The USMNT plays France in Lyon on Saturday (3pm ET - ESPN) in France's final World Cup warm-up game. The quickest parallel is the obvious one. France beat Ireland 2-0 in Paris on May 28. Ireland beat the USMNT 2-1 in Dublin last Saturday. The difference for Ireland was possession. They clocked in at 24% against France, taking five shots with one on goal to France's 18 shots with eight on goal. Against the USMNT, Ireland had 56% of the possession, taking 15 shots with three on goal to the USMNT's 13 shots with five on goal.
"Keeping the ball," USMNT player Tim Parker said when asked about the team improving. "I think we were a little bit afraid to play when there was some pressure on us. I think we just have to work on getting into good spots for one another when we have the ball. This way it makes it easier for the next guy."
For their part, France's pre-World Cup friendlies have been an exercise in doing enough to not raise any questions. There's no pressure to dominate these games, but they do enough over 90 minutes to send a clear message. Against Ireland, it was possession. Against Italy it was showing that they could keep a lead against an opponent that tried to press. Against the USMNT, it's a true sendoff with the message that they have things under control as the favorites in Group C.
Meanwhile, this version of the USMNT has its likely swansong under interim manager Dave Sarachan. With Earnie Stewart in place as GM in a few weeks and the completion of the World Cup leading to available coaches, things will change for the USMNT. Whomever takes that coaching job will need information, and this is a chance for players in this squad to provide that. Taking advantage of any opportunity is always part of the game at international level.
American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta looks back at new USMNT GM Earnie Stewart's front office career. The Columbus Dispatch's Andrew Erikson on one Austin council member's response to the Crew stadium proposal. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Mark Zeigler reports on USL expansion bypassing San Diego's 1904 FC.
BBC Sport reports that Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore will leave that position by the end of the year. The Guardian's David Conn on what life might be like for the Premier League without Scudamore. Pro Soccer Talk's joe Prince-Wright explains the importance of Scudamore in building the Premier League as we know it. ESPN's Matt Scott wonders what happens to Chelsea should Roman Abramovich choose to move on.
AP's Rob Harris with the letter Ghana's government posted in response to corruption charges involving the country's soccer.
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