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.

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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.
——————————————————————————————————————————–
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.

PREVIEW | INDY ELEVEN HOSTS MEMPHIS 901 FC FOR PRIDE NIGHT

#INDvMEM Gameday Preview  

Indy Eleven vs. Memphis 901 FC    Saturday, June 5, 2021 – 7:00 P.M. ET    IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.  Local/National TV: WISH-TV 8

Streaming Video: ESPN+ (click to subscribe)    Radio (Spanish): Exitos Radio 94.3 FM / exitos943.com

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.

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