6/11/ 21 Euro’s Start Today on ESPN, Copa Starts Sun on Fox, US Ladies beat Portugal 1-0, play Jamaica Sun 10 pm FS1, Carmel FC Tryouts Mon – June 14

 

 

US Men Wrap up Winning week with 4-0 win over Costa Rica

So lets start with the US wrapped up a fantastic week of CONCACAF Soccer with a solid 4-0 win over a Costa Rica team that tied Mexico 0-0 just 1 week earlier and lost on PKs. Right after winning the most significant game and Championship vs Mexico in a decade for this young US team.   The US changed out 8 starters from Sunday night – and didn’t miss a step.  Twenty-Year-old Brendan Aaronson looked dangerous all night long as he scored the first goal of the game and had huge darting runs behind the backline.  Adams started at the #6 and showed why he might be the most important player on this team – he simply protects that backline like no other in the US player pool – always in the right spot to cover for centerbacks and outside backs alike.  Dike got his goal late in the first half after occupying the middle of Costa Rica’s defense for most of it.  He should had another probably – but overall he adds his name to that look for starting #9 for the US.  Tim Weah looked dangerous on right wing and just missed his shot on goal while Musah also looked solid and teamed really well with Weah on the right side.  McKensie started Centerback with Tim Ream and showed the 2 could cover against 2nd class CONCACAF competition.  I still think Ream is just too old at 33 to not be replaced by a younger Centerback for the US – good to see Walker Zimmerman provide a solid half after his last call-up for injured Brooks last night.  We should see some new guys battle for those Centerback spots in the Gold Cup I would think.  Horvath started in goal on his 26th birthday and solidified his spot as he barely faced a shot with his clean sheet.  Horvath will now hopefully get some looks from other European teams as his backup contract with Club Brugge in Belgium has run out. Overall another great night in front of a nearly full Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake and a great week of soccer.  Oh Musah is cap tied – I learned during the broadcast.  Hope to see him on the Gold Cup roster along perhaps Reggie Cannon, Lletget, Zimmerman, Dike, and GK Ochoa. 

US Ladies Beat Portugal 1-0 – Play Sun 10 pm FS1

So the US ladies played last night without their legendary #6 D Mid Julie Ertz as she is injured until next month.  That allowed the US ladies to play Lindsay Horan at the 6 spot and she really handled it well.  The top US midfield of Lavell and Mewis usually shares time with Horan – but this allowed all 3 to play featuring all 3 of the best US mids on the field at the same time.  The question was could Horan defend that back line like Ertz does – the answer well yes.  Portugal barely got past midfield much less registered many shots – the shot chart was like 24-3 overall for the US.  Good to see going into the Olympics in case Ertz is still struggling – either way nice to have a solid backup plan and perhaps be able to give Ertz a break now and then during the Olympics this summer.  I will be interesting to see if coach plugs in the youngster Davidson into the 6 slot for Sunday’s game to see how she fills that role as well.  Already we saw her on the left side for 20 minuutes and she play centerback for club – so she might also cover 3 spots with her inclusion.  Overall it was a frustrating game for the US – as Portugal sat back and their Goalkeeper had some spectacular saves to keep the game at 1-0 after facing 24 shots on her goal.  I thought Christen Press was Woman of the match – as she was dangerous on both the left and right sides all game.  She provided the corner to Mewis who headed home the winner in the 75th minutes or so.  Not a bad game for the US – but they are going to need to finish chances better in the final 3rd in Japan this summer.  The US plays again  vs Jamaica at 10 pm on Sunday June 13th on FS 1 and finally Wed night at 9 pm on ESPN2 vs Nigeria live from Austin.  The 3 game series features most the usuals except Tobin Heath – still recovering from injury (though she is training and will be at camp) and Julie Ertz (MCL expected back for Olympics) and Mallory Pugh.  The US has added the Send off Series vs Mexico in July just before the Olympics as well. 

This Sun, June 13

10 PM ET, FS1    USWNT  vs Jamaica ,

Wed, June 16

9 PM ET, ESPN2  USWNT  vs Nigeria

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

European Cup Starts today

The European Cup kicks off the Summer of Soccer today with Turkey facing one of the darkhorse favorites Italy in Rome at 3 pm on ESPN.  They will play almost daily as many as 3 games a day on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC until July 7th.  France come in as the favorites but defending champs Portugal, #1 Ranked Belgium, England, Germany or Spain may have something to say about that.  Also on Sunday the Copa America – which has been moved to Brazil– will kick off – giving us day games evening starts  (5 and 8 pm) to watch nearly every day in June.  Sunday’s game features Brazil and Neymar hosting Venezuela on Fox at 5 pm.  While the featured games for the European Cup this weekend include Wales and Bale vs Switzerland at  9 am on Saturday on ESPN, followed by #1 Belgium vs Russia at 3 pm on ABC, and Sunday has England vs Croatia on ESPN at 9 am from Wimbley, followed at 3 pm by Netherlands vs Ukraine on ESPN.

Summer of Soccer 

European Championships  June 11 – July 7  ESPN

Copa America  June 13 to July 10 FS1, FS2, Univision

Olympics US Ladies July 21-Aug 5  NBC

Gold Cup July 10 –  Aug 1 FS1, FS2, Fox

 

CARMEL FC  2021 Tryouts Monday June 14th

All evaluations and tryouts will be held at Shelborne Fields. 3451 W 126th St, Carmel, IN 46032.

June 14, 2021- Players 11u and older (Birth Years 2003 to 2011)

Check-in starts 1/2 hour before tryouts.

Tryouts for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011: 5:45pm to 7:15pm

Tryouts for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007: 7:30pm to 9pm.
—————————————————————————————————————————
Registration Link: Click Here To Register  Please email  info@cdccarmelfc.com. with any questions. 

2021 Alumni/College Age Soccer League
High School graduates, college students, young professionals come join our soccer league this summer!

Who can play? ages 18-30, experienced, new to the sport and anyone wanting to be active and meet new people. 
When does it start/end? Mid- June through early August  Where? Shelborne Soccer Fields 3451 W. 126th Street
Cost? 105.00 (no annual fee or volunteer fee apply to this league).  Do I have to be a Carmel resident? There is no residency requirement for this program. 
Please click here to register for this league.  Registration is open now- June 12   Jerseys and socks are provided  Questions please contact the office 317-846-1663 or email info@carmeldadsclub.org

GAMES ON TV

 EUROS + COPA America 2021

(all times ET; coverage starts about 30 minutes before kickoff; all games also stream on ESPN+)

Friday, June 11

Group A – Turkey vs. Italy, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)

Saturday, June 12

Group A – Wales vs. Switzerland, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Denmark vs. Finland, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Belgium vs. Russia, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)

Sunday, June 13

Group D – England vs. Croatia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Austria vs. North Macedonia, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Netherlands vs. Ukraine, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Brazil vs Venezuela 7 pm FS , Unimas

COPA   Colombia vs Ecuador 10 pm FS2, Univision

USA Women vs Jamaica  10 pm (FS1)

Monday, June 14

Group D – Scotland vs. Czech Republic, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group E – Poland vs. Slovakia, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group E – Spain vs. Sweden, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Argentina vs Chile  5 pm  FS1, Univision

COPA   Paraguay vs Bolivia 8 pm  FS1, Univision

Tuesday, June 15

Group F – Hungary vs. Portugal, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group F – France vs. Germany, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)

Indy 11 vs Pittsburgh 8 pm (ESPN+/ESPN Desp)

Gold Cup Qualifying Canada vs Haiti 9 pm (Paramount +)

Wednesday, June 16

Group B – Finland vs. Russia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group A – Turkey vs. Wales, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group A – Italy vs. Switzerland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

USA Women vs Nigeria 9 pm (ESPN2)

Thursday, June 17

Group C – Ukraine vs. North Macedonia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Denmark vs. Belgium, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Netherlands vs. Austria, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Copa    Chile vs Bolivia 5 pm  FS 1

Copa   Argentina vs Uruguay 8 pm FS 1, Unimas

Friday, June 18

Group E – Sweden vs. Slovakia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group D – Croatia vs. Czech Republic, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group D – England vs. Scotland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Colombia vs Venezuela 7 pm FS 2

COPA   Peru vs Brazil 10 pm FS2, Univision

Saturday, June 19

Group F – Hungary vs. France, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group F – Portugal vs. Germany, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN, Univ, TUDN)
Group E – Spain vs. Poland, 2:30 a.m. (ABC)

NWSL North Carolina Courage vs OL Reign (NY/NJ) 4 pm (CBS)

Sunday, June 20

Group A – Switzerland vs. Turkey, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group A – Italy vs. Wales, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)

MLS Atlanta United s Philly Union  2 pm (ESPN)

NWSL Portland Thorns (Rapino) vs KC 4 pm (CBS)

Copa    Uruguay vs Chile 4 pm FS1, Univision

Sporting KC 2 vs Indy 11 5 pm (ESPN+)

Copa    Argentina vs Paraguay 7 pm FS1, Univision

Monday, June 21

Group C – North Macedonia vs. Netherlands, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Ukraine vs. Austria, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Group B – Russia vs. Denmark, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Finland vs. Belgium, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Tuesday, June 22

Group D – Croatia vs. Scotland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Group D – Czech Republic vs. England, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Wednesday, June 23

Group E – Slovakia vs. Spain, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group E – Sweden vs. Poland, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Group F – Portugal vs. France, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)
Group F – Germany vs. Hungary, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Copa   Brazil vs Colombia 8 pm FS1, Univision

Copa    Ecaador vs Peru 5 pm FS2, Univision

Friday, June 25

MLS Inter Miami vs Orlando City 8 pm (FS1)

Saturday, June 26

Round of 16 (Amsterdam) – 2A vs. 2B, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Round of 16 (London) – 1A vs. 2C, 2:30 p.m., London (ABC)

MLS Sporting KC vs LAFC 5 pm (ESPN)

Sunday, June 27

Round of 16 (Budapest) – 1C vs. 3DEF, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Round of 16 (Saville) – 1B vs. 3ADEF, 2:30 p.m. (ABC, Univision, TUDN)

Copa   Brazil vs Ecuador 5 pm Fox, Univision

Copa    Venezuela vs Peru 5 pm FS2, Univision

MLS   Austin vs Columbus Crew 8 pm (FS1)

Monday, June 28

Round of 16 (Copenhagen) – 2D vs. 2E, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Round of 16 (Bucharest) – 1F vs. 3ABC, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Copa    Uruguay vs Paraguay 8 pm FS2, Univision

Copa   Argentina vs Boliva 8 pm FOX, Univision

Tuesday, June 29

Round of 16 (London) – 1D vs. 2F, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Round of 16 (Glasgow) – 1E vs. 3ABCD, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)

Thursday, July 1

USA Women vs Mexico 8 pm (Fox Sport 1)

Austin vs Portland Timbers 9:30 pm (FS1) 

Friday, July 2

Quarterfinal I (St. Petersburg) – 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Quarterfinal II (Munich) – 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, July 3

Quarterfinal III (Baku) – 11:30 a.m. (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)
Quarterfinal IV (Rome) – 2:30 p.m. (ABC, Univision, TUDN)

Columbus Crew vs New England 5 pm (ESPN)

Racing Louisville vs Portland Thorns NWSL  7:30 pm (Paramount +)

COPA QuarterFinal 6 pm (FS1)

COPA QuarterFinal 9 pm (FS1)

Mexico vs Nigeria 11 pm ?

Monday, July 5

USA Women vs Mexico 5pm (ESPN2)

COPA SemiFinal 7pm (FS1)

Tuesday, July 6

Semifinal I (London) – 2:30 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN+, Univision, TUDN)

Wednesday, July 7

Semifinal II (London) – 2:30 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN+, Univision, TUDN)

Friday, July 9

COPA Semi-Final 8 pm (FS1)

Saturday, July 10  GOLD CUP STARTS

Gold Cup – Mexico vs ??   10 pm (FS1)

COPA Final 8 pm (FS1)

Sunday, July 11

Final (London) – 2:30 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN+, Univision, TUDN)

Gold Cup Canada vs Martinique 6:30 pm (FS1)

Gold Cup USA vs ???   8:30 pm (FS1)

Monday, July 12

Gold Cup Jamaica vs Surinam 6:30 pm (FS1)

Gold Cup Costa Rica vs  ????   8:30 pm (FS1)

MLS Schedule

NWSL Season TV Schedule

Euro’s TV Schedule

Copa Schedule

 

 Euro’s 


What you need to know about the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament

Euro 2020 betting: Picks for all of Saturday’s group stage games

De Bruyne ruled out of Belgium’s EURO 2020 opener; Hazard update

Italy raring to go at Euro 2020 after World Cup failure – Chiellini

England boss Southgate speaks of ‘pride’ on eve of Euro 2020

Benzema exits early as France beat Bulgaria in final pre-Euro friendly

‘Career highlight’ for captain Bale ahead of Wales’ Euro return

Kroos ready to prove Germany’s doubters wrong against France

Euro 2020 betting: The money keeps pouring in on France to win

 

USA Ladies


USWNT breaks through late as Mewis powers win over Portugal

Mewis on target as US extend unbeaten streak

Sam Mewis scores in U.S. women’s 1-0 win over Portugal

Which 18 players will make the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer roster?

US women’s soccer team experiments in Julie Ertz’s absence

 

USA Men
USMNT player ratings versus Costa Rica

Three things we learned from USMNT – Costa Rica

WATCH: Aaronson’s third USMNT goal, off Dike feed, puts Yanks ahead

Highlight USA vs Mexico

Extended Hightlights USA vs Mexico
USMNT’s wild win against Mexico was just the beginning of a huge 

 

Goalkeeping

Storybook Appearance for US GK Ethan Horvath

Horvath Makes the Save

GK Ethan Horvath from Denver  

Does Horvath Deserve a Look at #1 GK Spot?  SBI

 

COPA AMERICA


Copa America: How to watch, schedule, odds, predictions

Nearly two thirds of Brazilians oppose hosting Copa America amid pandemic – poll

Soccer-Brazil score early and late to defeat Paraguay 2-0

Neymar helps Brazil to perfect six in WC qualifying

Brazil’s players say ‘against Copa America’ but won’t boycott

EPL 
Tuchel signs Chelsea contract extension

Manchester City wins trio of Premier League awards

Conte to Tottenham off; now what for Spurs?

Liverpool Keep or Dump: Mo Salah, Naby Keita, Adrian all worth replacing
  Mark Ogden and James Tyler

Indy 11

·      USL CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP: EL PASO LOCOMOTIVE FC 2 : 0 INDY ELEVEN

·      Neveal Hackshaw to Represent Trinidad & Tobago National Team in World Cup Qualifiers

·      RECAP | Indy Comes Back for 2-1 LIPAFC Win

·      Indy Eleven Forward Jordan Hamilton Named to USL Championship Team of the Week for Week 6

·      USL Championship Recap: Indy Eleven 1 : 1 OKC Energy FC

Indy 11 Schedule

Single Game Tickets as low at $13 each

Attention INDY 11 FANS Discounted Tix: Opportunity to purchase Discount Tickets for home INDY ELEVEN games at Carroll Stadium.

Please order on Link Below “Friends of Indy Eleven”   https://fevo.me/indyelevenmh

 

 Ian Darke’s take on Euro 2020: Why France and Italy are my favourites, but watch out for Denmark

Jun 9, 2021Ian DarkeESPN.com writer

Euro 2020 might be a European Championship that defies prediction. Spread across 11 cities in the midst of a pandemic, who can know what fate has in store? One COVID-19 outbreak could derail even the most gifted of teams and even the schedule. Mix in the fatigue factor for players who have had an even more congested and hectic season than normal, and the tournament could develop into a survival of the fittest and freshest.

The peculiar, 24-team format also can produce tales of the unexpected. Portugal lifted the trophy in 2016 after finishing third in their group and only winning one game in 90 minutes throughout the whole tournament. Remember, the Euros have given us shocks before: Denmark got off the beach as late replacements for Yugoslavia and won the whole thing in 1992, and then there was the barely believable 150-1 triumph of Greece in 2004.

England have never won the competition or even made the final, but they’re among the favourites to do so this time. Drawn in Group D, they also have the added advantage of potentially playing all but the quarterfinal at their Wembley Stadium home, though no hosts have won since France in 1984.

Led by World Cup Golden Boot winner Harry Kane, Gareth Southgate’s squad is full of exciting young attacking talent like Mason MountPhil Foden and Jadon Sancho. But key defender Harry Maguire is in a race to be fit, and without him, the defence looks vulnerable against the top teams.

There are also worries over the form of Marcus Rashford and Raheem SterlingJack Grealish, though, could be one of the players of the tournament if his shin injury is managed successfully and Southgate has faith enough to pick him. As in 1996, when England reached the semifinals and the nation sang “Football’s coming home” (it didn’t, as it turned out), Wembley will be a factor.

France are also fancied, as they still have nine of the 11 players who won the World Cup final three summers ago. Add in the return of Real Madrid‘s in-form striker Karim Benzema from his six-year international absence and the team looks more formidable than ever.

A front three of Kylian Mbappe, Benzema and Antoine Griezmann is frightening, and there is quality everywhere, though goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has not had his most convincing year at Tottenham Hotspur. France, though, are in arguably the hardest group — Group F — with Germany, Portugal and Hungary, who must be wondering what they did to deserve such awful luck in the draw.

Led by Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and the recently recalled Karim Benzema, France’s front three is more dangerous than ever. Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Germany hope to give their long-serving coach Joachim Low a winning farewell, but confidence in this team does not seem high after a 6-0 humiliation against Spain and a shock 2-1 defeat against North Macedonia in the past nine months. Low has recalled veterans Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels to a squad that still possesses enough quality to be dangerous. The first match, at home to France in Munich, could be a barometer of their mood and form.

Portugal have a stronger squad than the one that triumphed rather freakishly in 2016. Cristiano RonaldoBruno Fernandes and Ruben Dias lead a star-studded cast list, and if ultra-conservative coach Fernando Santos loosens his restraints, they are capable of retaining their crown. He probably won’t though.

Hungary look like cannon fodder against such powerhouses, especially after losing their star player Dominik Szoboszlai to injury on the eve of the tournament. But home advantage in a rocking Puskas Arena in Budapest might just help them pull off a surprise or two.

Belgium, ranked No. 1 in the world, will be strongly fancied for another long run like they had at the World Cup in 2018, when they reached the semifinals. They have more or less the same group of players, but talisman Eden Hazard has struggled for form and fitness, while the wonderful PFA Player of the Year, Kevin De Bruyne, has had eye surgery, which will at least mean he can avoid playing with a face mask. It will surely affect him, though. There’s also an ageing defence, which might get found out in the latter stages.

Denmark are in Group B with Belgium, as well as unpredictable Russia and debutants Finland, who will rely on the goals of Norwich City’s promotion hero, Teemu Pukki. The Danes look lively outsiders; with Kasper Schmeichel in goal, a tough defence that shut out England at Wembley, bags of experience and the clever promptings of Christian Eriksen, they are capable of giving anyone a hard time.

With Christian Eriksen leading the way, could Denmark pull a surprise or two at Euro 2020? Photo by Jan Christensen / FrontzoneSport via Getty Images

Italy are less cautious than in years past and on a long unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini. Ciro Immobile can bang in the goals with help from wide men Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne, while the Azzurri also feature a classy midfield, grizzled veterans Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in defence and flying full-backs in Alessandro Florenzi and Leonardo Spinazzola. A doubt over the fitness of key midfielder Marco Verratti is a concern, however.

The Italians kick off the tournament in Rome on Friday with a Group A clash against a Turkey team boasting their best-ever defence, which let in just three goals in qualifying and took four points off France. This is a tough group that also includes Switzerland, tournament last-16 regulars, and Wales, for whom Gareth Bale might not be the force he was in their surprise run to the semis in 2016. Italy should top the group, but it looks tight after that.

What about Spain, who won three big tournaments in a row from 2008 to 2012 with a vintage team? That 6-0 win over Germany, in which Ferran Torres scored a hat trick, served notice of their talent, but there are questions to be answered.

Spain’s preparations have already been severely hit by positive COVID-19 tests for Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente, forcing others in the squad to train alone and Spain to hand debuts to 16 players in Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Lithuania. Only an optimist would believe that other teams can dodge similar trouble, and there’s a feeling that this is an unpredictable team doomed to fall short unless Alvaro Morata or Gerard Moreno deliver plenty of goals.

Spain should have too much for Group E rivals Sweden (what a pity Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not fit), Marek Hamsik‘s Slovakia and Poland, who could nick second place in that group if Robert Lewandowski can maintain his record 41-goal Bundesliga form and avoid the nearly invisible showing he endured at the prior World Cup.

In England’s group, World Cup finalists Croatia still have 35-year-old Luka Modric pulling the strings, and while results this season have been modest, there is new talent in the likes of strikers Bruno Petkovic and Nikola Vlasic. Regardless of recent form, they still have enough good players (including Ivan PerisicMarcelo BrozovicMateo Kovacic) to give England a tough opening game at Wembley.

The Czech Republic, finalists in 1996, are hard to read; but West Ham’s Tomas Soucek was one of the players of the season in the Premier League, and they’ll hope to recreate the exciting 2-1 win they had over England in Prague during qualifying, rather than repeat the 5-0 pasting they took at Wembley.

Also in that group are improving Scotland, who qualified for their first major tournament in 23 years. Led by Liverpool‘s Andy Robertson and shrewdly managed by Steve Clarke, a 2-2 draw away to Netherlands in a recent tuneup game served notice that the Tartan Army are likely to be very competitive. Clarke has cleverly downplayed the hype surrounding the clash with England, reasoning that games against Croatia and Czech Republic at Hampden Park represent their best chances of getting the necessary points to advance.

Netherlands themselves have missed the past two tournaments, and not everyone is sure Frank de Boer is the man to usher them into a more successful era. With no Virgil van Dijk to lead the defence, it’s hard to fancy them as possible winners. That said, with home-field advantage in all three games of a kind Group C that contains North MacedoniaUkraine and Austria, the Netherlands look sure to advance to the knockout stages.

North Macedonia’s presence in their first-ever Euros comes via the Nations League D4 route, and it sparked a nationwide party. Veteran Goran Pandev, 37, is their torchbearer, and that amazing win over Germany in March will encourage them to believe they are not just making up the numbers. Could they be this year’s Iceland?

Forced to make a call at this range, France would be my pick to win it, with Portugal and Italy in contention and Denmark as a lively long shot.

 

 

Euro 2020 preview: Picks, scouting reports, must-see games, biggest ‘upset’ teams and much more

Jun 9, 2021ESPN The Euros are here! Get ready for Euro 2020 with our comprehensive preview. Will England dazzle? Will France dominate? Can Ronaldo lead Portugal to a second consecutive Euro title? ESPN Illustration


FRANCE: Can they make history with a second ‘double-double’?

Germany is dangerous, but they’re the most unpredictable of the big nations at the Euros. Will they rise to the challenge or crumble under the pressure? Getty Images

The double-double of World Cup and European Championships: they did it in 1998 and 2000… but can they do it in 2018 and 2020?France could be the first country to achieve this twice. None of their biggest rivals — Germany, Spain, Italy — has been able, but France will never have a better opportunity to do it than this summer. The Zinedine Zidane and Didier Deschamps generation in 1998 was great, a team built around collective spirit over individual stars, and they won the World Cup with no prolific striker and an incredible defence. In 2000, however, they were at their peak and added individual brilliance to their strength; with Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, Youri Djorkaeff and David Trezeguet, they finally had a wonderful attacking line.

There are many similarities with the team of 1998/2000 and this group, anchored by Antoine GriezmannPaul Pogba and, beyond them, the Kylian Mbappe generation. Deschamps is the common thread and Les Bleus have never looked so strong.

This team has the DNA of its head coach, like 1998 had with Aime Jacquet, one of Deschamps’ mentors. Deschamps is first and foremost a pragmatic, conservative manager. His team will defend well and be well-drilled. He is also astute. After five years and 237 days without Karim Benzema since their falling-out over the Mathieu Valbuena scandal, the France boss eventually called him back in May to make this squad even stronger. At 33, the Real Madrid striker is in the best form of his life. He’s coming off another great season in Spain (23 goals, 9 assists in La Liga) and he’s hungrier than ever after missing on the success of 2018 and the near-success of 2016.

No other team at the Euros has this much talent up front. There’s a bit of everything: pace, efficiency, power, skills, strength, height, intelligence, nous. Mbappe is this team’s Henry. Benzema plays like Anelka, a goal scorer who liked to drop deep and organise the play. Antoine Griezmann is a bit of everyone. Olivier Giroud is like Trezeguet, a poacher and a box player. Ousmane DembeleKingsley Coman and Wissam Ben Yedder can start or come off the bench, bringing speed, close control and more goals.

PREDICTIONS: So who’s winning this thing?

Belgium. The window is closing for the Golden Generation, but Euro history is filled with guys who didn’t play much or perform during the season, only to excel for four weeks in the summer. I’m counting on you, Eden Hazard and Axel Witsel… — Marcotti

Deschamps’ squad is head and shoulders above every other nation in the tournament. France have so much quality and depth that it’s virtually impossible to see the world champions failing to win this. – Ogden

Engl… I’m only kidding. France, France and France. Deschamps could have fielded two 23-man squads, and they’d end up meeting in the final. The strongest XI has everything, and Benzema now, which will be too tough for any opponent. – Laurens

France. The World Cup winners boast the strongest squad, and teams are able to make five substitutions in each game. Only a relatively tough draw has stopped France being shorter in the betting markets. – Olley

It’s France‘s to lose. When you can sleep easy after losing Aymeric Laporte to Spain, you know they’ve got incredible strength in depth. If you’re after a surprise package, though, keep an eye on Denmark. – Hamilton

France. Generally speaking, it seems pretty smart to bet on whichever team has a healthy Kante in it, especially when you can team him with Pogba and Mbappe. — Connelly

Portugal: They’re good from front to back and are stacked with players who are coming off impressive seasons with their clubs. If they can get through their group, they’ll fancy their chances against anyone. – Rob Dawson

I think it’s going to be a France vs. Turkey final, but whether that’s right or not, there will need to be a stewards’ enquiry if France don’t win this tournament. Blessed with abundant talent, they also demonstrably possess a tough ‘winning’ mentality. Plus ça change… – Graham Hunter

Runners-up in 2016 and winners in 2018, they already had Griezmann, Mbappe, Pogba and Kante and the rest. Now they’ve got Benzema, too, which is just cheating. France, of course. – Sid Lowe

 Clear your calendar! The must-see games

From a plot perspective, the Euro schedule is nicely drawn. You begin with a couple of days of new-tournament honeymoon vibes and excitement, then you get to the good stuff. Here are the 10 group-stage matches that pack either the most intrigue or the most importance.

– June 13: Croatia at England. Per Caesars, England is the No. 2 favorite to win behind France. Their first match is a doozy, however, against a Croatia squad that is advancing in age but still features a lot of the talent that brought them to the World Cup finals — and past England in the semifinals — three years ago.

– June 13: Ukraine at Netherlands. We’ll find out a lot of what we need to know about the Dutch against a Ukraine squad made up primarily of Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk players, plus a couple of Premier Leaguers (Man City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko, West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko) for good measure.

– June 15: France at Germany. Group F is the Group of Chaos, featuring both the past two World Cup champions (France and Germany) and the defending Euros champ (Portugal). Germany have been the shakiest of the three, but they get to play all their matches in Munich’s Allianz Arena.

– June 16: Switzerland at Italy. Switzerland is loaded with talent from Europe’s elite leagues. If this turns out to be a bumpy road for the Italians, favorites in Group A, this is about when things might go awry.

– June 17: Belgium at Denmark. Belgium might be the best team in Group B, but the home team here could be the second best. Might home-field advantage and a sturdy midfield give the Danes an unexpected edge?

– June 17: Austria at Netherlands. Austria’s squad is loaded with talent from Europe’s best clubs. If Ukraine can’t get to the Dutch, it’s possible that Alaba, Sabitzer, Baumgartner & Co. still could.

– June 18: Scotland at England. English fans know exactly how talented their team is, but the sense of “waiting for the other shoe to drop” paranoia could be at a high approaching this rivalry match against Robertson, Tierney and the neighbors up north.

– June 19: Portugal at Germany. If we assume that France advances from Group F — not a given, but they are the overall favorites — then this becomes maybe the biggest match of the group stage, an eliminator between two of the most talented teams in the entire world.

– June 23: Sweden vs. Poland. Spain got what appears to be an easy draw in Group E, but this match could be another eliminator for second place, not to mention a showcase game for Poland’s Robert Lewandowski and Sweden’s burgeoning stars (Dejan KulusevskiAlexander Isak) in attack.

– June 23: France vs. Portugal. Few international matches are capable of fielding more pure talent among its 22 competitors than this one. We don’t yet know the stakes — Group F might be all sewn up, and it very much might not — but this one will please the eye regardless. — Connelly

NOVIS GUIDE TO THE EUROS

The UEFA European Football Championship, a mouthful better known as the Euros, brings together Europe’s top men’s national soccer teams once every four years to duke it out for continental glory (and a lot of money, naturally).

  • After two years of qualification rounds, Europe’s 55 eligible teams are whittled down to 24 nations that move on to month-long Euros, which begins today.

The tournament consists of two stages: First, the three-game round robin group stage, which splits the 24 teams into six groups (more on them in a bit). The top two teams from each, along with the next four best teams overall, based on points during the round robin — three for a win, one for a draw — advance to the knockout stage.

  • The knockout stage includes the round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and final that’s set for July 11th.
  • While most Euros are hosted in one or two countries, this year’s tournament is pan-European, with 11 countries playing host during the group stage and first two knockout rounds before London takes over for the semis and final. Jolly good.

Second only to the FIFA World Cup, the Euros are an international BFD, even for us North Americans. So if you don’t have a nation to cheer for yet, here’s “the gist” on every group to help you pick.

Group A – Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

The favorite: Italy. Riding a 27-game unbeaten streak, the Azzurri, as they’re known, are playing all three of their group stage matches in front of a home crowd in Rome. The world-ranked No. 7 team won’t have an easy run, but with one of the tournament’s best defenses, they have what it takes to go far.

The dark horse: Turkey could give Italy a run for their money, but to be fair, any of the three in the group could. We’ll get a good sense of things right off the bat though, when Italy and Turkey kick off the whole tournament today at 3 p.m. ET. We’re calling it: the winner of today’s match will win the group.

Who to watch: Gareth Bale, Wales. He’s the best thing to come out of the country since singer Tom Jones, but this tournament will show if the 31-year-old superstar still has it. If he sets the right tone, the rest of his team should follow, and they could surprise us all.

Group B – Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia

The favorite: Belgium. They’re calling this the golden generation of Belgian soccer. The roster is strong, experienced, and like Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings, has undeniable chemistry. This tourney is the moment of truth for stars like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne to finally seal the deal.

The dark horse: Denmark. They may not have a ton of starpower, but their midfield is reliable, their defense is solid, and their goalie Kasper Schmeichel (whose father Peter, also a goaltender, led Denmark to their 1992 Euro win) is one of the top in the tournament.

Who to watch: As previously mentioned, Lukaku, Belgium. An early prediction for “Player of the Tournament,” Lukaku is Belgium’s all-time highest goal-scorer and is only expected to add to his record and grow his lead, especially if Belgium can make it all the way.

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Group C – Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia

The favorite: Netherlands. This shouldn’t be too hard for them. Though the Dutch team missed the last Euros, they have a light schedule, a solid squad and a new-but-knowledgeable coach in Frank de Boer this time. They’ll also play all of their group stage matches at home, which helps.

The dark horse: Though we heavily debated Ukraine, we’re going with Austria, final answer. They’ve played in two Euros before but never made it past the group stage. We think third time’s a charm for the world’s 23rd ranked team. Time to make the von Trapp family proud.

Who to watch: Memphis Depay, Netherlands. Aside from having a burgeoning music career, he’s also a pretty great soccer player. He’ll likely be the main Dutch goal scorer during the Euros, and given the relatively easy matchups he’ll be facing, could be a top contender for the Golden Boot (awarded to the tournament’s highest goal scorer).

Group D – England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic

The favorite: England. The team that consistently underperforms has one of its strongest rosters in decades, and they have a lot to prove. They’ll face their longtime rivals Scotland and the team who ousted them from the last FIFA World Cup, Croatia, in the group stage; the quest for revenge should help boost their gameplay.

The dark horse: Croatia. They surprised many as the runners-up in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and though they’ve lost a few big names since then, they’re still scrappy contenders. The Czech team will be their biggest challenge, though.

Who to watch: Harry Kane, England. He’s the biggest name in English soccer these days, and as the captain, all eyes will be on him to lead The Three Lions (Lannister vibes, anyone?) to their first national championship since the 1966 World Cup, and their first ever Euros win.

🇪 Group E – Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia

The favorite: Spain. A perennial favorite who won back-to-back Euros in 2008 and 2012. And though the roster has changed from that experienced squad to a fresher, younger group of top talent, high expectations remain. The only problem? Two players, including captain Sergio Busquets, just tested positive for COVID-19.

The dark horse: Poland, but we’re going out on a limb here. Sweden might be everyone’s second favorite Group E team, but Poland has one of the all-time best goal scorers in their arsenal: captain Robert Lewandowski. He’s the reigning UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, and we think his leadership is powerful enough to get Poland through to the round of 16.

Who to watch: Alexander Isak, Sweden. With Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pronounced ee-brah-HEE-moh-vich) out of the Euros, Isak is the next big thing. He scored 17 goals in 34 games for his Spanish league team Real Sociedad, and he’s the youngest-ever goal scorer for his national team.

🇭 Group F – Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany

SOURCE: ARMANDO FRANCA/AP

The favorite: Portugal. The reigning champs are looking for a second Euros title, and with top talent like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and up-and-comer Nuno Mendes, they have most of the tools on hand to repeat their 2016 success.

The dark horse: Not Hungary. In this “Group of Death,” three teams are powerhouses in international soccer, with Germany co-leading alongside Spain for most Euros titles (three), and France, the most recent FIFA World Cup winners. Sorry, Hungary.

Who to watch: Kylian Mbappé (pronounced mm-BAP-eh), France. At the age of 19 (and during his first senior international tournament with France, no less), he became the second-youngest goal scorer in a FIFA World Cup final, and is often compared to the GOAT Pelé. Now 22, he’s quick, controlled, experienced, and ready to win again.

👀 How to watch

SOURCE: UEFA

Buckle up, we’re in for a heck of a month. The group stage starts today and continues until June 23rd, then two rest days before the knockout stage begins. Check out the full schedule here, download the UEFA EURO 2020 app to keep up-to-date and watch all the games live on TSN in Canada and ESPN in the U.S. Olé!

THE GIST’S PICKS

🎉 HOW TO PLAN LIKE A PRO:

Ahh…the group trip! In theory, it’s very fun and easy. In practice, it’s a lot of planning. That’s where BACH comes in. Perfect for Bachelorette parties, the free app is your go-to for coordinating schedules, splitting bills and even booking group experiences (did someone say bar crawl?).

  • So when it’s safe to get the squad back together, don’t forget to bring the most important guest — download BACH today!*

🎵 WHAT TO SING ALONG TO:

The Azzurri, Italy’s national soccer team, usually has a theme song to celebrate big soccer events (not joking). And while most of them are painful to listen to, this rendition of “Azzurro”, featuring the 2004 Euro squad, is particularly comical.

📖 WHAT TO READ:

The English team always has a lot of pressure heading into international tournaments, facing intense backlash when they couldn’t perform. Manager Gareth Southland wrote an open letter to his country, reminding English fans to be proud, gregarious and excited, but most of all, respectful.

🎧 WHAT TO LISTEN TO:

Speaking of English fans, they’ve been in the news lately for booing as the England team takes a knee before games. Check out this episode of The GIST of It for all the details on this awful act of racism.

🎽 WHAT TO WEAR:

Now that you have the info on all the best teams, it’s time to pick your favorite and grab some national gear from the UEFA Euros online shop to show your support.

6/9/21  US Men face Costa Rica 7 pm ESPN 2 fresh off Mexico win, US Ladies start 3 game series tomorrow vs Portugal 8:30 pm FS1, Carmel FC Tryouts Mon – June 14

US Men win thriller over Mexico 3-2 in OT

If you had a chance to stay up and watch the US vs Mexico game on Sunday night congrats – you saw one of the best and wildest US vs Mexico games ever.  The thrilling 3-2 win in OT – the 124th minute in front of a majority Mexican crowd In Denver.  The Drama was intense- 2 PKs on 2 VAR Reviews, 5 goals scored, Mexico’s Manager tossed for hugging the ref – Mexico takes the lead on a horrific giveaway by McKensie deep and then Mexico has a goal called back by VAR for offsides, then the US scores, the Mexico, then the US in the 85th minute.  The drama and excitement just oozing on the screen.  Finally Pulisic finally delivers late after he is taken down in the box in the 115th minute.  He calmly steps up and delivers the dagger and the win for this young US team as the US wins its first game in tourney competition a game that really mattered in a long time.  Is this the first for this new Golden Generation of American players raised in DA – now playing in Europe?  Only time will tell – but McKinney, Reyna and Pulisic scoring the biggest goals in the biggest game of their young US careers is certainly a huge step !!   Honestly one of the most exciting US vs Mexico games I have seen!  The USA is back !!

Now what to expect tonight is unknown – I expect some rotation of players tonight – the big work done. I expect Dike to start up top with Musah stepping in for McKinney perhaps along with maybe Acosta in the #8 roles and Yueill back in the #6 role.  I assume Adams will not play tonight.  Not sure on the back line – but perhaps Ochoa in the net tonight after Horvath more than proved his worth vs Mexico.  I do expect the US to try to win vs Costa Rica – we’ll see how they match up as well.  Definitely worth the watch tonight at 7 pm on ESPN2!!   

Expected Line-up

Aaronson DIKE Weah

Musah/Acosta

Adams

Robinson/Brooks or McKensie/Zimmerman/ Cannon  

The Ole Ballcoach – PLAYER RATINGS

THE STARTING LINEUP

Zack SteffenRating: 6.0

DeAndre Yedlin: Rating: 5.0

Mark McKenzie: Rating: 4.5

John Brooks: Rating: 7.0

Tim Ream: Rating: 4

Sergino Dest: Rating: 5.0

Kellyn Acosta: Rating: 6

Weston McKennie: Rating: 7.5

Gio Reyna: Rating: 7.5

Christian PulisicRating: 7.0

Josh Sargent: Rating: 5.5

THE SUBSTITUTES

Tim Weah: Rating: 6.5

Jordan Siebatcheu: Rating: 5.5

Ethan Horvath: Rating: 9.0 (MAN OF THE MATCH)

Sebastian Lletget: Rating: 5.5

Tyler Adams: Rating: 6.0

Reggie Cannon: Rating: 5.5

US Women play Portugal Thurs, June 10 8:30 pm FS1, June 13, June 16

The games will start with the US playing Portugal at 8:30 pm ET on FS1 on Thurs June 10, followed by US vs Jamaica at 10 pm on Sunday June 13th on FS 1 and finally Wed night at 9 pm on ESPN2 vs Nigeria live from Austin.  The 3 game series features most the usuals except Tobin Heath – still recovering from injury (though she is training and will be at camp) and Julie Ertz (MCL expected back for Olympics) and Mallory Pugh.  The US has added the Send off Series vs Mexico in July just before the Olympics as well. 

Thur, June 10

8:30 PM ET FS1                 USA WNT vs Portugal,

Sun, June 13

10 PM ET, FS1     USWNT  vs Jamaica ,

Wed, June 16

9 PM ET, ESPN2                USWNT  vs Nigeria

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

European Cup Starts this Friday

The European Cup kicks off the Summer of Soccer next Friday as they will play almost daily as many as 3 games a day on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC until July 7th.  The games start with Turkey vs Italy in Rome as for the first time multiple nations will host the Euros with the finals in London July 7th.  France come in as the favorites but defending champs Portugal, #1 Ranked Belgium, England, Germany or Spain may have something to say about that.  Also this weekend the Copa America – which has been moved to Brazil– will kick off – giving us day games (9 am, noon and 3 pm) and night games (5 and 8 pm) to watch nearly every day in June. 

Summer of Soccer 

European Championships  June 11 – July 7  ESPN

Copa America  June 13 to July 10 FS1, FS2, Univision

Olympics US Ladies July 21-Aug 5  NBC

Gold Cup July 10 –  Aug 1 FS1, FS2, Fox

CARMEL FC  2021 Tryouts Start Mon June 14th

All evaluations and tryouts will be held at Shelborne Fields. 3451 W 126th St, Carmel, IN 46032.

June 14, 2021- Players 11u and older (Birth Years 2003 to 2011)

Check-in starts 1/2 hour before tryouts.

Tryouts for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011: 5:45pm to 7:15pm

Tryouts for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007: 7:30pm to 9pm.
———————————————————————————————————————————–
Registration Link: Click Here To Register  Please email  info@cdccarmelfc.com. with any questions. 

Good Luck to the 4 Carmel FC teams advancing to this weekend’s President Cup and Challenge Cup Finals games at Grand Park 2009 Gold Girls, 2010 Boys Gold, 2008 Gold Boys, 2007 Gold Boys.  

2021 Alumni/College Age Soccer League
High School graduates, college students, young professionals come join our soccer league this summer!

Who can play? ages 18-30, experienced, new to the sport and anyone wanting to be active and meet new people. 
When does it start/end? Mid- June through early August  Where? Shelborne Soccer Fields 3451 W. 126th Street
Cost? 105.00 (no annual fee or volunteer fee apply to this league).  Do I have to be a Carmel resident? There is no residency requirement for this program. 
Please click here to register for this league.  Registration is open now- June 12   Jerseys and socks are provided  Questions please contact the office 317-846-1663 or email info@carmeldadsclub.org

US Ladies
The three biggest questions facing the USWNT in its upcoming friendlies

Nigerian Coach Weary of US ahead of next week’s game

USWNT’s Heath, Ertz ‘on schedule’ for Olympics  ESPNFC

Ellis to lead NWSL expansion team in San Diego
NWSL Power Rankings: Pride on top going into break

US Men

USMNT-Mexico rivalry, post-Nations League classic: What’s next? – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC

USMNT inspired by expected, and unexpected, heroes in “classic” Nations League win  – Charles Boehm MLS
USMNT’s epic Nations League triumph over Mexico provided plenty of lessons
  ESPNFC jeff Carlisle 

Three takeaways from the USMNT’s Nations League win over Mexico  ARMCHAIR ANALYST: MATT DOYLE

U.S.-Mexico marred by anti-gay chants, thrown objects
USMNT tops Mexico 3-2 in extra time amid controversy, goalkeeping heroics, madness

Horvath and Pulisic lift the USMNT to a gutsy and signature win over Mexico
USMNT ‘golden generation’ revels in glorious, crazy win v. Mexico

USMNT wins CONCACAF Nations League in illogical extra time affair

The Kids Came Thru – Ratings  Greg Seltzer MLS
USMNT player ratings from trophy-claiming ET win over Mexico

US Beats Mexico

Angry fans shower USMNT with objects from stands

USA tops Mexico in absurd Nations League final 

USMNT-Mexico rivalry, post-Nations League classic: What’s next? 5hJeff Carlisle and Eric Gomez

CONCACAF Stretcher Girls Steal The Show From USA-Honduras Nations League Clash

Euro’s Start Fri-ESPN


Ranking the EURO 2020 teams

Euro 2020 stars entering red zone: How fresh are Europe’s top players?
 ESPNFC
Bill Connelly
England ‘more determined than ever’ to take the knee in defiance of boos

Ranking the top 20 players at EURO 2020

From Kane to Benzema: Six strikers to watch at Euro 2020

Euro 2021: ranking the 50 best players you will see this summer, part one – 50-41

Buoyed by Champions League winning goal, Havertz eyes Germany 

Sweden to face Euros without Ibra but still have aces up sleeve

Euro 2020 betting: Belgium and Denmark should both move on out of Group B

EURO 2020: Pragmatism the key to success in pandemic soccer

Euro 2020 Group E: Spain’s new era

GAMES ON TV

Wed, June 9

7 pm ESPN2                US Men vs Costa Rica

9 pm ESPN+                El Paso vs Indy Eleven

Thur, June 10

8:30 PM ET FS1           US Women vs Portugal

EUROS + COPA America 2021

(all times ET; coverage starts about 30 minutes before kickoff; all games also stream on ESPN+)

Friday, June 11

Group A – Turkey vs. Italy, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)

Saturday, June 12

Group A – Wales vs. Switzerland, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Denmark vs. Finland, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Belgium vs. Russia, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)

Sunday, June 13

Group D – England vs. Croatia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Austria vs. North Macedonia, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Netherlands vs. Ukraine, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Argentina vs Chile  5 pm  FS2, Univision

COPA   Paraguay vs Bolivia 8 pm  FS2, Univision

USA Women vs Jamaica  10 pm (FS1)

Monday, June 14

Group D – Scotland vs. Czech Republic, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group E – Poland vs. Slovakia, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group E – Spain vs. Sweden, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Brazil vs Venezuela 7 pm FS , Unimas

COPA   Colombia vs Ecuador 10 pm FS1, Univision

Tuesday, June 15

Group F – Hungary vs. Portugal, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group F – France vs. Germany, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)

Indy 11 vs Pittsburg Riverhounds home 8 pm  TV 8 and ESPN Desportes, ESPN+

Wednesday, June 16

Group B – Finland vs. Russia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group A – Turkey vs. Wales, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group A – Italy vs. Switzerland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

USA Women vs Nigeria 9 pm (ESPN2)

Thursday, June 17

Group C – Ukraine vs. North Macedonia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Denmark vs. Belgium, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Netherlands vs. Austria, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Copa   Chile vs Bolivia 5 pm  FS 1

Copa   Argentina vs Uruguay 8 pm FS 1, Unimas

Friday, June 18

Group E – Sweden vs. Slovakia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group D – Croatia vs. Czech Republic, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group D – England vs. Scotland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Colombia vs Venezuela 7 pm FS 2

COPA   Peru vs Brazil 10 pm FS2, Univision

Saturday, June 19

Group F – Hungary vs. France, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group F – Portugal vs. Germany, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN, Univ, TUDN)
Group E – Spain vs. Poland, 2:30 a.m. (ABC)

MLS Schedule

Indy 11 Schedule

NWSL Season TV Schedule

Euro’s TV Schedule

Copa Schedule

Attention INDY 11 FANS Discounted Tix: Opportunity to purchase Discount Tickets for home INDY ELEVEN ga

mes at Carroll Stadium.Please order on Link Below “Friends of Indy Eleven”https://fevo.me/indyelevenmh

Injured USWNT stars Tobin Heath, Julie Ertz ‘on schedule’ for Olympics – coach

5:36 PM E   Jeff Carlisle   U.S. soccer correspondent

U.S women’s national team manager Vlatko Andonovski says that attacker Tobin Heath and midfielder Julie Ertz are both “on schedule” to recover from their respective injuries in time to play in the Tokyo Olympics.Heath suffered an ankle injury with club side Manchester United last January, and later sustained a knee injury during her recovery. Ertz suffered an MCL sprain in the season-opening 5-0 defeat to the Portland Thorns back on May 16. Heath is back training with the U.S. ahead of friendlies against Portugal, Jamaica and Nigeria, but isn’t on the roster for the matches.”Tobin is a little bit ahead of Julie in her progression,” said Andonovski. “She’s in camp here and training every day, and she’s medically, pretty much ready. The only thing now for Tobin is physically we’ve got to prepare her and build her stamina on the field.”Andonovski added that the U.S. team medical staff will check in on Ertz in the coming days, though he’s liked what he sees so far in terms of the player’s recovery.”We’re excited [with] where she’s at right now,” Andonovski said about Ertz. “But we’re going to have to be very careful with our approach, and make sure that she’s fully recovered before she plays a game.”That Heath isn’t on the roster for Thursday’s game, as well as subsequent friendlies against Jamaica on June 13 and versus Nigeria three days later, means by the time Andonovski names his roster he will not have seen Heath play in a match for the U.S. since last November. Andonovski said that while the circumstances are less than ideal, and “makes us think a little bit,” he likes Heath’s chances of making the squad.”If she’s 100%, or if we know that she’s going to be close to 100% by the Olympic camp, her chances to make the team are pretty good.”

The three biggest questions facing the USWNT in its upcoming friendlies

Clare Brennan  Wed, June 9, 2021, 8:00 AM

ANP Sport/Getty ImagesThe United States women’s national team’s Summer Series kicks off Thursday with an international friendly against Portugal, followed by games against Jamaica and Nigeria. The Houston-based series will serve as an inflection point for the USWNT ahead of this summer’s Olympics. While certain roster spots, like back line pillars Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper, feel locked in, others are still up in the air.Only 18 players will make the Olympic roster, with the series providing a final opportunity for athletes to state their case.Here are the biggest unanswered questions heading into the USWNT’s June friendlies.

Can Kristie Mewis make the team?

Kristie Mewis’s career has undergone a renaissance over the last two years. The Dash midfielder received her first national team call-up under coach Vlatko Andonovski in 2019 when the midfielder was named to a 24-player identification training camp. Mewis went on to lead the Houston Dash to the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup championship, earning herself subsequent USWNT call-ups.After six years away from the team, Mewis logged her first USWNT cap with Andonovski in a November 2020 friendly against the Netherlands. Mewis put an exclamation point on her return to the pitch, scoring a goal in the game’s 70th minute, a record 2,722 days after her first goal with the national team.Welcome back! Kristie Mewis scores in her first game with @USWNT in 6 years“It was truly such a rewarding thing. I had wanted to be back on that field with that team for so long. It was definitely really special,” Mewis told JWS back in February when asked about the goal.Battling back from an ACL injury and making her triumphant return to the USWNT would’ve been an extraordinary comeback story in its own right, but Mewis has continued to shine for club and country. In the 2021 NWSL season, Mewis has appeared in four games for the Dash, netting one goal and two assists. Mewis wasn’t awarded much playing time in the national team’s April friendlies, however, making her recent NWSL dominance all the more consequential.Fighting for a spot in a stacked midfield which includes Rose Lavelle, sister Sam Mewis, Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz, Mewis has the likes of Lyon-phenom Catarina Macario and the Spirit’s Andi Sullivan to contend with. With Ertz out on injury, the Summer Series could provide Mewis the extended minutes necessary to stamp her ticket to Tokyo.

Who is the backup goalkeeper?

Alyssa Naeher has secured her role as the starting goalkeeper for the national team following a dominant 2019 World Cup performance.Andonovski’s attention now turns to Naeher’s backup. Adrianna Franch and Jane Campbell have both been called into the national team’s June camp. Franch was previously on the 2019 World Cup roster, while Campbell has been receiving consistent USWNT call-ups as of late.Both keepers have started the NWSL season strong, Franch for the Thorns and Campbell for the Dash. In her five regular-season games with Houston, Campbell has one clean sheet and a 68.4 percent successful save rate. Franch executed a notable penalty save to win the Thorns the 2021 Challenge Cup and has three clean sheets in Portland’s five regular-season games. If one or both of the keepers get minutes in the upcoming slate of friendlies, that may indicate who Andonovski is learning toward as second in line to Naeher.

What’s going on with Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath?

The term “indispensable” can be carelessly thrown around, but in the case of Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath, it’s hard to think of two more critical players. Both USWNT veterans, however, will miss the June friendlies due to injury.Heath has been off the pitch since the beginning of 2021 after incurring a knee injury while playing with Manchester United. Ertz has been missing from action after suffering an MCL injury during a May 16 Red Stars game against the Thorns.Heath seems to be a bit further along on her road to recovery and will at least participate in the USWNT June training camp. Andonovski has stated that he expects Ertz to join in the team’s send-off series in July.As the team’s holding midfielder, Ertz plays a crucial role on both sides of the ball, connecting the back line to the midfield. Outside of being one of the most dangerous players with the ball at her feet, Heath also fills an essential role in Andonovski’s high press. If Health and Ertz’s rehab timetables don’t allow for a trip to Tokyo, the door could open for rising stars like Sophia Smith, Catarina Macario or Andi Sullivan to make their Olympic debut.Tune in: USWNT vs Portugal, June 10 at 8:30 p.m. on FS1.

USA vs. Costa Rica, 2021 friendly: What to watch for

We end the window with a match against another Concacaf foe. By Donald Wine II@blazindw  Jun 8, 2021, 9:00am PDT

The United States Men’s National Team will take the field tomorrow for the first time as Concacaf Nations League champions. However, they will want to make sure they don’t bring a hangover onto the field as they finish out their international window with a friendly against Costa Rica. The USMNT have used this window to prepare for World Cup qualifying in the fall, and they will want to end the window with a win against a team they will certainly need to be

USA

W (3-2) – Mexico – Concacaf Nations League Final

W (1-0) – Honduras – Concacaf Nations League Semifinals

L (1-2) – Switzerland – Friendly

W (2-1) – Northern Ireland – Friendly

W (7-0) – Trinidad and Tobago – Friendly

Costa Rica

D (2-2) – Honduras – Concacaf Nations League 3rd Place*

D (0-0) – Mexico – Concacaf Nations League Semifinals*

L (0-1) – Mexico – Friendly

D (0-0) – Bosnia & Herzegovina – Friendly

*Lost both matches 5-4 on penalties

What To Watch For

Rotations. With the Nations League finished, expect to see a lot of rotations with players who didn’t get to play during the tournament seeing the field. This is also a chance for head coach Gregg Berhalter to evaluate how he would make this rotations should this be a World Cup qualifier to keep guys fresh but also field a solid lineup.

Emphasis on defense. The defense hasn’t had terrific outings as a whole the past 3 matches, so against the Ticos, we should expect to see the team focus on getting a clean sheet and doing so aggressively.

Who will step up? Which of the bench guys will assert themselves into this match? Sure, we can expect to see a fe of the big stars, but this will be a chance for those players not locked into the starting lineup to show that they can be dependable when their number is called.

Lineup Prediction

Given some of the heavy minutes our stars have produced, Gregg Berhalter will likely look to shake it up and give minutes to other guys on the roster. Accordingly, we may see a lineup that looks like this:

Aaronson DIKE Weah

Musah/Lletget

Adams

Robinson/Brooks/McKensie/Zimmerman/ Cannon  The hero of the Mexico match, Ethan Horvath, gets the start at goal. Mostly as a reward, but also due to the knee injury that was suffered by Zack Steffen that prompted Horvath’s entry into the Mexico match and his heroics. The back line will still feature John Brooks, but Matt Miazga gets the nod alongside him, with Antonee Robinson and Reggie Cannon getting the start at left and right back.Tyler Adams gets the start at the 6, getting his chance to see how long he can go with his back, while Yunus Musah finally gets to appear in a match at midfield. Sebastian Lletget also gets the start at midfield to provide some work rate and allow Musah to be more creative on the attack.Up front, Brenden Aaronson gets the start at left wing, with Tim Weah in the lineup at right wing. Daryl Dike, who was not on the Nations League roster but traveled with the team to Denver, gets the start at the 9. Expect Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Sergiño Dest to get some action as 2nd half subs.

Prediction

The USMNT will be motivated after their win in Nations League to finish out the window in strong fashion. It won’t be a pretty match, but they’ll do enough to secure a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica.

The USMNT’s thrilling victory over Mexico meant as much as we wanted it to

Joey GulinoMon, June 7, 2021, 2:19 AM

It’s been a long few years. The fateful October 2017 night in Trinidad stands out, when the United States men’s national team was officially eliminated from the World Cup for the first time since we started caring to field a competitive national team, but there have been plenty of other lows.A couple of them have come against Mexico, from the Gold Cup final two summers ago to one of the worst collective USMNT performances ever a few months after that.The losses sting more because it was Mexico, because it was the USMNT’s chief rival in the region. Games against El Tri are hard to win, and they mean more. Even when they don’t mean anything.That was pretty much the case for the CONCACAF Nations League final. What, exactly, was at stake this tournament? World Cup qualifying and Gold Cup positioning, both of which the USMNT and Mexico would’ve almost certainly gained anyway. It was hard to see how the competition would do much beyond further stratify the haves and have-nots in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Plus, this inaugural edition of it stretched all the way back to the fall of 2019 thanks to the pandemic.

So for as fierce as the rivalry is, you’d be excused for struggling to muster enthusiasm. Except the USMNT’s 3-2 comeback victory over Mexico in extra time was much more fun and compelling and bats*** than it had any right to be. And more importantly, fans of not only soccer but sports in general have been waiting for exhalations like this for a long time.The pandemic scrambled every sports league across the planet — not that they were really that important in its context — and major events were either delayed, canceled outright or held in zombified fashion. Fans weren’t allowed at stadiums across the globe, either, draining whatever spectacle and energy the grim reality of the situation hadn’t already eradicated.

As fans have slowly resumed packing stadiums, the returns have been partly concerning but broadly well-received. That neatly coordinates with Sunday’s crucible, with some idiots acting dangerously but most of them gassing up a game that was thrilling enough on its own merit.Everyone was tweeting about it. Everyone was lauding it. Everyone was getting mad about it. Mexico scores a minute into the game? Same old USMNT. Weston McKennie equalizes late in regular time? That’s new.

Was this a penalty that Christian Pulisic drew against Mexico? Ehhh.Did backup keeper Ethan Horvath really save Mexico’s own penalty shortly after? Yes!How was Hector Herrera not shown a red card multiple times? Don’t get us started.The tension was elevated as ever, even if the stakes were not. Both nations realized what kind of opportunity it was, and that’s one of the few credits to the Nations League. If CONCACAF and soccer’s other governing bodies are going to continue to shamelessly cash-grab, might as well set things up so its best national teams have the chance to square off more often. That’s how the USMNT and Mexico treated this game. In a vacuum, neither side had its first-choice lineup out there, but they were close. Besides, international soccer doesn’t take place in a vacuum. It’s all about how your program can pick up and put down shifting rosters and tactics during an already-packed calendar at the club level. Starting your best XI in any given match is a privilege, not an ordained right.

So both the teams and the fans lent the game weight. How much weight will it carry going forward?That’s perhaps the most important question. For one night, it was a big thing on people’s radars. It can become a bigger thing if it serves a springboard for this generation of American men’s soccer players, which has been dubbed “golden” for deserved reasons.This is the first time this group — which on Sunday included a Champions League winner, a Premier League winner, a Ligue 1 winner, and key cogs at scores of big clubs across Europe — came together to win something at the international level. Fans hope it won’t be the last, with this group hoping to qualify for the World Cup in 2022 before hosting the event (along with Mexico and Canada) in 2026.There will be other opportunities to win trophies in the interim. This triumph over Mexico, the first in a so-called “competitive” match in nearly eight years, can become iconic in U.S. soccer lore if the USMNT wants it to be.Don’t undersell that desire. It’s what made Sunday so special, when it had plenty of reasons not to be. We didn’t need to attach import. We just decided to.

Three takeaways from the USMNT’s Nations League win over Mexico

By Matthew Doyle @MattDoyle76  Monday, Jun 7, 2021, 11:38 AM  

I’m going to borrow my own line from last weekend following the USMNT’s friendly loss to Switzerland: Friendlies are friendlies, and good teams know how to work their way through them and find good stuff to learn and take away from them, then apply them for real when the whistle blows in official competitions.

But history is littered with teams who did only part of that and were just never able to flip that switch, get out of third gear and get into “must-win” mode.

This is especially true of young teams. Veteran sides have, by definition, been there before and more often than not know where to find the switch and how to turn it on. Young teams? Well, it’s a journey.

This is a point I’ve made repeatedly over the past few years, but especially in the past week. I was not sure if this team even knew how to begin looking for the switch, and was worried they’d become somewhat complacent.

That worry was unfounded. The biggest takeaway I will have from the initial Concacaf Nations League is that this almost impossibly young US men’s national team collectively found that switch and, after a good deal of effort, figured out how to turn it on. They navigated the distance between “friendly” and “this game has stakes.”

We saw the beginnings of it in the 1-0 win over Honduras. They at least located the switch, and a few of the players on the team — most notably John Brooks — flipped it on.

“We needed this kind of game,” said US head coach Gregg Berhalter afterwards, and he has never been more correct. Without suffering through the win over the Catrachos there is no momentous, wild-as-all-hell 3-2 win over Mexico Sunday night, a game in which, after 25 minutes, the US finally, collectively found the switch and met the urgency of both the moment and their opponents.

So before you read anything that I or anyone else writes about tactics, remember the very simple foundation of what we just saw from the US is that good things happen when you play really hard, and play with confidence. If you don’t do that, you can suffer the most ignominious of defeats (cough *Couva* cough cough) no matter how weak the competition.

If you do the above and have lots of talent? If that’s the case, then great things are possible. And coming from behind twice against a veteran Mexican side that has dominated this rivalry for a decade qualifies as great.

The players knew it. You could see it in how they carried themselves even after being rocked back by an early uppercut. You could see it in their goal celebrations, and you could see it in the way they matched or exceeded Mexico’s energy not just on the field, but in the extracurriculars that are very much part of this rivalry.

I’m not going to go so far as to say nothing matters beyond achieving that level of urgency. But I will say if the US hit, as a baseline, the level of urgency we saw from minute 25 onwards Sunday night, then this group will qualify for the World Cup with ease no matter what the tactics are.

That said, the tactics did indeed help! Let’s take a quick look:

1 The shape change

There was talk of a massive formation switch from the US in the hours before the game, and when the lineups came out that seemed to be confirmed: The US would play in a 3-4-2-1. And they did, except for a lot of times when they didn’t.

The US played what Berhalter called “an adaptive shape,” one that often looked as much like an unbalanced 4-4-2 with the right back (DeAndre Yedlin) and right midfielder (Gio Reyna) pushing higher and tucking in a bit compared to the left side, where Tim Ream as a stay-at-home left back and Sergino Dest was an old-fashioned wide left midfielder.

You could see it early both in simple possession (of which there wasn’t much), as well as in regular defensive sequences:

Berhalter explained it afterwards in fine detail.“We started with a five in the back. But if you think about this shape, it was an adaptive shape. So any time they went to build with two, we would move to press with two; any time they built with three, we would move to press with three,” Berhalter said. “And then our wingbacks fluctuated between Sergino being a left midfielder and being a left wing back … and then Gio being a high winger or a right midfielder, basically.”

This is weird! We’ve seen a lot of different looks from the US before under Berhalter, but not this one. It’s a huge gamble to go with something so different in a game of this magnitude.

But I would say it worked. The front line did a good job of closing Mexico down out of the mid-block and the backline won a ton of the long-balls El Tri were forced into. The US got forward a good amount in transition, and since they were essentially playing with two up top, they almost always had numbers to put the Mexican backline under pressure and force them to scramble.

2 A game of transition

One of the things Berhalter has talked about a ton in his two-and-a-half years in charge is the concept of disorganizing the opponents without the ball. The US are going to face a lot of bunkers in Concacaf; they always have. And they’ve often struggled against those bunkers, while Mexico — who have long been more comfortable breaking teams down with the ball — have a habit of taking the smaller Concacaf sides apart.

So the coach has seen it as his mandate, from Day 1, to get the US to play better in those situations, and at times (including and especially in the most recent meeting with Mexico, a 3-0 friendly loss in which the US repeatedly tried to play through the Mexican press and couldn’t) it felt like they were doing it to their detriment. There has been a sense in certain corners of USMNT fandom that when the time came, Berhalter would instruct the team to go out on their shield instead of being a little bit more pragmatic.Those fears turned out to be unfounded. Playing more of a mid-block and using a double pivot of Weston McKennie and Kellyn Acosta gummed up central midfield — Mexico created almost nothing up the gut — and turned it into a game of second balls and transition momentsThe US got into a lot of good spots in those transition moments. As was the case vs. Honduras, they simply were not sharp in the final third:

El Tri, meanwhile, were forced to just repeatedly play into the channels.

There are always trade-offs in any gameplan. The US were never going to completely dominate this game, and I think Berhalter got the trade-offs correct here. Yes, Mexico were dangerous playing into those channels, but pushing Yedlin up high dulled a lot of Jesus “Tecatito” Corona’s influence in the build-up, while Brooks was almost flawless in his reads and rotations to contain Hirving “Chucky” Lozano playing as a false 9.

So the gamble was to try to limit those guys and force Uriel Antuna to make plays, or force Carlos Rodriguez to win the game bursting out of central midfield.

They could not. Berhalter gambled well.

3 The adjustment

When Tim Weah came on for Dest at the hour mark I’d argue the “adaptive back five that can, and did often, look like a back four” ended up becoming an adaptive back four that can and sometimes did look like a back five. That is the nature of the game, though: formations are supposed to be liquid.

The hard-and-fast change, though, came late when Tyler Adams came on, Tim Ream came off and Acosta went to left back. That became a real 4-3-3 with Adams destroying everything through central midfield and Acosta tasked with shutting down Diego Lainez, who’d created more danger in two touches than Antuna could’ve in two hours.

The adjustment obviously came a bit too late. Lainez got on the field in the 78th minute and scored in the 79th, while Adams didn’t get onto the field until three minutes after that. But it was the right adjustment, and I would argue it gave the US a little more control over the game down the stretch and then throughout all of the extra time festivities.

If you go back and watch those final 40 minutes (50 minutes when stoppage time is factored in) you’ll see that Mexico were limited to long-range blasts or set pieces, while the US ended up becoming more and more dangerous via possession. They didn’t turn the game on its head, precisely, but they did change the way it was played — and eventually they reaped the rewards of that.

A few bullet-points:

  • McKennie was a one-man wrecking crew on set pieces. Tata Martino is taking a beating for a lot of things in the Mexican press this morning, but the one they should really be going after him for is the inability to contain the US on restarts when the US lineup really only had two good targets in McKennie and Brooks.
  • When the ball was live, Christian Pulisic was poor right up until he made what turned out to be the match-winning play. I kind of wonder if, now that he has this wonderful moment vs. Mexico under his belt, he’ll stop trying to recreate Maradona’s World Cup goal on every touch and become more willing to play within the framework of the game.
  • Dest looked completely out of gas and I think part of Berhalter’s “adaptive shape” was a concession that Sergino is not ready to play as a true fullback in a back four against a team as good as Mexico.
  • As demonstrated by the performances of Ream and Mark McKenzie, the race to be Brooks’ partner in central defense is wide open. I hope we’ll see a lot of Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman at the Gold Cup, and Chris Richards as well.
  • I don’t think anyone helped himself more with regard to where he stands in the pool than Acosta, who put in a more-than-credible shift at two spots.

The US play Costa Rica on Wednesday (7 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN) in a friendly, a game added to the schedule in order to replicate the conditions of the three-game windows that are going to be a feature of the upcoming run through World Cup qualifying.  Somehow harnessing the fortitude to recover from such an emotional win and summon the energy necessary to beat the Ticos, even in a friendly… well, Berhalter scheduled this game for a reason. It’s another big test, and another switch this young US team needs to flip. It’ll be fascinating to see if they can manage it once again.

 
USMNT analysis

Horvath and Pulisic lift the USMNT to a gutsy and signature win over Mexico

The USMNT, with its current generation of players, finally delivered a signature win under Gregg Berhalter with an epic 3-2 victory over Mexico in the final of the 2021 Nations League tournament. It was a performance that showcased grit, hard work, and determination – which are the needed traits in World Cup qualifying. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta is here with this thoughts on the game. 

BY BRIAN SCIARETTA   JUNE 07, 202112:25 AM

WHEN THE WHOLE concept of the CONCACAF Nations League was introduced, it generated little enthusiasm and it’s easy to understand why. In a four year cycle, this region was set to be saturated with two Gold Cups, two Nations Leagues, and an octagonal World Cup qualifying tournament. For most people, that’s just too much CONCACAF.If you were to go back in time and tell these people that one of the region’s most riveting and entertaining games in recent years would take place in the 2021 Nations League final, most would laugh. After all, how could the final of a tournament which was viewed skeptically from its onset produce a game so compelling?The answer is simply that the United States – Mexico rivalry is always capable of producing something compelling and emotional. When both teams want to beat each other and both teams are emotionally invested in the game, it doesn’t matter the stage or the trophy attached. It’s just winning for the sake of beating your archrival.On Sunday night, both the United States and Mexico were all-in and for over 120 minutes – wanted to beat each other badly. In the end, it wasn’t really about the Nations League. It was just the regions top rivals doing whatever it took to beat each other in something that was more than a friendly.

THE GAME


The game itself wasn’t necessarily well played by either team. The United States started off very poorly – making mistakes and conceding the opening goal in the opening minute on a series of errors from DeAndre Yedlin, Kellyn Acosta, Weston McKennie, and most of all Mark McKenzie. Just like the U.S. Olympic team, the senior team was caught making a brutal mistake out of the back as opposed to making a basic clearance and regrouping when the press was intense after the errors.The United States responded in the 27th minute when Weston McKennie headed a corner kick from Christian Pulisic off the post. The ball subsequently fell to Gio Reyna who easily slotted home the equalizer to make it 1-1.The team continued to trade blows into the second half. Zack Steffen had to be removed due to a knee injury in the 69th minute. But Diego Lainez put Mexico up in the 79th minute when he exploited space left by Tim Ream and beat Horvath to the low near corner of the game. But Horvath responded making two acrobatic saves soon afterward.Weston McKennie once again responded for the United States. After having three dangerous opportunities on corner kicks earlier in this game, he skied above four defenders and beat Guillermo Ochoa inside the post with a header to make it 2-2.Extra time turned out to be wild with both teams fighting and scrapping their ways for opportunities. In the 114th minute, Pulisic was awarded a penalty on VAR after it was judged that he was taken down on the box. He promptly took the penalty himself and put the U.S. team up with an unstoppable shot into the top of the goal.he dramatics were then saved for the 120th minute when VAR confirmed a handball on Mark McKenzie. Andrews Guardado stepped up for the penalty but again Horvath was up to the task with a perfect save outstretched to his right side.Minutes later, the final whistled sounded on one of the most emotional games in this storied rivalry.Here are some thoughts.

 USMNT PLAYED HARD & TOUGH

 This game was very reminiscent of the old-school U.S – Mexico games where the game would often devolve from the beautiful game and into a slugfest of grit. It’s best to accept that, as much as fans sometimes want to see a classic, well-played game, it is probably always going to be a very rare occurrence when these two teams meet.But that’s okay. The most important takeaway is that this generation of players answered the call of the rivalry in this game. It’s more important and more positive that the team played so hard and so gritty than it is that they played well. If they’re as talented as a group as they showed with their clubs, they can play well.But in this game, they showed they are willing to suffer for results, stand up for each other, and not cave when things don’t go their way. While not everyone on the U.S. team played well, everyone played hard. This was reminiscent of the U.S. – Mexico games in the past that featured Donovan, Beasley, McBride, and Claudio Reyna – among many others.When the Mexican team resulted in chippy and shoving play, the U.S. team responded in a manner where they didn’t get a red card, but sent a message.This was also a game about the U.S. being able to respond.It was very easy to let the game get out of control after conceding in the first minute. But the team adjusted, kept it at 1-0, and then scored the equalizer. From then, the game was even.The U.S. team responded losing its starting keeper. Horvath conceded with his first shot but then responded making save after save.When Lainez put Mexico ahead, the lead lasted less than three minutes.In extra-time, VAR correctly awarded each team a penalty but the U.S. was able to make its play.This was a game where the U.S. team seemingly willed itself to victory and this was the type of game that should give the players a huge boost in momentum heading into World Cup qualifying – where it will rarely be pretty and it will come down to find a way, anyway, to emerge with the upper hand after a 90-minute slog.

 HORVATH MOTM

 Ethan Horvath was the MOTM for this game – and it’s a great story. The seldom used backup goalkeeper has rarely played for club or country the past two years and is now searching for a new club. In this game, he put on a fantastic performance that saved the U.S. team. It will also surely impress any scout who was watching.After conceding a goal soon after coming on (on a shot Horvath had no chance of saving), he made a series of very difficult saves that essentially won the game for the U.S. team. It completely redefined him as a keeper and clearly gave him the edge to be Zack Steffen’s backup.It was also a great story that such an important moment in his career came near his hometown of Highlands Ranch, Colorado. When he wanted to move abroad at an early age, his family sacrificed just about everything to make it happen – moving to Norway so that Horvath could join Molde.After three excellent saves from the run of play, Horvath was playing so well that it seemed like he was up to the task to stop Guardado on the penalty – even as he was taking his line to prepare for the shot.It was an absolutely special performance from Horvath.

 THE 3-4-3 FORMATION

 When the starting lineup was announced, the big takeaway is that Berhalter was rolling with a 3-4-3 formation with three central defenders and two wingbacks. Part of this was to get more width in the attack – which would ideally create more space up the middle.By design, the wingbacks would have an opportunity to move forward into the attack better with defensive coverage. On the flip side, this would leave just two central midfielders ( as opposed to three in a 4-3-3) and it would be quite burdensome on Weston McKennie and Kellyn Acosta.It took the U.S. team awhile to really adjust to the formation. For long stretches the 3-4-3 showed some promise but it was eventually abandoned late once the subs came into the game with extra time approaching.This formation, unfortunately, came at a time when too many in the backline were having rough games. Sergino Dest has been at his best for Barcelona once the team adopted a 3-4-3 formtion in Manchestr City. Dest, however, hasn’t been up to his high-level form for the U.S. team since camp opened in Switzerland. In this game, he really wasn’t able to get his offense going. Yedlin as well was only rarely pushed into the attack.Tim Ream and Mark McKenzie both also had some tough moments. Ream struggled with the pace from Mexican attackers and McKenzie seemed to struggle with confidence, particularly with the opening goal.So, was it a case of the formation not working, or the players having off-nights and not optimizing the benefits of the formation? It’s too early to say for certain, but Berhalter should keep this formation as a possible approach in games. If Dest is in better form (which is realistic to expect) and the U.S. has three central defenders playing well, it might work well.

 REYNA, PULISIC, MCKENNIE, & BROOKS SHOW QUALITY

In this game, the U.S. team got special moments from four of its top players.Christian Pulisic was invisible early on but came a live in the second half and injury time to be the difference maker. While opponents can focus in on stopping him, he is of such quality that stopping him over 90 or even 120 minutes is impossible. He will eventually get really good chances.Gio Reyna, meanwhile, has simply had a great week. Ever since camp opened in Switzerland, Reyna has been the best and most consistent field player for the U.S. team. The son of the former U.S. national team captain has had an interesting year.He began the season with Borussia Dortmund playing extremely well but then struggled for several months after Lucien Favre was fired. From late December through the start of March, Reyna simply was in poor form. Starting in March, however, Reyna has completely reversed course where he has re-emerged as a key player for both Borussia Dortmund and the United States. He was key to helping Dortmund making a magnificent run to end the season and improbably qualify for the Champions League.That momentum clearly carried over into this camp with the U.S. team and Reyna has been so smooth with the ball, and his vision in connecting with his attacking teammates has been first-rate.McKennie, meanwhile, was asked to do a lot in the 3-4-3 as one of just two central midfielders. In terms of being a disruptive presence, he was big. His aerial ability on set pieces has been special the past week. Against Honduras, he was in position several times. In this game, he scored but also forced saves and headed one off the post which resulted in the opening goal.As for Brooks, it was a huge outing in central defense and it was made more difficult with Ream and McKenize struggling at times with the game. Brooks seemed to enjoy the hostile nature of the U.S. – Mexico game even if he has only limited experience in the rivalry. The question now with Brooks is for him to find a partner (or partners in a three central defender set) that can consistently play well. McKenzie had a rough game, but he will and should remain in the mix. 

ACOSTA GREW INTO THE GAME

 While Tyler Adams came into the game in the 82nd minute, it is clear he was rusty and not at his normal level. When the U.S. team is without Adams, it is always a question who should start in that role. Berhalter has explored a lot of options and in this game went with Kellyn Acosta along with Weston Mckennie in the two-man central defender set-up.Like it was with McKennie, it was taxing on both players as the wingbacks weren’t able to get deep into the attack and everything was geared up the middle.
Acosta didn’t have a good first 15-20 minutes but grew into the game nicely and worked well with McKennie – especially when the game got intense and physical in the later stages.Acosta’s versatility was also a help in the later stages when he shifted to play left back to help with defense and move out of the 3-4-3. Mexico had a tougher time going down his side of the field late in the game.Overall, Acosta made a strong statement to be in the rosters for World Cup qualifying and a player who is a serious option for playing time if there are injuries or suspensions to Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie.

 PLAYER RATINGS   

THE STARTING LINEUP

Zack SteffenRating: 6.0

DeAndre Yedlin: Rating: 5.0

Mark McKenzie: Rating: 4.5

John Brooks: Rating: 7.0

Tim Ream: Rating: 4.5

Sergino Dest: Rating: 5.0

Kellyn Acosta: Rating: 6.5

Weston McKennie: Rating: 7.5

Gio Reyna: Rating: 7.5

Christian PulisicRating: 8.0

Josh Sargent: Rating: 5.5

THE SUBSTITUTES

Tim Weah: Rating: 5.5

Jordan Siebatcheu: Rating: 5.5

Ethan Horvath: Rating: 9.0 (MAN OF THE MATCH)

Sebastian Lletget: Rating: 6.0

Tyler Adams: Rating: 6.0

Reggie Cannon: Rating: 5.5

 

 

USMNT player ratings from trophy-claiming ET win over Mexico

Nicholas Mendola  Mon, June 7, 2021, 12:25 AM

The United States men’s national team won the CONCACAF Nations League in a non-descript match versus rivals Mexico that betrayed the nations’ usual rancor.Only part of that is true, as Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT scored him a statement 3-2 win in extra time that included a penalty made, another saved, two American equalizer, a surprising red card for Mexican coach Tata Martino, a surprising non-red card for Mexican star Hector Herrera, a pause in the game after a homophobic crowd chant, and a pitch invasion.Oh, and the Americans allowed a first-minute goal that would lead any neutral fan to believe the score was going to be 300-0 for the Mexicans.What say you we rate the USMNT players?

USMNT – Mexico player ratings

Zack Steffen (Off 69′): 7 — The non-contact injury will be a concern for Pep Guardiola and Gregg Berhalter alike and came after he was hung out to dry for Mexico’s opening goal. We’re giving him an extra point because if he stayed in the game it wouldn’t have played out like it did. Butterfly effect.

DeAndre Yedlin: 5 — Looked unfamiliar with his surroundings, which is odd for a 64-times capped back before you remember that he’s played all of nine minutes for the USMNT since the calendar hit 2020, and that those were the only nine minutes he’s ever played next to Mark McKenzie. Risky and unnecessary error on the first-minut goal.

Mark McKenzie: 3 — Nightmare start as the ringleader of a series of first-minute mistakes that put Mexico ahead. Nearly made amends for extremely shaky play at the back with a header off a corner that was collected by Ochoa with 15 minutes left to play. Then saw the second goal go through his legs on its way past Ethan Horvath. The good news is that he’ll know one of his worst nights — McKenzie is a pretty darn good young back — still wound up with a winner’s medal.

John Brooks: 7 — A mistake early in the buildup to the Mexico opener and another bad giveaway but otherwise another exceptional performance from the excellent-passing, physical leader of the back line. Still adventures more than necessary but there’s no one in the player pool anywhere near his skill set as a center back.

Tim Ream: 4 — He’s not a left back and we’d say, “but don’t tell Gregg Berhalter” if we weren’t positive that dozens of people have told Gregg Berhalter just that. The Fulham center back that started at left back for the USMNT over the man that Fulham coach Scott Parker usually chose at left back at Craven Cottage was exposed for pace. But really, that’s not Ream’s fault. At all.

Sergino Dest (Off 60′): 4 — The good news for Dest is that two-fold. No. 1: He’s really good so it’ll be easy to bounce back from a poor performance. No. 2: So much wacky stuff happened that few will remember said poor performance.

Kellyn Acosta: 5 — The penalty wasn’t his fault, as no one should call a handball when a cross turns off a head from super short range, and — again — it’s not his fault that Berhalter keeps putting him out there fro a player pool that includes a load of options including but not limited to Julian Green, Jackson Yueill, and – yes – even Michael Bradley. Bad touch on the opening Mexican goal, out to lunch but with a great view of the second.

Weston McKennie: 9 — He nearly scored with his header of Pulisic’s corner that became Reyna’s goal, then scored anyway off another set piece. He is the embodiment of what most USMNT fans want their team to be, and his massive long throw to set up the corner on Reyna’s goal was weighted like a through ball. Incredible stuff.

Giovanni Reyna (Off 86′): 9 — Why he was lifted before full-time, I have no idea. The son of Claudio Reyna showed the big game mettle of his dad in getting a goal and an assist and finding space more often than not as Tata Martino tried to shut down Christian Pulisic.

Christian Pulisic: 7 — Delivered the corner for the opener and won the decisive penalty, one he dispatched with vicious accuracy into the camera in the upper 90. When the USMNT captain eventually lifted the CONCACAF Nations League trophy, weeks after holding the European Cup, you had a feeling he’d transitioned from USMNT star to all-time great. He’s 22 and has 16 USMNT goals on 37 caps, one away from the program’s all-time top ten.

Josh Sargent (Off 68′): 5 — Slipped twice in the first few minutes and both were huge. One led to Mexico’s opener (though his slip was merely the catalyst for bigger errors by others) and the second came on a great run that could’ve made it 1-1 if he didn’t slip. Still, he’d find his real and proverbial footing before the end of his short shift.

Timothy Weah (On 60′ for Dest): 8 — Pace to burn and he did just that, solidifying the right side. Made a quick pass that should’ve left Mexico with 10 men when Herrera scythed down the three-time Ligue 1 champion.

Jordan Siebatcheu (On 68′ for Sargent): 6 — No super sub day, but still okay.

Ethan Horvath (On 69′ for Steffen): 9 — Save after save after save after … oh yeah, one of those was a penalty save on Andres Guardado up 3-2 in the second period of extra time. Can’t give a 10 due to the wrong-footing on Mexico’s second goal, though he was far from a culprit. Pretty good, guy.

Sebastian Lletget (On 86′ for Reyna): 6 — Not bad, not great, and kinda weird to see him out there for an 18-year-old Reyna boasting a goal and an assist through 86 minutes.

Tyler Adams (On 86′ for Ream): 6 — Please get fit and stay healthy, Tyler. The USMNT is much better with you in the fold.

USMNT player ratings: The kids are alright in wild Nations League Final win vs. Mexico

By Greg Seltzer  Monday, Jun 7, 2021, 09:59 AM

The US national team had to dig deep multiple times in order to celebrate a 3-2 comeback triumph over Mexico in the inaugural Concacaf Nations League championship match on Sunday night.

In a chaotic, contentious game, the home side had to battle individual mistakes, the familiar El Tri swarm, unfamiliar tactics, injuries and some debated officiating that featured three VAR decisions. In the end, Weston McKennie led the way to victory with a comprehensive display that included an 89th minute rescue goal to send the game to extra time.

United States Men’s National Team Player Ratings

7 Zack Steffen

Goalkeeper · USA

The US netminder might like another shot at stopping Jesus Corona’s fast opener, but the danger was upon him so suddenly it would be harsh to fault him on it. Before leaving with an injury, Steffen was solid, with a monster 43rd minute save his top highlight.

3.5 Mark McKenzie

Defender · USA

I did not ding the Genk defender for his late penalty foul, as the ball skimmed off his hand from mere inches away. There were much bigger problems caused by McKenzie’s shaky work on the ball. His errant pass gifted Mexico the first goal only a minute in, and he was later bailed out on similar giveaways. The youngster did make some strong clearances and blocks, and he possesses the talent to mean this performance could very well prove a valuable learning experience.

5.0  John Brooks

Defender · USA

Perhaps thrown off by the formation change, Brooks made a string of tentative errors that put the team in trouble. The Wolfsburg center back did not have his usual passing lanes, so his incisive distribution game was mostly offline. He did do well to play the last 110 minutes carrying a yellow card, and made a few important interventions along the way, but the overall showing wasn’t up to his expected standard.

4.5  Tim Ream

Defender · USA

The veteran center back pitched in by offering plenty of possession support, but was simply pulled out and beaten by pace far too often for comfort.

5.5 DeAndre Yedlin

Defender · USA

With so much of the play away from his flank, Yedlin didn’t take part in many instances of note during regulation. The Galatasaray right-sider did fit in a couple of timely defensive stops during extras before departing with a knock, though.

5.5  Kellyn Acosta

Midfielder · USA

The first half hour of the game was pretty rough on the Colorado Rapids midfielder, but he grew into it and started helping McKennie run things. Acosta found ways to play the team out of the back and added some heady defensive work when shifted over to left back in the late going, but picked up one more sizable demerit for being among the guilty that didn’t properly close down Diego Lainez on his goal.

9.0  Weston McKennie

Midfielder · USA

For all those wondering if McKennie could develop into a guy who’d put on a do-it-all star show in the big game, you now have the answer. The Juventus midfielder was everywhere, doing a little bit of everything and he had a hand in nearly every positive development for the US on this night. One restart header put the team’s first equalizer on a tee and another one bagged its second in the nick of time. Long story short, McKennie was the best player on the field by a mile.

4.5 Sergino Dest

Defender · USA

The Barcelona talent got loose for an impressive early scamper, and you thought that might be an omen. However, Dest just could not shake Luis Rodriguez after that, and he also came up short defensively on various occasions.

7.0 Giovanni Reyna

Winger · USA

The Borussia Dortmund kid definitely disappeared from the match for stretches, but was present in the big moments. Reyna was on the spot to tap home the first US goal, and picked out McKennie with a fine corner kick delivery for the second equalizer. He also tracked back well to contribute some needed defensive interventions.

5.5 Josh Sargent

Forward · USA

Though not served by the team’s lethargy for much of the first half, Sargent managed some link play and one decent attempt on goal. That was about it for the Werder Bremen forward.

7.0  Christian Pulisic

Forward · USA

The newest Captain America’s oddly loose touch hampered several rushes in a poor first half, but he atoned for it with a few terrific corner serves, one of which pulled the US level the first time. After the break, Pulisic pulled it together to initiate some dangerous rushes with great turns in between the lines. And with everything on the line, he made the winning penalty conversion look easy.

Head coach

6.5 Gregg Berhalter

I’m still not convinced the shape change to a 3-4-3 was wise, and the same can be said about some of the personnel decisions for this game. That said, the boys never dropped their heads when mistakes happened and never packed it in when they were trailing. There’s a certain team atmosphere that allows them to pull off a double rally against an archrival that has typically foiled them in recent years, and Berhalter gets due props for that.

Subs

6.0 Timothy Weah

Forward

The Ligue 1 champ put the team on the front foot a few times with bursts up field, but could not turn those rushes into chances.

10.0  Ethan Horvath

Goalkeeper · USA

Well, gosh, I’m not sure one could ask any more of a injury replacement goalie in a title match. Horvath had little chance at stopping the Lainez strike that temporarily put Mexico ahead, and shook it off to save the USMNT’s bacon after they’d tied the game near the end of regulation. Of course, he capped off the win with a dutiful chips-down penalty save on Andres Guardado.

5.5 Jordan Siebatcheu

Forward · USA

The substitute striker did a bit of road plowing, but was never able to threaten the Mexico defense.

6.5 Tyler Adams

Midfielder · USA

The first thing Adams did upon entering the fray was make a big tackle. He kept his intensity high at the back until the job was done.

6.0  Sebastian Lletget

Midfielder · USA

The LA Galaxy man was largely invisible for the majority of his 38 minutes, but picked up his two-way play over the decisive waning moments of overtime.

6.0 Reggie Cannon

Defender · USA

 

USMNT’s epic Nations League triumph over Mexico provided plenty of lessons

Jun 7, 2021Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

DENVER — The United States men’s national team headed into Sunday’s CONCACAF Nations League final against Mexico as a side heavy on potential but light on experience. Yet in an engrossing contest that lasted almost three hours, this young U.S. team grew before the collective eyes of those in attendance, prevailing 3-2 after extra time to claim the inaugural edition of the trophy.It was a match in which the U.S. navigated myriad twists and turns, rallying twice, converting a pressure-packed penalty through Christian Pulisic in extra time, and then surviving a penalty against it with substitute keeper Ethan Horvath saving brilliantly from Andres Guardado.There was also the usual venom that accompanies this rivalry. Pulisic and his teammates were showered with debris (and Giovanni Reyna being hit in the face with an object) after his penalty conversion. There were heavy challenges, more than a few scuffles — including a hand around the neck of midfielder Weston McKennie — and even fans invading the field.And in the end, the U.S. prevailed over El Tri in a competitive fixture for the first time in eight years. And while the game carried extra importance with a trophy on the line, the actual prize seemed almost secondary to the events that transpired throughout the evening.”For this group, it’s really important,” U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter said about the victory. “We’re a young side and we need to learn how to win. These games are very difficult, and for us it was about having a game plan and executing the game plan, but then it’s also about the fight in the spirit.”The future will determine just how much this victory will galvanize the U.S. team. World Cup qualifying starts in a mere three months, and qualification remains by far the most important prize for this side. To a degree, the U.S. men’s program is still smarting from its failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. But this win means plenty for the players in that it provides a massive boost of confidence that its potential is being translated into results in big moments. It also gives Berhalter the kind of signature win that increases belief in his methods.At minimum, this is a game that these U.S. players will remember for the rest of their lives, especially given the wild swings in momentum. And none more so than Horvath, who struggled for playing time with Club Brugge this season and was penciled in as the backup to Zack Steffen. Yet when Steffen was forced off with a knee injury in the 69th minute, Horvath stepped in and made a series of game-changing plays to the delight of the more than 20 friends and family who were in attendance to see the Colorado native.”Just thinking about how difficult it is for goalkeepers to come into the game, in that stage of the game, and then to make the impact that he made was remarkable,” Berhalter said. “It’s been a tough season for him and to come and have a performance like that in his hometown was, you know it’s stuff that storybooks write about.”The talking point in the run-up to kickoff was Berhalter’s decision to go with a three-man backline, presumably in a bid to free up Sergino Dest from his defensive responsibilities and get more into the attack.

But before the U.S. could even settle into any kind of rhythm, disaster struck as a too-casual pass from defender Mark McKenzie was picked off by Jesus Corona, allowing him to advance toward goal and rifle his shot past Steffen. The game was a mere 63 seconds old.The U.S. struggled to settle in during the ensuing minutes, unable to connect passes and looking suspect in defense, especially with Tim Ream often left isolated to defend Uriel Antuna one-on-one.But a critical sequence around the 27th minute highlighted that as much as the U.S. labored at times both individually and as a team, it showed near-endless reservoirs of resolve and revealed an ability to learn on the fly. One moment, Hector Moreno nodded home Hector Herrera‘s cross, only for VAR to come to the U.S. team’s rescue and disallow the tally. Then, in a flash, they were level, as Reyna cleaned up a rebound after McKennie’s header hit the post. In between, Reyna was everywhere, getting into the attack but also contributing on the defensive end. McKennie began to impose himself all over the field, and John Brooks put in an immense performance to help stabilize the U.S. defense.There were still warning signs, however. Pulisic was ineffective for most of the night. The back line was wobbly. Dest, thought to be a key component in the U.S. breaking down Mexico’s defense, looked completely out of sorts and unsure of what he was supposed to do and where he needed to be.The second half saw the U.S. play with more composure and on more level terms, even if it wasn’t completely in full flow. McKennie forced a trio of saves from Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa as he consistently shook free on set pieces.

And yet it was a substitution from Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino — the introduction of attacker Diego Lainez — that nearly turned the tide. The Mexican side had been attacking Ream relentlessly all game, and Lainez’s shiftiness and fresh legs gave him a decided advantage. It paid off in the 79th minute as Lainez cut inside and unleashed a shot that beat Horvath.At that point, it seemed as though all Mexico had to do was see the game out, yet McKennie wouldn’t be denied, finally getting the better of Ochoa with his header from Reyna’s corner just creeping into the goal.

The regional heavyweights continued to land haymakers, and Horvath needed to be at his sharpest to deny Lozano in the 90th minute. And if the first 90 minutes delivered drama, extra time took matters beyond the red line. Pulisic won a penalty in the 109th minute after being felled by Mexico defender Carlos Salcedo, one that required a five-minute VAR review, and also saw Martino red-carded for placing his hands on the referee. Brooks couldn’t stand to watch, facing toward his own goal. He missed seeing Pulisic convert a cold-blooded penalty, and he celebrated by taking off his shirt and shushing the crowd, at which point the U.S. players were pelted with debris. Reyna appeared to take a projectile to the head, though Berhalter said he thinks the attacker “is going to be OK.”Of course, there was one more dose of drama. McKenzie was adjudged to have handled Luis Romo‘s shot in the box, requiring another lengthy VAR review. Guardado stepped up to take the spot kick, and while his shot lacked placement, it had plenty of power, forcing a spectacular save from Horvath. The keeper said he, Steffen and David Ochoa spent 30-40 minutes with goalkeeper coach David Hyde studying the tendencies of the opposition.”It’s down to us doing our homework,” Horvath said.The U.S. then smartly ran out the clock, even as more projectiles rained down on them. At the final whistle, players collapsed to the ground and were soon celebrating with the U.S. fans behind Horvath’s goal.For the U.S., the tournament has been a rousing success. Yes, the team showed its inexperience in managing big occasions. But it also revealed an adaptability and a mental toughness, even in the face of incidents like one in the second half when Hector Herrera grabbed McKennie.

“I don’t know what it is, but they seem to like to grab my neck,” McKennie said. “It’s a rivalry that’s been there for generations and it’s rivalry that will still carry on. We just got the upper hand this time, and hopefully it stays that way.”The younger generation is growing up.

USMNT-Mexico rivalry, post-Nations League classic: What’s next?

10:24 AM ET ESPN FC  Jeff Carlisle  Eric Gomez

Following Sunday’s instant classic between the United States and Mexico in the Nations League final, there’s still plenty to break down from the USMNT’s 3-2 win over El Tri.

Did the USMNT live up to the potential promised by its young stars like Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie? Is Mexico still considered the best team in CONCACAF despite the heartbreaking loss? And while Gregg Berhalter won his first trophy as USMNT manager, Gerardo “Tata” Martino may start to feel the pressure that comes with being in charge of Mexico.ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and Eric Gomez look back at the epic match in Denver, while assessing both the state of both teams with CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying looming ahead.

What did we learn about both teams (the good, the bad and the ugly)?

Carlisle: The biggest takeaway from the CNL triumph is that the increase in talent the U.S. has brought through in the past 18 months is beginning to translate into results, all while getting a taste of what competitive fixtures in CONCACAF will be like.

Sure, players like John Brooks and Pulisic are well-versed in the kind of gamesmanship and shenanigans that go on in CONCACAF, be it subpar field conditions, crazy weather or provocations of any kind. But these past two games were a baptism of sorts for some of the younger elements in the squad like Giovanni Reyna, Josh Sargent and Sergino Dest. And while some individuals coped better than others — you can count Reyna among those who really impressed — the U.S. did enough collectively to get two victories, including a massive confidence-booster against rivals Mexico.Even better is that players like McKennie, Brooks and Pulisic have started to take on more of a leadership role, stepping up in big moments. McKennie took the U.S. team on his back in the Mexico game, and Pulisic, while quiet overall, delivered in a clutch moment with his penalty. These are all vital developments for this side.Much is made about the continued barren spell in front of goal for Sargent. The good news is that the U.S. is scoring goals without him, but he has to break out at some point. How much patience will U.S. manager Berhalter have on this front?

Outside of Brooks, the defense remains very much a work in progress. Berhalter used a four-man backline against Honduras, and then a three-man setup (or five-man, depending on how you look at) at the start against Mexico before returning to four at the back later. Weaknesses were exposed in both systems. Against Honduras, the U.S. looked vulnerable in transition. Against Mexico, the U.S. struggled at times to build out of the back — including a giveaway by Mark McKenzie that led to Jesus Corona‘s opener — and was vulnerable on balls over the top. The system clearly asked too much of Tim Ream, who was repeatedly isolated in one-on-one situations against Mexico and struggled.And what of Dest? The move to a three-back system was supposed to free the Barcelona man up to get more into the attack; not only did he fall short in that regard, he gave Ream little help defensively.

It leaves Berhalter with a conundrum of sorts, one that might be solved if Tyler Adams can stay healthy. The team’s defensive shape solidified when he came onto the field against Mexico, providing help out wide when needed. But getting Dest back on track, and finding a defensive system that can work even if Adams isn’t available, is his biggest task at the moment.

Gomez: Mexico’s night in Denver started about as well as it could possibly script it: Corona barreled through the left side of the pitch, leaving American defenders behind, and after losing the ball, he got it back after an errant pass from McKenzie left him one-on-one against keeper Zack Steffen. Corona’s goal set the tone for most of the first half: El Tri took advantage of a high defensive line by lofting long balls to its wingers, often setting up chances against backpedaling opponents.

As subsequent attacks from Mexico in the first half showed, El Tri’s strength on offense comes from its speedy wingers who can stretch out the field, creating opportunities either by the strength of their own ability or by forcing mistakes from overwhelmed defenders. However, after the United States shored up its defensive alignment in the second half to better prepare for wide attacks, Mexico’s cracks began to show.

Without Raul Jimenez to shoulder the load up front, Gerardo Martino and Olympic team manager Jaime Lozano have a shallow pool of center-forwards to choose from this summer. In the Nations League final four, Mexico got by mostly through flashes of brilliance from individual performers. It’s hard to fathom seeing this team even making the final if not for goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. On Sunday, Ochoa, Corona and second-half sub Diego Lainez undoubtedly kept the team afloat in key stretches.

Moving forward, Martino’s focus needs to be on two key issues. Mexico gave up two goals off corner kicks against the United States, and nearly every other dead ball posed a threat. In previous years, under Juan Carlos Osorio, special attention was focused on this part of the game and became less of an issue. In addition, while Martino can’t do much about the player pool to shore up his team’s areas of need, his confidence in clearly out-of-form players such as Uriel Antuna, Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez and Alan Pulido needs to come to an end.

Finally, as the game neared its close, the Mexican players were obviously affected by the mounting pressure, committing silly fouls and becoming embroiled in scrums with the Americans even before Pulisic scored the defining penalty kick. In recent years, El Tri seemed unburdened with playing the United States on the Americans’ home soil, grabbing key wins in the process. Sunday night, the ghosts of the dos a cero era seemed to roam among them.

Carlisle: Let’s just state up front that even if the U.S. had lost that game, Berhalter wasn’t going to get fired, nor should he have been. You don’t hire a coach, have him manage the team through all the difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic, and then fire him three months before World Cup qualifying because of … some tactical quibbles?Up to Sunday’s match, he’d gotten the results that were expected. The win over Mexico now cements his position and gives him the signature win that his tenure needed in order to generate some momentum for the program. And while players have their own motivations for playing for the national team, it’s obvious that on Sunday this team went to the mat to get this win. That speaks well of the environment Berhalter has created, along with how well his message is getting through.That doesn’t mean some of Berhalter’s decisions can’t be questioned. The reliance on Ream at the expense of Matt Miazga is a head-scratcher. You have to wonder how many more opportunities Sargent is going to get, and Pulisic needs to get on the ball more. But the team is growing, and Berhalter deserves some credit for that.Now he has the luxury to experiment at the Gold Cup. World Cup qualifying then beckons, which will be the ultimate judge of his tenure.

Gomez: Early on in the Nations League final, it seemed as if Martino was dispensing a tactical masterclass to an overwhelmed Berhalter. Within the game’s first 30 minutes, Mexico was a VAR replay away from a 2-0 advantage. As we all know, however, the match was flipped on its head moments later when Reyna turned an American corner kick into an equalizer.From there, Mexico’s aforementioned tactical advantage dwindled slowly, as Martino was increasingly unable to rely on his speedy wingers to wreak havoc on his opponent as the game wore on. Though Berhalter’s use of substitutions can be rightfully critiqued on the winning side, Martino was equally baffling in his player selection and in-game formation rearrangements.El Tri seemed lost at times when it was not able to count on the likes of Corona, Lozano and Lainez to create instant offense. When Henry Martin subbed in for Corona (who was on a time limit due to a pre-existing injury), the Argentine manager’s gambit to balance his offense failed. As they did against Costa Rica a few days before, Mexico was far less dangerous up front with a true center-forward than without. Borrowing a page from Los Ticos, Berhalter dared El Tri to attack his team through the middle by stymieing the wingers — it worked.

On defense, against talented players with line breaking speed, it was borderline irresponsible to keep 33-year-old Hector Moreno in for exactly 100 minutes. Though Hector Herrera was gassed and in constant danger of picking up a red card when extra time rolled around, bringing in 34-year-old Andres Guardado to fill the role was a questionable move. Even with his fresh legs, Pulisic and McKennie tore into the Real Betis midfielder at will.

Yes, some of these poor decisions can be chalked up to Mexico’s looming generational switch and the aforementioned lack of depth, but Martino’s decision-making will be increasingly under the microscope from now on.

How does this project for the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying?

Carlisle: The roster that Berhalter takes to the Gold Cup is bound to be completely different than the one that contested the Nations League. He wants and needs his Europe-based players to get a rest after long club seasons. The clubs will be grateful for his judicious use of those stars as well. Instead, Berhalter will go with a group derived mostly from MLS. That should help him get some answers as to who will comprise his depth pieces, and he even might uncover a player or two — Daryl Dike, perhaps? — who can become steady contributors.

World Cup qualifying is easily the biggest priority, and that is when the viewing public will next see the players who were on show Sunday night. While the CNL has no direct impact on that competition, the confidence boost gained from that competition should set the U.S. up well when qualifying commences in September with a triple-fixture window. Part of the reason the U.S. scheduled a pair of friendlies around the CNL was to mimic the cadence of such a window, and Berhalter is no doubt already gleaning data from the current camp.Included in the September window is an away game with Honduras, always a tricky encounter. The match at Honduras counts as a frontier that this group of U.S. players has yet to navigate, that being an away date in Central America. Recall that in the group stage of the CNL, the U.S. fell to Canada 2-0 in Toronto in an environment that, while not friendly, is far from the most inhospitable it will find in the region.The U.S. is riding a wave of momentum heading into World Cup qualifying. A poor result anywhere would put a stop to that, something Berhalter will be mindful of going forward.

Gomez: The next few months have the potential to saddle Mexico fans with plenty of disappointment, celebration, or a combination of both. Losing to the United States in any official capacity is unacceptable for El Tri, which means the team will now look to the Gold Cup to make up for missing out on the inaugural Nations League crown.However, Mexico will also field a team at the Olympics in Tokyo. Given the difficulty that stems from negotiating with European clubs to allow their players to participate (as it overlaps with the start of their season), it seems more likely El Tri will draw on Liga MX or MLS players to fill in the roster gaps, including the three overage players each country is allowed to bring. We’ve already mentioned the player pool limitations Martino has had to deal with for the senior team; those are only compounded when it comes to filling two full-strength sides.Mexican fans and media have lofty expectations for their Olympic squad since the 2012 team won gold against a heavily favored Brazilian side in London, and this group is no exception. Even with El Tri’s talent on display, getting past hosts Japan and medal favorites France in the group will be no easy task. This sets up a scenario where if Mexico fails to win the Gold Cup and say, does not make the quarterfinals in Tokyo, the program will roll into September’s World Cup qualifiers under abundant pressure.A quick look at newspapers and TV show pundits after the loss to the United States makes it clear: Martino’s extended honeymoon period with Mexico is over, and it can only get worse as time goes on. Thus, it’s critical for Mexico to have a good summer after this initial letdown at the Nations League.

Where does the rivalry go from here?

Carlisle: The rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico has suffered of late on two fronts. One is the fact that prior to Sunday night, Mexico had won the games that mattered in recent years. You had to go back to 2013 in a World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, to find the last time the U.S. won a game with something more than pride on the line.Another was the frequency with which the two teams had been meeting. Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic put that on hold to a degree, but prior to 2020, you had to go back to 2010 — a World Cup year — to find the last time the two teams did not square off in a given calendar year. Rather than being special occasions, these encounters were becoming commonplace, diluting the rivalry’s passion. Yes, the friendly games are money-spinners for both federations, but a “less is more” approach might help to maintain the intensity.The improvement of the U.S. squad will also play a part in ratcheting up the rivalry. It used to be a novelty to have a U.S. player taking part in the UEFA Champions League. Last year, 10 players alone were on Champions League rosters for the group stage, which was followed on by 13 players claiming 10 trophies over the course of the club season. That kind of experience will certainly help close the gap with Mexico, which has the stronger domestic league compared to the U.S.

Gomez: The United States had not beaten Mexico in an official match since 2013. It had not won a final against El Tri since 2007. Despite a few blood-pumping moments in some of the friendlies (Miazga vs. Lainez, anyone?), Mexico could claim a near-absolute dominance of its biggest rival in recent years. Factor in other big wins at other age groups on the men’s side, such as the win keeping the U.S. out of the Olympic Games last spring, and deeming the rivalry as one-sided was apropos.But Sunday’s intensity, aided by CONCACAF’s absolute incompetence (featuring horrible refereeing, a trophy that might or might not be made out of foam, and oh yeah, the VAR tent inexplicably placed between benches) yielded a game for the ages. This rivalry needs more of what made the Nations League final great. Frankly, it’s primed to do so given the Americans’ budding generation of stars coupled with Mexico’s willingness to couple its talent with top-tier coaches in recent years. It’s hard to argue against anyone predicting each game featuring these two teams will be fun in the near future. If both teams make it to the Gold Cup final, we’re looking at four direct matchups — counting World Cup qualifiers — in the next nine months.

Frankly, what does nothing to intensify the rivalry or make it better is some of the fan behavior observed in Denver. Authorities need to crack down on fans continuing to yell anti-gay slurs at games, and they most certainly need to figure out a way to protect players from those who launch projectiles from the stands, like the ones that could have injured Reyna and Martin. The half-hearted campaigns from the Mexican federation and the weak, almost laughable, enforcement of CONCACAF’s three-step protocol have done little to curb misbehavior.

These types of unfortunate actions fall under the purview of both federations and should lead them to come together in an effort to stop them once and for all.

 

 

6/4/21 US vs Mexico Sun 9 pm CBSSN, Indy 11 home vs Memphis Sat 7 pm Discounted Tix, Euro’s Start next Fri, CFC Tryouts 6/8, 6/14 + Cup Weekend

 

US MEN vs MEXICO – Sunday 7 pm on CBS SN

It was the first competitive game in over a year and a half for the US Men and it took them almost that long to finally score the 1-0 winner Thurs night as it was an 89th minute goal by Siebatcheu off a header from McKennie on a long ball from Brooks that finally broke Honduras back.  (9 min highlights video) The US definitely had the most shots especially in the first half – but Honduras should have scored on a 43rd minute free kick when US GK Steffan misjudged the ball and needed a miraculous backheader by Forward Josh Sargent to keep the score at zeros.  In the 2nd half Honduras actually had 2 breakaway chances well saved by Steffan.  Centerback Brooks was the man of the match with his defensive coverage against the dangerous Honduras forward and his hockey assist on the goal.   Reyna looked great and had the best 2 chances in the first half and should have scored on his jittery run thru the middle before just hitting it wide of goal.   Pulisic was dangerous at times but he often loss the ball trying to dribble one too many player. I am not sure Lletget was even in the game and Jackson Yueill reminded us he’s not ready for the bigtime in the #6 role. Hopefully Adams can play Sunday night vs Mexico.  Overall I thought the front 3 needed more one touch passing to open things up rather than trying to dribble thru themselves.  Of course Honduras fouled a plenty and had the stretcher come out 7 times as they faked being injured like all CONCACAF teams except the US does.  Overall the US deserved the win – but it was not pretty – maybe a 6 overall for the team.  Listen this US team is much better than they showed tonight.  They couldn’t connect passes from Yueill to the midfield or the defense to the midfield very well.  Lletget did not deliver 1 free ball delivery – out of 7 of them he connected on ZERO – ZERO of them.   He better darn well not be taking Free kicks next game – good god we have Pulisic we have Reyna we have Aaronson – all MUCH better than Lletget he should not be taking these in the final – not sure he should start honestly.  As for Berhalter – the jury is out – he really needs the team to play much better on Sunday night or it could get ugly.  His subs were mighty late at 78 minutes – though credit for sending in Siebatcheu who scored the winner and Aaronson who was also involved in the play.  Acosta in the 83rd minute as a #6 was about 40 minutes too late in my mind.  Cannon seemed to come on to send Dest to the left to see if he could combine with Pulisic – which didn’t really happen.  Listen CONCACAF is not easy –  Mexico had to go to penalties to beat an undermanned Costa Rica 0-0 full hightlights in English –  6-5 in PKsshootout in Spanish Great Wall of Ochoa – just sounds better.  So this Mexico team is not unbeatable.  But 35K Mexican fans will become 50K on Sunday night – so the US Outlaws better start recruiting now to somehow counter with more than the 20K at our game.  We made the finals – now’s the chance to prove this Golden US Generation can be special not in 4 years – but now!  Winning trophies in Europe with your team is nice – winning a trophy on Sunday night as a US team in Denver will mean a whole lot more however for this young group of Americans. 

Indy 11 home Saturday – Pride Game  – Discounted Tix just $13

Our Indy 11 are back at the Mike fresh off a huge road victory 2-1 over Louisville and a hard fought 1-1 tie vs OKC.  The game on TV 8 and ESPN+ on Saturday night 7 pm  vs Memphis 901 will be Pride night with a special ticket and tshirt offer for fans. Tickets at a special Discounted Price are Available HereFriends of Indy 11. The Indy Eleven are unbeaten in its last three times out (2W-0L-1D) and pushed Indiana’s Team back atop the Central Division standings, its 10 points even with Birmingham Legion FC.  Weather looks to be great for a visit to the Mike to see our division leading Indy 11!  I’ll be there Sat night rooting them on!  Go Jordan in Goal !!

European Cup Starts Friday June 11

The European Cup kicks off the Summer of Soccer next Friday as they will play almost daily as many as 3 games a day on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC until July 7th.  The games start with Turkey vs Italy in Rome as for the first time multiple nations will host the Euros with the finals in London July 7th.  France come in as the favorites but defending champs Portugal, #1 Ranked Belgium, England, Germany or Spain may have something to say about that.  Also next weekend the Copa America – which has been moved to Brazil from Argentina – will kick off – giving us day games (9 am, noon and 3 pm) and night games (5 and 8 pm) to watch nearly every day in June. 

Summer of Soccer 

European Championships  June 11 – July 7  ESPN

Copa America  June 13 to July 10 FS1, FS2, Univision

Olympics US Ladies July 21-Aug 5  NBC

Gold Cup July 10 –  Aug 1 FS1, FS2, Fox

CARMEL FC  2021 Tryouts Start Next Tuesday- June 8 and June 14th

All evaluations and tryouts will be held at Shelborne Fields. 3451 W 126th St, Carmel, IN 46032.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

June 8, 2021 – Players 10u, 9u and 8u (Birth Years 2012 to 2015)

Check-in starts 1/2 hour before evaluations begin.

Evaluations for all age groups: 6pm to 7:30pm

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June 14, 2021- Players 11u and older (Birth Years 2003 to 2011)

Check-in starts 1/2 hour before tryouts.

Tryouts for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011: 5:45pm to 7:15pm

Tryouts for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007: 7:30pm to 9pm.
——————————————————————————————————————————–
Registration Link: Click Here To Register  Please email  info@cdccarmelfc.com. with any questions. 

Good Luck to the 4 Carmel FC teams advancing to this weekend’s President Cup and Challenge Cup Finals games at Grand Park 2009 Gold Girls, 2010 Boys Gold, 2008 Gold Boys, 2007 Gold Boys.  

2021 Alumni/College Age Soccer League
High School graduates, college students, young professionals come join our soccer league this summer!

Who can play? ages 18-30, experienced, new to the sport and anyone wanting to be active and meet new people. 
When does it start/end? Mid- June through early August  Where? Shelborne Soccer Fields 3451 W. 126th Street
Cost? 105.00 (no annual fee or volunteer fee apply to this league).  Do I have to be a Carmel resident? There is no residency requirement for this program. 
Please click here to register for this league.  Registration is open now- June 12   Jerseys and socks are provided  Questions please contact the office 317-846-1663 or email info@carmeldadsclub.org

GAMES ON TV

Fri, June 4

1:30 pm ESPN                    Spain vs Portugal Friendly

Sat, June 5

7 pm ESPN+                Indy Eleven vs Memphis 901

7 pm Para+                         NY/NJ Gotham FC vs OL Reign  NWSL

Sun, June 6

2 pm Para+                         KC vs Houston Dash NWSL

3 pm ESPN2                        Euro U21 Finals Germany vs Portugal

6:30 pm Para+            3rd place game Nations League 

9 pm Para+CBSSN      USA vs Mexico Finals – Nations League 

Wed, June 9

7 pm ESPN2                US Men vs Costa Rica

9 pm ESPN+                El Paso vs Indy Eleven

Thur, June 10

8:30 PM ET FS1           US Women vs Portugal

EUROS + COPA America 2021

(all times ET; coverage starts about 30 minutes before kickoff; all games also stream on ESPN+)

Friday, June 11

Group A – Turkey vs. Italy, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)

Saturday, June 12

Group A – Wales vs. Switzerland, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Denmark vs. Finland, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Belgium vs. Russia, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)

Sunday, June 13

Group D – England vs. Croatia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Austria vs. North Macedonia, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Netherlands vs. Ukraine, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Argentina vs Chile  5 pm  FS2, Univision

COPA   Paraguay vs Bolivia 8 pm  FS2, Univision

USA Women vs Jamaica  10 pm (FS1)

Monday, June 14

Group D – Scotland vs. Czech Republic, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group E – Poland vs. Slovakia, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group E – Spain vs. Sweden, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Brazil vs Venezuela 7 pm FS , Unimas

COPA   Colombia vs Ecuador 10 pm FS1, Univision

Tuesday, June 15

Group F – Hungary vs. Portugal, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group F – France vs. Germany, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)

Indy 11 vs Pittsburg Riverhounds home 8 pm  TV 8 and ESPN Desportes, ESPN+

Wednesday, June 16

Group B – Finland vs. Russia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group A – Turkey vs. Wales, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group A – Italy vs. Switzerland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

USA Women vs Nigeria 9 pm (ESPN2)

Thursday, June 17

Group C – Ukraine vs. North Macedonia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Denmark vs. Belgium, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Netherlands vs. Austria, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Copa   Chile vs Bolivia 5 pm  FS 1

Copa   Argentina vs Uruguay 8 pm FS 1, Unimas

Friday, June 18

Group E – Sweden vs. Slovakia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group D – Croatia vs. Czech Republic, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group D – England vs. Scotland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

COPA   Colombia vs Venezuela 7 pm FS 2

COPA   Peru vs Brazil 10 pm FS2, Univision

Saturday, June 19

Group F – Hungary vs. France, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group F – Portugal vs. Germany, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN, Univ, TUDN)
Group E – Spain vs. Poland, 2:30 a.m. (ABC)

MLS Schedule

Indy 11 Schedule

NWSL Season TV Schedule

Euro’s TV Schedule

Copa Schedule

USA

Young United States gets CONCACAF lesson in narrow win over Honduras Jeff Carlisle WESPNFC

US Wins Biggest Game in 2 Years on 89th Min Header from Jordan Siebatcheu
Three things we learned from USMNT – Honduras

Berhalter – This is what we needed a scrappy win – Charles Boehm MLS.com

3 TakeAways USMNT over Honduras – Matt Doyle
USMNT player ratings v Honduras: Brooks, Siebatcheu deliver as stars slip


Meet the young stars of Mexican, U.S. men’s national soccer teams

What Nations League will tell us about the future of U.S. and Mexico soccer teams
LA Times

One last Look at Chelsea and Pulisic’s Champ League Win – Full hightlights

Pulisic’s almost Goal

EUROPEAN CUP


Euro 2020 betting: 25% of the money bet so far is on France

EURO 2020: Pragmatism the key to success in pandemic soccer

Euro 2020 Group A: Resurgent Italy’s to lose?

Euro 2020 betting: Italy is the favorite in Group A

‘Why not us?’ Schmeichel dreams of Denmark 1992 Euro repeat

Alexander-Arnold makes England’s Euro 2020 squad as Southgate gambles on Maguire

Giggs’ absence puts pressure on Bale to deliver for Wales at Euro 2020

Portugal Euro 2021 squad list, fixtures and latest team news

Germany Euro 2021 squad list, fixtures and latest team news

France Euro 2021 squad list, fixtures and latest team news

 WORLD


Mbappé in Miami? Pulisic in Philly? Which US cities will host the 2026 World Cup?

Why N’Golo Kante deserves the Ballon d’Or in 2021
  Julien Laurens
Brazil replaces Argentina as Copa America host

Claudio Bravo thwarts Lionel Messi as Argentina are frustrated

Indy 11

·      PREVIEW | Indy Eleven Hosts Memphis 901 FC for Pride Night

·      Neveal Hackshaw to Represent Trinidad & Tobago National Team in World Cup Qualifiers

·      RECAP | Indy Comes Back for 2-1 LIPAFC Win

·      Indy Eleven Forward Jordan Hamilton Named to USL Championship Team of the Week for Week 6

·      USL Championship Recap: Indy Eleven 1 : 1 OKC Energy FC

Indy 11 Schedule

Single Game Tickets as low at $13 each

Attention INDY 11 FANS Discounted Tix for Sat night Game : Opportunity to purchase Discount Tickets to tomorrow’s Saturday June 5 INDY ELEVEN  game at 7pm at Carroll Stadium.

The gates open at 6pm. I want to show my appreciation of your support for INDY ELEVEN. Thank you!! Please order on Link Below “Friends of Indy Eleven” 

https://fevo.me/indyelevenmh

 The Factors at the Heart of USA, Mexico’s Nations League Final

The USMNT and Mexico will renew their rivalry Sunday night in Denver. Here are some of the key elements entering the match.

AVI CREDITOR  SI 

The Concacaf Nations League is left with the final two most expected to be there, but it certainly wasn’t a cakewalk.Both the U.S. men’s national team and Mexico labored Thursday night in the semifinals in their first competitive matches since group play in the tournament ended in November 2019. Whether it was the time away from meaningful matches, heavy legs due to the completion of a long yet compressed European club season and playing at altitude, opponents who were wrongfully overlooked or some combination of all of that, it came down to the wire for both regional powers to emerge from the semifinals.For the U.S., it was an 89th-minute goal from Jordan Siebatcheu that broke a deadlock and gave the Americans a 1–0 win over Honduras. For Mexico, a 0–0 draw vs. Costa Rica that went straight to penalty kicks was decided by the hands of Guillermo Ochoa, whose save on Allan Cruz in sudden death spot kicks sent El Tri through.So it’ll be the U.S. and Mexico sharing a field for the first time in 21 months, the first match of consequence between the two in almost two years and the only time the first-choice players will go head-to-head before World Cup qualifying starts in the fall (both are expected to bring squads of a different makeup to the Gold Cup this summer).

Here are three key elements entering Sunday night’s rivalry bout with a trophy on the line:Berhalter vs. Tata and Mexico’s recent domination

The USA-Mexico rivalry has had its ebbs and flows, but right now it’s El Tri that’s been carrying the upper hand. Mexico has gone 3-0-1 in competitive matches against the U.S. dating back to 2013, when the U.S. last enjoyed a win in a meaningful match in the series. Including friendlies, Mexico is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings, with the one defeat a 1-0 friendly result while Dave Sarachan was the USA’s interim manager. Ever since Paul Aguilar won the one-off Concacaf Cup in extra time and Rafa Márquez shattered the mystique of Columbus, the rivalry has belonged to Mexico.As for the managerial matchup, Gregg Berhalter has had some tough luck when matching wits with Tata Martino. With Berhalter as coach, the U.S. has lost its two games vs. Mexico, with both coming in a two-month span in 2019. The Gold Cup final—which could have broken differently had Jozy Altidore converted a clear early chance—was decided by Jonathan Dos Santos’s fantastic goal, while Mexico had its way in a 3–0 win in a subsequent friendly. In their time overlapping in MLS, Martino’s Atlanta United won the four regular-season matchups against Berhalter’s Columbus Crew, though the Crew did emerge from their one playoff matchup following a 0-0 draw and penalty shootout. Should Sunday’s match go to PKs (and in the event of a draw, extra time would be played in the final as opposed to in the semifinals, which went straight to spot kicks), Berhalter would have Zack Steffen on his side again, just as he did in that October 2017 showdown. https://d5d9debc9272753acd6a1160ac3f188f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Who will play in the U.S. midfield?

The U.S. midfield struggled to gain a stranglehold over Thursday’s match vs. Honduras, with Weston McKennie, Sebastian Lletget and Jackson Yueill comprising the three-man unit. While the U.S. did have 65% of the possession, it felt that on the balance of the night, things were a bit too haphazard and not under control.”Honduras was very compact, and they wanted us to play central and I think we did too often,” Berhalter said after the match. “We played central and got turnovers and [Honduras] started transitions. I think at times we lacked balance in the midfield. We could’ve been more stable and drawn them out a little bit more.”All eyes in the coming days will be on Tyler Adams, who is still recovering from a back injury that ended his RB Leipzig season early, and Yunus Musah, who was an unused substitute and will have fresh legs should Berhalter call on him. Adams and Musah would offer assistance in terms of covering ground effectively and advancing the ball in transition against a Mexico side that you would expect to come out more aggressively than Honduras and try to dictate the tempo of the final. While Adams does have experience against Mexico—he scored the winner in that lone recent U.S. triumph between the two—Musah, who would be cap-tied with an appearance, would be entering the rivalry cold and in a big spot. If Yueill isn’t trusted Sunday and Adams can’t go, then Kellyn Acosta, who did come on as a late sub Thursday, could get the call. If Musah is considered too green, then it’s likely Lletget would get another shot. Berhalter has a couple of days to assess his options (which include altering his tactical formation altogether), calculate the best combination to counter Mexico’s expected approach and decide.The Chant and The Protocol

Despite Concacaf and the Mexican federation’s best efforts, That Chant still reverberated through Empower Field at Mile High Thursday night during Mexico’s match vs. Costa Rica. It wasn’t until second-half stoppage time that the region’s new three-step protocol was fully put into effect, with the referees halting the match for up to three minutes while an announcement was made in the stadium, though some fans were ejected for using the anti-gay slur prior to that.The confederation has gone to great lengths to disseminate information on why the chant, that’s customarily shouted when the goalkeeper opposing Mexico launches a goal kick down the field, is offensive, and the effort has been going on for years. FIFA has even threatened sanctions in the past, to no avail.If the defiance was in full effect on Thursday night vs. Costa Rica, then you can likely expect it again with an impassioned crowd witnessing the next chapter of the USA-Mexico rivalry. Should the protocol go beyond the first step of temporarily halting the match, then the next steps are taking the teams off the field and stopping the match for even longer and then, if it gets to that point, abandoning the match altogether.”We are doing everything in our hands to never get to Step 3,” Mexico federation president Yon de Luisa recently said. “This will be a terrible decision to make; however, if it is needed, it will be done.”For reasons that go well beyond competitive stakes, let’s hope that the match is decided by the players on the field and not by unruly supporters compelling officials to act.

USMNT wins its biggest game in 2 years on late header from unlikely hero

Henry Bushnell

Thu, June 3, 2021, 9:38 PM

For 88 minutes, the U.S. men’s national team’s first competitive game in 562 days appeared to be petering out with a whimper.For 88 minutes, the USMNT’s performance in its most significant match since July 2019 was, in a word, underwhelming.Then a 25-year-old who’d never scored a national team goal came to the rescue.- Jordan Siebatcheu’s 89th-minute header beat Honduras in the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals, sent the U.S. to Sunday’s final, where it could meet Mexico.Siebatcheu was born in Washington, D.C., but spent much of his childhood and all of his youth career in France. He played for the French U21s and French clubs, before going on loan to Switzerland’s BSC Young Boys in 2020.But chose to play for the U.S. internationally, and debuted in a friendly earlier this year. Thursday’s match was his first competitive one with the Yanks. He came off the bench to replace Josh Sargent in the 78th minute. And not too long after setting foot on Denver’s Sports Authority Field, he pounced on a Weston McKennie knock-down, and powered his own header into the roof of the net.John Brooks, who was commanding as usual from his left center back position, played the delicate chip that unsettled the Honduran defense and sparked the sequence.The goal masked an underwhelming U.S. performance overall. The Americans were fluid and at times purposeful, but wasteful and unconvincing in the final third. They were, on several occasions, vulnerable on the counter and on set pieces. In both the first and second half, Honduras crafted glorious chances to take a lead of its own.But it squandered them, and Siebatcheu powered the U.S. to an energizing victory, a winning start to its ramp-up toward World Cup qualifying, which begins this fall.In Sunday’s inaugural CONCACAF Nations League final, which was delayed a year by the pandemic, the Americans will meet Mexico or Costa Rica. On the line will be their first senior trophy since 2017.

Berhalter on USMNT’s scrappy win over Honduras: “This game is exactly what we needed”

By Charles Boehm @cboehmFriday, Jun 4, 2021, 12:03 AM

Time-wasting. Jersey-tugging. Rugged challenges and ill-tempered exchanges. Lax refereeing. Deep-lying, organized ranks of defense. Soft-pedaling the tempo. Strategic usage of fouling, injury treatment and even the deployment of the medical stretcher crew.The US men’s national team might be in the midst of a golden generation of elite talent thriving in Europe’s top leagues. But as Honduras reminded them on Thursday in Denver, they’re going to have to navigate the same Concacaf odyssey as their predecessors if they are to fulfill their enormous potential.

“We’re happy, and this game is exactly what we needed when you think about the level of competition, the competitiveness of the game. Some of these guys have never seen that before,” said USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter after his team, the second-youngest every put out by the USMNT in a competitive international, advanced to the Concacaf Nations League final with a 1-0 slog of a win over Los Catrachos.

“So, really happy with how they dealt with it. I think the mental side of it to just keep grinding and wearing them down was really important. It wasn’t an easy game at all. We had chances in the first half that we didn’t finish. I think we got too open in the second half at times, not enough balance. But again, for the guys to have to compete and dig like that at altitude, in heat, they did a fantastic job.”Fullscren

No one in the winning team’s camp was particularly effusive about their overall performance. Despite marked possession dominance, their buildup was plodding and labored for long stretches, the midfield falling short of the fluidity their tactical outlook requires and the attack consistently wasteful in the final third until substitute Jordan Siebatcheu’s 89th-minute headed winner.“Yeah, we’ve got to find our rhythm,” said goalkeeper Zack Steffen, whose misjudgment of an early free kick was bailed out by a goal-line clearance from Josh Sargent. “It’s all about finding the pockets, finding the space on the field. And then we have to be smarter, we have to be more clever, we have to draw teams out and move the ball quicker. And we’ve got to play together and play as a team and communicate and help each other out. And I think that was lacking in this last game.”Nor did any of the Yanks need to be told that improvement will be necessary to win Sunday’s final. But the gauntlet of World Cup qualifying that awaits in the months ahead – an experience almost no one on the current roster has lived firsthand – will probably feature plenty more of trials like this, half of them under even more arduous conditions much further from home.

“For many of the guys, and then myself as well, for being our first experience, a real taste of what Concacaf is going to be like, I think we we handled it pretty well,” said midfielder Weston McKennie. “We could have easily lost our head. And the boys kept reiterating, and then I also kept reiterating to the guys, we have to stay focused, we have to do our job. We have to complete the tasks we set out to do, which was to score, to win the game. And as you saw the guys did it.“So I think it was very, very good for us to have a game like this, to test our mentality as well. But technically, tactically and just how we played, we know that it has to be better, and we know that we have to put these games away as soon as possible.”Siebatcheu is one of those with a scant track record of North American competition. His physicality and aerial ability made the vital difference, though, as the final minutes ticked away and the crapshoot of a penalty shootout – no extra time in the CNL rulebook in this situation – loomed large.“That’s why we put Jordan on, because we know he’s a force on crosses. We know he battles in the penalty box, good physicality. And he gave us the edge that we needed,” said Berhalter, who laughed when asked about the gamesmanship that had Honduras giving the stretcher crew a workout.“I think it was great,” said the former USMNT center back, himself a veteran of several qualifying campaigns. “It’s what this group needed, to see the urgency, the desperation, the importance of a team getting a result. They were doing everything they could to hang on and get a result. And that’s what this is about. When you get into the world qualifying it’s that times two.“It wasn’t going to be a pretty football match. Honduras is a strong team, a compact team and a transition team. And that never makes for a pretty football match.”

Young United States gets CONCACAF lesson in narrow win over Honduras

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Herculez Gomez reacts to the United States’ 1-0 win over Honduras in the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals. (2:04)

12:28 AM ET  Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent   ESPNFC

The United States men’s national team, full of talent and confidence after a banner year from its Europe-based players, was given a valuable lesson on Thursday. Things like pedigree and reputation count for nothing when it comes to competitive fixtures in CONCACAF.The good news is that the U.S. managed to prevail over Honduras 1-0 in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League courtesy of substitute Jordan Siebatcheu‘s 89th-minute winner. It’s infinitely more enjoyable to absorb lessons when you win. Now the U.S. will play Mexico in Sunday’s final after El Tri beat Costa Rica on penalties in the other semi. But this was a brutal slog of a match, full of the kind of gamesmanship that one would expect from a CONCACAF side like Honduras. There was physical play, tactical fouls and time wasting with liberal use of the stretcher by Honduras. For players like Christian Pulisic and John Brooks, this was more a refresher. Brooks knew exactly what he was in for in the first minute when he tangled with Honduran forward Alberth Elis, and they both got a talking-to from referee Oshane Nation. But for the likes of Giovanni Reyna, Josh Sargent and Sergino Dest it was a crash course in the kind of shenanigans they can expect in World Cup qualifying.

“This game is exactly what we needed when you think about the level of competition, the competitiveness of the game,” said U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter. “Some of these guys have never seen that before [in CONCACAF]. So really happy with how they dealt with it. I think the mental side of it to just keep grinding and wearing them down, was really important.”It started out brightly enough, with Reyna and Pulisic looking sharp in the attacking half. Yet as the game progressed, it was increasingly played on Honduras’ terms, even as the U.S. dominated possession by a near 2-to-1 margin. It took a goal-line clearance from Sargent of all people to keep the score level in the first half, when goalkeeper Zack Steffen misjudged a cross, allowing Elis to head toward goal. There were other near misses as well, with Honduras looking a consistent threat in transition.As the second half progressed, Honduras’ desire to kill the game’s rhythm was in full force, and the longer the U.S. went without a goal, the more frustrating it was to watch.The fact remains, however, that the U.S. didn’t do much to help itself in the face of Honduras’ tactics, mental and otherwise. Set pieces were squandered with poor service by Sebastian Lletget. Passes into the feet of attackers were cut out, though how much of that was on forward Sargent and how much was due to midfielders like Jackson Yueill is open to debate. Overall the U.S. midfield struggled to create chances, with Weston McKennie among those who had a quiet game. Pulisic also suffered through a subdued second half.McKennie spoke of trying to find “pockets” of space to exploit. But Berhalter acknowledged that too often the U.S. was shunted into parts of the field where Honduras had numbers.”Honduras was very compact, and they wanted us to play central, and I think we did,” said Berhalter. “Too often, we played central and got turnovers and [Honduras] started transitions. I think at times we lacked balance in the midfield. We could have been more stable and draw them out a little bit more and then play behind the back line.”With 10 minutes remaining, Berhalter finally made his first substitutions of the match, with Brenden AaronsonReggie Cannon and Siebatcheu coming in. It seemed long overdue given the extent of the U.S. struggles, but it did pay off. It took a clipped ball from Brooks to McKennie on the right side of the box, and his header across the ball allowed Siebatcheu to score with a header of his own.Now Berhalter has some decisions to make, among them: Can Yueill handle the defensive midfield duties on his own, especially when opponents are intent on attacking in transition? Based on Thursday’s match, the answer is no. And with Tyler Adams looking more and more like he’ll be unavailable for this competition due to a recurring back injury, the options are either Kellyn Acosta needs to be on from the start, or a player like McKennie needs to be at Yueill’s side. That of course would hobble the attack, but it figures to do more to achieve balance in the midfield. Yunus Musah needs to see more of the field as well.The forward position is an issue, too. Siebatcheu’s ability to gain separation from his marker on passes played into his feet was a noticeable improvement on what Sargent offered. And when he was presented with a chance, he put it away.”We know he’s a force on crosses,” said Berhalter about Siebatcheu. “We know he battles in the penalty box, good physicality, and he gave us the edge that we needed.”One positive is that the U.S. did keep its collective head. There were multiple moments when the match looked like it might boil over, but the U.S. didn’t cross the line into red card territory.Now the U.S. will prepare for the final on Sunday. It figures to be a more open game against Mexico. But there was recognition that the performancew asn’t good enough for a team with aspirations like the U.S.”Technically, tactically and just like how we played, we know that it has to be better and we know that we have to put these games away as soon as possible,” said McKennie.The experience gained on Thursday should help.

Three takeaways from the USMNT win over Honduras

By Matthew Doyle @MattDoyle76  Thursday, Jun 3, 2021, 11:34 PM

The US men’s national team beat Honduras 1-0 on Thursday night. You might’ve heard that they left it very late. You might’ve been one of the untold thousands (or at least hundreds) tweeting angrily about that at me, at the official USMNT handle, maybe at some of the players themselves — who can say, really.

If you were part of that group, then I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. The US weren’t great and, I think, not even particularly good. But they weren’t bad, either, and they were able to put out the fires that they themselves started.

And that’ll be my first big takeaway:

1

Avoiding catastrophe

Honduras created nothing. They went out there with energy and intent, but every single good moment they had came from the US turning it over in a bad spot, or Sergino Dest failing to hold an offside line or Zack Steffen going on walkabout.

We have seen this game play out in Concacaf a million times. What we have not always seen — and in fact, what we have never seen with this very, very young group — is them survive those moments, gut out the 90 and get a win in a game with stakes.

This might not matter to you, but it does to me and I’m pretty sure it does to Gregg Berhalter and the players because this is the exact type of game they’re going to have to get used to winning if they’re going to qualify for the World Cup out of this region. These are the exact types of mistakes they’re going to have to be awake not not committing in the first place, or cleaning up on the occasions that they do commit them.

2

Make the brave pass

A lot of Berhalter’s tenure has served as a referendum on the notion of positional play and “having a system.” I feed into that in large part because I’m a pretty big believer in positional play and because I still have some level of PTSD from the days when the US system was “we want the players to express themselves.”

Berhalter’s system is a work in progress and it broke down at times throughout this match because the US were simply too timid to make the types of passes that can actually compromise an opponent’s defensive shape and put them into positions where they have to make difficult, do-or-die spots. And when the US were actually brave enough to hit those passes, they were often overcooked — a sign of nerves, I’d say. “I’d rather boot this over the endline rather than risk leaving it short and springing a counter in the other direction.”

Jackson Yueill, who’s been on a somewhat disappointing 140-minute audition to be the back-up No. 6, was particularly guilty of this. Yueill has had a number of good moments for the USMNT, including in the last game that mattered, which was the win over Canada in the previous round of the Nations League.

But the fundamental fact about Yueill is he’s out there to juice the attack with his ability to set tempo and distribute, and that is supposed to make up for his defensive shortcomings. If he’s not distributing at a high level, then it’s hard to make the argument he’s adding value. On this night he certainly wasn’t.

Mark McKenzie, Weston McKennie and Sebastian Lletget were all guilty of playing it too slow and safe as well, while Antonee Robinson just couldn’t pick a pass save for one delicious cross to Josh Sargent. And so US wide play was almost non-existent which goes directly to the timidity with which they progressed upfield, and then the timidity with which they chose their passing options. They looked scared to take the types of chances that can lead to turnovers.

Those are also the types of chances that can lead to goals.

When that many guys are struggling, the whole machine bogs down and the system is not going to look great against any decent side, which is what Honduras are.

Against Mexico, who the US will presumably meet in the final? Against Mexico playing with that level of timidity is suicide. Maybe using the ball like that against a team as good as El Tri is suicide anyway, but it’s a guaranteed loss if if the US are afraid to take advantage of the gaps they actually do create and fail to drive the game forward.

3

Make the extra pass

Let me show you two Sargent tap-ins:  I can’t blame Gio Reyna and Christian Pulisic too much for failing to play the extra pass in these spots. They’re $50 million attackers for giant teams and you don’t get to that level if you’re not self-confident almost to a fault. Reyna even went on the postgame and said “I should’ve scored.” He didn’t say “I should’ve given Josh a tap-in.”  But these are the exact types of chances “the system” is designed to create. I think a fair evaluation of whether or not it’s working focuses on whether or not moments like these exist in the film.They clearly do, just as they did in friendlies over the past year against weaker competition.   Now, it didn’t happen enough, and barely at all in the second half. Much of that can be traced to the timidity of the passing (I’m gonna keep banging this drum), the slow problem solving from the entire team when Honduras had two forwards sit on Yueill (who’s supposed to be the primary ball-mover), an inability to progress the ball off the dribble and eventually a certain amount of impatience.But again: That’s what these games are for! There is valuable film in here for a young team both on what happened, and what didn’t. And I’ve yet to see a credible reason to assume this group is incapable of getting it.

A few bullet-points:

  • Sargent’s yet again taking a beating for not scoring, but he once again found chances and was in good spots. Still, I think it’s very likely the actual goalscorer, Jordan Siebatcheu, will be in the lineup on Sunday.
  • Siebatcheu didn’t just impress with the goal — he did a really nice job of checking back hard and being a sturdier focal point with his hold-up play than Sargent managed. Siebatcheu created some daylight, and with that daylight came a little bit more time and space to link play.
  • John Brooks played probably his best game ever for the US, or at least his best game since the 2016 Copa America Centenario. He still got done once by Alberth Elis in transition, though, and that is just something the US are going to have to be better about. No team in the world survives long by exposing their center backs against opposing wingers.
  • I don’t know why Yunus Musah didn’t play — his ability to win physical battles and progress the ball off the dribble would’ve been a welcome addition to the midfield. I’ll just point out that the same is true of Eryk Williamson and Paxton Pomykal, who I really hope we see in the Gold Cup.
  • Mark McKenzie was ok in his competitive USMNT debut, but the team missed Aaron Long’s active, front-foot defense. Long is masterful at reading outlet patterns and keeping the opponents pinned, and that’s not something either Brooks or McKenzie excel at. There were moments where a bit more aggression from the center backs could’ve created defense-to-offense transitions, which were few and far between for the US.

Jordan Siebatcheu’s late goal gives USMNT ugly 1-0 win over Honduras in Nations League semifinal

Zack Steffen and Mark McKenzie played big roles in a big game for the U.S. defense, but the attack sputtered for much of the night.

by Jonathan Tannenwald   Philly Inquire – The Goalkeepers Union – Updated an hour ago

An 89th-minute goal by Jordan Siebatcheu in his first U.S. national team game on home soil gave the Americans a 1-0 win over Honduras in a slugfest of a semifinal in the Concacaf Nations League.Having come in as a substitute just over 10 minutes earlier, Siebatcheu powered in a header off a cross from Weston McKennie to spare the U.S. from a scoreless tie that would have produced a penalty kick shootout, in the program’s first major game since the 2019 Gold Cup final.It was the first national team goal for Siebatcheu, who was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in France and has spent his whole pro career in Europe. The 6-foot-3 target man currently plays for Young Boys in Switzerland, and helped the team on a UEFA Europa League campaign this past season.“That’s why we put Jordan on,” U.S. coach Berhalter said. ”We know he’s a force on crosses, he battles in the penalty box, good physicality, and he gave us the edge that we needed.”The U.S. will play Mexico in Sunday night’s final at Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High (9 p.m., CBS Sports Network, Univision, TUDN, Paramount+). El Tri needed a penalty kick shootout to beat Costa Rica after being held to a scoreless tie in regulation.A crowd of 34,451 fans was on hand for Thursday’s semifinal doubleheader at the Broncos’ home. The Americans among them sweated though a hot, nervy night, but got to celebrate in the end.“We’d like to have scored more goals and won more comfortably, but that’s not reality,” Berhalter said. “It’s a great learning experience.”U.S. supporters probably won’t like hearing that, given the star power of this squad. But Berhalter also was blunt in noting how his lineup was the second-youngest ever for a U.S. men’s team in a game with official stakes. Many of the players had never played a Concacaf game with stakes before.“We needed it,” said Zack Steffen, the U.S.’ Downingtown-bred goalkeeper who wore the captain’s armband in the game. “These are the games that count, these are the games that matter — there’s pressure and there’s things on the line. We need more games like this.”There were times in the first half where the Americans looked sharp. Gio Reyna electrified the game’s early stages with a highlight-reel solo run past four defenders in the 10th minute, resulting in a shot that rolled just wide.There were also moments when the U.S. defense was woefully exposed, and Honduras could easily have scored multiple goals.The second half was ugly, with the U.S. holding the vast majority of possession but doing little with it.The game was still scoreless in the 78th minute when U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter finally made his first substitutions of the night, three at once: Medford’s Brenden Aaronson for Reyna on the wing, Reggie Cannon for Antonee Robinson at outside back, and Siebatcheu for Josh Sargent at striker.Honduras had already made all five of its available substitutions by then, and was savvy enough to try to drag the game to penalties.“What we were looking for was, what needs to be changed, who’s not performing up to expectations, and we felt that it [a goal] was going to come, so we didn’t want to change much,” Berhalter said. “Gio, when he got taken out, was still performing reasonably well. What we wanted was a little bit more energy, a little bit more speed, and a little bit more physicality on top.”Sargent’s lack of finishing led CBS analyst Charlie Davies, a former U.S. national team striker, to call for Siebatcheu to start in the final.But a U.S. defense led by Steffen’s three saves and former Union defender Mark McKenzie at centerback held firm and kept the Catrachos from finding the net.McKenzie made a good impression in his second consecutive start next to veteran John Brooks on the back line. It was a big call by Berhalter, with veterans Tim Ream and Matt Miazga also available, but it paid off.  “I thought Mark was strong,” Berhalter said. “He dealt with a lot, he was able to win a lot of duels, and I think he did a great job.”

USMNT player ratings v Honduras: Brooks, Siebatcheu deliver as stars slip

Nicholas Mendola

Thu, June 3, 2021, 9:56 PM

It was a night of few stars for the United States men’s national team, who let a bright start fade into a halftime morass that extended deep into the second half.But Man of the Match John Brooks combined with team spirit animal Weston McKennie to cue up super sub Jordan Siebatcheu’s stoppage-time winner to save Gregg Berhalter the blushes of a tournament exit at the first time of asking.As for some of the other big names, it was not an ideal day for Christian Pulisic, Zack Steffen, and Sergino Dest.

USMNT player ratings v Honduras

Zack Steffen: 6 — Dealt with some dangerous counters and pressing, made an early save but then made a terrible decision that nearly gave Honduras an early lead. Recovered well enough to get back to average.

Antonee Robinson (Off 78′): 5 — Right now the Fulham man is starting to feel like this generation’s Timothy Chandler, pretty valuable for club but not quite finding the same level for country.

John Brooks: 8 — One bad giveaway but made up for it with numerous big tackles and the “hockey assist” on Siebatcheu’s goal. Most important player in the pool, given the lack of depth? And when can we see him with Walker Zimmerman (or at least until Chris Richards finds his footing)?

Mark McKenzie: 6 — Some very good moments and ultimately lived to earn another start.

Sergino Dest: 5 — Struggled with Alberth Elis, bailed out by Brooks on more than one occasion.

Weston McKennie: 7 — A couple of solid recovery tackles and the run and headed assist that provided the win.

Jackson Yueill: 6 — Steady enough, but some misadventures with the ball at potentially-costly times.

Sebastian Lletget: 5 — Essentially invisible, which is shocking given his steady and even starring roles in a USA shirt.

Christian Pulisic (Off 90′): 6 — Wanna know how respected the Chelsea man is going to be in CONCACAF? He wasn’t just battered at every turn by Honduras, he was magnetically marked and double teamed at times, struggling to assert himself on the contest.

Giovanni Reyna (Off 78′): 7 — He was very good and got chopped up by the Hondurans. Could’ve scored early and showed some outstanding range of passing.

Josh Sargent (Off 78′): 7 — As weird as it was to see Reyna yanked with 12 minutes in the first 90, Sargent didn’t look tired and had made key plays in both boxes. Without him staying with his mark and showing tremendous coordination with a goal line clearance, Honduras leads at halftime.

Subs

Reggie Cannon (On 78′): 6 — Just fine.
Brenden Aaronson (On 78′): 6 — Good industry and instincts to lay off a bid at the goal.
Jordan Siebatcheu (On 78′): 8 — Match-winning goals are how jobs are one.
Kellyn Acosta (On 83′): N/A
Matt Miazga (On 90′): N/A

Meet the young stars of Mexican, U.S. men’s national soccer teams

Kevin Baxter

Tue, June 1, 2021, 8:00 AM

The U.S. and Mexican soccer federations are loaded with young talent that could alter the future of the teams for years to come. Here is a look at the top 10 Under-24 players on the Mexico and U.S. rosters:

Mexico

Roberto Alvarado, 22, MF, Cruz Azul (Liga MX) … Has appeared in 20 games for Mexico, including all six of El Tri’s matches in the last Gold Cup. … Has three international goals. … Helped Mexico qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Games.

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Edson Alvarez, 23, D, Ajax (Eredivisie) … Has made 35 appearances with the senior national team. … Started three of Mexico’s four games in the 2018 World Cup and nine of Mexico’s last 10 Gold Cup matches. … Played on consecutive league champions with Ajax, for which he has made 10 Champions League appearances. … One of four under-24 players on the Nations League roster.

Uriel Antuna, 23, MF Guadalajara (Liga MX) … Former Galaxy midfielder… Has played 16 times for the national team, picking up three goals and an assist in his first competitive game in 2019. … Scored three times for Mexico in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, including the only goal in a 1-0 win over the U.S.

Mexico’s Uriel Antuna celebrates after scoring against Honduras from the penalty spot during the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying final in Guadalajara, Mexico, on March 30. (Fernando Llano / Associated Press)

Gerardo Arteaga22, D, Genk (Belgium) … Has played seven times for the senior national team. … Made his professional debut for Santos Laguna as a 16-year-old and appeared in 19 games in his first season in Belgium.

Sebastian Cordova23, MF, América (Liga MX) … Has played six times for the senior national team, scoring twice. … Led the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament with four goals, helping Mexico earn a berth in Tokyo.

Diego Lainez, 20, MF, Betis (La Liga) … Made his first international start against the U.S. in 2018, the second of nine international appearances. … His only international goal was a game-tying score in the final four minutes of a 2-2 draw with Algeria in 2020. … Made his professional debut for América at 16 and then jumped to Betis two years later on a $15.4-million transfer, becoming the youngest Mexican player to emigrate from Liga MX.

Jose Juan Macias21, F, Guadalajara (Liga MX) … Has four goals in five games with the national team. … Saved Mexico with a game-tying score in the final nine minutes of regulation in the championship game of the Olympic qualifying tournament. … Won the CONCACAF Champions League in Guadalajara in 2018.

Jorge Sanchez, 23, D, América (Liga MX) … Has 12 appearances with the national team. … Has won three leagues titles in Liga MX. … Played in both of Mexico’s first two games this season.

Johan Vásquez22, D, Tigres, (Liga MX) … His only international appearance was a 27-minute stint off the bench in a 2019 friendly with Trinidad & Tobago. … Won the CONCACAF Champions League with Monterrey in 2019. … Scored Mexico’s penultimate goal in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying competition, making the all-tournament team.

Alexis Vega, 23, F, Guadalajara (Liga MX) … Made the first of seven appearances with the national team in 2019. … Scored his only senior international goal that summer against Cuba in the Gold Cup. … Converted the winning penalty kick in the championship of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, where he was named best player.

U.S.

Brenden Aaronson, 20, MF, Red Bull Salzburg (Austrian Bundesliga) … Made the first of four international appearances in 2020, scoring his first goal in his second game. … Made the jump from MLS to Salzburg in January, scoring the second goal in his team’s win over Wien in the Austrian Cup in May.

Tyler Adams, 22, MF, RB Leipzig (Bundesliga) … Played 35 times for U.S. youth national teams and made his senior debut in 2017 as an 18-year-old. … Has 12 senior international caps. … Scored the goal that sent Leipzig on to the Champions League semifinals last summer.

Reggie Cannon, 22, D, Boavista (Portuguese Liga) … Played the first of 14 games for the U.S. in 2018. … Spent one year at UCLA before signing with FC Dallas as a teen. … Moved to Portugal on a transfer last September.

The United States’ Reggie Cannon controls the ball against Cuba during a CONCACAF Nations League match on Oct. 11, 2019, in Washington. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Sergiño Dest, 20, D, Barcelona (La Liga) … Has one goal in seven appearances with the national team. … Became the first American to play for Barcelona last fall, going on to make 30 appearances last season. … The son of an American father, he turned down his native Netherlands to play for the U.S.

Weston McKennie, 22, MF, Juventus (Serie A) … Has six goals in 21 games for the U.S. … The Texas native spent seven years in the FC Dallas youth system but never played in MLS, making his pro debut in Germany with Schalke. … Completed a $22.2-million transfer to Juventus last March. … Had the fastest hat trick in U.S. history in 2019, scoring three times against Cuba in the first 13 minutes of a Nations League rout.

Yunus Musah, 18, MF, Valencia (La Liga) … Played the first of four games with the senior national team last fall at 17. … Also made his first-team debut for Valencia last year. … Played for youth national teams in England and was eligible to play for Ghana and Italy as well before choosing the U.S.

Christian Pulisic, 22, F, Chelsea (EPL) … Turned down Croatia to play for the U.S. and made the first of 36 appearances with the national team in 2016, becoming, at 17, the youngest American to play in a World Cup qualifier. … Two months later, he notched the first of 15 international goals, making him the youngest goal scorer in U.S. history. … He is also the youngest American, at 20, to wear the captain’s armband. … Jumped from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea in 2019 for a U.S.-record $73-million transfer fee.

Gio Reyna, left, celebrates with Sergino Dest after scoring for the U.S. during an international friendly with Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in Belfast on March 28. (Peter Morrison / Associated Press)

Gio Reyna18, F, Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) … Made his national team debut the day before his 18th birthday. … Has two goals in four games with the U.S. … Is the son of former national team player Claudio Reyna. … Passed up chances to play for Argentina, England and Portugal.

Josh Sargent, 21, F, Werder Bremen (Bundesliga) … Played 56 times for U.S. youth national teams. … Made his senior debut in 2017, becoming the only American to be called up by the U-17, U-20 and senior team in the same calendar year. … Made his senior debut in 2018 at 18, scoring in the second half of his first game.

Timothy Weah, 21, F, Lille (Ligue 1) … Made the first of 10 senior international appearances in 2018, a month after his 18th birthday. … Scored his first goal two months later. … Father George, the 1995 FIFA player of the year and widely regarded as the best African player of his generation, is the current president of Liberia. … Timothy, born in New York, was eligible to play for France, Jamaica and Liberia before declaring for the U.S.

EURO 2020: Pragmatism the key to success in pandemic soccer

Soccer EURO 2020 Tactics

FILE – In this Sunday, July 15, 2018 filer, France head coach Didier Deschamps lifts the trophy after France beat Croatia by 4-2 during the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. France won the last major international soccer tournament — the World Cup in 2018 — by defending compactly, hitting teams on the break with clinical finishing, and being effective at set pieces. What will the winning approach be at the European Championship? (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

STEVE DOUGLAS

Fri, June 4, 2021, 8:10 AM

The European Championship is the first major international soccer tournament to take place since the coronavirus outbreak and arrives at the end of the most condensed club season in history.Many players will be exhausted. Injuries are a bigger concern than ever. National teams had less time to refine and work on their tactics during the season and pre-tournament schedules are being adjusted at the last minute, given travel restrictions amid a pandemic and the ubiquitous threat of the virus.Pity, then, the coaches for the hand they’ve been dealt at Euro 2020.“I think a process which has been going on for probably 40 years — the complete divorce of international football from club football — has been accelerated by COVID,” said Jonathan Wilson, author of “Inverting The Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics.”“Top-level club football is incredibly sophisticated, based on detailed tactical and technical work on a daily basis over a period of months, if not years. In international football, you can’t do that. So the football you see at international level is, out of necessity, much simpler than club football.”And the team that has come closest to mastering the art of “simple” football? That’d be France, the defending World Cup champions.In Russia three years ago, France averaged 48% possession in matches, was 25th out of the 32 teams for penalty-area entries, had the fifth-lowest number of crosses, was fifth lowest for total distance covered, and averaged six shots on goal per match — the second lowest at the tournament.Put simply, the French defended compactly, hit teams on the break, and were clinical with their finishing. Oh, and they were incredibly effective at set pieces, too, with headed goals from center backs proving decisive in victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals.“From a tactical perspective, the brand of football was very measured,” noted Zvonimir Boban, who oversaw the report of FIFA’s technical study group about the 2018 World Cup.“Under the steady stewardship of Didier Deschamps, who had a clear and precise vision of how to the make the most of the players at his disposal and go all the way, they were most settled and assured performers,” Boban remarked about France.Pragmatism. Efficiency. And, of course, no shortage of quality with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and N’Golo Kante in the team. Given the pandemic-affected evolution of soccer over the past 15 months, France will be hard to stop at Euro 2020.Other teams who could thrive under the more “simple” conditions described by Wilson — and backed up by Boban’s analysis — are Denmark and Italy, who have had underwhelming major-tournament records in recent years but impressed in qualifying by being well-drilled and defensively compact.Indeed, under Roberto Mancini, Italy heads into the tournament unbeaten in 26 games and having conceded only four goals in qualifying.“You don’t win international football by playing attacking football,” Wilson said. “Keep the shackles very much on. The shackles win football competitions.”That was true of this season’s Champions League, when the teams with the competition’s two best defensive records — Chelsea and Manchester City — reached the final on the back of their innovative coaches adapting their game plans to a more cautious approach in the pandemic era. High-energy pressing was largely ditched during the compressed club season and is not expected to be prominent at the European Championship as teams look to manage their fatigued players through the tournament.Expect ball-playing goalkeepers — almost every team has them now — and attacking fullbacks whose forays forward are covered by defensive-minded midfielders. England, for example, has selected four right backs in its squad.There is no standard formation among the leading teams, with Belgium and maybe England set to start with a three-man defense, Spain typically favoring a 4-2-3-1, France expected to go with a 4-4-2 diamond formation now that Karim Benzema is back in the squad, and Italy, the Netherlands and defending champion Portugal all adopting a 4-3-3.The expansion of squads to 26 players — instead of the usual 23 — is another indication of a desire to lessen the load after busy club seasons. That change plays into the hands of the countries with the deepest resources, such as England but notably France, which has incredible strength in depth in almost every position.Indeed, given their record in recent major tournaments, their tactics, quality of players and squad depth, the French look in prime shape to benefit from soccer during a pandemic.

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2021 USL CHAMPIONSHIP REGULAR SEASON RECORDS  

Indy Eleven: 3W-1L-1D, 10 pts. (+2 GD), 1st in Central Division  

Memphis 901 FC: 0W-1L-2D, 2 pts. (-1 GD), 8th in Central Division  

 For the second time in four days, Indy Eleven will play host to a scrappy squad hungry for points and looking for its first win of 2021, this time on Saturday evening when Memphis 901 FC comes to the Circle City for Pride Night at Carroll Stadium.While Indy Eleven leapt back to the top of the Central Division standings with Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw against OKC Energy FC, Indiana’s Team felt like it left points on the table after surrendering the lead in the 69th minute. In the second match of a four-game, 12-day gauntlet, Head Coach Martin Rennie slightly rotated his lineup, which charged out of the gates in the first half and was unlucky to be up only 1-0 at the half through Nick Moon’s 42nd minute header. Those missed opportunities to pad the lead piled up and eventually came back to the Boys in Blue, who stayed unbeaten for a third straight match (2W-0L-1D) despite being forced to share the spoils.Indy will be forced into more rotation with the departure of left back Neveal Hackshaw, who left the squad Thursday to report to the Trinidad & Tobago Men’s National Team ahead of the Soca Warriors’ upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches. With a third game in a week and the longest road trip of the season at El Paso ahead midweek, don’t be surprised to see more squad switches up Rennie’s sleeve in an attempt to keep his lads as fresh as possible on what is slated to be a steamy day in Central Indiana.While new Memphis Head Coach Ben Pirmann must worry about roster turnover of his own on Saturday, it’s not because of mileage on his squad’s legs, but rather a red card and more international call-ups. Forward Kadeem Dacres scored one of 901 FC’s goals and assisted on the other, and also leads or co-leads the squad in crosses (11), shots (7), and shots on goal (3), but after picking up a second yellow in the 89th minute at OKC last weekend, the veteran Championship striker will sit Saturday night out, putting even more of the attacking burden on his running mate up top, Laurent Kissiedou (1 goal, 7 shots, 2 shots on goal). Another 901 FC first XI fixture in midfielder Dre Fortune has joined Hackshaw with Trinidad & Tobago, while Memphis’ defensive depth will be limited with the absence of Raul Gonzalez as he continues national team duty with Puerto Rico. 

 SERIES HISTORY VS. MEMPHIS 901 FC:

USL Championship regular season: 3W-0L-0D (10 GF/2 GA)

USLC regular season home: 1W-0L-0D (3 GF/0 GA)

Indy Eleven enters Saturday’s match with a spotless record in the short history with Memphis dating back to the Tennessee side’s expansion season of 2019. That year, the Boys in Blue started the series with a 3-0 victory at AutoZone Park on June 8 before equaling that scoreline at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 5.

Last year, Indy Eleven began its regular season on March 7 by finishing the game’s final four goals past American soccer legend Tim Howard in a 4-2 win that marked the first time in the Eleven’s then seven-season history it had posted a victory after going behind multiple goals on the road. That game was the lone “pre-pandemic” match of the start-and-stop 2020 USL Championship season for the Boys in Blue.

Indy Eleven defender Rece Buckmaster will be suiting up against his former side on Saturday night (1G/1A in 14 GP in 2020), while midfielder Mitch Guitar will be going up against the side that loaned him to Memphis just prior to the start of this season (no appearances for Indy in 2020). Indy Eleven also acquired former Memphis striker Cal Jennings this past offseason, but he never saw time for Indiana’s Team after the squad transferred him to MLS’ Los Angeles FC in March.

 INDY ELEVEN PLAYER TO WATCH: FW GORDON WILD

Wild has been off to nothing less than a, well, “Wild start” with Indiana’s Team. The Leonberg, Germany native and former LA Galaxy man has found early success up top with the Eleven, notching three assists in his first four appearances, including the corner kick service on Nick Moon’s goal against OKC in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw. Wild’s three assists are good enough to tie him for the USL Championship league lead in the category. Wild has yet to net for the Boys in Blue, but it has not been for a lack of effort as his six shots on target also leads the Eleven. Having scored 18 goals across the 2018 & 2019 seasons for Charleston Battery and Loudoun United FC, respectively, he knows how to score at this level, so look for the German to find the back of the net soon enough.

A big question mark in the offseason was who could replace the goal-scoring machine over the last two seasons that was Tyler Pasher. The transfer of the speedy scorer to Houston Dynamo FC of MLS this past offseason raised plenty of questions about where exactly Indy’s goals would come from, with Wild being just part of a handful of attacking players with good experience entering the prime of their careers.  While Wild has yet to score, he is the only player to register any assists thus far for the Eleven, officially helping on three of Indy’s four goals from the run of play – and each to three different players as well. Wild has quickly become a stalwart as the right forward in Rennie’s 3-4-3 attack-minded formation, proving quick and dangerous with the ball at his feet and more than a little fearless, having won 22 duels so far this season. Whether part of the lineup or providing a spark off the bench, look for Wild to continue his swashbuckling ways into the heart of the Memphis defense come Saturday night.

MEMPHIS 901 FC PLAYER TO WATCH: DF MARK SEGBERS

Bright spots have been few and far between for Memphis so far this season, but they can find consistency in Mark Segbers. The University of Wisconsin alum has played every minute for Memphis while doing a little bit of everything so far this campaign. As part of his primary defensive duties, Segbers helped guide Memphis to their first clean sheet of 2021 against OKC last time out. However, don’t let the 25-year-old’s defender listing fool you, as his attacking chops are extremely polished as well – and in much more demand this season. After contributing two assists on five key passes and 23 crosses in 10 games in 2020, Segbers has already tallied one assist (on one of six crossing attempts) and notched a team-high eight key passes in 270 minutes of action.          

That said, Segbers will primarily be tasked with containing Indy’s left-sided attacking players, a group likely containing some combination of Manuel Arteaga, Cammy Smith, Patrick Seagrist, or Ayoze – with perhaps a dash of Nicky Law and the afore-mentioned Gordon Wild in doses. Segbers will have to be ready to contain an Eleven attack looking to break out and score a bundle of goals to make up for Wednesday’s missed chances – and continue a torrid pace of 3.33 goals per game scored against Memphis in their brief history (including a four-spot against Segbers & Co. last year). Look for Segbers to be aggressive on defense and add to his eight interceptions while also giving the Indy backline some food for thought as he gets upfield to deliver one of his trademark crosses or a crucial pass to unlock the Eleven.   

Attention INDY 11 FANS Discounted Tix for Sat night Game : Opportunity to purchase Discount Tickets to tomorrow’s Saturday June 5 INDY ELEVEN  game at 7pm at Carroll Stadium.

The gates open at 6pm. I want to show my appreciation of your support for INDY ELEVEN. Thank you!! Please order on Link Below “Friends of Indy Eleven” 

https://fevo.me/indyelevenmh

Please order on Link Below “Friends of Indy Eleven”  https://fevo.me/indyelevenmh

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Sam’s Army- http://www.sams-army.com , American Outlaws  http://www.facebook.com/IndyAOUnite

 

6/3/21 US Men tonight 7 pm, Indy 11 home vs Memphis Sat 7:30 pm, Pulisic wins Champ League, CFC Tryouts + Cup Weekend

US MEN vs HONDURAS TONIGHT 7 pm on CBS SN MUST WIN SCENARIO

For the first time in over a year – the US Men’s National team will take the field in a meaningful competition for CONCACAF bragging rights.  The US faces Honduras Tonight at 7:30 pm on CBS Sports Network and Univision for the semi-finals of the Nations Cup.  Mexico faces Costa Rica at 10 pm on Univision setting up what is expected to be another USA vs Mexico final on Sunday evening 9 pm on CBSSN.  The US youthful squad collected 23 combined trophies over the last season – as the Golden Era of US Soccer appears to have arrived.  The talent playing in Europe currently is the most of any group of US players on a team ever.  Will that add up to must win victories over Honduras and set up another showdown which the US needs to win over Mexico is the question that must be answered starting tonight. 

Looking back at the 2-1 loss to the Swiss on Sunday – remember the Swiss are Top 15 in the world with a very experienced squad that’s been together for 8-10 years. With its starters in the US dominated possession in the first half and had the best chances to score.  Subs in the 2nd half certainly helped the Swiss who added their 3 top mids/strikers while the US rotated out Brooks and Yueill in the center of the defense.  I thought Dest struggled this game especially on defense leaving a flat footed Brooks on an island too many times early in the 2nd half.  Without the speedy Long to cover for Brooks the US defense struggled.  McKensie played fine but he does not have the speed or instincts to cover for Brooks the way Aaron Long has the past couple of years.  That will be a concern moving forward as Brooks is great in the air and a good organizer but not fleet of foot and gets exposed in 1 on 1 defending at times.  I thought Jackson Yueill cemented his spot as the back-up #6 to Adams over Acosta (who’s really an #8 midfielder).  It was Acosta and Tim Ream who gave up the 2nd goal and multiple opportunities in the 2nd half.  GK Ethan Horvath  was spectacular in goal and cemented his #2 slot behind Steffan with his man of the match performance and multiple spectacular saves.  I thought Brendan Aaronson was dynamite on the left wing slot and if Pulisic or Reyna are ever hurt or need rest – he should be the first slotted on either wing.  Of course all Lletget does is score so don’t be surprised to see him slotted as a starter in the midfield with Weston McKinney tonight.  I could see Letget or Musah getting the nod as dual attacking mids.

Tonight this is what I see as the starting line-up barring injuries we don’t know about.

Sargent

Pulisic/Reyna

McKinney/Lletget or Musah

Adams or Yueill if Adams is hurt

Robinson/Brooks/McKensie/Dest

Steffan

I think Dest will move back to the right back and Robinson will plug in as a better actual defender vs Honduras tonight.  Of course Berhalter could surprise us and go with 3 in the back tonight – but that would cost him Musah or Lletget in the midfield as #8s?  I think that might be a move we make vs Mexico as opposed to the game tonight vs Honduras. HUGE GAME TONIGHT FOR US SOCCER in a MUST WIN SCENARIO. We are at home playing an inferior Honduras squad – we must win and convincingly for the US to show progress with our new young talent.  Honestly the US needs to win tonight and again on Sunday vs Mexico to start to show the potential this group possesses and whether Burhalter is the right man to take us there.      

Christian Pulisic becomes First US Man to Play in Champions League Win

Wow an American has actually won and lifted the Champions League trophy in a game that he played in and almost scored.  I will admit I was teed off when Chelsea coach Tuchell did not start Pulisic on Saturday.  I wanted to see an American lined up listening to the best anthem in sports – the Champions League anthem.  But it was not to be as Pulisic didn’t come on until the 60th minute or so.  He did have an impact however as his hold up play and darting runs toward goal were impressive.  He just missed the chance at a put away goal as his shot was just wide of the goal late.  Still impressive to see an American have an impact on a Champions League final – great to see him with his USA hoody holding the trophy with his parents by his side. 

I was not surprised to see Chelsea win the game when the GREAT Pep Guardiola posted his starting line-up with no defensive midfielder.  Tuchell beat him at the mindgames again – with his 3rd straight win over a superior and much more expensive Man City team.  Chelsea’s defensive shape held thru and the quick counter attack was ripe for the taking with no defensive midfielder for City.  Not sure why Pep is held in such high regard – while spending the most money in the world he’s managed to win league titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich (not tough) and now Man City.  His only real success in Champions League was with Barcelona with the perhaps the best ever player in Messi and certainly the best midfield with Messi, Insausti and Javi.  He’s a very good coach – but he’s also had the most money to spend over the past few seasons and this is the first time he got City past the quarter finals.  Anyway both shocking and Great to see Chelsea and especially Pulisic lift the Champions League trophy.  Certainly wasn’t expected this season!  Oh and 3.65 million watching on CBS was a 100% increase over 2019 when combined English CBS and Spanish Univision– and that’s without what is estimated over 300K watching on Paramount plus.  Cool video on Christian’s hometown pride

2021 Champions League Final TV Ratings (Average Viewers)

  • CBS: 2.095 million
  • Univision: 1.55 million
  • Total: 3.65 million

Indy 11 home Saturday – Pride Game  

Our Indy 11 are back at the Mike fresh off a huge road victory 2-1 over Louisville and a hard fought 1-1 tie vs OKC.  The game on My Indy TV and ESPN+ on Saturday night 7 pm  vs Memphis 901 will be Gay Pride night with a special ticket and tshirt offer for fans. Limited Tickets are still available visit here !!  The Indy Eleven are unbeaten in its last three times out (2W-0L-1D) and pushed Indiana’s Team back atop the Central Division standings, its 10 points even with Birmingham Legion FC.

CARMEL FC  2021 Tryout and Evaluation Information

All evaluations and tryouts will be held at Shelborne Fields. 3451 W 126th St, Carmel, IN 46032.

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June 8, 2021 – Players 10u, 9u and 8u (Birth Years 2012 to 2015)

Check-in starts 1/2 hour before evaluations begin.

Evaluations for all age groups: 6pm to 7:30pm

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June 14, 2021- Players 11u and older (Birth Years 2003 to 2011)

Check-in starts 1/2 hour before tryouts.

Tryouts for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011: 5:45pm to 7:15pm

Tryouts for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007: 7:30pm to 9pm.
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Registration Link: Click Here To Register  Please email  info@cdccarmelfc.com. with any questions. 

2021 Alumni/College Age Soccer League
High School graduates, college students, young professionals come join our soccer league this summer!

Who can play? ages 18-30, experienced, new to the sport and anyone wanting to be active and meet new people. 
When does it start/end? Mid- June through early August  Where? Shelborne Soccer Fields 3451 W. 126th Street
Cost? 105.00 (no annual fee or volunteer fee apply to this league).  Do I have to be a Carmel resident? There is no residency requirement for this program. 
Please click here to register for this league.  Registration is open now- June 12   Jerseys and socks are provided  Questions please contact the office 317-846-1663 or email info@carmeldadsclub.org

Good Luck to the 4 Carmel FC teams for advancing to this weekend’s President Cup and Challenge Cup Finals games at Grand Park 2009 Gold Girls, 2010 Boys Gold, 2008 Gold Boys, 2007 Gold Boys.  

Summer of Soccer 

European Championships  June 11 – July 7  ESPN

Copa America  June 13 to July 10 FS1, FS2, Univision

Olympics US Ladies July 21-Aug 5  NBC

Gold Cup July 10 –  Aug 1 FS1, FS2

 GAMES ON TV

Thurs, June 3 

2:45 pm ESPN+                  Belgium vs Greece Friendly

3 pm ESPNU                       U21 Euros Netherlands vs Germany

7:30 pm Univ+CBSSN USA vs Honduras  Nations League Semis

10 pm Para+                      Mexico vs Costa Rica

Fri, June 4

1:30 pm ESPN                    Spain vs Portugal Friendly

Sat, June 5

7 pm ESPN+                Indy Eleven vs Memphis 901

7 pm Para+                         NY/NJ Gotham FC vs OL Reign  NWSL

Sun, June 6

2 pm Para+                         KC vs Houston Dash NWSL

3 pm ESPN2                        Euro U21 Finals

6:30 pm Para+            3rd place game Nations League 

9 pm Para+CBSSN      Finals – Nations League 

Wed, June 9

7 pm ESPN2                US Men vs Costa Rica

Thur, June 10

8:30 PM ET FS1           US Women vs Portugal

MLS Schedule

NWSL Season TV Schedule

Euro’s TV Schedule

Copa Schedule

EUROS + COPA America 2021

(all times ET; coverage starts about 30 minutes before kickoff; all games also stream on ESPN+)

Friday, June 11

Group A – Turkey vs. Italy, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Univision, TUDN)

Saturday, June 12

Group A – Wales vs. Switzerland, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Denmark vs. Finland, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group B – Belgium vs. Russia, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)

Sunday, June 13

Group D – England vs. Croatia, 8:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Austria vs. North Macedonia, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Group C – Netherlands vs. Ukraine, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

US MEN
How will USMNT line up v Honduras in CONCACAF Nations League semi?

USMNT – Honduras, Nations League SF: Preview, projected lineups, how to watch

USA vs. Honduras, Concacaf Nations League Semifinal: What to watch for

U.S. validate recent progress but room for improvement remains
Three things we learned: USMNT 1-2 Switzerland

3 TakeAways from US Lost to Swiss  Matt Doyle MLS.com

Berhalter Feels Positive about team Performance despite the 2-1 loss  Charles Boehm

USA vs. Switzerland, 2021 Friendly: What we learned By Adnan Ilyas

USA vs. Switzerland, 2021 friendly: Man of the Match By Donald Wine II
USMNT falls to Switzerland as critical summer kicks off


Pulisic ‘proud’ of ‘inspirational’ young USMNT talent in Europe

Tim Weah returns to the USMNT ready to prove his worth

With Champions League Title, Pulisic Continues To Break Barriers For American Players

Champions League

Pulisic’s Champions League win headlines American run on European silverware
Pulisic on becoming 1st U.S. man to play in, win Champions League Final

Pulisic Watch: How did USMNT star perform for Chelsea v. Man City?

Tuchel says he sensed Chelsea would win Champions League

Champions League fallout: Where should Man City go from here?

Guardiola the fall guy as Man City’s Champions League anguish goes 

Disappointed Guardiola eyes UCL final return, different ending

De Bruyne faces race to make Euro after facial fractures

Soccer-Tuchel factor brings new life to Premier League race

 

USA vs. Honduras, Concacaf Nations League Semifinal: What to watch for

We preview what the USMNT will need to do in order to secure the win. By Donald Wine II@blazindw  Jun 2, 2021, 6:01am PDT – Stars and Stripes

The United States Men’s National Team will begin their quest for a trophy this weekend in Denver as they compete alongside Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras in the Concacaf Nations League Finals. First up is a semifinal match tomorrow against Honduras. The USMNT will want to get out to a hot start against Los Catrachos in order to book their trip to the Final. It’s the first trophy in this competition’s history, so there’s added incentive for the USMNT to win and forever be known as its first winner.

Latest Form

USA

L (1-2) – Switzerland – Friendly

W (2-1) – Northern Ireland – Friendly

W (7-0) – Trinidad and Tobago – Friendly

W (6-0) – El Salvador – Friendly

W (6-2) – Panama – Friendly

Honduras

L (1-2) – Greece – Friendly

D (1-1) – Belarus – Friendly

L (1-2) – Guatemala – Friendly

D (1-1) – Nicaragua – Friendly

W (4-0) – Trinidad & Tobago – Concacaf Nations League

What To Watch For

Finish chances. Against Switzerland, the USMNT did a decent job in the first half of creating opportunities, but they just didn’t finish them. Against Honduras, they will be able to use our creative attackers to cut holes through the defense. But, it doesn’t mean a thing if they can’t punch it home. Whoever plays as the 9 will be very important because he has to be super dangerous and keep the pressure on the Honduran defense.

Control the midfield. Our midfield will be extremely important in keeping possession and ensuring that nothing gets behind them to the defense on counters. We want to keep the ball moving forward and keep Honduras on their back heels. If our preferred midfield is healthy and ready to go, we should have the advantage there. Let’s exploit it.

Dominate quickly. The guys who played 90 minutes on Sunday in St. Gallen looked gassed towards the end of the match when they were pushing for a goal. So it’s simple: dominate the match early. Get the goals you need early so that you can rest guys and rotate people in to save legs for Sunday.

Lineup Prediction

We’re going to assume that everyone on the 23-man roster is fully fit and available for selection. With that being the case, I think head coach Gregg Berhalter is gonna to put out what he thinks is his best lineup to get the win:

Sargent

Pulisic/Reyna

McKinney/Musah

Adams

Robinson/Brooks/McKensie/Dest

Steffan

Zack Steffen is back after being on the bench for Manchester City in the Champions League final, and he assumes his place as the #1 goalkeeper. Sergiño Dest will start on the right this time on the back line, with Antonee Robinson operating as the left back. This should hopefully give Dest more room to play his game. John Brooks and Mark McKenzie looked to be a good centerback pairing, and they get the start.Tyler Adams, held out against Switzerland to rest, gets the start in the middle, and he is joined by Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah. The midfield is going to be important, and with Adams back there, Musah and McKennie have the freedom to move forward as well.For the forwards, Champions League winner Christian Pulisic is back as well, and he will be on the left side for the USMNT. Gio Reyna again gets the start on the right, where he can hopefully partner with Dest in space on the right flank. Up front, Josh Sargent will be the man, and he will look to show that he can be the first choice at the 9 for the United States for these big time matches.

Prediction

The USMNT take a few minutes to get their legs under them, as Honduras tries to bog the game down in the trenches. The USMNT eventually get going and open up the scoring in the middle of the first half, and they don’t look back. The USMNT win 3-0 to move onto the Nations League Final on Sunday.

 

Gregg Berhalter feels “very positive” about USMNT’s performance in Switzerland loss

By Charles Boehm @cboehm Sunday, May 30, 2021, 07:23 PM

The US men’s national team turned in something of a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance in Sunday’s 2-1 friendly loss to Switzerland, matching and occasionally besting the No. 13-ranked team in the world in the first half before losing their grip and surrendering one clear scoring chance after another in the second 45 minutes.With a Concacaf Nations League semifinal vs. Honduras looming on Thursday, head coach Gregg Berhalter took an optimistic approach in his postgame press conference.

“It was very positive,” said Berhalter. “The attitude of how we want to play, and the positioning and the intention to be very aggressive, very high-pressing, pinning them in, dealing well with balls that came out, that’s what I envision this group being able to do.“Over the course of 90 minutes we lost a bit of that power to be able to do it, but overall I think the guys did a great job. And the game plan was there – we were able to move the ball, create goal-scoring opportunities and really put them in a bunch of trouble. So to me it’s positive. I don’t love the result, I think we could have gotten a tie in this game, perhaps if the finishing is a little bit better we can even get a win. But the guys did a great effort and it’s a great measuring stick.”

The USMNT troubled the Swiss out of the gates with the aggressive pressing posture out of a 4-3-3 formation that has become their favored setup, and took an early lead via the impressive Sebastian Lletget. However their hosts adapted their own tactics after halftime and grew all too comfortable passing through the United States’ ranks as the past week of high-altitude training took its toll down the stretch.

“The first half, we had it pretty under control. I mean, we’ve had elevation training and we’re doing our thing and trying to prepare and we’re working hard throughout the week,” said USMNT captain Weston McKennie. “So I think it’s not so much of what didn’t work, I think it’s just more a little bit heavy on the legs to maintain pressing like we did in the first half throughout the whole game.“But we’ll look back at the video and Gregg will definitely go over with us how we can fix that or how we can pick and choose, I guess, when we want to stay back and let them play in front and when we want to press.”Led by veterans playing in Europe’s top leagues, Switzerland are preparing for a big summer of their own at the UEFA European Championship and are less than two weeks out from their Group A opener vs. Wales, with rugged-looking fixtures against Italy and Turkey to follow.Their quality rose to the surface after the break as Steven Zuber exploited disorganization in the US defense to tap home a simple winner in the 63rd minute before Breel Embolo ran riot in the latter stages, forcing Ethan Horvath to make some big saves to keep the scoreline from spinning out of control.“So we definitely lost compactness in the second half,” said Berhalter. “They changed their shape to a 5-3-2 having a central midfielder behind our pressing forward, and we didn’t really solve that well. It started to open up space, gave them time on the ball, forced our backline to move back a little bit and that created more space in midfield. When they dropped one of the strikers down also, they started creating the numbers there that we didn’t do the best job of dealing with.”He and his staff have structured this international window to replicate the intense schedules and squad rotation that awaits them in World Cup qualifying later this year, so Thursday’s lineup could look quite different. Berhalter suggested that Sunday’s skilled opponents provided not only a test and a bit of a reality check, but also a model.

“This is a team that has been playing together for a really long time, it’s the same group that Switzerland’s had for the last four years, five years. So it’s a mature group, it’s an older group than us and our guys can look at that as what this team could be in the future,” said the coach.“When you see the [US] group and you see the potential this group has and see how they can come here without fear and really take the game to Switzerland says a lot about this generation of players. And it’s exciting. I think part of my job as a coach is to find the balance between high pressing and stability, and we didn’t always have that today, and I’ll take responsibility for that. But other than that, these guys are ready to go.” 

U.S. continue to show progress vs. Switzerland but key areas of improvement remain

May 30, 2021Kyle BonaguraESPN Staff Writer

Heading into this week’s CONCACAF Nations League Finals in Denver and, more importantly, World Cup qualifying in the fall, what the United States men’s national team needed more than anything was a step up in competition. Its nine-match unbeaten streak over the past 18 months was at least partially a product of the quality of the opposition, which made Sunday’s match on the road against Switzerland, the No. 13-ranked team in the world, a valuable barometer for coach Gregg Berhalter.The results were mixed. After a strong first-half performance in which Sebastian Lletget scored the opening goal, the Americans faded after halftime while playing at altitude in a 2-1 loss. Berhalter has said all week part of the goal for this match — from its location to the day of the week — was to mimic the timeline for what the team will face in the unusual upcoming three-game World Cup qualifying windows. Playing in Switzerland essentially replicates the final club game the European-based players will have before flying across the Atlantic Ocean to take on CONCACAF opposition.Any benefits from the scheduling exercise won’t pay off until the fall, but playing against a strong Switzerland provided a decent snapshot of where the team stands, albeit without three key players: Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen, due to their involvement in Saturday’s Champions League final, and midfielder Tyler Adams, who is rehabbing a back injury.In the first half, the U.S. was the better team on balance. They created the more dangerous scoring chances, were patient and played effectively out of the back and pressed Switzerland into some mistakes in the final third. Sergino Dest was effective pushing forward on the left side, where Brenden Aaronson — who impressed last window and since his move to Austrian champion FC Salzburg in January — was also an energetic presence.

Without Adams, Berhalter handed a start to Jackson Yueill, and he mostly acquitted himself well, dropping deep to serve as an option for center backs John Brooks and Mark McKenzie.

“I think it was it was an interesting game for Jackson, it seemed that he gave [Liverpool‘s Xherdan Shaqiri] a difficult time with this movement and he opened up and got the ball in some good positions,” Berhalter said. “There are a couple times that he lost the ball, but he was feeling the game out. I think his diagonal passing could have been a little bit sharper, but overall pleased with his effort.”Yueill was replaced by Kellyn Acosta in the second half, and both players figure to be in the mix to see playing time in the Nations League with Adams’ status still uncertain. Berhalter said he would receive an update on Adams’ status on Monday, after the team travels to the United States.It was a difficult game for striker Josh Sargent, who wasn’t able to make much of an impact before being subbed off for Jordan Siebatcheu in the 72nd minute. Sargent has always had a reputation for being a talented player expected to come good with time, but as other options at his position have emerged over the past year, it’s fair to question what the depth chart should look like at his position. Daryl Dike finished the season on fire with Barnsley, while Siebatcheu scored 15 goals in all competitions for Swiss champion Young Boys. Siebatcheu didn’t necessarily improve his standing, either, on Sunday, but the idea that Sargent deserves the benefit of the doubt has become less convincing the longer he goes without being a consistent scoring threat.Despite Sargent’s minimal impact in front of goal, Berhalter praised the job he did in other aspects of the game.”I think that he had a game where he gave everything he got. He battled,” Berhalter said. “I think he played a good game save for scoring a goal, because that’s what we want our forward to do. But other than that, very active, very committed.”Darryl Dike isn’t on the Nations League roster, but he is with the team in this camp and is expected to play against Costa Rica on June 9. Timothy Weah has been training primarily as a winger with the team but is another option Berhalter could experiment with at the No. 9 spot, having played there some with French champion Lille.The U.S. had some decent moments to start the second half, but it didn’t take long for Switzerland to tip the scales in its favor after switching from a 3-4-1-2 to a 5-3-2 formation. By using a central midfielder behind the American’s pressing No. 9, Switzerland played through the press more easily, and it led to several good chances — with goalkeeper Ethan Horvath coming up big on a few occasions to keep the score within reach.Switzerland’s game winner came almost immediately after the U.S. took off Lletget, Yueill and center back John Brooks, with Acosta, Tim Ream and Yunus Musah coming on. A stray touch by Dest and some suspect defending in the box allowed the ball to bounce around before Steven Zuber beat Horvath.”It’s a great measuring stick,” Berhalter said. “This is a team that has been playing together for a really long time. It’s the same group that Switzerland has had for the last four years, five years. It’s a mature group, it’s older than us and our guys can look at that as what this team could be in the future.”Berhalter didn’t completely tip his hand at what to expect in the starting lineup against Honduras in the Nations League semifinals on Thursday but indicated that Pulisic was firmly in the plans.”Try to tell Christian that he’s not playing on Thursday,” he said. “It’s gonna be a very difficult one coming off of winning the Champions League, coming in the game making an impact in that game. He’s ready to go.”

Three takeaways from USMNT loss to Switzerland

By Matthew Doyle @MattDoyle76

Sunday, May 30, 2021, 05:23 PM

The US men’s national team kicked off this summer of soccer with a pretty blah 2-1 loss at Switzerland on Sunday afternoon.here were some good moments, and it was unmistakably a friendly in terms of the urgency with which it was(n’t) played, so I don’t think anybody should be panicking. But there were also some bad moments, and that lack of urgency is a concern in and of itself given how close the US are to games that actually matter who whole damn bunch.

Real quick on that: Friendlies are friendlies, and good teams know how to work their way through them and find good stuff to learn and take away from them, then apply them for real when the whistle blows in official competitions. But history is littered with teams who did only part of that and were just never able to flip that switch, get out of third gear and get into “must-win” mode.

I think we saw some of that with the US U23s in Concacaf Olympic qualifying. I’m sure their build-up patterns looked nice and well-rehearsed in training, but once the games started for real they didn’t match the energy of their opponents at any point. And we have received lesson after lesson over the past decade — including a gigantic one in Couva — about how it is an absolute necessity to play this game with some urgency.I don’t love how clearly that was missing today. I am, in fact, very worried about that.Anyway, I’m tired of writing “it’s just a friendly.” We’ll get the real thing on Thursday (7:30 pm ET | TUDN, Paramount +) when the US play Honduras in the Concacaf Nations League semis.

1

Taking the test

US head coach Gregg Berhalter sat down with Bobby Warshaw for a preview of this entire camp about a week ago, and in it he said one of the ways he was looking at this particular game against Switzerland was as a test for Jackson Yueill and Kellyn Acosta in particular, as well as Mark McKenzie, Brenden Aaronson and a few others. These players broadly fall into the “talented newcomers” category, but not in the way that the likes of Gio Reyna and Sergino Dest — remember, they’re both still newcomers as well — do.

Reyna and Dest are so talented that you just have to figure out a way to get them out there. Yunus Musah might be as well, and there are a few others on that list.

Yueill, Acosta, McKenzie and Aaronson are a cut below that, and the roles they’re fighting for are clearly defined. “Reliable backup” is the bar that needs to be cleared.

To that end I think this game served as a positive data point for McKenzie, Aaronson and especially Yueill, who had more of a direct defensive impact in his hour on the pitch than I think I’ve ever seen from him. I threw together a mini comp of his defensive interventions over just a small slice of the first half, and he was everywhere:

Yes, that included him pantsing his Swiss counterpart Denis Zakaria to set up that chance for Dest. I did not see that coming, and neither did Zakaria.

This is the test for Yueill. There aren’t many questions about his ability to pass the ball at a high level (though he played it way too safe for my tastes today), but there are valid questions about his ability to be, at the very least, “acceptable” against the likes of Zakaria.

He passed the test, as did McKenzie, who played as a right center back. In fact I’d say both passed the test so well in the first hour that Switzerland changed their approach and, instead of trying to play through central midfield or attack the US right, they almost exclusively switched to going at the US left side.

Aaronson passed the test for the first half before struggling a bit in the second. I also thought there were some communication issues between he and Dest — often when Dest came inside off the ball in possession, Aaronson didn’t stay wide to present John Brooks a wide option in distribution. That is the kind of thing that can be ironed out in film sessions.

Acosta did not pass the test. He looked energetic, but not entirely comfortable reading and breaking up plays as a No. 6, and didn’t track the run that led directly to the second Swiss goal.

2

The disconnect

Whether he’s at right back or left, Dest is an inimitable attacking weapon. He has to be out there, but it’s increasingly clear that one problem Berhalter must solve is how to keep him out there without him becoming a defensive liability.

Dest was caught up, in no man’s land pressing no one, on the first Switzerland goal. He conceded a penalty that was missed. His failed clearance led to the second Switzerland goal. In between all of that, there was this:

Armchair Analyst_ Dest caught up

That’s not all on Dest, obviously. Weston McKennie got turned and allowed Switzerland to play through the first line of midfield pressure too easily on that first break-out. On the second, it was a mess of a 50/50 that turned into a quick transition moment (which is basically the definition of modern soccer, so yes, that is a teamwide concern).

Nonetheless there’s a reason Taylor Twellman was talking so much on the broadcast about the 3-4-2-1 the US played back in March, one that puts Dest at wingback instead of fullback and thereby limits the fallout from his occasional defensive indiscretions. You want to be able to get him forward, but you don’t want the trade-off to be “John Brooks is going to have to make multiple plays in the open field while backpedaling.”

That is not a good trade-off for any center back in the world, but especially for Brooks. Dest either has to get better at sniffing out when opposing attacks are aiming for the gap behind him (and then, you know, getting back!) or Berhalter might have to scrap the 4-3-3 against good opponents when Dest is out there.

You can absolutely get better at recognizing those patterns, by the way. Alphonso Davies did for Bayern Munich, and that’s what propelled him from “devastating attacking fullback” to “probably the best left back in the whole damn world.”

Dest is an unquestioned starter for the US, and the way the team is set up and is supposed to play is designed to fit his strengths. He’s got to minimize his weaknesses so that the whole system can function better.

3

No. 9 up for grabs

I have long been a card-carrying member of the “Josh Sargent will figure it out when he’s in a coherent system with talented teammates.”

He has that with the USMNT. At this point, though, I think I am more discouraged by his lack of goalscoring output than I am encouraged by the fact he did, in fact, make a number of good and dangerous runs in this one. He really was trying to be a threat and often was, but the payoff was not… great. It was not great.

More frustrating is the reason Sargent presumably tops the No. 9 depth chart is because of his link play, which has occasionally been awesome (I still fondly remember that Peru game a couple years back). In this game it was non-existent to the point of being a liability rather than a strength.

The competition for this spot is wide open. I suspect we’ll see Jordan Siebatcheu get a crack at it for at least a few minutes vs. Honduras, and it seems likely that Daryl Dike is going to get the final game of this camp, a friendly vs. Costa Rica. Gyasi Zardes is, of course, still waiting in the wings.

I don’t know who we’ll consider the starter by the time World Cup qualifying begins in September. I just hope that whoever it is earns the job, rather than takes it by default.

 

USA vs. Switzerland, 2021 Friendly: What we learned

Here’s what we learned from a USMNT loss to a tough Swiss team in advance of the Nations League Finals.

By Adnan Ilyas@Adnan7631  May 31, 2021, 12:48pm PDT

Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team took on Switzerland in a friendly match in St. Gallen. Alas, the USMNT walked away in defeat, falling 2-1 to the home side. It was a match that showed both a lot of promise, but also a lot of points to improve on.

Over the past year or so, I’ve had to put in a bit of a disclaimer about the quality of the opponent in this part of the article. Because of COVID-19, the USMNT hasn’t been able to play many matches, and they’ve all come against either relatively weak opponents or opposition fielding a weakened side for whatever reason. Against Switzerland, that wasn’t the case. I don’t know if the starting 11 that we saw from the Swiss was necessarily their best, but it was most certainly a very strong team. Every single Swiss player who took the field plays with a Champions League team or with a top flight club in England, Germany, or Italy. While Switzerland isn’t stocked with any superstars, they are stocked with experienced professionals plying their trade in the top clubs at every position. For the first time in a very long time, the opposition’s players come from clubs that are just as prestigious as the USMNT’s, if not more so. This was a stern test for the national team, with the USMNT ranked as the underdogs, and we should evaluate the match as exactly that. With that said, let’s get started.

What’s with Sebastian Lletget?

We came into the match knowing that there would be a few changes from the expected starting lineup. Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen were with their respective clubs for the Champions League Final just the day before, so we knew they were going to be out. We also knew that Tyler Adams very well likely was out due to a back injury. The only real question for the lineup seemed to be who would step up and take Aaron Long’s centerback spot now that he’s out with a long-term injury (evidently, it was Mark McKenzie that earned the start). However, Berhalter threw in another wrinkle into the lineup that caught me by surprise. It had seemed like Yunus Musah was the starter for one of the two box-to-box midfield roles alongside Weston McKennie. And you know what? I was a bit disappointed that Musah didn’t start the match. He’s consistently been a good presence in the lineup, even though he’s still only 18. He meshes with the other starting midfielders (Adams and McKennie), he presses well, and he is so deft while on the ball that it’s extremely difficult to take the ball away from him. Sitting him on the bench seemed wrong. But to Sebastian Lletget’s credit, he took his opportunity. Not only did the Galaxy man get the MNT’s early goal, he arguably was the team’s best player through the first half. It looked like the swap worked. But why though? What’s the logic behind starting Lletget?

I think the key here is to think about overall midfield composition and about the team’s overall offensive/defensive balance. On the offensive side, the USMNT is missing their most threatening player, Christian Pulisic. On the defensive side, the team is also missing their most proactive player, Tyler Adams. To compensate for those two absences, the team needs to make some adjustments. While you can slot Brendan Aaronson and Jackson Yueill (respectively) into those roles, they can’t replicate what Pulisic and Adams do. Instead, you need to make decisions and sacrifices in order to compensate. On the defensive front, the move is rather clear: have McKennie hang back and contribute more on defense. But if McKennie isn’t making those attacking runs, you now have a bigger attacking deficit.

And I think that’s where the logic is for swapping Musah out for Lletegt. Musah does not have the same offensive output as either McKennie or Lletget. He doesn’t make those runs dangerous into the box. And the numbers reflect this. In the five games he’s appeared in with the national team, Musah has 0 goals and 1 assist. And that one assist has a pretty big asterisk given the nature of that goal. In those exact same games, Lletget has 4 goals, 0 assists (he has an additional goal in that time frame against El Salvador in a match that Musah was unavailable in). Offensively speaking, Lletget is just doing more things. You can see exactly that from this game. Lletget led the team in shots. And his goal reflects this.

At the start of the clip, Lletget is already in the box, moving to present a possible option for Gio Reyna to pass to. Before Lletget can get to that spot, Reyna puts in a cross towards Sargent. Lletget responds to that by turning past his man and tucking in towards Sargent, in the exact place where the ball would most likely go if the defense can’t clear it on the first try. Lo and behold, that’s essentially what happens. Nico Elvedi gets to the ball well ahead of Sargent and makes a poor effort to clear the ball, pinging it straight into Lletget’s foot. Lletget does well to react quickly and play the ball straight to Aaronson before receiving the ball back and scoring.

A lot of people will chock this kind of play up to luck. Indeed, it is a bit fortunate that Elvedi screwed his play up. But Lletget is in that position for precisely this kind of scenario. He’s there to try and snag second balls. While we can say that getting the chance was based on luck, scoring it was not. Because it was a calculated move, a calculated and aggressive move, in order to potentially score a goal. Lletget gets so many opportunities and so many goals precisely because he consistently makes those kinds of calculated and aggressive moves. And we can’t say the same about Musah. Indeed, in this game, the number of shots the USMNT had dropped after Lletget came off for Musah. You can’t go and say that’s because of Musah; there were other substitutions and the Swiss adjusted their game plan. But it does make sense.

However, there are tradeoffs for playing Lletget over Musah and it would be remiss to ignore them. Both Lletget and Musah press energetically and contribute a lot defensively. But Musah presents a far better outlet when the US is being pressed and needs to keep possession. In this game, we had Gio Reyna on the right wing, so the team still had someone who could do that role, so that skill didn’t go missing. But Reyna isn’t the same kind of direct offensive threat that a player like Tim Weah or Jordan Morris is. Considering that the team couldn’t turn enough of their chances into goals, perhaps it would have been worth it to have Weah and Musah on instead of Reyna and Lletget? That feels too hazy for me to make a call on, especially since Lletget scored while Reyna played pretty well, but that trade off might be worth taking a second look at in other circumstances.

Left (Back) in the Dust

I spent 2019 complaining about how the USMNT under Gregg Berhalter struggled to win the ball back without Tyler Adams, particularly against good opposition. One of the promising things to take away from this match was the fact that, even though the team didn’t have Adams, the team still had a way to win the ball back. The press implemented by the USMNT was startlingly effective at strangling the Swiss offense. McKennie, Lletget, and Aaronson relentlessly closed down Swiss players in possession and contested 50/50 balls, while Yueill stalked passing lanes (I mentioned in the recap that Yueill kicked off the move for the goal by intercepting the ball). Through the first half, the Swiss offense was constrained to a total of two shots. That’s a pretty good record! The problem was that the first shot, while a speculative effort from outside the box with a defender in the way, took a nasty deflection and went in. The second one was a penalty and also should have gone in.

The big defensive concern in this game, all through the entire match, turned out to be Sergiño Dest. The FC Barcelona man did not have a good outing at left back. He repeatedly was caught too high up the field, allowing the Swiss attack to get into dangerous places.

We only saw glimpses of the problem in the first half, but not only were those the only real defensive issues in the half, they presented major failures. On Switzerland’s opening goal, Dest pressed over-aggressively and went way too high up the field, leaving acres of room in behind him. McKennie didn’t shade over to take up the space and that left John Brooks isolated 2 vs. 1, unable to do anything to prevent the cross. Conceding the penalty was more unfortunate than an outright mistake on Dest’s part (under the current hand-ball rules, I think that one’s iffy, and I think the current hand-ball rules are terrible) but nonetheless, Dest could have avoided this by being tighter on his man. With better defending and awareness from Dest, the game could have been 1-0 for the US, instead of 1-1, or, if the penalty had gone in, even 2-1 in favor of the opposition.

In the second half, Switzerland took Dest’s struggles and made it into an entire attack plan. Instead of trying to play through the wood chipper that was the US midfield, the Swiss decided to just bypass it and try and attack down the right as aggressively as possible. If Dest was too high up the field, John Brooks would be isolated and forced to scramble against one of the Swiss strikers. And Dest was often too high up the field. The result was that Breel Embolo skinned John Brooks twice, before forcing some heroics from Ethan Horvath. The third time Switzerland tried to find Embolo matched up against the American left center back, this time Tim Ream, Embolo missed the ball, only for Dest to make a hash of it and hand him the ball. Tim Ream couldn’t scramble effectively enough and Zuber tucked it in.

Look, in spite of this result, we know that Sergiño Dest is going to be a starter for the national team. The question isn’t whether he plays or not; it’s whether he plays on the left or the right. Still, defensive issues like the ones clearly present in this match can’t be allowed to become systemic problems, otherwise good teams will always find ways to exploit them. If Dest is playing but isn’t sufficiently defensively sound, it will force changes in the lineup and formation to compensate. I really don’t like a 3 center-back formation for the USMNT. It necessarily requires taking a midfielder out in order to field another defender. And that has ramifications for the rest of the team. Taking a midfielder away mitigates the America press, and neuters the (too-often struggling) American attack. And that means sorting out Dest’s defensive frailty needs to be a top priority.

Pragmatism and Naivety

I believe the USMNT should have won this game.Throughout the first half, the USMNT created plenty of chances and almost entirely limited the opposition’s offensive ability. That first half was legitimately a good display against a top-15 team.The problem was that the first half was a good display and not a good result. And while the first half was really good, the second half was bad. I’ve already talked about the defensive frailties. But I now want to talk about experience. The Swiss team had it, the American one didn’t. And you know what? I think the real difference between the display and the result, between the first half and the second, was that gulf in experience.We’ve seen the core of the American side for what feels like a while now. While he missed this game, Pulisic’s still been with the national team since 2016. Josh Sargent, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, and Reggie Cannon all came into the program way back around 2018. The truth is, while we’ve been seeing some of these players for years at this point, they are almost all still quite young and still quite green, especially at the international level. Among the starters against Switzerland, only Horvath, Brooks, and Lletget were over the age of 22. None of the starting players had 50 caps (including that game), with Brooks (41) being the only one who even gets close.In contrast, the Swiss team was stocked with experienced players in their prime. While only one player was at least 30 (substitute Admir Mehmedi), none of the players who took the field for Switzerland were under the age of 23. The Swiss lineup also had way more international experience. The American starting 11 had a cumulative 149 caps, including this match. The Swiss lineup had 586, nearly quadruple as many caps as the Americans. The Swiss captain, Granit Xhaka, has by far more caps than the entire midfield and attacking line combined. No matter how you look at the numbers, the Swiss team had way more experience.And that experience made a difference. While the Swiss couldn’t keep back the American attack in the first half, they were able to organize and mitigate the threat. The result was that, while the MNT got a lot of shots, none of the chances were individually all that great, with the exception of the goal. The Swiss were organized and diligent about keeping numbers between the MNT and goal. And in the second half, the Swiss were able to use their experience to identify and exploit a weakness in the American line. The Swiss were pragmatic, limited their risk, and attacked specific weak points after allowing the US to tire. It was a game plan built and executed on experience with the game at the highest levels.I think one of the big shortcomings that we saw in the game was the relative naivety of the American team. I don’t think it’s an accident that the one player who scored, the one player who demonstrated the most attacking urgency, was the one attacking player who already has a decade-long career. The trouble with youthfulness is that you can’t just swap things around to fix things. To get experience, you have to play through the problems. I think that’s what happened here. And, given the state of the team, I think that requires some patience from us, the fans. It’s good to have expectations of success, to demand that the team perform well. But we should be realistic that the team will struggle at times, that they will fall short. The important thing is to keep a focus on the big picture, to watch that the overall quality continues to improve.

Closing Thoughts

Mark McKenzie was good. No further comment from me at this time.

Ethan Horvath was also really good. Like, really, really good. It’s a shame he doesn’t get regular playing time because his shot stopping was excellent.

Josh Sargent really needs to start scoring goals. You can see from this game that Sargent was making some dangerous runs, but he needs to start scoring them. He hasn’t scored for the national team since 2019 and even then, 3 of his 5 goals came against Cuba.

The attacking shape was really narrow. The USMNT probably could have benefitted from seeing the attacking players spread out across more of the field. With both Aaronson (11) and Reyna (7) coming inside, while Sargent (9) dropped deep, the whole attacking band was too consolidated in one place. One of the reasons having Lletget (17) in the side seemed to work likely was that he makes runs up past the striker, stretching the field vertically. In contrast, both Aaronson and Reyna (especially Reyna) like to come inside, making the shape too narrow. Some balance is needed here. This is one place where Christian Pulisic, or even Jordan Morris, were really missed.

Pass network for USMNT, taken from MLSsoccer.com

I though Reyna had a pretty good game, but he needs to diversify his skills a bit. It’s really easy to make comparisons between Gio Reyna and Pulisic. They both came out of the Dortmund youth program as wingers. They demonstrated both talent and potential as teenagers. They are both extremely technical competent and skillful on the ball. But the way that they play is really quite different. Pulisic’s game is ruthlessly goal-oriented; he’s constantly trying to move the ball past defenders and towards goal, whether by dribbling or by passing. Reyna is more about having and controlling the ball and creating space for himself to shoot or cross. I’ve noticed he takes a lot of shots from outside the box. In this game, he hit the post. I’m just thinking, if Reyna can make his runs and positioning a little more aggressive, he can turn more of those outside-the-box shots into inside-the-box shots, and thereby turn more of his shots into goals.

USMNT analysis

Breaking down the U.S. team’s 2-1 friendly loss to Switzerland in St. Gallen

The United States national team was defeated by Swtizerland 2-1 as part of a friendly ahead of Thursday’s Nations League semifinal against Honduras. Berhalter’s team started off strong but was done in by a lackluster secnd half where it struggled defensively. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta is here with his thoughts. 

BY BRIAN SCIARETTA MAY 30, 2021  7:00 PM

THE UNITED STATES dropped a 2-1 decision to Switzerland in St. Gallen in its only tune-up friendly ahead of the final rounds of the 2021 Nations League – which will open on Thursday against Honduras in a semifinal in Denver. After six friendlies against either CONCACAF or lower-level European oppositions, this marked a bigger challenge for Gregg Berhalter’s team.Berhalter fielded a strong lineup that used most of the top players that were available to him. Tyler Adams and Antonee Robinson were out carrying injuries while Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen were involved in the Champions League final. he United States actually opened up on the front foot and was the better team for long stretches. The U.S. took the lead in the 5th minute when Sebastian Lletget took advantage of a sloppy clearance from Switzerland to put the team ahead.But from there, Switzerland was able to claw its way back. In the 10th minute, the U.S. team left too much space on a counter attack and a cross-field pass found Torinos Ricardo Rodriguez who was wide open. His shot deflected off Reggie Cannon and past Ethan Horvath – who had no chance – for an equalizer.Just before halftime, Switzerland was awarded a penalty after a handball call on Sergino Dest. On the ensuing kick, however, Rodriguez missed the net with a low shot to the right. Horvath guessed correctly but the shot missed the target.In the second half, Switzerland changed formation and the U.S. the advantage of play it had from the first half. Steven Zuber gave the Swiss the lead in the 63rd minute after a botched set of clearances – that was magnified by an error from Dest.“We definitely lost compactness in the second half,” Berhalter said. “It became difficult to press. They changed their shape to a 5-3-2, having a central midfielder behind their pressing forward – and we didn’t solve that well. It started to open up space, it gave them time on the ball. It forced our backline to move back a bit. That created even more space in the midfield. When they dropped one of their strikers down, also, they started creating numbers there. We didn’t do the best job dealing with it.”“I was really happy with the effort of the guys – the will, and the effort to keep going, keep pressing, keep trying to impose our game on them,” he added. “But in the end of the day, in the second half, I think we came up a little short.”Switzerland was able to see out the victory and the U.S. team lost its ability to aggressively pressure the Swiss defense.Here are my thoughts on the game:

 U.S. MIDFIELD/ATTACK STARTED STRONG

 The U.S. team started off strong and Berhalter was quick to complement this area of the team. He liked the wing play from Aaronson and Reyna while also indicating Josh Sargent’s hold-up play was effective.In the midfield, Lletget was effective and it wasn’t just his goal. He completed 93% of his passing, and won a solid percentage of his duels.. Meanwhile, Weston McKenie covered ground, brought energy, and helped with the team’s passing range. Jackson Yueill, meanwhile, was good with the ball and his passing was pretty good. His defense was mixed. He read the game to break up passing lanes and pick up inceptions but he didn’t close down on defenders quick enough. That will need to improve for him to maintain the Tyler Adams backup No. 6 role. Still, he was pretty good overall.The second half was far more disjointed but this shows that the team will need to be flexible to adjust to different looks from opponents.You could easily tell that Switzerland was a veteran team that had played together for years and was comfortable changing approaches while maintain chemistry. The U.S. team, for all its talent, is still new to each other and is in the process of learning a system under Berhalter.“It was very positive to go away, and just have the attitude of how we want to play and the positioning and the intention to be very aggressive, very high pressing, pinning them in, being very aggressive with balls that came out,” Berhalter said. “That’s what I envision this group of being able to do. Over the course of 90 minutes, we lost a bit of that power to be able to do it. Overall, I think the guys did a great job. The game plan was there, we were able to move the ball, create the goal-scoring opportunities and really put them in a bunch of trouble. To me, it’s positive. I don’t love the result.”“It’s a great measuring stick,” he added. “This is a team that has been playing together for a really long time. It’s the same group Switzerland has had for the last four years or five years. It’s a mature group. It’s an older group than our guys. We can look at it as what this team could be in the future.”The U.S. team is still building, and it on’t get there overnight. The Swiss team is the finished product and their ability to change approaches on the fly is one of the benefits of that.

 TRANSITION DEFENSE NEEDS TO IMPROVE

 The U.S. team needs to adjust to getting into better defensive positioning after a turnover, or when the opponent is on a counter attack. That has been a problem in recent games and was a bigger problem against Switzerland.On Switzerland’s first goal, the U.S. team simply allowed way too much space on the far side of the field. A well-executed long pass across the field opened up the play and the U.S. team was forced into emergency defending.The U.S. is an aggressive team. Its fullbacks like to push forward, Weston McKennie likes to push forward. There are times when it is vulnerable when possession changes quickly. Good teams like Switzerland will make them pay.

 DEST & DEFENSE STRUGGLED IN THE SECOND HALF

 Sergino Dest is easily one of the most talented American players and there is a good reason why he deservedly starts for Barcelona. Today was not one of his better days – and this is granting the penalty as unfortunate accident that could have happened to any defender.There were a few times when Dest showed his elite quality and was part of good chances. But defensively he was careless at a few important moments and was also dispossessed a few other moments.He’s been so good for the team that it makes some subpar games understandable but this was simply a game where he was off.As for the rest of the defense, it was out of synch too often. John Brooks had a lot of work to do with Dest typically looking to get further up the field. Unfortunately, Brooks was unable to always stay with the players he was guarding. McKenzie had more success given that he had more defensive help from Cannon, the fullback, on his side.

 PLAYER RATINGS STARTERS
Ethan Horvath
6.5: The Colorado keeper was put in touch situations by his defense but did a decent job. He couldn’t have done anything for either goal.

Reggie Cannon5.5: No major mistakes from Cannon and he was pretty good at the limited moments he pressed forward.

John Brooks4.5: Struggled in several 1v1 situations and in emergency defending. He is definitely capable of more.

Mark McKenzie5.5: Benefited from having a more defensive fullback on his side but also was the team’s best defender on the day.

Sergino Dest4.5: Tough day for Dest who showed a lot of quality but also made some key mistakes that were costly.

Jackson Yueill5.5: The San Jose defensive midfielder was good with the ball but also needed to close down on space better:

Weston McKennie6.0: The Juventus midfielder brought energy to the game on both sides of the ball. The game would have been worse for the U.S. team without McKennie.

Sebastian Lletget6.5: The Bay Area native was the best U.S. field player on the day. He took a lot of shots, was good with his passing, and deserved the goal. His aggression helped.

Giovani Reyna6.5: While Reyna was frustrated on the day, he was also one of the few American players who had a good day at the office. He was also involved in most of whatever dangerous plays the U.S. team had.

Brenden Aaronson5.5: The Salzburg attacker is playing on the wing but is a better central attacking midfielder. He started off the game playing well but tired in the second half.

Josh Sargent5.5: It was good hold up play from Sargent but he still wasn’t able to threaten too much.

 SUBSTITUTES

 Kellyn Acosta5.5: Acosta completed a perfect 14/14 of his passes.

Tim Ream5.0: Got away with one mistake in a play with Dest.

Yunus Musah5.5: Brought some energy into the midfield but wasn’t a part of anything dangerous.

Jordan Siebatcheu4.5: Just three touches in 18 minutes. He needs to get more involved.

Tim Weah5.0: Was part of one half-dangerous chance in his 18 minutes of action.

DeAndre Yedlin: NR: Played nine minutes, but wasn’t part of anything significant.

USA vs. Switzerland, 2021 friendly: Man of the Match

It was a tough loss for the USMNT, but the community picked the man between the nets as the game’s best.By Donald Wine II@blazindw  Jun 1, 2021, 6:01am PDT

The United States Men’s National Team suffered a 2-1 defeat to Switzerland on Sunday in what was a tough game that had some promise early on. The Swiss fought back into it after the USMNT took an early lead, equalizing 7 minutes later and then eventually getting the game winner in the 2nd half.For the USMNT, there are a few performances that were notable, with several people impressed by the games that Sebastian Lletget, Mark McKenzie, and Brenden Aaronson had. However, the player that had the best match was the #1 on the field, Ethan Horvath. Horvath stopped 3 shots and earned the Man of the Match honors from the SSFC community.The full list of ratings for the USMNT by the SSFC community:

Ethan Horvath – 7.63

Sebastian Lletget – 6.66

Mark McKenzie – 6.21

Brenden Aaronson – 6.20

Gio Reyna – 6.18

Josh Sargent – 6.18

Weston McKennie – 6.12

Yunus Musah – 5.94

John Brooks – 5.87

Sergiño Dest – 5.55

DeAndre Yedlin – 5.32

Reggie Cannon – 5.16

Tim Weah – 5.12

Jordan Siebatcheu – 4.87

Jackson Yueill – 4.73

Kellyn Acosta – 4.66

Tim Ream – 4.04

 

 Tim Weah returns to the USMNT after years of change, ready to prove his worth in ‘hugely talented’ team

 Carlisle  U.S. soccer correspondent

  • FacebookMuch has changed for Timothy Weah since he last played on American soil.The date was Oct. 16, 2018, and the United States men’s national team had just tied Peru 1-1. His 90-plus-minute stint came at a moment when the U.S. was transitioning to a new generation of players. Back then, Weah was a raw prospect, full of hope and potential.In the ensuing years, the Brooklyn-born Weah has experienced a career’s worth of ups and downs. There were league titles with Paris Saint-Germain and Celtic, although he admits he didn’t feel completely part of those teams due to a lack of playing time. That was followed by a lost inaugural season with Lille in which he sustained a trio of hamstring injuries, and considered quitting the game.

Now Weah has come out the other side. The just-completed campaign saw him as part of another league title, as Lille held off PSG’s late charge to finish atop Ligue 1. Weah could have done without the late drama, as his side dropped points down the stretch, making the race tighter than it otherwise might have been. But in the end, Lille was able to prevail over PSG, the former club of both Weah and his father, George, a one-time Ballon d’Or winner with AC Milan, who is now the president of Liberia.”It was a much sweeter fight,” the younger Weah told ESPN about this league title compared to his previous triumphs. “PSG was close to us, and it was a battle. But it was a beautiful story.”

Even more magnificent for Weah is the transition he has made from prospect to solid contributor. His five goals in 37 appearances speak to his consistent presence in the Lille lineup, even as he was asked to play right wing-back at times. But even those numbers don’t quite do him justice. Observers in France noted a more focused player who makes better decisions on the field.”A lot has changed for me,” he said. “I feel much more confident now going into a game than I’ve ever felt before. I just feel like I’m important to the club now, and important to the national team, so you know it’s a good feeling and hopefully I can continue making the coaching staff on both sides [of the Atlantic] proud.”That sentiment is echoed by U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter. He has watched Weah’s progression the past 10 months, and the player’s growth is clear. Weah was in danger of being forgotten, another cautionary tale of a young American player, hyped up at youth level who faded out. Now he’s the attacker who came in from the cold. There might be players like Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna who are in front of him, but he’s placed himself in a position where he can pounce in case of injury or loss of form. And Weah has improved in areas where one might not initially expect.”There’s structure in his game now that I haven’t noticed before,” Berhalter said during a recent Zoom call with reporters. “Particularly on the defensive end, his team is very, very structured, very well-drilled. He understands how to press. He understands how to prevent certain passes from happening and then build pressure at the appropriate time. That’s been really, really good for me to see from him.”When Weah thinks about the past two years, there isn’t enough Dramamine in the world to mitigate the peaks and valleys he endured. He missed six months with a hamstring injury at the start of the 2019-20 season, only for the muscle to give way again when he made his comeback in February of last year. He also alluded to another setback after that.”It was three times, you know?” he said about the series of injuries. “Working through that mentally, not being there to try to play the sport I love, just watching a lot of other guys go by and not getting the chance to be on the field with them was hard. I think any footballer, it takes a toll on you after a while.”But in some respects, Weah knows how lucky he was. In France and elsewhere, people suffered from the pandemic to a much greater degree than he did. So it’s with mixed emotions when he thinks about how it affected him. When Ligue 1 shut down for good in late April 2020, it was a hammer blow for Lille. Les Dogues missed out on qualification to the Champions League by a single point to Stade Rennes. But for Weah, the break bought him more of a commodity that is in short supply during the league season.”I had a lot of time to focus on myself and focus on getting my body right, getting my leg healed and just tapping into a new me and getting better,” he said. “That’s what the pandemic helped me do. Lockdown, I was in the gym 24/7, with one of my trainers.”A recovery from a muscle injury can be tricky, especially in terms of how they can affect a player’s psyche. Will the muscle heal completely? Will it hold in a full sprint? Weah insists he had no doubts, despite the repeated setbacks.”I never thought about getting injured again,” he said. “I wasn’t holding myself back, thinking about, ‘OK, what if I do this? What will happen to my leg? Will I get injured again?’ I really wasn’t thinking about that. My mindset was just, ‘You’re always just pushing your limits. If you get injured, you get injured, but don’t hold yourself back. Just continue pushing forward.’ It’s been great so far. And, you know, I really haven’t had a relapse, and I feel good. I feel fit, 100 percent, and I’m ready to go.”About the only question is where Weah should play. He has been penciled in as a winger or second striker for most of his club career, although the spell as a wing-back gave him a new perspective on the game.”It was different. It was cool having everything in front of me,” he said. “I liked it. I was a bit nervous because you don’t want to slip up on defense, but it was a great feeling. It was something new.”Weah’s recovery, as well as his versatility, has him well positioned to help the U.S. in the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League. Berhalter feels Weah’s best position is still to be determined.”[Weah] is aggressive,” the U.S. manager said. “I still think he’s finding his footing a little bit in terms of what position he’s best at, whether that’s as a second striker or whether that’s as  wide player.”But Weah is focused on being part of the group again, a generation that has immense upside.”This team is going to be a force,” he said. “There’s huge, huge talent on this team.”After the past two years, Weah can celebrate being a part of it again.

What Nations League will tell us about the future of U.S. and Mexico soccer teams

Kevin Baxter

Tue, June 1, 2021, 8:00 AM

Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic celebrates with the trophy after winning the Champions League final soccer match over Manchester City in Porto, Portugal, Saturday. (Manu Fernandez / Associated Press )

Alexi Lalas knows a turning point when he sees one.It happened in his first national team start, at the Coliseum against a Mexican team that had lost only one of its previous 26 games against the U.S. But on that day, the 20-year-old Lalas helped the Americans gut out a 2-2 draw, starting a streak that would see them lose just one of eight games with Mexico.

“I was right there in that shift,” Lalas said. “It was kind of the start of that generation that didn’t accept that we should continue to be inferior to Mexico on the field, that we should continue to lose.”By the time a teen-aged Landon Donovan made his international debut nine years later — also against Mexico at the Coliseum — the pendulum had swung back and the U.S. was inferior once again. Donovan changed that, with his game-winning goal beginning a roll that would see the U.S. go 9-2-2 in its next 13 games with Mexico, its most successful stretch ever in the cross-border rivalry.Now another group of young Americans is poised to flip the script anew in this week’s Nations League in Denver. If both teams win their preliminary matches Thursday — the U.S. against Honduras and Mexico over Costa Rica — they will meet for the 71st time in Sunday’s championship game. The U.S. heads into the semifinals with perhaps the deepest and most talented collection of young players in its history. Nineteen of its 23 players are with top-division teams in Europe, where nine of them appeared in at least 30 league games this season. Twelve of those European-based players are under the age of 24.Meanwhile Mexico, ranked 11th in the world by FIFA, has a roster that includes 12 veterans from the last World Cup in Russia, where it fielded the second-oldest team in the tournament.If the momentum shifts once more, the change may be a lasting one since the core of the U.S. team could be together for a decade, while Mexico’s aging squad will soon need a makeover.“This young generation, they come with a swagger and a confidence, an arrogance that they want this moment. It is their time,” Lalas said.“If I was the Mexican Soccer Federation, that would be cause for concern.”The two countries have followed different paths to this latest crossroads, paths influenced in large part by their domestic leagues. The deep academy system in Liga MX has made Mexico a world power at the youth national team level, where it has reached the final in three of the last five U-17 World Cups while winning gold in the 2012 Olympics.

“The level of talent showcased on [the] U-17s, U-20s is second to none. It’s probably one of the four, eight [top] programs on the youth level in the world,” said Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese, who was director of Mexico’s youth national teams for several years before taking over the entire national team program ahead of the 2018 World Cup. “So there’s a lot of talent. That’s not the question.”Once those players reach a first-team roster in Mexico, however, they can get stuck there, which is why just eight of the 23 players on Mexico’s Nations League team play on the continent, while more than half play in Liga MX.The exorbitant transfer fees Mexican clubs often ask for their players and the relatively high salaries in Liga MX are two reasons players don’t leave. Another factor slowing the development of young talent is a Liga MX rule that allows teams to carry as many as nine foreign players on match-day rosters. Under pressure from Tata Martino, coach of the Mexican national team, that number will drop to eight next year and to seven in 2022-23.

“In the United States they give an outlet to young players and in Mexico they are more concerned about bringing foreigners than about giving the young players of Mexico an opportunity,” Carlos Hermosillo, whose 35 goals rank fourth all time for Mexico, said in Spanish. “The clubs have to understand that in order to grow our football, we have to generate young players.”The Mexicans have heard that chatter, which is why so many of their players took delight in their team qualifying for the Olympics — a U-23 tournament — for the third time in four tries while the U.S. did not.“The young players in Mexico, they’re aware of all the talk around the U.S. [about] the young players playing in Europe,” said Stu Holden, a former U.S. national team player and now an analyst for Fox Sports who covered the Olympic qualifiers. “They have some really good young players that will be on the verge of making those moves to Europe in the next couple of months. Or at least in the next year, year and a half.“So I don’t think it’s as clear as we’re head and shoulders above them with our next level of talent.”U.S. players have gotten there first partly because they typically face far fewer hurdles. While the MLS academy system is still growing, it has already helped current national team players such as Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, Tim Weah and Josh Sargent move to major clubs in Europe without playing a game in MLS. Several others, including Christian Pulisic, Jordan Siebatcheu, Antonee Robinson, Sebastian Lletget, Sergiño Dest, Konrad de la Fuente and Yunus Musah, were developed on the continent.“These American players don’t depend on Major League Soccer and these Mexican players depend on their domestic league to go abroad. And that’s a huge problem because if the domestic league thinks their product is worth more, there aren’t going to be teams in Europe to take a chance on them,” said Hérculez Gómez, a former U.S. international who played five years in Liga MX. “Your avenues for opportunity are greater on this side than in Mexico.”It’s not like Mexicans have never played for big clubs. Dozens have, just not now, with only two under-24 players on the Nations League roster — Edson Álvarez and Gerardo Arteaga — playing in Europe. The U.S. has six times as many, which gives it an advantage, said Te Kloese.

“There’s not a lot of science to it. And it goes back to younger players,” he said. “The more players you have at higher competition and in good environments and playing the best against the best, that’s how players get better.“Obviously that is going to matter. It’s going to make a positive impact on U.S. Soccer’s program. 100% sure.”Yet it was Mexico’s success and the U.S. failure in the last World Cup cycle that led both countries to this latest potential turning point. Mexico won the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, beat defending champion Germany in its World Cup opener in Russia and advanced to the knockout round for a seventh straight time. Brazil is the only other country to have achieved the feat.And Mexico kept winning, losing just twice in 25 matches since Martino took over as coach in 2019, climbing into the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time in 15 years. As a result, there has been little reason to change course and the inevitable roster overhaul has been delayed, with just five players on the Nations League roster having made their senior international debut since the last World Cup.“It’s actually kind of a huge dilemma for them right now,” Holden said. “Tata really hasn’t turned the team over yet because no one’s taking those spots.”

Added Claudio Suárez, whose 177 international caps are the most in Mexican history: “My point of view is you have to take the best players you have at the moment. It’s not important if they’re 30-something or 22 or 23. You have to take the best. You have to think about winning, not building a foundation.”But, he added “it’s incredible that there’s no long-term project … planning for the future.”For the U.S., meanwhile, the failure to qualify for World Cup for the first time in more than three decades led U.S. Soccer to start over, with national team coaches Dave Sarachan and Gregg Berhalter issuing the soccer equivalent of open auditions, giving 64 players their first senior national team caps in the last 3 1/2 years. Fourteen of the 23 players on the Nations League roster made their senior international debuts during that period.“The lowest point in U.S. Soccer history was not qualifying for the World Cup,” Lalas said. “And yet we find ourselves in possibly the most positive and bullish moment in our history, given not just the talent that we have, but the depth of the talent. It remains to be seen whether it’s going to live up to the expectations that we have.”That question will be answered in the crucible of CONCACAF competition, including Nations League and this fall’s World Cup qualifiers. Because while the players on the U.S. roster have a combined 80 games of experience in the Champions League, just seven of them have appeared in a World Cup qualifier.And the two competitions couldn’t be more different.“The only way you can get comfortable in that environment is experience with it,” said Donovan, who played in 40 World Cup qualifiers, behind only Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore among Americans. “There’s no simulation for going to Barbados, on a tiny little island, playing on a horrible field, 95-degree weather with 90% humidity other than doing it and feeling the pressure involved.“We don’t have enough guys right now who have been through enough of those experiences.”Mexico does. And if this young American team can’t adapt to those challenges, it won’t matter how many of them play in Europe or how many Champions League games they win.

USL CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP: INDY ELEVEN 1 : 1 OKC ENERGY FC

By Indy Eleven Communications, 06/02/21, 11:00PM EDT

Midfielder Nick Moon’s First Goal of 2021 Campaign Pushes Indiana’s Team Back Atop Central Division Table

INDIANAPOLIS – Indy Eleven used a late first half goal by midfielder Nick Moon to take a lead over OKC Energy FC, but the visitors would find a second half equalizer through Frank Lopez to force a 1-1 draw at IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Stadium. The result kept Indy Eleven unbeaten in its last three times out (2W-0L-1D) and pushed Indiana’s Team back atop the Central Division standings, its 10 points even with Birmingham Legion FC.

“I really felt like the whole team the first half was pretty good, the second half wasn’t quite as energetic and as driven from the team as I was expecting. I felt like we were almost playing the result more than the game,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “That’s not how we play and that’s not how we win. I think coming off of a big win the game before was a little bit of a letdown in the second half and something we need to put right.”The match took 10 minutes or so to pick up the pace, but it did so quickly when Eleven forward Gordon Wild collected in midfield and raced to the top of the area only to his shot high. A minute later OKC forward Villyan Bijev broke out himself, beating a defender to get towards the endline but ultimately firing a shot that Eleven goalkeeper Jordan Farr let slide through his six-yard box without worry.A Wild set piece delivery nearly paid dividends in the 17th minute, but defender Nedelkjo Malic’s header at the six glanced just wide left, as did shots from the edge of the area by forwards Manuel Arteaga and Cammy Smith in the 20th minute. Moon got in on the shot parade in the 28th minute, running onto a free ball 25 yards out that rose just over the crossbar.After a flurry of OKC set pieces fell by the wayside around the 35th minute, Wild again found space on a counter opportunity, firing a chance that didn’t miss the near upper left corner by much. It was midfielder Nicky Law’s looping ball over the OKC backline finding Wild once again in the 39th minute, this time a mishit ball bouncing to a fortunate Cochran on his line.Instead of finishing, it was Wild playing provider to give Indy the opener in the 42nd minute. The German’s in-swinging corner kick swerved to meet Moon at the six, where he thundered home a header to notch his first goal of 2021 – and give Wild his league co-leading third assist of the early season.The second stanza opened with mostly half chances through the first 15 minutes, but sparked to life in the 63rd minute when Lopez turned on an Indy defender and nearly caught Farr off his line, only to see his chipped effort bounce just wide. Six minutes later Lopez would indeed even for the visitors, his lunging effort to get on the end of defender Robert Coronado’s cross to the six landing just inside the right post to square the proceedings.  Before being subbed off, Wild would have one last go at goal in the 75th minute with a shot from 20 yards that Cochran handled on the bounce. The last quarter hour and four minutes of stoppage elapsed with neither side offering a major threat to break the deadlock, sending both squads home with a share of the spoils.Tonight’s match was the second of five games in an 18-day stretch for Indy Eleven that continues this Saturday, June 5, versus Memphis 901 FC (WISH-TV, ESPN+ and Exitos Radio 94.3 FM/exitos943.com).  Tickets for the 7:00 p.m. kickoff at Carroll Stadium are now available and can be purchased at indyeleven.com/tickets orby calling 371-685-1100 during regular business hours.

 2021 USL Championship Regular Season

Indy Eleven  1 : 1  OKC Energy FC  Wednesday, June 2, 2021 – 7:00 p.m. ET    IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, Ind.   Attendance: 3,999

 Scoring Summary:

IND – Nick Moon (Gordon Wild) 42’

OKC – Frank Lope (Robert Coronado) 69’

Disciplinary Summary:

OKC – Aidan Daniels (yellow card) 65’

Indy Eleven lineup (3-4-3, L–>R): Jordan Farr; Neveal Hackshaw, Nedeljko Malic (A.J. Cochran 77’), Karl Ouimette (captain); Patrick Seagrist, Nicky Law, Jeremiah Gutjahr (Gershon Koffie 66’), Nick Moon; Cammy Smith (Jordan Hamilton 66’), Manuel Arteaga, Gordon Wild (Peter-Lee Vassell 77’)IND substitutes: Bobby Edwards, Jared Timmer, Aboubacar Sissoko