
  6. Hugo Lloris (France/Inter Milan)
  7. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Germany/Barcelona)
  8. Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool)
  9. Ederson (Brazil/Manchester City)
  10. Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich)

 

 

 

 

Hard to see how Jose Mourinho will help Spurs before the inevitably messy ending

Leander Schaerlaeckens  ,Yahoo Sports•November 20, 2019

For the fourth time in his career, Jose Mourinho has been hired for a Premier League job. On Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur installed the Portuguese in his ninth managerial position, following the instantly controversial sacking of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday.Mourinho’s English appointments trace the arc of his much-discussed career, spanning from the cocky-yet-charming managerial prodigy upon his first appointment at Chelsea in 2004, to his return in 2013 as a highly decorated manager, to his 2016 arrival at Manchester United as both a three-time Premier League champion and damaged goods, to, now, a point where his signing by Spurs is widely considered a huge risk.It is, any way you look at it, a strange marriage. Mourinho, somehow still only 56 and out of work for almost a year since his December firing by United, might well be the most divisive manager in the sport’s history. His personal trophy case is inarguable: three Premier League titles; two Serie A titles; a La Liga title; two Champions League trophies; two UEFA Cup or Europa League trophies; eight domestic cups. The thing is, Mourinho has provoked as many crises and skirmishes and meltdowns as he has won prizes. And you don’t get one without the other.So for Spurs, of all teams, to hire him under the rule of the ever-sensible, risk-averse chairman Daniel Levy, feels like an odd fit. But there are other pressing and worrying considerations.The downturn in Pochettino’s last eight or so months in charge – the miraculous run to the Champions League final very notably excepted – was much to do with a widespread fatigue among the players, who slumped to their present 14th place in the league. Pochettino was a demanding manager, imposing a strict and imposing playing system. There is a habit among soccer teams to vacillate between opposites in your managerial hires. After the disciplinarian, you go with the nice-guy players’ manager to give the players a fresh experience. And then the cycle resets. Yet Mourinho is no less demanding than Pochettino, albeit in different ways. Rather than a dogmatic, Marcelo Bielsa-inspired high press, Mourinho applies something antithetical, a sort of reactive non-press. But he drains his players in different ways. Mourinho creates a culture of perpetual tension through instigation and conflict. That might not work particularly well on players who appear to be burned out as it is, while many of them were already itching to leave the club. What’s more, Mourinho relies heavily on massive investment in his teams to solve problems, rather than developing existing players or ushering in academy products – although Mourinho has always disputed this reputation of ignoring youth, even if the stats clearly support it.“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me,” Mourinho said in a statement. “Working with these players is what has attracted me.” Yet historically, that’s not what he has actually ever done. It could be that he may have evolved during his time away from the game, mostly spent doing TV punditry in England, but that feels unlikely when you consider that Mourinho has replicated the same playbook everywhere he’s gone – until it stopped working, and then simply did it all over again someplace new. Mourinho would arrive, demand heavy spending on new players, foster urgency in a pressure-cooker environment, win a few major trophies, and move on when it all blew up.But at Spurs, the institutional lack of investment in players drove Pochettino to despair – and it’s likely that the failure to refresh the squad caused its steep decline. It’s doubtful that Mourinho got concessions from Levy that he denied his predecessor. Taken together, it’s hard to see how any of this ends very happily. Mourinho doesn’t give you happy endings. He gives you a few highs and then a crash. And maybe that’s the plan. One of the many things that jarred about Pochettino’s firing is that the timing was so awkward – toward the end of an international break with almost no qualified managers available. But then maybe this is a short-term play. Veteran regulars Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen all have expiring contracts. Perhaps hiring Mourinho is a last-ditch attempt to win something with a splendid, carefully cultivated squad before it inevitably breaks up.Because the only structural problem Mourinho will solve in short order is the erosion of intensity. He isn’t a long-term solution because he doesn’t do the long term. He’s a fresh face, yet a familiar one.“In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football,” Levy said in the statement. “He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician. He has won honors at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”Belief? Perhaps. Energy? Sure. But what kind, exactly?Leander Schaerlaeckens is a Yahoo Sports soccer columnist and a sports

Soccer-Fit-again Pulisic available for Chelsea against Man City

Reuters 11 minutes ago

Nov 22 (Reuters) – Chelsea’s in-form forward Christian Pulisic has shaken off a hip problem and will be available for Saturday’s Premier League game at Manchester City, manager Frank Lampard said on Friday.Pulisic sustained the injury in Chelsea’s 2-0 Premier League victory over Crystal Palace earlier this month and missed the United States’ CONCACAF Nations League matches against Canada and Cuba during the international break.The 21-year-old former Borussia Dortmund player has been in superb form for third-placed Chelsea after a slow start to his career at Stamford Bridge, scoring five goals in his last three league matches.”He didn’t go (to the U.S. camp), he was struggling against Palace. He has been training and is in contention,” Lampard told a news conference on Friday.Winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is a doubt for the match due to a hamstring issue he picked up on international duty with England.Lampard said that he was pleased with the understanding between his midfielders N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic with all three players fit and playing well ahead of the clash with the defending champions.”I want it to be a positive issue… it is great for me. It is something we have done pretty well. We have had fluidity in our midfield. We can use them all collectively,” Lampard added.”You have to give Jorginho the freedom to leave his position. He has a perception for the press.”Former Chelsea midfielder Lampard, who ended his Premier League career with a season at City, said he was looking forward to facing City who are one place below his side.”The levels they have reached have been incredible. For us to be in that position, I am pleased with. But I want more,” Lampard added.”It’s not the end story, they are a strong outfit. I won’t make huge judgements on tomorrow, our story is three months in the making.

Chelsea-Manchester City Preview

The Associated Press 11 hours ago

For all the talk of Manchester City’s relentless offence, their hopes for a third consecutive Premier League title as well as any silverware they may add to their collection this season could hinge on the guy who prevents goals rather than scores them.Ederson could make his return between the sticks for the Cityzens in a top-four crunch encounter with Chelsea at the Etihad on Saturday.The Brasil international has been sidelined since suffering a muscular injury in the first half of City’s 1-1 draw versus Atlanta in Champions League play on Nov. 6. It kept him out of their 3-1 loss to Liverpool before the international break four days later, a defeat that dropped Manchester City (8-1-3) nine points behind the table-topping Merseysiders and into fourth place behind both Leicester City and Saturday’s opponents Chelsea (8-2-2).

Ederson returned to practice this week, though manager Pep Guardiola has yet to confirm if he will reclaim his spot from deputy Claudio Bravo. Ederson is not the only City player tipped to make a return, as midfielder and playmaker David Silva and holding midfielder Rodri are also potential inclusions into the first XI.Another part of the defence still in flux is in the spine, where Fernandinho has been deployed as Aymeric Laporte continues to recover from a knee injury. The 35-year-old had been City’s linchpin in midfield but is making the adjustments to form a partnership with John Stones.”I feel good,” Fernandinho said of his new position to the Manchester Evening News. “Of course, I have the help of my teammates and manager. It’s been great for me, trying to do my best as always since I signed for City.”Sometimes you feel you have to improve a little bit – but that’s beauty of football. You can. Every morning, you can make it happen.”City forward Sergio Aguero looks to continue his stellar strike record versus Chelsea. The Argentina international has 13 goals in 17 matchups versus the Pensioners in all competitions, which includes his time with Atletico Madrid, and had a hat trick in the most recent league meeting when City smashed six past Chelsea without reply at the Etihad in February.”In terms of an out-and-out goalscorer, Aguero is the best I played with,” Chelsea boss and one-time City midfielder Frank Lampard told SkySports in 2017. “He can be quiet for much of the game and then he’ll score the winning goal. He’s lethal around the box.”Lampard, though, has a few goal-scorers who could eventually realise a level similar to Aguero at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have won six on the spin in league play, and their 27 goals trail only fellow top-four sides City (35), Liverpool (29), and Leicester City (28).

Tammy Abraham has shown his scoring prowess at the Championship level can transfer to the top flight, pacing the Pensioners with 10 goals in league play – putting him joint-first with Jamie Vardy for the Premier League lead — and 11 overall. U.S. international Christian Pulisic also went into the break in fine form with all five of his league goals coming in the last three wins.Pulisic, though, is a question mark for this game with a hip injury that also prevented him from crossing the Atlantic to play for the U.S. during the international break.Despite the impressive string of results, Lampard has yet to record a signature Premier League victory. Chelsea have lost their two matches against fellow Big Six sides Liverpool and Manchester United, while one of their two draws came against surprise package Leicester City.The sides split their league matches last term, with Chelsea recording a 2-0 victory before City hammered them in the return encounter. Guardiola’s side won the rubber match on penalties after a scoreless 120 minutes in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.]Raheem Sterling converted the winning penalty in the fifth round after a bizarre incident towards the end of extra time in which keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga defied then-manager Maurizio Sarri’s bid to sub out the keeper as he was dealing with cramps. Arrizabalaga did make one save during the shootout, but it was not enough to prevent City from completing the first leg of an unprecedented domestic treble.Chelsea have just two wins in their last 11 visits to the blue side of Manchester (2-1-8) after going 10-1-1 in the first 12 of the Premier League era.

 

 

Does the U.S. men’s national team have a leadership problem?

11:42 AM ETNoah DavisESPN

Winning a soccer game requires two things: an off-field plan and on-field execution. The first part is a coaching challenge; the second is one for the players, who need to prevail in dozens of individual battles all over the field.Against Canada in October, the United States men’s national team had the first in head coach Gregg Berhalter’s much-discussed “system” but failed in the latter. All over the field, the Americans lost to their northern opponents in specific moments. There were obvious failures, such as Alphonso Davies‘ outworking Aaron Long and DeAndre Yedlin to the back post to tap in Canada’s opener, and subtler ones, such as 50-50 ball after 50-50 that went to the Maple Leafs. The result was a 2-0 loss, the first since April 1985, a frustrating and lackadaisical effort too reminiscent of many lost matches under Jurgen Klinsmann.Defeats are excusable. Not showing up isn’t.After the match, Berhalter noted as much. “We need to compete on every single play in games like this,” he said. “I don’t think it was lack of effort. I don’t think it was purposeful, but I wasn’t happy with the desire we displayed tonight to win the soccer game. Too many 50-50 balls we lost, and that hurt us.”Trying hard is an intangible thing, tough to measure with stats but obvious enough to teammates. Is a player giving everything, the proverbial 110 percent, or is he slacking? More importantly, who will hold accountable a player who isn’t? Doing that requires strong leadership, an individual willing to say the unpleasant truth and get results. For too long, the American team has lacked this person.”We’ve been waiting for this leader to step into the role,” said Jay DeMerit, a former U.S. captain who knows something about leadership.So far, Berhalter seems to be searching for a leader. Although his Columbus Crew captain, Wil Trapp, got the armband eight times in the U.S.’s 11 2018 matches, Berhalter has picked 10 players across 18 games in 2019. The list is long and varied. Tim Ream leads with six times as captain; Aaron Long, Zack Steffen and Christian Pulisic have done so two times; Trapp, Yedlin, Michael BradleyMatt MiazgaOmar Gonzalez and Weston McKennie have each gotten it once. This is, at least in part, by design.”The group has done a good job of sharing leadership,” the coach said in a news conference before the Canada fixture. “When I think about meetings we have, there’s not two players that speak up. There are probably 15 players that speak up. When we analyze video or talk about team goals or talk about expectations, it’s by committee … For us, it’s been refreshing. There’s not two guys talking and the rest being quiet. It’s many guys sharing leadership, and we think that’s been effective.”Ream echoed the sentiments of the manager. “There are guys like myself, Michael [Bradley], Brad [Guzan],” he said. “We’ve been around the block. We’ve played a lot of games, a lot of meaningful games. We can kind of pass on our expertise or not, whatever these guys want to know, but it’s more leader by committee. The young kids aren’t shy. That’s fantastic.”Shared experiences, multiple opinions and a plethora of ideas are valuable things, but so is having a player or two to hold everyone accountable.”Guys that may not be the prettiest on the ball, but they will put their head through a wall for the team,” DeMerit said. “Is there enough of that right now? I don’t know.””Roy Keane is a strong personality. You don’t even see that. Somebody who is kind of an a–hole out there. I think we lack that a little bit,” former U.S. defender Jimmy Conrad said. “Sometimes your best 11 players aren’t necessarily your most talented 11 players. A lot of that does come down to chemistry, report and trust — and counting on guys in tough moments, having personalities on the field. Who is going to step up and hold people accountable? All that stuff matters.”Spend enough time around the team, and it’s clear that there’s a lack of personality, at least outwardly. McKennie, likable and fun in Germanyis dull and demure. Others, such as Tim Weah, have electric personalities that are muted with the national team. It’s a trend that started under Klinsmann, so desperate to be the largest personality in the room, and has continued through a vanilla 2018 and 2019. It’s too bad, considering that there’s nothing wrong with showing a little bit of personality. Look how doing so, combined with success, vaulted the women’s national team into the popularity stratosphere over the summer. In the past, the men weren’t the best in the world, but at least they were interesting.”Bob Bradley did a great job creating character within the dressing room,” DeMerit said. “If you look down the line at teams we have from 2008 through the 2010 World Cup, we had a wide range of characters. We had a wide range of leaders. Guys like Michael Bradley, fantastic work ethic, people who came in, kept their head down. Guys like me and Clint [Dempsey] riding their horses into training camp, saying, ‘Let’s go!’ I think Bob appreciated that about me, how I brought that renegade spirit to the group. Frankie Hejduk comes in and brings a bit more character.”Although being a leader and having a personality aren’t the same thing, the lack of both is an example of how the U.S. keeps falling short of its potential. It isn’t an intractable problem, but it’s one that needs to be fixed for the team to progress.Tyler Adams, a natural and intense leader who willed himself to the Bundesliga, has been absent for months. Could he be the answer when he rejoins the squad? Let’s hope he steps up or someone else does. Otherwise, the Americans are in danger of remaining a collection of individuals, desperate for someone to show them the way.

USMNT takes care of what’s expected — but same questions persist

10:10 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

The U.S. men’s national team did what was needed against Cuba in the group stage finale of the CONCACAF Nations League, prevailing 4-0 over the Lions of the Caribbean.

Jordan Morris continued his renaissance with two goals, with Josh Sargent adding two of his own. The win secured the Americans’ place in the semifinals of the competition, as they edged Canada in Group A on goal differential.Beyond that, there weren’t any overriding takeaways from the match. Cuba’s struggles with defections and organization — the match was played in the Cayman Islands due to stadium issues in Cuba — are well-documented. As such, it was a game the U.S. should have dominated, and it did, with a 69%-31% edge in possession and a 14-6 advantage in chances created.That said, there was some sloppy play mixed in among the goals, as the U.S. clearly took its foot off the pedal in the second half. The match will not be included in any 2019 highlight reels.One might argue that the Nations League gave a young U.S. side some needed experience for when World Cup qualifying comes around. Certainly, the Americans got punched in the face when they were beaten by Canada 2-0 last month, and the poor field conditions on display against Cuba might well be encountered again next year. But the Cayman Islands aren’t exactly San Pedro Sula in terms of difficult environments. Neither is Toronto, for that matter. As tests go, there are much, much tougher ones to come.As such, 2019 ends with many of the same questions that were present at the beginning. The U.S. won 11 games during the year, but there was no signature win among them to put a stamp on the Gregg Berhalter era. The Canada loss means the nerves present since the 2018 World Cup qualifying failure haven’t really gone away. Granted, the fact that the U.S. secured passage out of the Nations League group stage counts as a positive. But such sentiments have more to do with the fact that if the U.S. had been eliminated from the Nations League, a full-blown crisis would have ensued. Now the pressure will ease a bit, and the U.S. can regroup when the calendar moves into 2020.If there was one reason for optimism on Tuesday, it was the continued emergence of Morris. After a torn ACL wiped out almost all of his 2018, the Seattle native was an afterthought. But Morris found his form, settled into a wide position, won a title with the Sounders and added plenty to his team’s attack, whether it was for club or country. The five goals in his past five games for the U.S. were the same total he had in his first 34.Morris’ progression might end up being a critical development for a U.S. team that has long been too dependent on Christian Pulisic. The fact that Morris provides more of a classic wing presence than Pulisic gives the U.S. attack an added wrinkle.Sargent’s two goals came in vastly different ways, bundling home Paul Arriola’s deflected cross with the game just 36 seconds old and then a powerful finish from Tyler Boyd’s deft pass in the 66th minute. His performance highlighted what a critical season this is for him. Gyasi Zardes might lead the U.S. with six goals this year, but it is Sargent who has the higher ceiling. He’ll need to develop with Werder Bremen and show his ability when Berhalter calls him in. With Jozy Altidore still struggling to be consistently fit, having Sargent play at a high level would be a boon for the U.S.

But the same could be said for so many other players on the U.S. team from front to back. The matches in 2020, be they Nations League, World Cup qualifying or even Olympic qualifying for the U-23s, will be more intense.Success on those fronts means the level needs to be raised.

 

Player Ratings: Who earned the highest marks in USMNT win over Cuba?

November 19, 201911:07PM EGreg SeltzerContributor

The US national team sealed first place in League A, Group A of the Concacaf Nations League with a slightly underwhelming 4-0 defeat of Cuba in the Cayman Islands on Tuesday night. Gregg Berhalter’s boys lacked energy for large portions of the proceedings, but still made light work of an easy foe thanks to braces from Jordan Morris and Josh Sargent. Either way, they’re into the semifinals of the Concacaf Nations League against Honduras.

United States Player Ratings

Starting XI:

Brad Guzan (6.5) — The veteran backstop came up with a couple of solid saves, including one on a tricky deflected shot that wrong-footed him slightly in the first half.

DeAndre Yedlin (5) — The Newcastle right back helped the Nats drive to the final third plenty of times, especially early, but played inaccurately once they got there. Regardless of how he performs in the EPL, Yedlin will find himself chasing green youngsters if he can’t snap a string of flat US outings.

Aaron Long (6) — The Red Bulls defender was tested so little at the back, his grade mostly came down to a few contributions on offensive restarts.

Tim Ream (7) — The skipper was by far the most active US player at halting Cuba advances and at moving the ball positively out of the back.

Daniel Lovitz (6) — While the new Nashville SC left back did well leading Morris into attack and served some dangerous corner kicks, he also had a couple of hiccups in defense.

Jackson Yueill (5.5) — The San Jose midfielder had his moments knocking the ball around Cuba’s end, but was a lot less firm defensively than he was against Canada on Friday.

Cristian Roldan (6.5) — As one of the few Nats intent on making overload runs, Roldan did his best to liven up the attack. He was also robbed on a diving bullet header.

Weston McKennie (6) — For the second game in a row, McKennie adequately found the game in central park. Even with an assist to his credit, though, he fell short of offering enough cutting edge to shine bright.

Paul Arriola (5) — After darting down the right to help set up Sargent’s quick opener, Arriola was largely ineffective the rest of the night. To boot, most of his restart deliveries were weak.

Jordan Morris (8) — The in-form Seattle flank ace was easily the best player on the field, making two goals and some tempting crosses look like child’s play.

Josh Sargent (7) — The Werder Bremen forward applied a fatal doorstep touch in the opening minute, but was all but invisible the rest of the first half. Sargent markedly picked up the pace after intermission, and was rewarded with a second goal.

Coach Gregg Berhalter (6) — The boss went with a very straightforward game plan against a clearly overmatched opponent. The result was the expected run-of-play dominance and a bare minimum margin of victory.

Subs:

Tyler Boyd (5.5) — It was rather disappointing to see the Besiktas winger be so lackadaisical in attack, but he somewhat rescued his grade with a nifty leaping backheel assist.

Reggie Cannon (6) — Although his defensive work was less than stellar, Cannon should have been credited with a second assist for the excellent cross that led to Sargent’s second.

Alfredo Morales (7) — If not for a pair of outstanding saves by the Cuba netminder, Morales could have made it three US players with a brace. It was a strong all-around 21-minute shift for the Fortuna Düsseldorf man.

 

 

Brooks 8/10, Zardes 7/10 as U.S. avenges last month’s Canada defeat

Nov 15, 2019Jason DavisU.S. soccer writer

The United States men’s national team put in something of a redemptive performance in Orlando, Florida, on Friday night, besting Canada 4-1 at Exploria Stadium. The victory not only earned the Americans some relief from the negativity that has marked the past month and a measure of revenge against Canada, it set them up to advance atop their Nations League group with a win over hapless Cuba on Tuesday.

Positives

The Americans responded to the call for more fight with a spirited performance in a must-win game. Last month’s 2-0 loss in Toronto prompted serious questions about the lack of effort under Gregg Berhalter that were refuted, at least on some level, on Friday. The USMNT used tried-and-true methods, set pieces and counterattacks, to punish a sloppy Canadian side and ease some of the pressure.

The U.S. didn’t play the cleanest match, and Berhalter’s preferred possession-based approach was sacrificed on the altar of winning. After calls for change and a more pragmatic plan, that can’t be used to criticize the coach now. Still, the Americans won’t point to this victory as an example of an ideal performance.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — Berhalter gets credit for streamlining the tactical approach and playing to the strengths of his team. Pregame worries about the lineup proved unfounded, though it’s still worth asking why several players (Gyasi Zardes and Jackson Yueill among them) earned a place in the first XI despite long layoffs. That said, Zardes delivered for his manager, scoring a brace amid widespread criticism from USMNT supporters.

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

GK Brad Guzan, 7 — Faced limited action and made no obvious mistakes with possession. Controlled his box well and was hung out to dry on Canada’s goal.

DF Sergino Dest, 7 — Solid on defense facing the explosive Alphonso Davies, he was as adventurous as ever going forward in an excellent overall competitive debut.

DF Aaron Long, 6 — Contributed on the attacking end with the set piece goal and was part of a strong defensive performance for the Americans during open play.

DF John Brooks, 8 — Dominant physically and smart with his positioning. Notably was good in possession, particularly when under pressure in the first half.

DF Tim Ream, 5 — Complicit at the back post on Canada’s goal and wasteful with possession on occasion. Provided little going forward, by design.

MF Jackson Yueill, 6 — Played proactively, helping to set the tone with energy and industry in the first half. On the other hand, he was a step slow tracking runners in midfield.

MF Weston McKennie, 5 — Poor in possession but gave the midfield a much-needed toughness. Not influential, but not poor.

Gyasi Zardes’ selection for the national team has come under fire, but the 28-year-old answered the bell with a brace vs. Canada. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

MF Sebastian Lletget, 8 — Consistently dangerous, he often took advantage of reactive defending from Canada. Integral in setting up numerous chances.

FW Jordan Morris, 7 — Got the U.S. off to a great start with an opportunistic early goal and laid on the second for Zardes. Industrious and put in a good shift, particularly after playing in an MLS Cup final just five days earlier.

FW Gyasi Zardes, 7 — Scored two goals in his return to the lineup, rewarding Berhalter for his faith. Added to the defensive effort with effective back-pressing.

FW Paul Arriola 5 — Solid on both sides of the ball and set up the second goal with a smart pass on the counter.

Substitutes:

MF Alfredo Morales, N/R — Chaotic and overexuberant in a short cameo.

DF DeAndre Yedlin, N/R — Showed his danger up the wing as a sub, setting up Zardes’ culminating goal.

FW Tyler Boyd, N/R — The Besiktas man came on for injury time after the U.S. had already sealed things with a fourth.

 

 

Indiana Punches 33rd-Straight Ticket to NCAA Tournament, Earns No. 5 Seed

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – After winning both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles, the Indiana University men’s soccer team earned the No. 5 overall seed for the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

Indiana earned a bye in the first round and will host the winner of Kentucky and Loyola-Chicago on Sunday, Nov. 24. First kick is scheduled for noon at Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth (18 & under)and can be purchased at IUHoosiers.com.

Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets online to avoid game day lines. Reminder that there are no service fees for tickets purchased at IUHoosiers.com.

Indiana University students will get in free as IU Athletic Director Fred Glass and IU Athletics will purchase their tickets for each round of the NCAA Tournament that the Hoosiers host. Students must show student ID at the ticket window to redeem free ticket.

The berth for the Hoosiers is the team’s 33rd-straight bid to the NCAA Tournament and the 44th overall in the program’s history. The 33-straight berths are the longest active streak in the country.

Indiana earned the No. 5 national seed for the second time since the tournament expanded to the current seeding. The Hoosiers secured the fifth seed in the 2014 season and lost to Xavier, 2-1, in the second round.

Since the NCAA began its current seeding format in 2003, the Hoosiers have earned a top-16 seed in 15 of the 17 tournaments and a top-8 seed 10 times. IU has appeared in 20 College Cups, which leads all Division I teams, and won its eighth national title in 2012.

The Hoosiers enter the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 14-2-4. Indiana repeated as Big Ten regular season and tournament champions for the first time since going back-to-back in the 1998 and 1999 seasons. The regular season title marked the 16th in program history, while the tournament crown is the 14th won by IU. The championship double marked the 10th time in the storied history of Indiana men’s soccer.

IU posted a mark of 5-2-4 against NCAA Tournament teams this season, including victories over No. 13 Michigan and No. 15 Penn State. Maryland also secured an at-large bid out of the Big Ten Conference into the NCAA Tournament.

The Hoosiers played to a 0-0 draw earlier this season against the Kentucky Wildcats. Overall, IU has an all-time record of 25-2-4 against UK and have not matched up against Loyola-Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

11/14/19 US Men face Canada Fri 7 pm ESPN2, Cuba Tues 7:30 pm FS1, International Games Thur-Tue, Seattle Wins MLS Cup, Indy 11 fall to Louisville

US Men vs Canada Friday 7 pm ESPN2

Nations League play returns this Friday night on ESPN2 at 7 pm as the US Men’s National Team will look to pay back Canada for the loss last month in Toronto. The US will be home in Orlando for this critical Nations League match which could determine if Canada or the US Advances as the top seed.  Of course the US will be missing talisman Christian Pulisic who was injured scoring in his 3rd straight game for Chelsea over the weekend.  Pulisic scored another header giving him 5 goals and 3 assist on the season for Chelsea.  The US will also be missing starting GK Zach Steffan, who was hurt for German side Dusseldorf last weekend.  Look for Brad Guzan of Atlanta United to take the gloves this week for the huge games along with the return of centerback John Brooks, who is back from injury for Wolfsburg.  Sergino Dest, fresh off pledging his allegiance to the US over the Dutch, looks to be cup tied in a starting role on defense as well this week.  I certainly hope to see D-mid handled by Alfredo Morales who has returned from injury for Dusseldorf and played so well vs Mexico a few months back.  His bite in the middle could lead to good things as we wait for Tyler Adams to return from injury. (Bradley is hurt from the MLS Title game and Will Trapp stinks).

As I see it this is a HUGE game for US Manager Gregg Berhalter, who does he put where, and how does the US play in what many see as a must win game for the new manager.   There were whispers that a 2nd straight loss to Canada (a team we hadn’t lost to since 1986) could end the tenure of the US headman, but GM Earnie Stewart shot those down.  It doesn’t mean the US doesn’t need to win this game and big on Friday night.   I still think the big issues with US soccer are at the top – all the way down.  Still not sure Tab Ramos, who took our U20s and U23’s to the Quarter Finals of the last 3 WC’s shouldn’t have gotten a shot at least at the interim role.  Anyway hopefully the US shows up with some pride and dominates Canada at home the way we need to.

 The 23-man USMNT roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

DEFENDERS (9): John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Sergiño Dest (Ajax), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke 04), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

FORWARDS (5): Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)

 MLS CUP – Seattle Wins !

Wow as a longtime Seattle Sounders Fan – (someday I will get to that stadium!) – it was fantastic to see not only a win – but the extreme jubilation with 70,000 fans – the largest to crowd to see a sporting event in Seattle on hand.  Yeah the game was just ok – as Toronto dominated the first half – only to have Seattle strike back in the 2nd with a lucky off the defender goal.  Toronto dominated possession, but without Altidore up front to finish – they simply could not get a solid shot on goal.  And when they did Sounders GK Steffan Frie was up to the task. A 2nd goal on the counter attack followed by a third sent the crowd into a frenzy before Altidore finally subbed in late to make it 3-1 the final and Championship #2 to Seattle in the last 4 years.  Great to see the TV #s come back strong – as over 2 million watched on TV on an NFL Sunday on ABC.  Great to not only have the game on Network TV again – but to have a high scoring game that fans tuned into as well.  MLS is on the rise, the new playoff format with 1 game win or go home formats combined with more story lines and better TV viewership can only mean good things for the league as #s on ESPN+, Fox Sports and ESPN were up this year. Also ending the season in November rather than early December has to help.  With new cities like Nashville, Miami, Austin and more on the horizon – the future is looking for MLS.  Me  I am happy to see a city like Seattle that embraces their Sounder’s and soccer get to raise the Cup in their home stadium.  Someday Seattle – I will be amongst your masses !  Oh late note – sorry to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not returning to MLS and the LA Galaxy next season – he was a big personality and gave people someone to dislike or at least played the role of BAD GUY as well as anyone in the history of the league. Not sure El Traffico will be the same without him – I know the league will not.

Indy 11 Fall At Home in Eastern Finals

Disappointment city for our Indy 11 – as they let their 1 goal lead slip in the 94th minute in route to a 3-1 Championship game loss to Louisville at home Saturday afternoon.  A pretty good Indy 11 crowd – bolstered by over 1500 traveling Louisville fans was on hand to see the excitement.  The Indy 11 took a 2nd half lead on Tyler Pasher’s goal.  Louisville however kept the pressure on and when a questionable 4 minutes of extra time was added – Louisville capitalized on a 94th minute goal off their 3rd corner in extra time. Louisville scored 2 goals in Overtime including a horrible call when 11 GK Jordan Farr was whistled for a penalty on a perfect slide out to protect his goal.  The PK was the 3rd and final goal for Louisville as they now move on to their 3rd  USL Championship Final on Sunday night at 7:30 pm on ESPN2. (ah what could have been).  For the Indy 11 a disappointing finish to a really good season. I will have more wrap up next week.

US Ladies Wrap-Up Year with 2 Big Wins

The US Ladies wrapped up the year with a huge 6-0 win Costa Rica after surviving Sweden 3-2 last week.  A Good start for new coach Andonovski as he made some needed tweaks that seems to have helped the US team. He worked in some new players and some old stalwarts -like Carli Llyod (3 goals) really stood out in this looser, more attacking approach. The Olympics are right around the corner – so the US Ladies will look to continue tweaking things.  Lots of games during this international break England, Spain, Germany, Italy will be on ESPN+ a couple of times for Euro Cup Qualifying, Brazil faces Argentina in a Friendly Fri at noon on beIN Sport and of course the 2 huge US Games. 

CARMEL FC CLINICS SAT

Carmel FC would like to offer its youngest members, U8-U14 Boys and Girls, the chance to participate in the first ever Pass, Shoot, and Play Fall Clinics this SATURDAY ONLY – Nov 16th at Murray Stadium.  The sessions will focus on enhancing players’ basic abilities such as foot skills, passing, touch, and shooting featuring different perspectives and tips from our diverse and experienced coaching staff.  Coaches from throughout the club have volunteered to make this clinic a completely FREE opportunity for your player to experience a new, unique training environment with other members from around the club!  The schedule will be as follows:

Friday, November 15 – CANCELLED DUE TO COLD WEATHER

Saturday, November 16

  • U8s through U10s from 12 – 1 PM
  • U11s and U12s from 1 -2:30 PM
  • U13s and U14s from 2:30 – 4 PM

Please RSVP in this link if your player is interested in participating http://carmeldadsclub2016.org/81dd903881283f0fe6f402d9ac64aba4.form

GAMES ON TV

Fri, Nov 15

12 noon beIN Sport           Brazil vs Argentina (friendly)

2:$5 pm EPSN+                                 Boznia vs Italy

2:45 pm ESPN+                                 Spain vs Malta

7 pm ESPN2                        USA vs Canada (Nations League)

10 pm FuboTV, TUDN   Panama vs Mexico

Sat, Nov 16

12 noon EPSN3                                 Russia vs Belgium

2:45 pm ESPN+                                 Germany vs Belarus

Sun, Nov 17

9 am  ESPN News                            Luxenberg vs Portugal

12 noon  ESPN+                               Kosovo vs England  

2:45 pm ESPN+                                 Albania vs France

5 pm Fox Sports 2                           U17 World Cup FINALS

7:30 pm ESPN2                  Louisville City vs Real Monarchs  USL Championship Game

Mon, Nov 18

2:45 pm ESPN News                        Ireland vs Denmark

2:45 pm ESPN+                                 Italy vs Armenia

TUes, Nov 19

2:45 pm ESPN2                                 Germany vs Northern Ireland

7:30 pm Fox sport 1          Cuba vs USA (Nations League)

7:30 pm FuboTV, TUDN                   Mexico  vs Bermuda

Sat, Nov 23 

7:30 am NBCSN                                West Ham vs Tottenham

9 am ESPN+                                       Atalanta vs Juventus

9:30 am Fox Sport 1                       Dusseldorf (Morales & Steffan) vs Bayern Munich

9:30 am Fox Soccer                         Schalke (Mckinney) vs Werder Breman (Stuart)

10 am NBCSN                                    Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

12:30 pm NBC                                  Man City vs Chelsea (pulisic)  

3 pm beIN Sport                               Real Madrid vs Real Sociadad

Sun, Nov 24

9 am beIN Sport                               Monaco vs Bordueaux

11:30 am NBCSN                              Sheffield United vs Man United

12 noon FS1                         Hoffenhiem vs Mainz

USA

Is Berhalter the Right Guy for the US Head Job – ESPNFC – Jeff C

How Will US Line-up vs Canada?  -yahoo sports

What’s at Stake – especially for Canada

Stewart on Berhalter: “What I’ve seen today, I’m a pleased man”

Stewart assures Berhalter safe as USMNT boss – Jeff C ESPNFC

Doyle: Latest USMNT roster has one job

Berhalter: “I can guarantee” vastly improved display vs. Canada

U.S. Soccer to honor RunDMB on Friday

Zach Steffan to Miss US Nations League Games with Injury

 

USWNT put 6 past Costa Rica in friendly

Andonovski purposeful, thoughtful with early USWNT tweaks

Carli Lloyd, Morgan Brian, Williams inspire US Past Costa Rica

Rose Lavelle, Lynn Williams shine bright in 6-0 USWNT win

US Women beat Sweden 3-2 in Andonovski’s Managerial Debut

Match Stats vs CostaRica

MLS Finals

Sounder’s Cement Love Affair with Seattle after MLS Cup Home Win

Sounders take down Toronto to win 2nd MLS Cup

Sounders’ MLS Cup triumph reward for team that took its chances

Seattle Takes Rubber Match vs Toronto – Avi Creditor – SI

Sounders Step Up in Decisive Moments to Win MLS Cup – Grant Wahl SI

Toronto ‘our own worst enemy’ in MLS Cup – Vanney

Seattle GM Garth Lagerwey Reaches the Cup Final Again – Grant Wahl – SI

Monchengladbach pay seven figures for NYCFC teenager

Zlatan’s best goals of 2019

Doyle: Zlatan leaves Galaxy without conquering

He’s back: Thierry Henry is the Impact’s new head coach

Indy 11

Indy 11 Stunned by Louisville in Final – Indy Star – Kevin Johnston

Indy 11 Defender makes 1st Team

Indy 11 Loses Heartbreaker in Conference Finals 3-1

EPL

Pulisic Watch: How U.S. star is doing at Chelsea, game by game

Premier League Player Power Rankings

Unstoppable Liverpool, not VAR, the story as Reds make title statement vs. City

Mourinho declares title Liverpool’s barring injuries

Pep’s shallow squad |

Liverpool’s title to lose |

Emery is throwing stuff at a wall |

Foxes better than Claudio’s heroes |

West Ham sweating on Fabianski |

Luckiest moment of the weekend |

A final word on VAR … again

Power Rankings – Liverpool stay top ahead of Juventus

Arsenal and Emery are regressing in real time  3dGabriele Marcotti Getty

World

European Cup Qualification

– Qualifying tables | Upcoming fixtures

Euro 2020 qualifying: All you need to know

Who will take part in the playoffs? | Finals draw seeds and pots

USA vs. Canada: Here’s what’s at stake in the Nations League rematch

November 12, 20195:43PM ESTDylan ButlerContributor

There will be a lot on the line for both the US men’s national team and Canada when the teams meet up Friday (7 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN) at Exploria Stadium.By virtue of a historic win at BMO Field a month ago, Canada hold first place in Nations League Group A with a perfect nine points heading into its final group stage match.  A win or draw would put John Herdman’s squad into the tournament’s final four and earn them valuable points in the FIFA rankings as they seek to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup.Following the 2-0 victory in Toronto a month ago, Canada moved into a top-six spot among Concacaf teams where they need to be in June 2020 to ensure a spot in the Concacaf Hexagonal for FIFA World Cup qualifying. But there is little room for comfort, with El Salvador, Curacao and Panama all within striking distance.“The USA have their motivations for this match, but for us it is another cup final, another game that could decide our fate for qualification to the Hex, so we will give absolutely everything we have to move this country one step closer to achieving that goal,” Herdman said.Canada have already secured a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup by guaranteeing a place in the top two teams in the group. The US have also effectively sealed their qualification, given their huge goal-differential advantage over bottom-placed Cuba.A USMNT win would pull them within three points of Canada heading into the final group stage match against Cuba on Nov. 19. Canada currently have a +4 goal differential advantage over the USMNT.

How will the USMNT line up versus Canada?

Nicholas Mendola,NBC Sports 15 hours ago

No Christian Pulisic.  No Tyler Adams.  No Timothy Weah. No Michael Bradley, Matt Miazga, and no Zack Steffen, either.  Ugh.Still, the United States men’s national team will be favored to get a home decision over Canada on Friday as the CONCACAF Nations League begins its final two match days of the group stage.How will Gregg Berhalter line up his team without so many key components?

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan is probably going to get the start here, and he won’t kill the team, but we’d love to see Sean Johnson get a chance to improve on his 100% clean sheet success rate across two tournament caps for the U.S.

Back line: It would be insane if Sergino Dest didn’t start at one of the full back spots given his election of the USMNT over the Netherlands. Also insane would be not starting a finally-healthy John Brooks.After that, it seems likely Berhalter will opt for Aaron Long to pair with Brooks. If his left back option is Dest, then it’ll be DeAndre Yedlin at right back (or Reggie Cannon). If Dest is on his preferred right side, than Daniel Lovitz may get a look over Tim Ream on account of the speed in Canada’s attack.

Midfield: Might Berhalter pull back an attacker and use a four-man midfield against the Canucks? Weston McKennie and Alfredo Morales will take two spots, and it seems pretty likely Jackson Yueill will get the chance to be a deep-lying playmaker with McKennie and Morales running their shorts off to make his life easier. We suppose Berhalter could opt for Wil Trapp over Yueill. It’s possible. A little too possible.

Attack: Josh Sargent is going to get the center forward spot, and it would be wild if Jordan Morris doesn’t join him. Then it’s down to Tyler Boyd or Paul Arriola, exciting versus a bit safer. And Arriola would give him more of a midfield presence than the forward-thinking Boyd.Here’s how we think Berhalter starts in Orlando:

Guzan

Yedlin — Long — Brooks — Dest

Yueill

Morales — McKennie

Morris — Sargent — Arriola

Is Berhalter right for the U.S. men’s national team? 10 burning questions for the USMNT in 2019

3:13 PM ET   Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

On a conference call with the media on Tuesday, U.S. Soccer Federation sporting director Earnie Stewart had a Chip Diller moment. Despite some poor results by the U.S. men’s national team, including a humbling loss to Canada, Stewart said Gregg Berhalter’s job as manager is safe no matter what the results of the next two games are, and that the U.S. was making progress.It’s Stewart’s duty to back the work of Berhalter, of course. He hired him, after all. But Stewart’s assessment flies in the face of reality. Even if the U.S. gets the wins it needs against Canada on Friday (7 p.m. ET, watch live on ESPN2) and Cuba four days later, and thus advances to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League, the team has at best treaded water and more accurately taken a step backward in 2019. The insistence on playing out of the back seems misguided. The competitiveness that was once the U.S. team’s hallmark has nearly evaporated. Most sobering of all is the fact that while the U.S. roster has plenty of good players, outside of Christian Pulisic, there are few — if any — great players. There aren’t any Clint Dempseys or Landon Donovans coming to this team’s rescue. That last aspect isn’t Berhalter’s fault, but it does magnify mistakes, and there have been a few.Here are 10 questions that need answering for the U.S. as it goes forward.

1. Is Berhalter the right man for the job?

It’s looking more and more like he isn’t. New England Revolution manager Bruce Arena was right when he said in October that Berhalter was running the national team like it was a club team. Berhalter has been stubborn in terms of his style despite the scant time he gets with the team, but Stewart is clearly intent on keeping him on board for the foreseeable future.

The U.S. manager’s chances of survival hinge on his willingness to find a pragmatic streak. Soccer is a results-driven business; Berhalter needs to win any way necessary rather than insisting on his ideal way of playing. Sure, the U.S. reached the final of the Gold Cup, but that was a case of the Americans dispatching teams that they should beat on a regular basis. Against the likes of Mexico, other than the first 25 minutes of the Gold Cup final, the U.S. has come up well short, and last month’s defeat to Canada revealed that his side continues to lose ground to its regional competitors. Berhalter needs to accept the realities of what the player pool is handing him and regroup.

2. What have we learned about Berhalter’s approach?

So far Berhalter has been too rigid in his tactics and squad selection. The September friendly against Mexico was a case in point, when he praised his side for continuing to play out of the back even as it became evident that the U.S. didn’t have the ability to play through El Tri‘s press. There needs to be a mix of playing direct and indirect, depending on what the opponent gives you. Against an Uruguay team that was content to sit back, the U.S. wisely engaged in a patient buildup. Against Canada, the U.S. was guilty of some brutal giveaways in its own half that led directly to goals.Then there’s the broader question of whether the U.S. has the personnel — and perhaps more importantly, the time — to implement what Berhalter is asking of his players: to control the game by way of long spells of possession and unbalancing opponents to create goal-scoring opportunities through the individual brilliance of Pulisic and utilizing the wings. Against run-of-the-mill CONCACAF sides, it does. Against better teams, it doesn’t. This isn’t a surprise. It sums up the state of the U.S. team going back 40 years. Berhalter and the U.S. need to show more flexibility in terms of their style.

3. Does Berhalter know what his first-choice XI is?

Only in bits and pieces. I’d say roughly half of the starting lineup in his preferred 4-3-3 has solidified, while the remaining positions are open with varying degrees of competition. Some of that is health-induced, with the absence of Tyler Adams especially problematic. Here’s a stab at a starting XI assuming Berhalter has a full complement of players to choose from:

Zack SteffenDeAndre YedlinAaron LongJohn Brooks, Sergino Dest; Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic; Jordan MorrisJozy AltidorePaul Arriola.

4. Which players form his core?

Steffen is the entrenched starter in goal. Brooks, health permitting, will take up one of the center-back spots, while Yedlin has reclaimed his position at right-back. McKennie, Adams and Pulisic have to be on the field in some form or another, although they haven’t all been in camp together enough for Berhalter to settle on how that will be done.McKennie thrives as a No. 8 with his box-to-box running. Adams is the midfield engine adept at breaking up plays and his passing has improved to the point of him being able to link defense and attack. Pulisic is the creative linchpin, although he could use some help in this area.

5. Which positions are still unsettled?

Left-back remains a sore spot, with Dest looking to be shoehorned into that position even though he plays on the opposite flank for Ajax. The center-back situation is more solid, with Long, Tim Ream and Walker Zimmerman in contention to play alongside Brooks, although why Matt Miazga did to not get called in this time — despite playing regularly for Reading in England’s Championship — remains a mystery.In the absence of Adams, Berhalter is still looking for the right balance in midfield, especially in terms of which player (or players) sits in front of the back line. Michael Bradley remains an option, but his advancing age (32) demands that Berhalter look at other possibilities. Alfredo Morales, who plays with a bite that in large part is missing from this team, could be a solution, but he’s not exactly youthful at age 29. That merely highlights the fact that Adams can’t return to health soon enough.Altidore is still the best option as the lone striker, but health remains an issue for him. Based on the Gold Cup, he also doesn’t seem to have the faith of Berhalter, leaving Josh Sargent as the heir apparent. On the wing, Morris has made steady progress this season, while Arriola and Tyler Boyd are still in contention.

6. Is Berhalter getting the most out of Pulisic?

Not yet he isn’t, and it’s still not clear what Pulisic’s best position is in Berhalter’s setup. Pulisic has excelled playing out on the wing for Borussia Dortmund and now Chelsea, looking dynamic when he cuts inside from wide positions. But for the U.S. there’s a question of whether he can get the ball with enough frequency in that spot and whether the USMNT can afford to have him so isolated. Playing as one of two advanced central midfielders, Pulisic has looked promising at times, and this approach ought to be looked at again. It gives him a bit more freedom within the U.S. side to find space, whether its centrally or out wide.There’s also the question of how much Pulisic is chafing at how he’s being used. He showed visible frustration when he was subbed against Canada. No player wants to come out, ever, but against Canada, Pulisic’s insistence that he wasn’t feeling ill — as Berhalter stated — hints that player and coach aren’t always on the same page.

7. Which players should be shown the door?

In many ways, this process has already started. Wil Trapp, as good as he is on the ball, hasn’t shown the necessary physicality to excel with the national team, and his playing time has decreased as a result. Gyasi Zardes is everyone’s favorite whipping boy, and his playing time has largely been a function of Altidore’s injuries. But at this stage, he should make way for others.

8. Which players should get more chances?

There has been plenty of clamoring to see more of the U20 squad that reached the quarterfinals of last summer’s FIFA U20 World Cup. Berhalter has established a standard whereby players have to be getting minutes with their first team in order to get called up. I have zero problem with this. Too often in the past, players with minimal club achievements have been called into the national team, often to their detriment.Despite fans’ enthusiasm for a youth movement, a better development path for these players is to cut their international teeth with the U23s and focus on qualifying for the Olympics. It’s a tournament that is often derided as being far down the totem pool in terms of international cachet, but it’s still international experience, and can provide an important step in terms of the international game.However, one player who should be exempt from the above line of thinking is Paxton Pomykal, who has shown in 2019 that he’s deserving of additional opportunities. Injuries late in the season meant he hasn’t been able to build on his initial call-up in September, and he recently had surgery to repair a core muscle injury. But his skill on the ball would seem to suit what Berhalter is asking for. The potential, composure on the ball and playmaking ability of the Philadelphia Union’s Brenden Aaronson makes him another to watch.If the likes of Ulysses Llanez and Alex Mendez break through at Wolfsburg and Ajax respectively, by all means call them into the senior squad. The same can be said for Richie Ledezma at PSV. Until then, they should be left to develop with their clubs.In the absence of Pulisic, Sebastian Lletget is one player who ought to get some more looks. He’s crafty on the ball, and can pop up for the occasional goal, although there wasn’t enough of that last season for the LA Galaxy. So far, he hasn’t gotten all that many minutes when Berhalter has had first team available. If the U.S. manager is really intent on playing Pulisic out wide, Lletget may be the key to making that work. If Pulisic and Lletget are installed in these roles, Sargent could be suited for being the connection in front of goal given his skill set.Sargent is one player who needs to see the field more often given his all-around game and Altidore’s health issues.

9. What’s the U.S. team’s most glaring deficiency?

Depth or creativity, take your pick, although one tends to bleed into the other. The biggest problem with the attack is that there is no one to take the creative load off of Pulisic. If no one emerges to provide a secondary attacking outlet, then the Pulisic can expect a steady stream of tactical fouls.

10. What must Berhalter and the U.S. do better in 2020?

Besides everything? First, find the aforementioned pragmatic streak. The U.S. has historically been at its best when it has known its limitations and played within them. That’s not to say that playing a more expansive style can’t be tried, but it shouldn’t be the only club in the U.S. team’s stylistic bag.Find a dedicated place for Pulisic to play and then build the attack from there. And pray that Adams returns to health.The U.S. also needs to rediscover its competitive streak. The Canada game in October was embarrassing in terms of how badly the U.S. was outworked. If the U.S. is to make any progress at all in 2020, that trait needs to return in abundance.

Earnie Stewart: USMNT has made progress under Gregg Berhalter

1:31 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

U.S. Soccer Federation sporting director Earnie Stewart indicated that Gregg Berhalter’s job as men’s national team manager is safe, no matter what the results are in the upcoming Concacaf Nations League matches against Canada and Cuba.Berhalter has come under fire recently for some poor results, namely a 3-0 friendly defeat to rivals Mexico back in September in which the U.S. was thoroughly outplayed, as well as a 2-0 loss to Canada in the Nations League last month. The latter defeat makes Friday’s rematch against the Reds in Orlando a must-win if the U.S. is to progress in the competition.

– Watch U.S. vs. Canada live at 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN2
– CONCACAF Nations League: All you need to know

Speaking on a conference with reporters, Stewart was asked directly if Berhalter’s job was safe, no matter what the results are against Canada and Cuba, Stewart said, “We’re looking at the future, so yeah. When I evaluate Gregg and the coaching staff, and what I’ve seen today, I’m a pleased man. An individual result is not going to change that. I think that answers the question in itself.”Stewart admitted that the performance against Canada “wasn’t good enough”, but he believes the U.S. men have made progress in the last year.”I do think there’s been progress, I really do,” he said. “What we’ve seen in the Gold Cup is that in Concacaf we have a really good level, and that we can play the game we want to play. Getting to a place where we can do that over 90 minutes, that’s the place we need to get to. That progression is there, except against teams like a very good team in Mexico and a very good team like Uruguay, it becomes a little bit more difficult.”Berhalter has also come under criticism for implementing a possession-based, play-out-of-the-back style. The U.S. has at times struggled to implement this approach, leading to concerns that it doesn’t necessarily fit the collective skillset of the player pool. Stewart believes he seen enough positive moments that the approach is the right one.”Our players showed that they can perform at a really, really high level. The question is not so much, can these players do that, because they’ve already shown that they can. What I would say is we need to do that over 90 minutes, and that’s something that we’re constantly talking about. How can we get there? How can we progress to have enough players to keep that an maintain that for 90 minutes.”Stewart’s optimistic outlook extends to qualification for the 2022 World Cup.”I have no fear that we’re not going to qualify for the World Cup,” he said. “I’m very, very confident about that.”Stewart also hit back against what he called “conspiracy theories” about the process in which Berhalter was hired. Berhalter’s brother Jay is currently the USSF Chief Commercial Officer, and there have been suggestions that he had an unhealthy influence on Stewart during the coaching search, especially given the fact that just two candidates were interviewed.Stewart was also asked about the role that the Hispanic community plays in the U.S. program. Hispanics are not well represented in the USSF hierarchy, and a newly created a 59-person youth soccer task force that outside of USSF president Carlos Cordeiro, doesn’t contain a single Latino member.”When we put it together, we were just looking for the best people, it’s as simple as that,” said Stewart, speaking generally about Hispanic representation.”There’s not other stuff that goes on or anything like that. Is the Hispanic community an important part of the U.S. and U.S. Soccer? Yes, I truly believe that. Should there be representation? I believe that as well. That is hopefully what the future will also entail and what that will look like. But it’s also about the quality of people that you bring in and everything. It’s an important part of our heritage, it’s an important part of our community, so that should also be represented within the USSF. And I don’t believe anybody within the USSF thinks differently than that.”

Anything less than revenge win over Canada is unacceptable, say United States

November 12, 201912:47PM ESTAustin DavidContributor

ORLANDO, Fla. — Over the past few weeks, a number of billboards sprung up around the city of Orlando advertising the US men’s national team’s Concacaf Nations League match against Canada on Friday (7 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN), with the word “payback” written on top.After the team’s disappointing 2-0 loss to Canada in October, this game has been billed as a revenge game by many. Now, with the team facing a must-win home match against their northern neighbors, the players seem to feel the same way.“I don’t like to put that pressure, but in reality, it is,” defender Reggie Cannon said on Monday. “We lost and now it’s time to step up and respond to the challenge that we’re placed in. We dug ourselves in this hole but we can definitely get out of it.”That self-imposed pressure is one that seems to resonate through the entire team. With some frustrating performances and results over the last few months, the USMNT are eager to show their fans just what they’re capable of and put on a show for the Orlando faithful.

United States vs. Canada

Friday, November 15 at 7:00pmExploria StadiumGET TICKETS

“You use that game to learn from and get better,” goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. “We certainly weren’t good enough on the night and we need to make sure that when we step on the field, come Friday night, we give ourselves the best chance to get three points.”Building off the performance in October, head coach Gregg Berhalter felt that his team lacked intensity against Canada, a part of the game he’s hoping his players not only learned from but also build on.“I can guarantee you that it will be a different-looking game on Friday,” Berhalter said. “Sometimes it takes a fire getting lit under you to get that response and we’re always striving a mixture. We want that super-high intensity but we also want to be able to pick teams apart and play our way.”With the team missing two of their star players in Zack Steffen and Christian Pulisic, others will need to fill their shoes with a next-man-up mentality, as they hope to rectify the result of the previous game and produce a better performance in a match the US must win handily if they are to retain any hope of winning Group A of CNL League A and advancing to the new competition’s knockout stages.“Nothing less than a win is going to be good enough,” Guzan said.

Armchair Analyst: Berhalter’s latest USMNT roster has one job

November 12, 20192:14PM ESTMatthew DoyleSenior Writer

There was justifiable anger, frustration and despair from the US national team fanbase last month following a humiliating and one-sided 2-0 loss at BMO Field to Canada in the Concacaf Nations League.It was a very, very bad loss. Not because Canada are a bad team – the US have lost to much worse teams this past decade (Guatemala, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago) – nor because the stakes were particularly high (the losses to those above teams all came in World Cup qualifiers, and Jamaica won in the 2015 Gold Cup semifinals as well).What made it bad was how slow and defensively disorganized the US were all over the pitch, and how soft and uncompetitive the US were in central midfield. Michael Bradley and Cristian Roldan were put in a no-win situation by Gregg Berhalter, asked to play 2-v-4 basically all night against Canada’s box midfield. But even so they were just overrun by their Canadian counterparts. Sam Piette and Liam Fraser are good players, but they are not prime Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz.Against the US, they looked like it.  So here’s a list of things that I want to see from the USMNT for these upcoming Nations League games, in which they host Canada in Orlando on Friday (7 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN) and then travel down to the Cayman Islands to face Cuba next Tuesday (7:30 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, TUDN):

1. Change the defensive shape

At some point it has to be recognized that the 4-4-2 mid-block is too passive, too prone to losing numerical superiority in central midfield, and too simple to game plan against (hence Canada’s box midfield). Berhalter has to put another guy in there.I’m open to seeing how the US look defensively in a 4-2-3-1 with a double pivot. Or Berhalter could invert the triangle and go with a single pivot in a 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1. Either way, it’s time to get more numbers there.

2. Change the defensive function

Can you think of a single dangerous transition moment from the past half-dozen games? Can you remember a single time the US won the ball and then just immediately vamos‘d into the attacking third?Neither can I. The US plan under Berhalter is to bottle teams up in that mid-block, force a turnover, and then methodically go about breaking them down with the ball.When you can do that, that’s good! But if everybody already knows you’re doing that, and is planning to stop you from doing that, and you don’t have a Plan B, then that’s bad! That’s how you get absolutely punked by Canada!ore than anything else, the modern game is about transition moments. The US in 2019 do not do transition moments. It is weird, and it is worrisome, and it is wearing me out. Win the ball and run.

3. Return the Punking

Canada out-toughed, out-swaggered, out-coached and out-Concacaf’d the US in October. It was a pure beating, a one-sided lesson in aggression, game-planning and will.And if you’re a member of the USMNT, a national team that had not lost to Canada for 34 years prior last month’s embarrassment, you can not let that stand. You have to go out there and, first and foremost, win the rock fight. Yes, soccer is a game of high strategy and subtle tactics and nuance and beauty, but at its heart it will always be a physical competition. Those Barcelona teams that played the most gorgeous soccer anyone’s ever seen? To a man they’d push you in front of a bus if they thought it would give them an edge. To a man they went out there not just with the desire to play their game and impose their tactical will, but to dominate and demoralize their opponents.The US have too often looked like they were going through the steps of an academic exercise, just processing information and forgetting that there was a sporting competition happening around them (or maybe “to them” is a better way of putting it). Tata Martino had El Tri just press the US into oblivion back in September, and John Herdman simply wouldn’t let the bedrock principle of the academic exercise – Bradley’s long diagonals to the flanks – be a thing.The US got punked. The players played soft, confused and frustrated.

Here’s the XI I’d like to see:

Morris/Sargent .Arriola

Mckennie Yueill

Morales

Dest, Brooks, Long, Cannon

Johnson

A few notes:

  • Jordan Morrislooked exhausted after MLS Cup, but with Christian Pulisic officially ruled out, he will have to step up for the USMNT, while Tyler Boyd is an off-the-bench option.
  • Bradley is officially out after turning his ankle in MLS Cup, which means it’s Jackson Yueillor Wil Trappas the regista.

I have my doubts about Yueill’s ability to do some of the physical work required of a No. 6 – he’s become good at winning the ball in a scrum, but isn’t one to cover much ground or inflict much pain (yet) – but I think this is a fairly easy call. If he does well, great! If he doesn’t… well, at least it’s a useful data point for evaluating a young, high-upside player in the pool.

  • A more traditional look would have Alfredo Morales as the No. 6 with Weston McKennie and Yueill as dual No. 8s. You could also talk me into Sebastian Lletgetas the more advanced, left-sided CM, McKennie as the No. 8 and either Morales or Yueill on the bench.
  • Yes, I went with Reggie Cannonover DeAndre Yedlin. As with Roldan and Bradley, there has to be accountability for a performance as poor as last month’s. Plus Yedlin’s defensive inattentiveness has not lessened over the years.
  • Tyler Adams and Timothy Weah have returned to training. Zack Seffen, Paxton Pomykaland Miles Robinsonwill be healthy come January. Richie Ledezma is on the verge of breaking through into the PSV first-team squad. Duane Holmes continues to impress at Derby County. Bobby Wood is playing actual minutes again, maybe. And the U23s – who also have a camp this week – are stacked.  Help is on the way.

Most to gain (or lose) from decisive USMNT matches

By Nicholas MendolaNov 12, 2019, 4:23 PM EST

The United States men’s national team will not be changing coaches regardless of the scores against Canada and Cuba this month, giving added incentive to 23 men called into the team to get the job done.Long- and short-term injuries continue to open the door to players well past Gregg Berhalter’s top 23, even deeper considering the concurrent U-23 camp and the coach’s apparent disinterest in some other players still performing well in Europe.Christian PulisicZack Steffen, and Michael Bradley picked up injuries that won’t allow them to join the team, while Timothy Weah and Tyler Adams have just restarted training with their clubs after long injury absences. Miles Robinson is still absent after being injured at the last camp and missing Atlanta’s playoff runThrow in Berhalter’s decision not to call up Matt Miazga, Duane Holmes, and Julian Green to go with Jozy Altidore‘s lack of fitness, and you’ve got another month for some players to surprise (We haven’t even mentioned Antonee RobinsonCameron Carter-Vickers and Richie Ledezma are at a loaded U-23 camp).Edit note: Maybe we need to write up a Top 50 USMNT depth chart this evening or soon…

Chase Gasper and Corey Baird were sent home from camp ahead of the European arrivals, so here are the players whose fortunes could hinge on delivering for a coach who needs it. Make no mistake about it: Earnie Stewart’s vote of confidence means the coach is going nowhere, but anyone who helps Berhalter score a berth in the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals will take a place near his heart.

Who’s gotta carpe sabbati? Read on…

Sebastian Lletget ,Jackson Yueill, Cristian Roldan (in that order) — We probably wrote something similar to this last month, but future camps without Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic, and Weston McKennie are only going to happen if all are (again) injured or there is absolutely nothing on the line against Jamaica’s B Team.

Include Bradley’s absence and you’ll get an even deeper understanding of why who is chosen alongside McKennie and (probably) Alfredo Morales for this big match against Canada is a big deal. Lletget is 27 and Berhalter hasn’t shown a lot of love for him despite bringing a unique skill set and decent performances when he’s been given time on the USMNT pitch. Roldan might be the best non-prospect American player in MLS. Yueill is just 22, but again there are a lot of absent players ahead of him. We’re not included Wil Trapp in this discussion because he’s clearly a Berhalter favorite.Out-fight Scott Arfield and out-fox Jonathan Osorio, and give Berhalter a reason to keep calling you into the fold.

The goalkeepers — There’s no reason to expect Zack Steffen to lose his first XI spot through injury, especially given his status as a Bundesliga starter on loan from a Champions League outfit — Oh, and he was Berhalter’s club No. 1, too! — but at some point these goalkeeper call-ups and their performances will determine who will be Nos. 2 and 3 for qualifying and for, probably, the 2022 World Cup.

Jonathan Klinsmann, Ethan Horvath, and Brady Scott aren’t here, and boy did Leicester City’s Chituru Odunze open some eyes during the U.S. flame-out at the U-17 World Cup.

So here’s Brad Guzan, the presumptive No. 1 in a post-Tim Howard world who proved presumptions aren’t foolproof.

Only two of Sean Johnson‘s eight caps were not friendlies, and both were Gold Cup clean sheets (six years apart). Might he get a chance in Orlando?

And Matt Turner is new here after an outstanding 2019 season in MLS. You can bet Berhalter rang up a respected Bruce Arena to get plenty of info before calling in the New England Revolution’s No. 1.

Aaron Long — This isn’t about gaining a spot on the squad, as the 27-year-old Long looks like a mainstay for Berhalter, rather a steady place in the XI. Miazga not being here could’ve been heard as a clarion call to the center backs who were called up.

Long has struggled in his past few months wearing the national team shirt, and a healthy John Brooks is an automatic starter. That leaves one spot, a pivotal one given Berhalter’s preferential formation, and Walker Zimmerman is a better passer than Long. This is a big camp for proving whether the Red Bulls man is a starter or security blanket.

Seattle’s home MLS Cup win cements Sounders in the city’s rich sporting legacy

Kevin PeltonESPN Senior Writer

SEATTLE — Seattle’s 3-1 win over Toronto FC to claim MLS Cup 2019, in front of a sellout crowd of nearly 70,000 fans on Sunday, was the culmination of a love affair between the city and the Sounders a decade in the making.

It’s easy to forget, in the wake of the successful expansion launches of Portland, LAFC and particularly Atlanta — which won MLS Cup in front of a similar sellout crowd last year and has surpassed the Sounders as the attendance leader — just how unbelievable Seattle’s support once seemed. When the Sounders played their first Major League Soccer game 10 years ago, no team in league history had averaged 30,000 fans per match. The Sounders broke the MLS record in their inaugural season, and again in each of the next four before eventually peaking at more than 44,000 fans per game in 2015.None of that was predictable in 2009. At the time, the big question in Seattle sports circles was whether the excitement over the Sounders’ debut could last. After all, it’s common for expansion franchises to see their attendance decline in Year 2. The WNBA’s Seattle Storm, for example, saw their average decrease by almost a third during their second season. And though the Storm have carved out an important place in Seattle’s sports scene, winning three championships of their own, they’ve still yet to reach that inaugural attendance again.Several factors helped the Sounders not only maintain, but actually improve their fan support in Year 2 and beyond.First, the timing of the team’s debut on the MLS stage couldn’t possibly have been better. Without question, 2008 was the most miserable year in Seattle sports history. The University of Washington fielded the only winless FBS team. MLB’s Mariners lost 100 games for the first time in 25 years. The NFL Seahawks, just three years removed from reaching the Super Bowl, bottomed out at 4-12. And, most painfully, the NBA SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City after 41 years in Seattle.Though the Sounders could never replace the history lost with the Sonics’ move, their arrival helped fill a void in the Seattle sports landscape and the Sounders took full advantage by nailing the expansion process. Even their one misstep — the team originally excluded Sounders, part of Seattle’s soccer heritage dating back to their NASL participation from 1974 to 1983, from a fan naming vote — only ended up increasing excitement when they reversed course.Second, the atmosphere created by Sounders supporters made CenturyLink Field an experience unlike almost any in American professional sports at that point, with the Emerald City Supporters in the south stands leading chants for the full 90 minutes. That made Sounders matches more entertaining for casual fans and the home stadium a fortress for the team, rather than depressingly cavernous like other NFL stadiums used by MLS teams.Thanks in part to their home crowd, the Sounders won — and kept winning. From Day 1, they’ve consistently been one of the best teams in MLS. They’ve reached the playoffs in all 11 of their seasons, a new league record. And while it wasn’t until Brian Schmetzer’s promotion to head coach in 2016 that the Sounders were able to break through in the postseason and reach MLS Cup, they claimed the US Open Cup three consecutive years starting in their inaugural MLS season and added a fourth in 2014.Still, none of that — not even the MLS Cup the Sounders did win on the road in Toronto in 2016 — could compare to the enthusiasm hosting MLS Cup generated in Seattle.– Replay MLS Cup: Seattle Sounders 3, Toronto FC 1 (U.S. only)  “This week was a week I will not forget,” majority owner Adrian Hanauer, who led the group that brought the Sounders to MLS, said in the winning locker room. “Starting 10 days ago with Toronto knocking off Atlanta and realizing, ‘Holy crap, we’re going to host an MLS Cup,’ I made a concerted effort to appreciate it and breathe it all in a little bit, because that’s not really in my nature.”The first two Sounders wins en route to the MLS Cup, over FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake, were modestly attended by Seattle standards with 37,000-plus fans. The combination of the Sounders’ improbable upset over Supporters’ Shield winner LAFC in the Western Conference finals and the opportunity to win a league championship at home — something only the Storm, among the city’s major pro sports teams, have done — put them in the front of Seattle sports fans’ consciousness and made the Sounders a hot ticket. When MLS Cup tickets went on sale nine days ahead of the match, the building sold out within 20 minutes, guaranteeing both the largest attendance ever for a sporting event at CenturyLink Field as well as the largest to watch soccer in the state of Washington. On resale sites, tickets were running more than $200 just to get in the door.For Sounders forward and Seattle-area native Jordan Morris, the chance to play for a trophy in his hometown was a unique experience.”I got emotional before the game because I was thinking about that,” said Morris, whose father is the team’s chief medical officer. “I was here at the first game 10 years ago, and now I’m on the field playing for a championship. It’s pretty special.”Hanauer had a similar feeling a few hours earlier, when he reached Pioneer Square and saw fans already gathering hours before the match. More than anyone, he knows the hard work, planning and luck it took to get to this point.”You’re never quite sure how it’s all going to shake out, but obviously you want to play for championships, you want to win championships,” Hanauer said. “Doing it in your home city, where you were born and raised, it’s pretty special to see the joy that you give fans and how beloved these players and coaches are. It’s pretty cool.”Sports moves communities and brings people together. To see what this group of players and coaches was able to do for this community, for those 69,000, for the hundreds of thousands watching on TV and giant watch parties, it’s awesome. It’s great for the city.”

Seattle Steps Up in Decisive Moments to Win MLS Cup Rubber Match vs. Toronto

For a second time in four seasons, the Sounders have won MLS Cup, and based on how the club is structured, they’re not finished making noise.GRANT WAHL19 HOURS AGO

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders beat Toronto FC 3-1 to win the 2019 MLS Cup final on Sunday, sending a sellout crowd of 69,274 at CenturyLink Field into a frenzy. With second-half goals by Kelvin Leerdam, Víctor Rodríguez and Raúl Ruidíaz, Seattle won its second MLS championship and first at a final in front of its rabid home fans. Jozy Altidore scored a late goal for Toronto.Here are three quick thoughts on the game:

Seattle won the rubber-match despite being dominated in possession

This was a better game than either of the previous two finals these same two teams played in 2016 and ’17, but the biggest surprise of Seattle-Toronto III was Seattle having only 35% of possession and looking to counter much more than anyone had expected coming into the game. Toronto didn’t park the bus by any means and actually played the better soccer for much of the game. Alejandro Pozuelo was fantastic at times on the ball in the Seattle half, but Toronto never created enough truly dangerous chances despite all that possession and suffered for it. When it came down to it, Toronto also didn’t have anyone quite as good in the decisive moments as Seattle’s Nicolás Lodeiro, whose brilliant pass to Víctor Rodríguez set up the second Seattle goal—and the team’s second MLS Cup title in four years.

Michael Bradley played like a man with $6.5 million on the line

The fact of the matter is that Bradley plays like someone with his hair on fire all the time anyway (if he had hair), but with a Toronto win reportedly set to trigger an extra year of his contract at $6.5 million, Bradley was everywhere on Sunday. Has there ever been a bigger single-game win bonus in the history of the sport? Bradley orchestrated the Toronto build-up when TFC had the ball, and whenever Seattle had a counter it was Bradley who would race back and try to put out the fire. Bradley’s range was incredible in this game, and you would have to think that even with the loss he’ll come back to Toronto next year and continue to play a major role—even if it’s at a lower salary number than it would have been with a victory in the final.

If we’re deciding to name eras, this may well be the Seattle Era in MLS

This was obviously the third Seattle-Toronto final in the last four years, and while Toronto’s 2017 team makes a great case as the best single-season team in MLS history, the best teams are the ones who can reign over a period of several seasons.AWith its second win over Toronto in a final, Seattle now has a better claim to this era than TFC. What’s more, this Seattle run may not be over. Sounders pillars Lodeiro and Ruidíaz are nowhere near the end of the line, the roster put together by GM Garth Lagerwey is stacked, and now the Seattle homegrowns (which have been winning age-group titles for the last two years) could really start impacting the team starting next season. f the Seattle championship era started in 2016, the end-date on this era has yet to be decided.

Let’s call it what it is: MLS Cup has been cruel to Toronto FC

Joey Gulino,Yahoo Sports 18 hours ago

  • Michael Bradley and Toronto FC have had a ridiculously hard time solving Seattle in MLS Cup finals. (Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports)

SEATTLE — You-know-who said it. You know what he said.Zlatan Ibrahimovic didn’t factor into Sunday’s MLS Cup final whatsoever. But his comments on how the league determines a champion – “I think the system is s***” – rang loud back in August.They ring even louder now thanks to Toronto FC.Three times, Toronto has met the Seattle Sounders with a championship on the line. Three times, Toronto has a strong claim to being the better side.One time, they hoisted the trophy. That’s it.“That’s how it goes,” TFC captain Michael Bradley said. “Nobody’s feeling sorry for themselves. It’s frustrating. … On these days, things hang in the balance, and you need a little bit of quality, skill, a break, a little bit of luck. By and large, that’s what opens these games up.”By and large, that’s not what Toronto has gotten.Sunday’s 3-1 scoreline was unflattering of the bravery the Reds displayed on the road for the third time in as many games this postseason. They’d already gone to Eastern Conference top seed New York City FC and won. They did the same against defending MLS champion Atlanta United in the conference final.With 69,274 fans stuffed into CenturyLink Field, almost all of them rooting vociferously for the Sounders, Toronto was the aggressor for the first half and beyond. Their exchanges were crisp, their ideas clever, their lack of a goal verging on obnoxious.There wasn’t one chance that necessarily stood out as unfortunate, just the entire run of play.“It’s frustrating, because I thought we were fluid,” TFC coach Greg Vanney said. “I thought generally we had good organization. I thought they didn’t have a great answer for some of our movement and some of the ball circulation.”By the time Seattle’s goal arrived in the 57th minute, officially credited to Kelvin Leerdam but thoroughly attributable to TFC defender Justin Morrow’s deflection, the game changed completely.Toronto broke it open. They just did it against themselves.“I thought it was a gut punch, just in terms of how we played,” said striker Jozy Altidore, who battled back from injury to come on as a substitute. “We dominated the game. It’s shades of 2016 a bit.”What happened in 2016? Oh nothing, just Toronto FC bossing the run of play with zilch to show for it, thanks to Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei’s heroics and the wrong spin of a penalty shootout wheel.A year later, when the Reds returned to MLS Cup with arguably the best team in league history, they dominated the Sounders again but didn’t score until Altidore’s 67th-minute strike, and didn’t feel truly comfortable until an insurance goal in stoppage time.Then came Sunday. Three games. Well over 300 minutes of play. Nearly 500 more passes attempted, and still a higher percentage of passes completed. An aggregate of nearly 60 percent possession. Toronto even registered nearly as many shots on goal (23) and Seattle registered shots period (24). “It doesn’t matter,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “You put the ball in the back of the net, you’re dangerous in attack, and that’s how championships are won.”He’s right. That’s how soccer works sometimes. The most important statistic is MLS championships, and that reads Sounders 2, Toronto FC 1.There’s an art form to winning when you don’t have as much of the ball, when you live on the back foot. When, to borrow Zlatan’s terminology, the “s***” system works in your favor.“They’re a team that knows how to counter,” Altidore said. “They know how to absorb pressure, create. They’ve been doing it a number of years. Credit to them, they did it again to us tonight. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”This run for Toronto FC will do nothing to quiet one of the sport’s signature debates in America. No, these Reds did not win the Supporters’ Shield, but their superiority over vast stretches still goes unrewarded, much like how the regular season champion isn’t just hot at the right time, but all the time.Take nothing away from the Sounders. Toronto FC isn’t.Cruelly for them, that’s not all they’re leaving Seattle without.

Premier League review: Manchester City’s depth is a problem, despite their financial might

Nick MillerESPN.com writer

nother wild weekend in the Premier League is done and dusted. We get you caught up on the action with the Weekend Review.

City’s depth is becoming a problem for them

Instinctively it feels slightly absurd to suggest one of Manchester City’s weaknesses is their strength in depth. After all, on Sunday £60 million worth of Riyad Mahrez didn’t make it off the bench and Gabriel Jesus would start every game for about 98 percent of other teams on the planet. But in specific areas, City’s squad is shallow, it cost them the game against Liverpool and it could cost them the Premier League title.

EDITOR’S PICKS

The most obvious place to start is in goal, where Claudio Bravo wasn’t quite the calamity he was in the Champions League against Atalanta (36 minutes, no saves, one goal conceded, one red card) but he was terrible in a more low key way, letting in three goals that, for at least two if not all, you thought “Ederson would’ve saved that.”

Maybe Bravo would be a safer bet with some proper defenders in front of him. The decision not to recruit a centre-back when Vincent Kompany left in the summer seemed odd at the time, but looks even worse now. Perhaps City thought they could muddle through with Aymeric Laporte and someone beside him, but when the Frenchman was struck down with his knee injury, their options looked bleak. Guardiola has always been fond of playing midfielders in defence, but he’s learning pretty quickly that it’s not always a good idea.

And then there’s left-back, a position that Guardiola has never really nailed at City but is proving particularly tricky this season. To illustrate the point Benjamin Mendy wasn’t injured for Sunday’s game, but Guardiola preferred to give Angelino just his second league start, which turned out to be a pretty thankless task. Asking the Spaniard to deal with Trent Alexander-ArnoldJordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah — probably the toughest right flank in the world to face — was ambitious, and went about as well as you’d expect.

All of this was a big reason for Man City’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield. Sure, Liverpool got a little lucky, but they also exploited City’s weaknesses ruthlessly and as a result are nine points ahead with a third of the season gone.

Liverpool can’t throw this away from here … can they?

Since three points for a win was introduced in 1981, only three teams have been eight points or more ahead after 12 games: Manchester United in 1985-86 and 1993-95, and City in 2017-18. The first United side collapsed pretty soon afterwards and finished fourth, but the latter two strode on and won the title at a canter.

“Other people will 100 percent say that from now on Liverpool can only lose it,” said Klopp, who had a similar lead with Borussia Dortmund in 2010-11 when he won his first title there. “That’s a very negative approach, but you can see it like this. But we don’t care.”

The question now is how Liverpool deal with being such emphatic front-runners, given how they stumbled after taking a big lead last season. Klopp, as with most things, seems aware of that.

“It’s not important because who wants to be first in November? You want to be first in May. The pressure is not there yet,” he said. “It will come, but at the moment it’s just opportunity.”

Emery is throwing stuff at a wall, but not much is sticking

Unai Emery has now said after three straight games, none of which Arsenal won, that for at least some of the match his team followed the plan and carried out his instructions. After the 2-0 defeat to Leicester on Saturday, you could sort of see what he was getting at, because Arsenal weren’t too bad in the first-half. But surely anyone with even a little self-awareness would realise that continually saying that the team were doing what you tell them to, but not winning, will make you look like an idiot.

A charitable interpretation would be that he’s trying to take the heat off the players, but there isn’t much charity in the Arsenal fanbase at the moment. They have won just two of the last 10 league games, two away games of any description all season, and Emery is showing the telltale sign of a floundering manager by throwing formations and team selections at a wall and seeing what sticks.

But not much is sticking, and it just looks like Emery is guessing at this stage: Brendan Rodgers observed that, as far as he could tell, Emery had only used the 5-2-1-2 system deployed on Saturday once before, in last season’s Europa League final. You will probably recall that Arsenal lost that one 4-1.

If Leicester win the title again, it would be better than the first

To give a small illustration of the work Rodgers has done at Leicester, they were a whopping 32 points shy of second place when he took charge of his first game last March. Now they are second, with broadly the same players, a point above City going into the international break and one of the most exciting teams to watch in the Premier League.

Implausibly, they’re very much in the title race again, and you could feasibly argue that A: This team is better than the one that won the league in 2015-16, and B: If they managed it again this time, it would be a better achievement due to the higher calibre of opposition they’re facing.

West Ham are praying for Fabianski’s return

If a player’s value is determined by the difference in quality between them and their replacement, then Lukasz Fabianski might be the most important player in the Premier League.

It probably wasn’t a great sign when his back-up Roberto played in West Ham’s Carabao Cup game against League One Oxford United and conceded four times. The man with the neck tattoos has very much continued that form since replacing the injured Fabianski in the Premier League side.

With Fabianski in goal this season West Ham conceded eight goals in six-and-a-half Premier League games, five coming in one game against Manchester City, which happens. Since Roberto took the gloves they’ve let in 12 in five-and-a-half games, winning none of them, the latest being the 3-0 defeat at Burnley this weekend where Roberto was responsible for at least two of the goals conceded.

The current third-choice is David Martin, who had a solid enough career in the Football League before joining the Hammers in the summer — surely he can’t be much worse than Roberto. In the meantime, expect Manuel Pellegrini to use the international break to take Fabianski to Lourdes and dip his entire body in holy water.

Luckiest moment of the weekend

On the weekend when his side moved another place higher, to fifth in the Premier League with a draw against Tottenham, it’s worth reminding ourselves that when Chris Wilder arrived at Sheffield United in 2016, his team had failed for a fifth season to escape League One, finishing in a limp 11th place.I’m tired of talking about VAR,” Wilder said, after his midfielder John Lundstram’s big toe apparently meant he was offside and ruled out a goal for the Blades.”The main talking point for me was seeing my team go toe to toe with a team that got to the Champions League final last year.”Damn right, and Tottenham can consider themselves fortunate to have got away with a point.

Hislop: VAR has become a ‘monstrosity’ in Premier League

After a day of more VAR controversy, Shaka Hislop says the way it’s been implemented in England is “not working”.

VAR oscillates between one extreme and another

With apologies to Wilder, a quick word on VAR — pun intended. It feels like the ways the system is being implemented this season are oscillating wildly from one extreme to the other. A couple of weeks ago we had a few penalties very softly overturned after weeks of none, and now after most people agreed that reviews were taking too long, some came in the Liverpool vs. City game that were so quick it was doubtful they actually watched the incidents properly.

There is a middle ground to all of this, guys. It doesn’t have to be one extreme or another. That, or scrap VAR completely. That would work too.

Late Comeback Leads Louisville City FC to 3-1 Win over Boys in Blue

Indy Eleven was a minute away from qualifying for its first USL Championship Final, however, it was back-to-back defending league champion Louisville City FC that would have the final say in a 3-1 victory after added extra time in front of 7,171 fans at IUPUI Carroll Stadium.Indy forward Tyler Pasher pushed the home side forward midway through the second half with a goal that looked as if it would stand as the match-winner. And it would have until the fourth of as many minutes of stoppage time, when LCFC striker Antoine Hoppenot stunned the crowd with a shot off a corner kick that snuck through traffic, pushing the match to 30 minutes of added extra time. In the first extra session it was Magnus Rasmussen giving the visitors the lead four minutes in, while Luke Spencer’s conversion from the penalty spot seven minutes from time sealed the result for the defending champs.The defeat ended the most successful season in Indy Eleven’s six-year history, as the Boys in Blue notched club records in regular season wins (19), standings points (63) away wins (6), and home wins (13), while also adding its first two victories in USL Championship play. Despite the numerous accomplishments achieved across the season, Indiana’s Team will head into the offseason thinking about the opportunity that was in front of it this afternoon at Carroll Stadium.“The reality is we’ve done really well this season. The club has come forward a long way,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “We put ourselves in a great position to host the Eastern Conference Final.”It was Indy Eleven who would create the most opportunistic looks of the first 15 minutes as neither side gave the other an early edge. A pair of crosses from Pasher nearly connected with forward Dane Kelly and midfielder Kenney Walker, respectively, but neither materialized into shots on goal as the tug of war for the Eastern Conference Final got off the ground.Fans would wait 36 minutes before the game’s first true chance would present itself. Indy midfielder Macauley King played a lofted ball into the box after a Walker effort on goal had been blocked. King’s cross would find Kelly at the penalty spot, where the Jamaican snapped a header that forced Louisville ‘keeper Chris Hubbard into an impressive, acrobatic tip save.Six minutes later, King connected with a header from a Walker corner that nearly gave the Boys in Blue the lead, but the effort glanced inches wide of the right post. Indy continued the pressure 60 seconds later when Pasher drove into the Louisville box before laying a driven cross down for a teammate, but Hubbard would coolly collect, his action ending a tight first 45 minutes.The first chance of the second half came from out of nowhere a minute in, as Indy defender Paddy Barrett nearly caught Hubbard off his line with a lofted ball from midfield, but the LCFC ‘keeper scampered back to get both paws on the ball to steer it wide. Two minutes later, a deep corner connected with Louisville defender Paco Craig, whose headed effort softly glanced past the post. Indy generated a chance from a corner as well seven minutes later, but Karl Ouimette was unable to redirect fellow defender Ayoze’s service on frame.Despite a flurry of Louisville corners, it was a quick counter by the Boys in Blue that broke the deadlock 67 minutes into the match. A lofted back-heel flick by Kelly over Louisville’s backline freed Pasher into space. The Canadian took one large touch forward before slotting home a low, left-footed effort, giving Indy the upper hand down the stretch.Louisville began pressing harder in search of an equalizer, which they nearly found in the 81st minute. Indy ‘keeper Jordan Farr was caught in no man’s land after an awkward clearance that turned into a shot from Louisville’s Abdou Mbacke Thiam. The chip hung in the air for what seemed an eternity before clonking off the cross bar and away from the net, keeping Indy’s lead alive at 1-nil.  Louisville substitute George Davis IV tested Farr again six minutes later after the forward played a whipping cross into the box, forcing Farr to into an aerial save. From there, Indiana’s Team launched a counter that freed Pasher for a clean look on goal in the Louisville box, but the Canadian’s effort flew over.Despite Indy’s best efforts to hold onto the lead, Hoppenot leveled the match in the 94th minute after a corner was cleared to the waiting midfielder. Hoppenot sent in a one-time effort that glided through a box full of players and somehow into the back of the net, sending Louisville’s sizable away support into a frenzy – and the match into extra time at one all.Four minutes into stoppage time Louisville took their first lead of the match, set up by a back heel flick from Thiam that connected with Rasmussen in the Indy box. Rasmussen took one touch before passing the ball into the bottom left corner of Farr’s net, keeping the momentum squarely on the side of the visitors.Indy almost drew level in the 101st minute after a darting run from Pasher resulted in a cross for Indy substitute Ilija Ilic, who would settle and send an effort on net only to see a Louisville defender block the equalizer attempt.Louisville earned their chance to put the game away after a being awarded a dubious penalty in the 111th minute after Farr collided with LCFC’s Brian Ownby in the box. Spencer stepped up to take the penalty in the 113th minute, which he placed in the top right corner to secure the insurance goal.Louisville went on to withstand Indy’s attempts from there on out, bringing an end to the Eleven’s impressive postseason run and a home undefeated streak across all competitions that spanned 27 games dating back to last July.“Those players have done us proud,” Rennie said. “We’re going to keep improving and make sure we’re right up there at the top.”

Louisville City through to 3rd-straight USL Cup final after topping Indy Eleven in thriller

Kevin Johnston, Special for IndyStar   Published 7:11 p.m. ET Nov. 9, 2019 | Updated 7:46 p.m. ET Nov. 9, 2019

Louisville City FC’s Magnus Rasmussen celebrates his game-winner against the Indy Eleven in the USL Eastern Conference finals at Carroll Stadium. (Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski/Indy Eleven)

INDIANAPOLIS – Louisville City FC has already proven itself as a juggernaut in the USL Championship entering 2019. Now, the club might be approaching dynasty status.LouCity will host the USL Cup final with a chance to make it three titles in a row after downing the Indy Eleven 3-1 in dramatic fashion Saturday afternoon at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium.And about that word “dynasty,” LouCity attacker Brian Ownby has thoughts on it.“We want to be considered that,” he admitted. “I think (our goal is) — starting from the beginning of this club — to reach this point every year. So, we’ll start talking about that hopefully after we get another win in the USL Cup. But we’re going to enjoy this one tonight and start preparing for the next.”It took Louisville City some brilliance in the desperate waning moments of the match to send it to extra time before the visitors tacked on two more goals to close the door on Indy’s season.With about a minute remaining in stoppage time, Louisville City stunned the crowd at Carroll Stadium with an equalizer from outside the box. Antoine Hoppenot found some space and ripped a shot through heavy traffic that avoided all bodies and limbs on its way into Indy’s net.“I think I need to be in a better position when that shot comes in,” confessed Eleven goalkeeper Jordan Farr. “Granted, I don’t see it until it’s right in front of me, but I think my positioning needs to be better.”Before the late stunner, the often-dangerous left foot of Tyler Pasher opened the scoring for Indy. He blasted in a flicked pass from Dane Kelly in the 67th minute, a goal that seemed destined to put Indy through to the final until Hoppenot’s heroics. “We thought we had the game won,” Eleven manager Martin Rennie said. “Pretty much the last kick of the ball we lose a goal, so that was really disappointing. I didn’t feel like it was four minutes of stoppage time. There were no injuries and there were only four subs. So, there shouldn’t have been that long and that could’ve made a difference in the game.Magnus Rasmussen quickly gave Louisville a 2-1 lead in the first few minutes of stoppage time, then Luke Spencer converted a penalty after a questionable foul call on Farr to settle the scoreline at 3-1.The loss also snaps Indy’s home unbeaten streak at 27 games across all competitions.While LouCity departs Indianapolis with the spoils, the Eleven can find solace in putting together their best campaign since 2016. That year, Indy made the NASL title game but fell in penalties to the New York Cosmos. But that league only had 12 teams; the USL Championship boasts 36 squads.Louisville City will host the SLC Monarchs, winners of the Western Conference, in the USL Cup final next Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Mark & Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium and on ESPN2.

Euro 2020 qualifying: Who will reach the finals?

Nov 14, 2019Dale JohnsonGeneral Editor, ESPN FC

Euro 2020 kicks off in June next year and 20 of the 24 places at the tournament will be secured this month. Here is a look at the latest qualifying permutations and scenarios. hich is based on UEFA Nations League performance.Ten nations have sealed their place so far.

QUALIFIED FOR FINALS
Belgium
Czech Republic
England
France
Italy
Poland
Russia
Spain
Turkey
Ukraine

JUMP TO: Who will take part in the playoffs? | Finals draw seeds and pots

GROUP A

Nov. 17: Bulgaria vs. Czech Republic, Kosovo vs. England

England have qualified and need a win in Kosovo to guarantee they are seeded in the draw.

Czech Republic have also made it to finals, while Kosovo will take part in the League D playoffs.

GROUP B

Nov. 17: Luxembourg vs. Portugal, Serbia vs. Ukraine

Ukraine have qualified but may need at least a point in Serbia to secure a place among the seeds for the finals draw.

Portugal will be through if they can win in Luxembourg.

Serbia must win at home to Ukraine and hope Portugal fail to beat Luxembourg. Serbia are guaranteed a playoff if they finish outside the top two.

GROUP C

Netherlands control their own destiny after beating Northern Ireland. Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

Nov. 16: Germany vs. Belarus, Northern Ireland vs. Netherlands
Nov. 19: Germany vs. Northern Ireland, Netherlands vs. Estonia

Netherlands will qualify for the finals if they avoid defeat in Northern Ireland on Nov. 16. Even if the Dutch suffer a defeat, leaving the two nations level on points, they would remain favourites with Estonia to play at home while the Irish travel to Germany.

Germany are level with the the Dutch on 15 points, but second on head to head. They will qualify if they win at home to Belarus next time, and Northern Ireland do not win. A point would also see them to the finals if the Irish are beaten.

Northern Ireland are three points behind but all 12 have come against the group’s lesser lights. To have a chance of qualifying automatically, Northern Ireland will now surely have to win at home to Netherlands and in Germany, and hope one of their rivals drop surprise points.

There is an unlikely scenario where all three nations finish on 18 points, which means it would come down to head-to-head goal difference as each team would have beaten each other once and lost once.

GROUP D

Nov. 15: Denmark vs. Gibraltar, Switzerland vs. Georgia
Nov. 18: Republic of Ireland vs. Denmark, Gibraltar vs. Switzerland

Republic of Ireland remain on top of the group from Denmark on head to head. They only have one qualifier remaining, at home to the Danes, and are guaranteed to qualify with a win as long as Switzerland do not draw one of their two remaining games.

If Switzerland do draw a game (and win the other), and Denmark beat Gibraltar, the three teams will finish on 15 points and they will also be level in the head-to-head mini-league, meaning it comes down to goal difference in games between the three teams. In this scenario, Ireland will have to win by two goals to qualify at Denmark’s expense; Switzerland would be guaranteed to qualify.

If Denmark get at least a point against Gibraltar, they would be then assured qualification with a point in Dublin. They cannot qualify if they lose to Ireland and Switzerland win both matches.

Although Switzerland sit outside the top two, they are now firm favourites to qualify. They are sure to go through with four points from games against Gibraltar and Georgia. Their injury-time second goal against Ireland means they no longer have to win both matches.

Denmark and Switzerland are both sure of a playoff, should they need it.

GROUP E

Nov. 16: Azerbaijan vs. Wales, Croatia vs. Slovakia
Nov. 19: Slovakia vs. Azerbaijan, Wales vs. Hungary

Croatia lead on 14 points, and will be guaranteed qualification if they at least draw at home to Slovakia on Nov. 16 — their final qualifier.

Second place is held by Hungary on 12 points, and they too have only one match remaining, away in Wales. If Slovakia fail to beat Croatia, Hungary would be guaranteed to qualify with a win in Cardiff.

Slovakia sit third on 10 points, and while they face the difficult trip to Croatia, the final fixture is at home to Azerbaijan, who have only one point. Win both games and they will qualify. If Slovakia do not win in Croatia, they will still be guaranteed to qualify if they beat Azerbaijan and Wales draw at home to Hungary.

Wales only have eight points and must win both their matches to have a chance, the first being away to Azerbaijan. They must also hope Slovakia fail to win one of their matches. If Slovakia and Wales finish level on 14 points, Wales will qualify on the head-to-head rule.

There is a combination of results (it would need Slovakia drawing at home to Azerbaijan) that leaves the three teams tied on 14 points. In this eventuality, it would be 1. Croatia, 2. Wales, 3. Slovakia.

GROUP F

Spain clinch qualification for Euro 2020 with a late equaliser against Sweden. Getty

Nov. 15: Norway vs. Faroe Islands, Romania vs. Sweden
Nov. 18: Sweden vs. Faroe Islands, Malta vs. Norway, Spain vs. Romania

Spain have secured their place, but the real battle follows behind as Sweden sit in second, one point ahead of Romania with Norway a further three points behind.

Sweden should only need a point in Romania as they have Faroe Islands to play at home on the final day, but need a victory to absolutely confirm it on Thursday.

It means Romania know they must beat Sweden to be in contention. If Romania win against Sweden and in Spain, qualification is guaranteed. If draw their final match in Spain, they would need to have beaten Sweden 1-0 or by two goals or more to be second on the head to head. Because Sweden play Faroe Islands, it is very unlikely they are able to qualify if they lose to Spain.

Norway must beat Faroe Islands and Malta, plus hope Romania-Sweden is a draw and that Romania get no more than a draw in Spain, and Sweden lose to the Faroes. Again, the Sweden-Faroes fixture effectively rules that out.

Sweden and Norway have a guaranteed playoff should they need it.

GROUP G

Nov. 16: Slovenia vs. Latvia, Israel vs. Poland, Austria vs. North Macedonia
Nov. 19: North Macedonia vs. Israel, Latvia vs. Austria, Poland vs. Slovenia

Poland are through and Austria are almost there too, five points clear of Slovenia and North Macedonia with two games left to play. They will qualify with a point at home to North Macedonia. Even if they lose the first game, a point in Latvia then will almost certainly see them in the finals.

North Macedonia must win in Austria to stay in contention, then beat Israel at home and hope Austria lose in Latvia (who do not have a point). If Austria draw in Latvia, North Macedonia would need to have overturned the 4-1 head-to-head deficit with Austria in their meeting.

Austria and North Macedonia would both be guaranteed a playoff.

There’s only slim hope for Slovenia, who must win at home to Latvia and away to Poland plus hope Austria lose both their games, and North Macedonia fail to beat Israel.

Israel have a similar situation to Slovenia. They must win at home to Poland and in North Macedonia, and need Austria to lose both fixtures as well as Slovenia fail to win a game. They are almost sure of a playoff.

GROUP H

France are assured of a place at Euro 2020. Getty Images

Nov. 17: Albania vs. France, Andorra vs. Turkey

France and Turkey have both qualified for the finals, while Iceland will be in the playoffs.

France have a chance of being seeded in the finals draw should they win in Albania.

GROUP I

Nov. 16: Russia vs. Belgium

Nov. 19: Belgium vs. Cyprus, San Marino vs Russia

Belgium and Russia have qualified, while Scotland will take part in the League C playoff path.

Belgium need a point in Russia to top the group and line up a likely place among the seeds in the finals draw.

GROUP J

Nov. 15: Armenia vs. Greece, Finland vs. Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Italy
Nov. 18: Italy vs. Armenia, Liechtenstein vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece vs. Finland

With eight wins out of eight, Italy are through to the finals but may need one more point to be seeded in the finals draw.

Finland are almost there and will qualify for their first-ever finals with a win at home to Liechtenstein, or if Bosnia fail to beat Italy that day.

Bosnia and Herzegovina must beat Italy and Liechtenstein and hope Finland pick up no more than one point (second match is vs. Greece), and also must hope that Armenia do not win both matches. Bosnia lose the head to head with Armenia, and if the three teams finish level on 16 points it will be Finland who advance to the finals. Bosnia are guaranteed a League B playoff.

Armenia‘s defeat to Finland all but ended their hopes. They must win both remaining games, their final group match being away in Italy, and hope Finland lose both matches.

PLAYOFFS

The best-performing nations from the UEFA Nations League who do not qualify automatically for Euro 2020 will get a playoff place.

There will be 16 teams in the playoffs, with four in each from a UEFA Nations League path.

The winners of the two one-legged semifinals will meet in the final for a place at Euro 2020.

The playoff system is explained in greater detail here.

The UEFA Nations League rankings are below.

As it stands, the teams in bold would enter the playoffs. Romania would likely be drawn into the path of League A because, as hosts, they require a playoff route to the finals that does not include another host and Scotland, as Nations League group winners, have the right to take the League C path.

There would be a draw to decide which of Bulgaria and Israel takes the remaining slot in the League C path.

*Guaranteed to take part in playoffs

League A: Portugal, Netherlands, England, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Germany, Iceland

League B: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Austria, Wales, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland

League C: Scotland*NorwaySerbia, Finland, BulgariaIsrael, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Cyprus, Estonia, Slovenia, Lithuania

League D: Georgia*MacedoniaKosovo*Belarus*, Luxembourg, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Malta, San Marino

It means the playoffs, at present, would look like this:

Switzerland vs. Bulgaria/Israel/Romania
Iceland vs. Bulgaria/Israel/Romania

Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Northern Ireland
Wales vs. Slovakia

Scotland vs. Bulgaria/Israel
Norway vs. Serbia

Georgia vs. Belarus
North Macedonia vs. Kosovo

FINALS DRAW

The draw will be held on Saturday, Nov. 30 in Bucharest, Romania. The draw ceremony will begin at midday ET (6 p.m. CET) and is expected to last 50 minutes in total (with 20 minutes for the draw itself).

– Euro 2020 finals draw: All you need to know

As it stands, based on teams in automatic qualifying positions, the draw pots would be:

Pot 1: Italy, Belgium, Ukraine, England, Netherlands, Spain
Pot 2: Poland, France, Croatia, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Germany
Pot 3: Denmark, Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey, Austria, Sweden
Pot 4: Finland, Hungary, Switzerland, Bosnia, Scotland, Georgia

*Highest-ranked nations are used for the playoff winners in this illustration.

One team from each pot would be drawn into the six groups.

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11/7/19 Indy 11 host Louisville in Finals Sat 3 pm, MLS Cup Sun 3 pm ABC, US Ladies vs Sweden tonight 7:30 pm FS1

Indy 11 host Eastern Conference Finals vs Louisville at the MIKE – Sat 3 pm

Huge 1-0 win for our Indy 11 at Nashville as Carmel FC GK Coach Jordan Farr again had a standout night in the victory with a couple of fantatic saves! Indy Eleven forward Tyler Pasher’s goal just inside the hour mark and a second straight shutout helped Indy Eleven advance past Nashville SC 1-0 in their Eastern Conference Semifinal showdown in Nashville.  Our Indy 11 will now host Louisville in the Eastern Conference Finals this Saturday afternoon at 3 pm at Mike Carroll Stadium on the IUPUI Campus downtown.  The Weather looks to be pretty warm – now is the time to get those tickets and join me in rooting on GK Jordan Farr and our Indy 11 to victory at home!!  The BYB is sold out but tickets are still available in what should be an electric atmosphere for the finals visit indyeleven.com/tickets or call for your tickets today at 317-685-1100.  Here’s CFC GK Coach and Indy 11 Starter Jordan Farr calling on everyone to come out at cheer him on!    

MLS CUP – Sunday 3 pm ABC – Seattle vs Toronto

Unbelievable that both road teams pulled off victories last week – in the Eastern and Western Conference Finals – as Toronto stunned Atlanta in front of 65K at Mercedez Benz Stadium 2-1 and Seattle shocked LAFC, the leagues’ top point scorer in MLS history.  With the newcomers sent home – the blue bloods of MLS soccer Seattle and Toronto will battle for MLS Supremacy as they are about to meet in the finals 3 of the last 4 years, with each team claiming the cup 1 time – both in Toronto.  For Seattle it will be their first time hosting the MLS Final (now that the Finals are played at the time with the best record).  The Stadium is a sellout = marking the 2nd straight year that MLS has filled a football stadium for its final.  The Game will be on Network TV – ABC for the first time in over 8 years – as MLS continues to make strides in the US sports world.  The exciting new 1 game format has been a huge hit – and I for one and thrilled to see the MLS Season and MLS Cup wrap up in early November rather than the 1st week of December.  The final kicks off at 3 pm on Sunday on ABC!

USA Ladies vs Sweden  Tonight in Columbus on FS1 7:30 pm

New US Coach Andonovski will coach his first game for the US Ladies tonight vs arch nemesis Sweden in Columbus. Quite a first game to manage – vs the only team to knock off the US in games that matter over the past 4 years.  It will be interesting to see how they look tonight on ESPN2 at 7 pm on Fox Sports 1.  Of course the US Men have announced their roster for next weekend’s Nations League games vs Canada (Fri 8 pm) and Tuesday vs Cuba.  See full breakdown below.  Oh and boy do I love having a player like US Starlet Christian Pulisic playing in the EPL and Champions League competition.  Pulisic had a fine game Tuesday as he drew a penalty and had an assist in the amazing Chelsea comeback tie vs Ajax.  Chelsea battled back from a 4-1 deficit midway thru the 2nd half to time the game and stay alive as they look to advance to the round of 16 if they can edge our last season’s 2nd place finishers Ajax. Sorry to see the U17 Men out in 3 games in the U17 World Cup –  Mexico got to the round of 16 but for the US is was 3 games and 3 losses.  It appears on the US Men’s side –unfortunately we are consistently bad across the board.  Lets hope the U23’s do better in Olympic Qualifying.

Great Games on TV this Weekend

On top of the Indy 11 Final match-up Sat at 3 pm on ESPN+ (go and see it live!!), and the MLS CUP Final on Sunday on ABC at 3 pm, we have a ton of league match-ups in this last weekend before the international break.  The top 2 teams in the EPL – league leader Liverpool hosts 2nd place Man City at 11:30 am on Sunday on NBCSN, also Sunday we get the US Ladies hosting Costa Rica at 8 pm on ESPN2, and Milan vs Jueventus on ESPN+ at 2:45 pm.  Saturday gives us Leicester City vs Arsenal on NBC at 12:30 pm, after American’s are featured early as Chelsea and Pulisic host Crystal Palace at 7:30 am on NBCSN in the EPL and in the Bundesliga as McKinney and Schalke host American Goalie Zach Steffan and Fortuna Dusseldorf at 9:30 am on FS1. Finally Satuday Bayern Munich host Dortmund at 12:30 pm on FS2.

CHS_OliviaFray

Congrats to the Carmel High School Lady Greyhounds as the Defending State Champions finished 2nd to Noblesville 0-1 in the Finals.  Former Carmel FC player Olivia Fray, the daughter of former Carmel FC Director Andy Fray (left), won the Mental Attitude award.  Great to see so many former Carmel FC players on that roster – looking forward to next year.

CARMEL FC CLINICS NEXT FRI/SAT

Carmel FC would like to offer its youngest members, U8-U14 Boys and Girls, the chance to participate in the first ever Pass, Shoot, and Play Fall Clinics on November 15 and 16th at Murray Stadium.  The sessions will focus on enhancing players’ basic abilities such as foot skills, passing, touch, and shooting featuring different perspectives and tips from our diverse and experienced coaching staff.  Coaches from throughout the club have volunteered to make this clinic a completely FREE opportunity for your player to experience a new, unique training environment with other members from around the club!  The schedule will be as follows:

Friday, November 15

  • U8s through U10s from 6 – 7 PM
  • U11s and U12s from 7 – 8 PM
  • U13s and U14s from 8 -9 PM

Saturday, November 16

  • U8s through U10s from 12 – 1 PM
  • U11s and U12s from 1 -2:30 PM
  • U13s and U14s from 2:30 – 4 PM

Please RSVP in this link if your player is interested in participating http://carmeldadsclub2016.org/81dd903881283f0fe6f402d9ac64aba4.form

Indy 11

Indy 11 Defeats Nashville 1-0 advances to Eastern Finals Sat

Indy 11 Earn 1st Franchise Postseason Road Win at Nashville – Soctakes.com

Pasher Lifts Eleven Past Nashville, Into Eastern Final

Vote Indy 11 Most Impactful goals

USL Playoffs

DelPiccolo’s Header Sends LouCity Back to East Final

MLS CUP FINAL Sun 3 pm ABC

Warshaw: How the Sounders can topple TFC in MLS Cup

MLS Cup 2019: What you need to know about Seattle vs. Toronto FC 4hArch Bell

Spotlight on Schmetzer as Seattle returns to MLS Cup ESPNFC Jeff Carlisle

Seattle ready to regain spotlight from Atlanta, LAFC

Wiebe: Michael Bradley is the model for American players

Vanney: “It will take a lot to keep Jozy out” of MLS Cup

How much will home-field advantage help Seattle?

Kasey Keller: Seattle will show what MLS Cup means to the city

Vanney the master tactician? TFC players make the case

How TFC have fared with and without Jozy

MLS Cup in Seattle is hottest MLS ticket … EVER

The best moments in Seattle-Toronto MLS history

Jozy: It’ll take “a bit of a miracle” for me to play in MLS Cup

The neutral’s guide to MLS Cup

Carlos Vela wins Landon Donovan MLS MVP in a landslide

Vela is not just MLS MVP — he may be the best in all of North America

USA

The USWNT’s Andonovski era begins with familiar foe – Graham Hayes ESPN

USWNT players revved, ready for Andonovski era

Dest, Pulisic called into USMNT camp ahead of Nations League matches

who-should-the-usmnt-call-for-the-november-nations-league-matches

five-foreign-based-players-the-usmnt-should-call-in-for-novembers-nations-league

Reality checks for USA, Canada at U-17 World Cup

Champions League

chelsea-and-ajaxs-champions-league-epic-showed-both-sides-strengths-and-weaknesses

Lampard hails Chelsea spirit after ‘mad’ Ajax draw

Son refuses to celebrate out of respect to Gomes

Rodrygo, 18, nets hat trick in Real Madrid win

Leverkusen spring to life with win over Atletico

Icardi scores as PSG beat Brugge, reach last 16

Superb Costa winner seals Juve round-of-16 spot

Bayern reach round of 16 with Olympiakos win

City’s Ederson a doubt for crunch Liverpool clash

Man City average all over field ahead of Liverpool match

Goalkeeping

Highlights of Playoff Win – Including GK Jordan Farr’s Saves

Great Saves by Farr for Indy 11

PSG GK Kaylar Navas Saves the PK in UCL

GAMES ON TV

Thur, Nov 7

7 pm Fox Sports1               USA Ladies vs Sweden in Columbus

Fri, Nov 8

11 am Big 10 Network                     Penn State vs Purdue Ladies

3 pm NBCSN                                      Norwich vs Watford

Sat, Nov 9 

7:30 am NBCSN                                Chelsea (pulisic)  vs Crystal Palace

9:30 am Fox sports1                       Schalke (Mckinney) vs Fortuna Dusseldorf (Steffan)  

10:30 am NBCSN                              Tottenham vs Sheffield United

12:30 pm NBC                                  Leicester City vs Arsenal  

12:30 pm FS2                                   Bayern Munich vs Dortmund

3 pm ESPN+                        Indy 11 vs Louisville (Playoffs)  @ IUPUI

3 pm EPSN+                                       Real Monarchs vs El Paso Locomotive (Western Finals)

3 pm beIN Sport                               Eibar vs Real Madrid

Sun, Nov 10

7:30 am Fox sports1                       Mgladbach (Johnsnon) vs Werder Bremen (Stuart)  

9 am NBCSN                                      Man United vs Brighton

10 am bein Sport                             Athletico Madrid vs Espanyol

11:30 NBCSN                      Liverpool vs Man City  

12:30 pm FS1                                   Ausburg vs Schalke (McKinney)

2:45 ESPN+                                       Milan vs Jueventus

3 pm ABC                    Seattle Sounders vs Toronto FC  MLS Cup

8 pm ESPN2                        USA Ladies vs Costa Rica

Mon, Nov 11

2:30 pm FS2                                      Spain U17 vs France U17  wC QF1

6 pm FS2                                            TBD vs Brazil U17 WC  QF2

Fri, Nov 15

12 noon beIN Sport           Brazil vs Argentina (friendly)

2:$5 pm EPSN+                                 Boznia vs Italy

7 pm ESPN2                        USA vs Canada (Nations League)

10 pm FuboTV, TUDN                     Panama vs Mexico

Nations League Game Sat-Tues

TUes, Nov 19

2:$5 pm EPSN+                                 Boznia vs Italy

7:30 pm Fox sport 1          Cuba vs USA (Nations League)

RECAP | INDY QUIETS THE MUSIC CITY, ADVANCES TO EAST FINAL sat 3 pm at IUPUI

By Indy Eleven Communications, 11/03/19, 12:30AM EDT

Pasher goal and another shutout sets up LIPAFC showdown for East crown

Indy Eleven forward Tyler Pasher’s goal just inside the hour mark and a second straight shutout helped Indy Eleven advance past Nashville SC 1-0 in their Eastern Conference Semifinal showdown at First Tennessee Park. Indy Eleven put together one of its most composed away efforts of the season at the biggest time possible, calmly controlling the run of play and having the bulk of the chances until Pasher’s breakthrough finally came in the 59th minute.The gritty road win, coupled with fourth-seeded Louisville City FC’s upset at top-seeded Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, set up Indiana’s Team to host the USL Championship Playoffs Eastern Conference Final between the regional rivals next Saturday, Nov. 9. Kickoff for the biggest Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest in history is set for a 3:00 p.m kickoff at IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium. ndy Eleven Season Ticket Members can already save their seats for next Saturday’s Eastern Conference Final via an exclusive on-sale opportunity, while tickets will go on sale to the public Monday at noon via indyeleven.com/tickets and by phone at 317-685-1100. “It’s really exciting for the club … it’s going to be a fantastic occasion,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie of next weekend’s match-up. “Two really good teams, two close, local rivals. Two of the best teams in the country outside of MLS playing against each other for the right to host the league final. It will be a fantastic day at Carroll Stadium.”It was Indiana’s Team that controlled the first half, using high defensive pressure, calm possession, and a steady stream of corner kicks to keep Nashville back on its heels. The pressure nearly paid off in the 20th minute on a flurry of chances, starting with Pasher’s cross from the left that was spilled by Nashville SC goalkeeper Matt Pickers and just missed an onrushing Dane Kelly deep inside the area. Thirty seconds later it was another Pasher cross that drew calls for a handball when it ricocheted off center back Jimmy Ockford inside the area, followed shortly thereafter by a lash by Indy midfielder Kenney Walker that again forced Pickens into action.The action got heated a minute later when Eleven defender Ayoze stopped Alan Winn’s run up the middle of the field with a tackle from behind that resulted in pushing and shoving by both teams and yellow cards for Ayoze, Indy defender Karl Ouimette and Nashville midfielder Taylor Washington.The rest of the half would see the teams trade shots at goal that were handled relatively easy by Pickens and his opposite number in the Eleven goal, Jordan Farr. Pickens would stop efforts from within the area by Kelly, Pasher and defender Paddy Barrett, while Winn served as Farr’s nemesis on net, stopping one chance and watching another come perilously close to his right post.“I thought we played really well tonight. We possessed the ball with a lot of composure and played in their half a lot, especially in the first 25 to 30 minutes, which was important because that allowed us to settle into the game,” explained Rennie. “We had a few corners and opportunities around the goal, quite a few decent shots that [Nashville goalkeeper Matt] Pickens made some good saves on.”Farr would be forced into his best stop of the night just minutes into the second half, going low to his right to bat away forward Daniel Rios’ dangerous sidewinder from the penalty spot. It took until the 59th minute for another quality chance to come to pass, and this time Pasher would not pass it up. The Canadian striker would notch his team-leading 12th goal of the campaign with a first-time, half-volley touch that put Tennessee native Tyler Gibson’s pinpoint ball over the top of the backline inside the left post, giving the Boys in Blue a deserved advantage heading into the final half hour.  From there on out Nashville would wrestle control of the possession, but Indy absorbed the pressure well, allowing mostly half chances that struggled to make it through Indy’s increased numbers inside the penalty area. The hosts thought their moment to equalize had come in the 90th minute when defender Justin Davis tapped home Matt LaGrassa’s ball deep into the six-yard area, but the assistant referee’s flag was immediately – and correctly – raised to deem the play offside, allowing Indy Eleven to breathe easily and hold on for the massive result.“In the second half I thought we continued to play well. We got a great goal – great run, great pass over the back line and ended with a good finish,” Rennie said. “We continued to do pretty well on the ball after that and then in the last five minutes we had to really defend a few balls around the box. I thought we handled it all really well to give ourselves a great win. One of the great nights of Indy Eleven’s history, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

USL Championship Playoffs – #NSHvIND
Eastern Conference Semifinals
(#2) Nashville SC  0 : 1  Indy Eleven (#3)
Saturday, November 2, 2019 – 8:00 p.m. ET
First Tennessee Park – Nashville, Tenn.
Attendance: 4,174

Scoring Summary:
IND – Tyler Pasher (Tyler Gibson) 59’

Disciplinary Summary:
IND – Ayoze (Yellow Card) 21’
IND – Karl Ouimette (Yellow Card) 23’
NSH – Taylor Washington (Yellow Card) 23’
NSH – Matt LaGrassa (Yellow Card) 81’
NSH – Jimmy ckford (Yellow Card) 90+2’
Indy Eleven lineup (3-5-2, L–>R): Jordan Farr; Neveal Hackshaw, Paddy Barrett (captain), Karl Ouimette; Ayoze, Drew Conner, Tyler Gibson, Kenney Walker, Macauley King; Dane Kelly (Cristian Novoa 70’), Tyler Pasher (Matthew Watson 86’)
IND Substitutes: Holden Brown (GK), Nicolas Perea, Mitchell Osmond, Eugene Starikov, Ilija Ilic
Nashville SC lineup (4-4-2, L–>R): Matt Pickens; Justin Davis, Forrest Lasso, Jimmy Ockford, Darnell King; Taylor Washington (Derrick Jones 62’), Boluwatife Akinyode, Matt LaGrassa, Alan Winn (Kharlton Belmar 82’); Lebo Moloto (Ropapa Mensah 67’), Daniel Rios

NSH Substitutes: Connor Sparrow (GK), Ken Tribbett, Bradley Bourgeois, Kosuke Kimura

The USWNT’s Vlatko Andonovski era begins with a familiar foe

Vlatko Andonovski faces a challenge in his first game as head coach of the U.S. women’s national team. Sweden is No. 5 in the world and a team that has got the best of the United States in major tournaments. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Graham HaysespnW.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Maybe it’s for the best that Vlatko Andonovski’s first game as head coach of the United States women’s national team will skip right past the beginner stage.Rather than easing in, Andonovski gets Sweden. The team that finished third in the most recent World Cup. The team the U.S. can’t seem to escape in World Cups and Olympics. The only team that ever knocked the Americans out of one of those major tournament before the medal round. Pesky Sweden, ranked fifth in the world and already safely qualified for next summer’s Olympics in Japan. And just for good measure, forecasts for this part of Ohio call for temperatures dropping into the 20s by kickoff Thursday night with the potential for rain, sleet, snow — or all of the above.It doesn’t matter that the game, well, doesn’t matter. There’s nothing on the line for either team, and the U.S. players are tantalizingly close to a well-deserved break that begins next week. But it’s Sweden, and it’s going to be a soccer game. And that’s the one thing that will feel familiar to Andonovski right now.

– USWNT players revved, ready for Andonovski era
– U.S. Soccer names Andonovski manager
– How Reign FC coach made a name for himself
– Without Jill Ellis, what’s next for the USWNT?

So as much as the team’s first training camp with Andonovski is about introductions — of himself, of new assistant Milan Ivanovic, of a playing style, a philosophy and expectations — it is also about the more routine act of preparing for 90 minutes on the field.”He has touched on Sweden a bit,” U.S. midfielder Rose Lavelle said this week. “Obviously we’re pretty familiar with them, but he’s already shown us film of us playing against them. I think it’s obviously going to start to ramp up even more so in the next two days, but he’s already getting us prepared.”Those are comfortable rhythms for Andonovski. As a coach in the National Women’s Soccer League, the remit wasn’t to prepare a team for games of consequence months down the road. Whatever game in front of him was the game that demanded his attention. The standings demanded as much.That will change as coach of the U.S., which plays a lot of games that aren’t really about the result but instead about building toward those handful of weeks in World Cups or Olympics when the results matter more than anything he has yet experienced in the sport.It’s just one way in which Andonovski’s new job, his first at the international level, differs from any previous job he held. He’s coached two of the players who will be available Thursday — Allie Long and Becky Sauerbrunn. He’s coached against almost all of the others, Paris Saint-Germain defender Alana Cook the lone exception. But it’s still different in this environment.”Any leap between professional and international, you’re bringing together all the players that are the best in the league and putting them together,” Sauerbrunn said. “It’s not a big step, but it’s just an elevation of the speed of play, of tactics, obviously the pressure of having so many people watching you.”So it’s a little bit of a leap, but also a leap I know Vlatko can do because when I first met him, he had never coached the women’s game [at the senior level]. And he did all this research.”That was in Kansas City when the NWSL launched. He wanted that coaching job so much that he made himself an expert on the player pool of a league that hadn’t played a game — watching film, talking to other coaches, doing whatever he could to learn. He learned quickly enough that the team reached the playoffs that first season.”So when he got hired [for the U.S.], I knew he was going to be staying up late watching all this film,” Sauerbrunn added. “I have no doubt in my mind he has researched and is very thoroughly knowledgeable of all the Swedish players, all the formations that they’ve played in the past — he’s probably watched all their games from the past year. He’s just that type of coach.”In that sense, Sweden is the perfect opening opponent. This isn’t really a meaningful game, a friendly at the end of a long year. But that doesn’t mean it will be an uncompetitive game. It is something to prepare for.”I’ve never had Vlatko before, but I feel like I’ve already learned so much from him,” Lavelle said. “Individually and as a team, too, I feel like he’s just somebody who is going to make us better.”He’ll have to make do this week without Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara and Megan Rapinoe, all of whom started when these teams played in the World Cup (Tierna Davidson and Ali Krieger are also absent with injuries, leaving the back line seriously depleted in experience).Sweden’s roster isn’t at full strength, either. Captain Caroline Seger didn’t make the trip, with coach Peter Gerhardsson making that sound like a load management decision at the end of a long year. Also missing are defenders Nilla Fischer and Linda Sembrant and midfielder Elin Rubensson, all of whom started the World Cup semifinal against the Netherlands.Conversely, the reigning Olympic silver medalists are bringing uncapped forward Hanna Bennison, who just turned 17 last month. She’s the youngest of four uncapped players on the roster, while three more players have single-digit appearances for the national team.With confirmation Tuesday that the United States will host CONCACAF Olympic qualifying next January and February, the sites still to be announced, the timeline begins to take shape. This is just the beginning.After playing for him for five years in Kansas City, Sauerbrunn knows Andonovski better than anyone on the roster. She described a meeting between the two this week in which he asked about things the team had done before, ways they went about their work that they liked and that he might be able to incorporate. There will be a lot of that in the weeks ahead, a learning curve.”It’s just so early that I didn’t really have any feedback to give him,” Sauerbrunn said. “But I think that was his way of seeking me out in case there is something that I see that players would prefer over how it’s been going the last few days.”But for all that is to come, Thursday offers something familiar to go with all that is new.Thursday is a game that won’t be easy to win, a game that merits preparation. And that should make Andonovski feel right at home.

MLS Cup 2019: Familiar foes Seattle and Toronto FC face off in an MLS Cup grudge match

10:39 AM ETArch BellU.S. soccer writer

And then there were two.After a pair of major upsets in the conference finals, MLS Cup will again be contested by the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC on Sunday at CenturyLink Field (3 p.m. ET; ABC/ESPN 3 | Tickets).According to FiveThirtyEight’s SPI, the Sounders are a 65% favorite to win it all on Sunday and are fancied by the sportsbooks, too (-210 Seattle, +185 Toronto). But you can’t always trust the numbers. Here’s everything you need to know heading into Sunday’s final.

Backstory: It’s deja vu all over again. For the third time in four seasons, these two teams square off for MLS’ biggest showpiece. The previous two meetings occurred at Toronto’s BMO Field, with Seattle winning in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw in 2016 and Toronto winning 2-0 in 2017. There’s a fair bit of history among the players themselves, too: 10 of the TFC and Seattle players in this year’s postseason also appeared in their previous two finals: six from the Sounders (Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian RoldanJordan MorrisJoevin Jones, Román Torres, Stefan Frei) and four from Toronto (Michael BradleyJustin MorrowJonathan OsorioDrew Moor).

These two have met plenty outside the playoffs, too. In their all-time head-to-head series, Seattle has won nine of the 14 regular season meetings.

Playoff path: It’s fair to say that the East’s No.4 seed and the No.2 team in the West have had a serious journey this postseason. With a revamped playoff schedule and the added tension of a single-elimination format, both teams arrive at Sunday’s final with some miles in their legs. They both emerged from the first round and coincidentally, both needed extra time to do it.Seattle survived a wild affair with FC Dallas, 4-3, before rolling to a 2-0 victory against Real Salt Lake in the conference semifinal and an enormously impressive 3-1 win at Supporters’ Shield-winning LAFC in the conference final. They not only managed to nullify 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela at the Banc of California stadium, but scored with three of their five shots on target. Economical, to say the least.

As for Toronto FC, they scored a whopping four goals in extra time to overcome Wayne Rooney and DC United 5-1 in the first round before edging top seed New York City FC 2-1 in the conference semifinal thanks to a late penalty from Alejandro Pozuelo. (The foul by Ronald Matarrita was so inexplicable and so unnecessary that he should almost be credited with an assist.) The Canadians played the upset card again in downing reigning champions Atlanta United 2-1 in the conference final via a late, outside-the-box golazo from substitute Nick DeLeon — don’t let him shoot from range, Seattle, as as three of his six playoff goals have been launched from beyond the penalty area — and leaving the near-70,000 in Mercedes-Benz Arena sitting in stunned silence.

Connecting thread: As mentioned above, this is the third MLS Cup meeting between the two in four years, but perhaps providing a bigger hint of what’s to come Sunday was their lone regular-season meeting earlier this season, in which Seattle overcame a Jozy Altidore brace to win 3-2 at home at CenturyLink Field.

Another thread running between these storied foes is Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. He was traded from TFC to Seattle back in December, 2013 and has been an institution between the posts in the Pacific Northwest ever since. Frei has played in 13 postseason wins since then, the most in MLS over the past six seasons. The only other players with more than 10 wins over that span are fellow Sounders Cristian Roldan (12) and Nicolas Lodeiro (11). Could his experience prove crucial in settling Sunday’s contest?

Tactical contrast: It will be a genuine chess game considering that both sides leaned heavily on strong defensive and counterattacking performances to reach this point. In short, they can’t both sit deep and wait for the other team to make a move: soccer’s come a long way from its days getting skewered by The Simpsons. With Seattle playing at home and having full use of its stable of attackers — unlike TFC, who might be without Jozy Altidore — the feeling is that Seattle will be the more aggressive of the two and leverage its flying full-backs to spread open the TFC defense. Still, TFC are a team that likes to press and can use that tactic to slow down the Sounders’ midfield.

Toronto and Seattle have a lot of experience in the postseason: Sunday marks their third meeting in MLS Cup in the past four seasons. ESPN

 

Headache: At this stage, one would be hard-pressed to think of a selection headache for Seattle. The XI that took the field in Los Angeles will likely take the field again Sunday against TFC. The only potential foreseeable change could be at center-back if coach Brian Schmetzer feels like restoring Roman Torres in place of Xavier Arreaga to add experience and a bit more muscle.

One thing that might be a no-brainer is continuing with the winning combo of Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz. (More on both of them in a minute). According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Sounders are 21-5-4 (regular season) and 4-1-0 (postseason) when these two are in the starting lineup together.

The big question for Toronto FC boss Greg Vanney is the status of Altidore. If the big man is 100 percent, you have to think he’ll get the start, though Nicolas Benezet and Richie Laryea have shown in this postseason that they can help fill the goal-scoring duties.

Star man: It seems like Seattle has a different star man each match. Against FC Dallas, it was Jordan Morris; Lodeiro stepped up against Real Salt Lake and Ruidiaz was the star in toppling consensus favorite LAFC. In this case, we will continue with the Peruvian striker, whose big game pedigree is beyond reproach: four postseason games, four goals and three assists.Overall, Ruidiaz has been a revelation for the Sounders. His six playoff goals since joining the team at the end of June, 2018. Not only has that pulled him level with Clint Dempsey for No.2 on Seattle’s all-time playoff scoring chart, but he’s tied for second-most goals in a player’s first five MLS postseason games behind LA Galaxy legend Carlos Ruiz (seven).

Despite a more discrete performance against Atlanta United, Alejandro Pozuelo is still the main man in red, and he will relish the challenge of playing spoiler in attack. His 12 goal, 12 assist season made him just one of four players to break double digits in both categories in 2019, with Vela the only one with more than 12 in both categories. He’s also scored twice and assisted twice in the playoffs, making him TFC’s most potent threat.

Where the game will be won or lost: Seattle took advantage of a soft LAFC midfield to put Bob Bradley’s men to the sword. TFC’s midfield trio of Michael BradleyJonathan Osorio and Marky Delgado aren’t afraid to get nasty, so chances are it will come down to whether Seattle can handle and beat the TFC press in midfield.

X factor: If Seattle find themselves struggling in the second half and are in need of a goal, Victor Rodriguez is a pretty nice playmaking option to have coming off the bench.

TFC’s penchant for big goals off the bench or from unheralded players is remarkable, with the likes of Benezet, Laryea and DeLeon scoring massive goals, so it would be no surprise if Patrick Mullins or Tsubasa Endoh somehow tilts things in TFC’s favor.

This could also be a spot where home field advantage factors in. Toronto has only won in two of its eight all-time visits to the west coast. The last time they did it? A 1-0 victory decided by Jozy Altidore’s penalty on May 6, 2017. That said, they have the third-best record away from home in MLS this season, picking up six wins and seven draws in 19 games. Only conference champions LAFC and NYCFC managed more, but they’re watching the remainder of the playoffs at home.

Toronto FC will win because: Unbeaten in their past 13 MLS matches, TFC have become a team of destiny, with contributions from almost everyone on the squad. That confidence and belief will bear out in Seattle to complete an unlikely Cup conquest.

Seattle will win because: Buoyed by their boisterous crowd, the Seattle attacking trio of Ruidiaz, Morris and Lodeiro will overwhelm TFC’s defense in the second half to lift the trophy. If they can break the game open in the first half, even better: the Sounders are 12-0-0 when leading at the break this season, including in the playoffs.

Prediction: Seattle 3-2 Toronto. The 2019 postseason has been the highest scoring in MLS history, with a current average of 4.1 goals per game, so we’d expect this game to bring the fireworks rather than offering up another tight, tense affair decided by a solitary strike.

Seattle’s third MLS Cup final in four years shines spotlight on Schmetzer — whether he likes it or not

3:32 PM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

In Seattle, it has become a rite of autumn. The Sounders make the MLS Cup playoffs, they usually make a deep run toward the final, and the spotlight shines on manager Brian Schmetzer to the point of discomfort.One would think that given his nearly 40-year association with the Sounders — from his playing days to managing the team in the second tier to being an assistant in MLS to managing the team in the top division — Schmetzer would welcome some deserved praise. But any attempt to bestow accolades on the Seattle native is met with near instant deflection. One can almost hear him squirm over the telephone. Praise is for the players, his assistants or even opposing coaches. That’s why the word “steward” is most often applied to Schmetzer, and it fits. He is the organization’s conscience, its north star. “The club is in his DNA,” Seattle GM Garth Lagerwey said of Schmetzer. “When he speaks, he speaks sincerely and humbly, and those are things that really resonate with not just our fanbase but the wider community.”That ethos will be put to the test Sunday, when the Sounders square off against Toronto FC in the MLS Cup final (3 p.m. ET, watch live on ABC). It marks the third time in four years that the two sides have met with MLS supremacy on the line, and it amounts to the rubber match, with each team having hoisted the trophy once. Yet this is the first time Seattle has hosted the title game, so for Schmetzer, it resonates even more.”I am immensely proud of this franchise,” he said. “Being a guy from Seattle and this being your hometown team, and then the way my career path kind of happened — [starting in Seattle with] a couple of stops down in San Diego, a year in St. Louis and Tulsa — to have the MLS Cup final here, you’re so fired up.”Seattle’s run of MLS Cup finals would normally catapult a manager into discussions about the league’s best coaches, yet Schmetzer’s name hardly ever comes up. Granted, the fact that the Sounders are always in the playoffs — they’ve reached the postseason every year since joining the league in 2009 — means there’s no “most improved” component to get him attention. There haven’t been many wow moments in the regular season, either, with Seattle finishing second in the Western Conference each of the past three seasons. There’s also the matter of high expectations, given that the Sounders have 13 players making above the maximum salary.That lack of notoriety matters not at all to Schmetzer. He is a nearly perfect fit for the organization and the city at large.”I’ll let all the experts tell me whether I deserve all the praise for all this stuff, whether it’s the team, whether it’s Garth, whether it’s [owner Adrian Hanauer], whether it’s my assistants,” he said. “I think there’s a successful enough organization and what we all have are small bits and roles and parts within the team.”How has Schmetzer achieved so much success? His approach is all about balance: when to push and when to ease off in terms of tactics and in his talks with players. His steady accumulation of experience as a player and coach positioned him well to impart his vision.Schmetzer’s style can be traced to his modest but lengthy playing career that spanned the heyday of the old North American Soccer League in the early-1980s, its demise and the transition to the alphabet soup of various indoor leagues.”My gift to the game was my endurance,” Schmetzer said with a trace of humor. “I could run, I could get up and down the left wing. Steve Daley used to raise his arm and say, ‘Schmeeetz!’ And I’d take off, and I’d run, and he’d pass the ball somewhere else.”Schmetzer recalled that when he was an indoor teammate of Preki’s, he was always aware of where his more talented teammate was, the better to pick up the defensive slack when the ball was lost.”Those little things helped me have a pro career just because I was smart enough to figure out a way how to get people to say, ‘That Schmetz, he’s a pretty handy guy,'” he said.Along the way, he made note of the different locker room dynamics on the teams for which he played. There was an American-Brit divide in Seattle, and the Tulsa Roughneck team “was the tightest group of players I’ve ever seen.” In San Diego, there were multiple cliques, so Schmetzer made sure to bounce around among them. The experience of bridging those divides was useful during his coaching career, given the disparity in pay in MLS and the impact that can have on a locker room.When Schmetzer transitioned into coaching, his time managing youth teams gave him an understanding of how to develop young players. He spent seven seasons managing the Sounders in the various second divisions of the time and then took on the role of assistant under Sigi Schmid for another seven-plus years. Under Schmid, Schmetzer would imagine he was making the decisions, and if the head man did something different, Schmetzer would tease apart the reason.Schmid passed away in December, adding another emotional layer to Sunday’s final. Schmetzer’s gratitude toward his old mentor remains clear.”Sigi’s memory was unbelievable. Organizationally, structurally, he was better than I was,” Schmetzer said. “I learned a lot from Sig as far as how to win in MLS.”It made for an extensive apprenticeship at all levels, so when the call to take over from Schmid came midway through the 2016 season, Schmetzer was ready. That included the knowledge of how his role would change once he was the man in charge.”Their livelihood is now in your hands,” he said of his players. “What they require is honesty, whether it’s the brutal honesty of, ‘Hey, you’re not playing this weekend,’ or the brutal honesty of, ‘We’re not going to renew your option for next year.’ How you say that is massively important, as much so as when you compliment a player for a good job, trying to boost the player’s confidence. It’s different as a head coach than when I was an assistant.”Schmetzer emerged as a well-rounded coach, adept in all aspects. He describes himself as a players’ coach in the mold of former Sounders manager Alan Hinton, who signed Schmetzer as a teenager in 1980. He has also shown that he can throw out a tactical wrinkle or two, as he did in the Western Conference final against LAFC.

“I think to get to the level that you need to get to in order to coach in MLS, you can’t be too light on the tactics piece,” said Sigi Schmid’s son Kurt, previously Seattle’s director of player personnel and now the technical director for Inter Miami. “But that being said, he’s definitely very good at man management. I think some people can manage big groups really well, big personalities really well. I think Brian is really good at managing individuals really well. No one bats 1.000 in that department, but I think for the large majority of players who were there, he was always pretty good about just developing good relationships with those guys and even if guys walked away after hearing things they didn’t like.”That ability to connect with players spans young and old alike. He has moved youngsters such as Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris along and bonded with veterans such as Roman Torres and Stefan Frei.”There’s a closeness there within the group because they know that we as a staff have their best interests at heart,” Schmetzer said. “That closeness is developed out of mutual respect. It doesn’t mean we’re going to go on double dates with the players and their wives.”Schmetzer has been adaptable as well. Lagerwey notes that the 2016 team that Schmetzer led to that year’s MLS Cup was more rugged following the midseason loss of Clint Dempsey to a heart ailment. The following year, there was the challenge of repeating as MLS Cup champions. The disappointment of being eliminated to archrival Portland last season was eclipsed this year by the run to the final, with Seattle dispatching LAFC along the way.”I think that his kind of enduring quality has been that he can coach that 2016 run-and-fight team, and now he can coach this team which can play soccer,” Lagerwey said. “We can score a bunch of different ways and be more varied in our attack and our approach and how we play. The credit to him is he can manage both. His message resonates with both groups.”Schmetzer called 2019 his toughest year, given the forced retirement of defender Chad Marshall, the injury to forward Will Bruin and the suspension of Torres for using performance-enhancing drugs. But now Schmetzer is on the cusp of another title.”If I can get them all to believe that if they work for each other and fight for each other, that’s the best way they can win, then I’m doing my job as a manager,” he said.With a win Sunday, praise from outside will surely follow, whether Schmetzer wants it or not.

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