US Soccer Players https://ussoccerplayers.com The official site of the USMNT Soccer Players with soccer news, schedule, statistics, players, interviews, and exclusive stories. 2018-11-19T19:06:18Z hourly 1 2000-01-01T12:00+00:00 Soccer History: USMNT vs Italy https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/soccer-history-usmnt-vs-italy.html 2018-11-19T19:00:07Z USMNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller

By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Nov 19, 2018) US Soccer Players – It's possible to calculate the USMNT's progress and success through a series of games and milestones tied to various nations around the world. The rivalry with Mexico has defined the US’s growth and success over the past two decades. Games against others such as England, Colombia, and Costa Rica have also come to define the program over the years.

Another opponent that has helped measure the success of the US National Team over the past 30 years has been Italy. The country has played a series of very meaningful matches against the Americans dating back to the 1990 World Cup it hosted. The Italians finished third at that tournament.

Although the US and Italy have met just 11 times since 1934 – with the US amassing a 1-7-3 record against the Americans – seven of those encounters have come in competitive matches at either the World Cup, Olympics (when those games counted as senior internationals), Confederations Cup, or US Cup. The series began with a 7-1 US defeat in Rome at the start of Italy’s run to lift the 1934 FIFA World Cup on home soil. The US has also scored just five times all-time against Italy, a country known for its legendary goalkeepers and tough defending.

The all-time series between these two countries usually packs lots of emotion. The United States has typically used games against Italy as a way to test its progress and where it’s going as a program. As for Tuesday’s game at Luminus Arena in Genk, Belgium, the US and Italy are both in a rebuilding phase. Both nations hold the dubious distinction of not qualifying for the World Cup last summer. For the Italians, it was the first time since 1958 that it had failed to reach the finals.

Here are five games between the Americans and Italy, played over the past four decades, which have shown the growth and progress of the US National Team.

USA 0, Italy 0 (1984 friendly)

Before 31,210 fans at Giants Stadium, the Americans were able to pull off a scoreless draw in this friendly played at the home of the New York Cosmos. The Italians, the defending World Cup champions at the time after lifting the trophy two years earlier, featured six members of that team in its starting lineup. Among them was midfielder Marco Tardelli, who wore the captain’s armband for that friendly, and defender Gaetano Scirea.

The Americans, coached by Alkis Panagoulias, were players from the NASL and the MISL. Most notably, the team featured midfielder Hugo Perez and striker Angelo Di Bernardo. In goal for the US the evening of May 30 was goalkeeper David Brcic, then a member of the Cosmos. The Italian offense tried in every way possible to get on the scoreboard, but strong defending from the US and the solid performance by Brcic allowed the game to end in a scoreless draw.

One interesting footnote to that game: Current Italy manager Roberto Mancini, just 19 at the time, caught heat from then-coach Enzo Bearzot. Several players from the team, who were staying in Manhattan, broke curfew after the game and got back at 6am. Mancini and his teammates went to Studio 54 and partied the night away. Mancini recalled in a series of recent interviews that Bearzot told him he would no longer call him to the National Team as a result of staying out late. It was a promise Bearzot would ultimately keep.

Italy 1, USA 0 (1990 World Cup)

Another close game took place on June 14 at a sold-out Olympic Stadium in Rome. Before that intimidating crowd of nearly 74,000 Italian fans, the Americans, playing in their first World Cup in 40 years, put in a respectable showing. A potential lopsided disaster would conclude just 1-0 for Italy.

The Azzurri scored the game’s only goal after just 11 minutes via a great give-and-go play in the box that AS Roma midfielder Giuseppe Giannini slammed home. The goal looked like the first of many. That was something goalkeeper Tony Meola and the US defense were desperately trying to avoid after losing the tournament opener 5-1 to Czechoslovakia just four days earlier in Florence. The Americans, with John Harkes and Tab Ramos in the lineup, were at the start of an upward trajectory for the US National Team program.

A missed penalty kick in the first half by Gianluca Vialli, which slammed against the base of the post, kept the score close. With 15 minutes left in the match, the Americans almost equalized. Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga's legs saved Peter Vermes’s shot from just six yards out. With that, a chance at making history evaporated. The Italians may have featured a star-studded roster with Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, and Roberto Baggio, but the US left the stadium that night with their heads held high.

USA 1, Italy 1 (US Cup ‘92)

The Americans got one over on the Italians on June 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago in the form of a 1-1 draw. The inaugural US Cup, a round-robin tournament that also featured Portugal and Ireland, was to give Bora Milutinovic’s team much-needed international experience.

Italy took the lead early when Baggio scored in the second minute to the delight of the many Italians among the 27,000 in attendance that afternoon. The Americans responded with a goal of their own when Harkes tallied his second goal of the tournament in the 23rd minute with a powerful 13-yard shot that got past Luca Marchegiani. The back-and-forth game featured no more goals and the draw became a victory for the young US squad.

The tournament, a success for the US given the outcome, allowed Milutinovic to field his European-based players. Among the call-ups had been two notable 1990 World Cup veterans: Harkes, who played with Sheffield Wednesday in England’s top flight, and Ramos, a member of Spanish second-division club Figueres. In addition, the team featured naturalized players such as Thomas Dooley, who was born in Germany, and Roy Wegerle, a native of South Africa.

USA 1, Italy 1 (2006 World Cup)

Sixteen years after the sides had played in the first round at the 1990 World Cup, Germany 2006 again featured the US and Italy in an opening-round match. Like at US Cup ’92, the game ended 1-1 on June 17 in Kaiserslautern.

The Italians took the lead through Alberto Gilardino in the 22nd minute. It would only last five minutes. A Christian Zaccardo own-goal leveled the score after a failed clearance saw the ball get past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. As the half wore on, the game grew in its intensity. Danielle De Rossi’s elbow on Brian McBride earned him red. McBride’s bloodied face gave the USMNT one of its most iconic images. The red cards didn’t end there. Pablo Mastroeni also saw red after a two-footed tackle on Andrea Pirlo gave referee Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay little choice.

The second-half produced another red card and a gutsy US performance. Eddie Pope’s slide tackle on Gilardino just two minutes into the half earned him a second yellow of the night and the Americans were down to just nine men. The US created several chances, but it was Keller’s save near the end on Alessandro Del Piero that preserved the draw. Italy would go on to win its fourth World Cup that summer.

USA 1, Italy 0 (2012 friendly)

The only time the United States defeated Italy took place the last time the sides met six years ago. The victory in Genoa on February 29 remains one of the best of the Jurgen Klinsmann era. Clint Dempsey’s goal in the 55th minute snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Italians.

The Americans only put two shots on goal all evening. It was the Italians who stepped up their game after Dempsey’s goal, but goalkeeper Tim Howard and the US backline kept Italy at bay. The frustrated Italians saw the offside flag nine times.

“We are really pleased with the game and with the result,” Klinsmann, who had played in Italy with Inter Milan and Sampdoria, told reporters after the match. “If you beat Italy on its own soil, then that means a lot. For us, the goal was to come here to learn. The challenge that this game gave us, especially on the tactical side – to read the game ahead, to think one step ahead – for our players, it was big.”

The USMNT faces its last test of 2018 against the Italians. Another drama-filled game between two nations that rarely disappoint when on the field together isn't out of the question.


Clemente Lisi is a regular contributor to US Soccer Players. He is also the author of A History of the World Cup: 1930-2014. Find him on Twitter:http://twitter.com/ClementeLisi.

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Preview: Italy vs USMNT https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/preview-italy-vs-usmnt-november-2018-soccer-friendly.html 2018-11-19T15:30:12Z USMNT coach Dave Sarachan November 2018

The November friendlies conclude for the USMNT against Italy on Tuesday (2:30pm ET - FS1) in the unlikely setting of Genk, Belgium. Italy's decision to play at a neutral site aside, the game is the likely swansong for interim USMNT coach Dave Sarachan. We've heard this before, of course, with US Soccer indicating their permanent hire would be in place by November 1. Instead, it's another window with an obvious problem. Until a permanent coach is in place, it's an open question of what carries over.

From squad selection to tactics, that's been the question since last November. Sarachan didn't simply continue what he'd seen as an assistant under former USMNT coach Bruce Arena. The youth movement started as soon as he took the interim job with last November's trip to Europe. With that in mind, continuity in the squad was always going to be an issue. That's certainly the case with the ability to get Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Christian Pulisic in the same starting XI. With McKennie out due to injury, that's not going to be possible against Italy.

Where that leaves the Sarachan era is interesting. As the head coach, he never got the opportunity to put together a best available squad for games that count. Playing friendlies cuts both ways. He doesn't have to work within "must win" scenarios and neither does the opposition. Though tagging all friendlies with the "meaningless" label seems lazy, there's certainly a point to separating games that count. The risk vs reward rises, with personnel and tactical decisions capable of unraveling the work.

So what we have on Tuesday is the potential end of a year-long wait for what comes next for the USMNT. Once again, it should be a transitional moment for a program that's spent a year existing in a state of flux. That's not necessarily a bad thing in a year without points on the line, but progress requires working towards games that count with all involved well aware of the circumstances. That's the Gold Cup and the Nations League in 2019, the delayed start of the next era for the USMNT.

ESPN's Jeff Carlisle relays Steve Cherundolo's comments about the situation with the USMNT and pressure on players in Europe. Atlanta United's Josef Martinez talks about the club in The Players Tribune. MLSsoccer's Charles Boehm has Inter Miami investor/operator Jorge Mas talking about stadiums.

The Daily Mail's Ian Herbert with the media's response after Germany's Nations League relegation. Inside World Football's Andrew Warshaw relays the latest issue with FIFA's proposed $25b deal for the revamped Club World Cup and global Nations League.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at editor@usnstpa.com

Photo by John Dorton - ISIPhotos.com

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The battle of the underdogs in the Western Conference https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/the-battle-of-the-underdogs-in-the-western-conference.html 2018-11-16T21:00:37Z Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes

By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Nov 16, 2018) US Soccer Players - There’s still more than a week to go before the FIFA international break is over and MLS resumes its playoff season with the conference final stage. The anticipation for one matchup, in particular, is already high. The Eastern Conference final, pitting the record-breaking New York Red Bulls team against the club the' beat to the line for the Supporters Shield, Atlanta United, is already a potential high-watermark in the annals of MLS history.

It makes some sense. The Red Bulls bettered Toronto FC’s record point total for a regular season with their 71 points. They did it with a system notable for its high-energy, high-chaos approach. Atlanta United has turned the league on its head with a swashbuckling attacking style masterminded by coach Tata Martino and featuring the new all-time single-season goalscorer in Josef Martinez.

New York’s midseason coaching change and the impending departure of Martino from Atlanta when the season comes to a close add intriguing storylines to a match-up already bursting with possibility. The spotlight is on New York and Atlanta because they were the best teams in MLS over the course of the regular season.

The Eastern Conference final won’t crown an MLS Cup champion. That honor doesn't play out over two legs. The only way the East wins the title that matters is by beating the Western Conference winner on December 8.

Perhaps the Western Conference final isn’t as sexy as what’s happening east of the Mississippi, but it does have its own fascinating elements. Top seed Sporting Kansas City did something they haven’t done since 2013 in winning a playoff round and advancing beyond the opening week of the postseason. Avoiding the knockout round was key to that success. Every year since Sporting lifted the MLS Cup in 2013, they crash out in the knockout round. An improved attack to go with the typical defensive excellence was the key in pushing SKC to the top of the table.

Against Real Salt Lake, Sporting benefited from a mistake by Nick Rimando that led to a game-tying goal from Diego Rubio in the first-leg. Holding a slight advantage on the away goal tiebreaker, Sporting fought off a valiant RSL team with a 4-2 home win to book a place in the final four. Three different Sporting players scored in the win.

Portland’s run to the conference final started with the knockout round. The Timbers handled FC Dallas on the road in Texas, leaning on two goals from Diego Valeri, and booked a place in the conference semifinals against the Sounders. Portland overturned the history of road teams in the knockout round with the victory. Prior to 2018, only five road teams had prevailed on in the first round of the playoffs.

The Timbers conference semifinal tilt against the Sounders proved to be one for the ages. After taking a 2-1 lead at Providence Park in the opening leg, the Timbers fought back against Seattle to level the game and maintain an aggregate lead. Then the Sounders found a stoppage time series equalizer. Both teams scored in extra time before the Timber prevailed on penalty kicks. A bit of luck like of the type they had in Seattle would serve the Timbers well in their clash against Sporting.

Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese has made his own luck in his first year on the job in MLS. After earning his way to the top division with championships at the NASL level, Savarese is proving the decision to hire him was an inspired one. Savarese tinkered with the setup and lineups the Timbers used in 2018. He finally settled on sitting deep and using the speed and intelligence of his players to punish opponents on the counterattack.

Man-for-man, Portland defense isn’t as good as Sporting. However, with Diego Chara and David Guzman sitting in front of them to slow teams down and clean up messes, the Timbers might have an edge.

For longtime watchers of the league, it might sound odd that anyone could have a defensive advantage on Peter Vermes. The longest tenured head coach in MLS puts together tough, defensively stout teams that don’t give up many goals. In the regular season, Sporting didn’t exactly ship a ton of goals. They conceded a total of 40 in 34 games, good for third overall in MLS. Their newfound desire to attack with numbers and possess the ball makes the West’s top seed susceptible to exactly that thing Portland loves to use, the counterattack.

Vermes stands out in these playoffs, and not just because of his fiery sideline demeanor or trademark flattop hairstyle. While Savarese and New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas are in their first seasons in charge and Gerardo Martino is leading Atlanta for his second and final season, Vermes has been on the sidelines in Kansas City since 2009.

In a league that has changed as much as MLS has since Vermes took over as head coach during the 2009 season, that sort of longevity is remarkable. Vermes's personality flows across the whole of the Sporting program, with so much of the club’s success directly attributable to him. Despite clubs across the league striking out in search of transformative figures to take charge of their on-field product, what Vermes does continues to work.

The West’s battle for conference supremacy and a berth in the final could be a clash of the underdogs. No matter which side comes out of the semifinal, they know they’ll be second choice to lift the cup to whichever team comes out of the East. The West winner knows they’ll be on the road for the MLS Cup final, carrying with them the proverbial chip on the shoulder.

When playing their particular well-honed system, both Sporting and Portland are difficult to beat. Sporting boasts a cadre of capable goalscorers, and Portland can kill teams with the skill of Valeri, Blanco, et al. Both midfielders have tough, edgy veteran leaders in the form of Chara and Sporting’s Roger Espinoza. Both even boast late-game attacking specialists. Sporting’s Diego Rubio has been that man for the top seed, while Dairon Asprilla—who rarely scored during the regular season—played hero in Portland’s triumph over Seattle and might be dangerous in the conference finals.

It’s not the glamor matchup of the round. Neither of the teams features multi-million dollar-rated transfer targets or internationally recognized coaches. It will, however, be an interesting study in tactics and strategy. That takes place in front of full, rowdy houses in both Portland and Kansas City. As the “lesser” of the two conference finals go, that’s more than good enough.


Jason Davis is the founder of MatchFitUSA.com and the host of The United States of Soccer on SiriusXM. Contact him: matchfitusa@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter:http://twitter.com/davisjsn.

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Growth, but in what direction? Pondering USL’s future https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/growth-but-in-what-direction-pondering-usls-future.html 2018-11-16T16:30:41Z USL Championship logo

By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 16, 2018) US Soccer Players - Last week the USL marked the conclusion of its eighth season of existence. On the field, they got a hard-fought championship final between Louisville City and Phoenix Rising in front of a packed crowd at the University of Louisville's Mark & Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium. The home team edged Didier Drogba & Co. 1-0 in a dramatic match worthy of the occasion.

Or was it actually the league’s 20th year of existence? That's if we count the league's previous identity as the “USL First Division,” the top tier of the “United Soccer Leagues”? Perhaps it’s more accurate to also include its incarnation as the “A-League” from 1995 to 2004. Should we include the era of “USISL,” which takes us back to 1991 but comprised three different names which all shared that same acronym?

When you finally get your head around all these letter combinations, there's another one. In 2019, the USL becomes the "USL Championship". A recent rebrand places it at the top of a wider USL pyramid that also includes “USL League 1,” the new third-tier league, and “USL League 2,” formerly known as the PDL.

What’s in a name, anyway? All this is not to tease or mock the USL, a resourceful and highly resilient entity run by hard-working people. It occupies a crucial, if easily overlooked, role within the American soccer ecosystem. It also points to some deeper questions and doubts for the second division, even as it appears to be in the midst of the most prosperous period in its history.

The USL Championship will field a whopping 36 teams in 2019, while League 1 will debut with at least 10 teams, possibly more. That’s a far cry from where things stood seven years ago. After the 2011 season, USL Pro had dwindled to a mere 11 teams. A motley crew it was, ranging from the ill-fated Antigua Barracuda experiment to ever-present old-timers Charleston Battery to future MLSers Orlando City. It was a grim moment. Many suspected that USL would face the same demise like so many of the other lower-division entities that had come and gone before it.

Then came the affiliation with Major League Soccer in 2013. That's the game changer that brought MLS’s own struggling reserve teams into the league and put USL and MLS on a shared path. Whether you see that marriage as a practical route to synergy, a plot to crush the competing North American Soccer League or both, there’s little doubt that it worked. Well, up to now, at least.

Partnership with MLS brought financial and structural stability and an injection of young talent and franchises to USL. In return, the top division got a much-needed proving ground for rising prospects. As it turned out, they also got a very useful pool, and laboratory of sorts, for aspiring expansion clubs. As USL grew, NASL’s rebellious approach fell on hard times, then fizzled, forcing its architects to return to the drawing board. This week they rolled out the latest product of that process, a pro division of the semipro NPSL that plans to launch next fall.

As USL president Jake Edwards explains it, the consolidation of the past few years is all part of a long-range plan dubbed “Destination 2020” that sought to strengthen the league as it heads towards a new decade.

“It was about focusing on the clubs and bringing the right ownership groups behind the clubs,” Edwards told WRAL’s Neil Morris earlier this year. “It was about improving the venues we play in and starting to set the table for the others areas of the business that we needed to focus on, such as investing in the broadcast and digital/social programs, investing in the quality of the players coming into our league, and a whole host of other things.”

That bullish outlook also helps explain the pyramid rebrand, an identity shift for an organization that envisions itself steadily climbing towards an ever-brighter future. There’s truth in that. The MLS relationship might well have headed off USL’s demise. Half a decade down the line, however, the toll it would take is clearer to see.

Young players pass through on their way to greener pastures and bigger stages. A steady stream of member clubs use the league as a launching point to the topflight, or at least hope to. The USL has become a transient place, a stopover point.

FC Cincinnati was the class of the league this season, packing in record home crowds and winning the regular-season title, the USL Shield, in dominating fashion. Now they’re off to MLS. The same will occur with Nashville in a year’s time. Someday Sacramento, another pace-setter, may do the same. The same happened with Orlando, Portland, Vancouver, and Montreal. In similar fashion, standout USL players like Tyler Adams, Aaron Long, and Daniel Steres tend to move up and out quickly. Given that environment, it’s noteworthy that the exploits of the charismatic Drogba, still doing work at age 40, have brought so much attention and relevance to the league this year.

Perhaps that’s just the nature of life as a second division. USL has mostly embraced the equation, selling itself as a place to court MLS and its clubs. Certainly, there are worse brand identities than that of a spirited proving ground. However, in many places promotion and relegation provides a clear and mostly objective system by which to climb. MLS described its current expansion phase as a limited window that will sooner or later close for good. Even if their skyrocketing expansion fees make it clear that’s not happening all that soon, the eventual loss of that upward mobility could turn out to be a reckoning for USL.

Of those 11 participants who took the field back in 2012, only two, Charleston and Pittsburgh, will compete in the USL Championship next year. Long-running members like the Richmond Kickers and Rochester Rhinos have elected to self-relegate to D3, citing steady costs and diminishing returns. Even the Battery, long a model of lower-division sustainability, was recently hit by rumors concerning their immediate future. Ironically enough, that chatter erupted not long after their chief owner spoke publicly of the value of pro/rel in the long term. Like a snake shedding its skin, it’s hard to tell what’s left of the old when so much is constantly new.

Bus stops, elevators, airports – transit points are a necessary aspect of life. Such an ephemeral existence is far from the pro soccer ideals of community, tradition, and history. If USL is to find a lasting identity, it may need to look deeper.


Charles Boehm is a Washington, DC-based writer and the editor of The Soccer Wire. Contact him at:cboehm@thesoccerwire.com. Follow him on Twitter at:http://twitter.com/cboehm.

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Logo courtesy of USL

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USMNT starts November with a loss at Wembley https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/usmnt-starts-november-with-a-loss-at-wembley.html 2018-11-16T15:30:52Z Wembley Stadium England USMNT friendly

The soccer news starts with the USMNT losing 3-0 to England at Wembley Stadium. For the home fans, the game was about bookending Wayne Rooney's international career. For the away it was more evidence that the program needs a coaching hire and direction as it tries to move forward. That's not news, compounded by the delays in hiring a coach.

Until that new coaching hire becomes official, the USMNT can't avoid their state of flux. Again, that same familiar scenario. In comments from the mixed zone following the game, Christian Pulisic said as much.

“It’s tough," he said. “Dave is doing what he can. Obviously he wants to win these games too, just like we do. But it’s going to help a lot once we get a permanent head coach moving forward, a guy with a real plan and style of how we want to play.”

The NY Times' Andrew Keh underlined the point about the USMNT's direction right now. Reuters' Simon Evans called the program "rudderless" in his match report. It's the overarching issue that won't find an answer in the November international window. It's also built in a greater degree of difficulty for whoever US Soccer finally hires as USMNT coach.

Soccer America's Paul Kennedy on the USMNT's loss. Yahoo Sports' Doug McIntyre focuses on too much defending from the USMNT. SI.com's Avi Creditor credits England for their sharpness. The Washington Post's Steven Goff on what England got right for the Rooney game

Pro Soccer USA's Alicia DelGallo reports on the working relationship between MLS and Liga MX. MLSsoccer's Charles Boehm on Concacaf pushing for eight places in the expanded 2026 World Cup.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at editor@usnstpa.com

Photo by Brad Smith - ISIPhotos.com

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England 3 – USMNT 0 https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/england-3-usmnt-soccer-friendly-score.html 2018-11-15T21:57:55Z USMNT Wembley Stadium

England shutout the USMNT 3-0 at Wembley Stadium to start the November international games. The USMNT fell behind to a 25th minute Jesse Lingard goal, who caught the far corner of Brad Guzan's goal with a bending ball from distance. Trent Alexander-Arnold made it 2-0 two minutes later.

The game served as a testimonial for England all-time goals leader Wayne Rooney, who subbed on in the 58th minute. Callum Wilson made it 3-0 in the 77th, scoring on his international debut. England subbed out goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at halftime, bringing on Alex McCarthy.

The USMNT plays Italy in Gent, Belgium on Tuesday (2:45pm ET - FS1).

-- GAME REPORT --

Match: Men's National Team vs. England 
Date: November 15, 2018 
Competition: International Friendly 
Venue: Wembley Stadium; London, England 
Attendance: 68,155 
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET (8 p.m. local time) 
Weather: 52 degrees; cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F 
USA 0 0 0 
ENG 2 1 3

ENG - Jesse Lingard (Dele Alli) 25th minute 
ENG - Trent Alexander-Arnold (Sancho) 27 
ENG - Callum Wilson (Fabian Delph) 77

Lineups:
USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Matt Miazga, 6-John Brooks, 19-Jorge Villafaña (18-Shaq Moore, 88); 8-Weston McKennie (14-Sebastian Lletget, 76), 20-Wil Trapp (capt.) (23-Kellyn Acosta, 70); 10-Christian Pulisic, 16-Julian Green (4-Tyler Adams, 62), 11-Tim Weah (15-Kenny Saief, 76); 7-Bobby Wood 
Substitutes not used: 12-Ethan Horvath, 3-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 9-Marky Delgado, 25-Reggie Cannon 
Head Coach: Dave Sarachan

ENG: 1-Jordan Pickford (21-Alex McCarthy, 46); 2-Trent Alexander-Arnold, 5-Michael Keane, 6-Lewis Dunk, 3-Ben Chilwell (22-Eric Dier, 58); 4-Fabian Delph (capt.), 8-Harry Winks (23-Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 70); 7-Jadon Sancho, 11-Dele Alli (16-Jordan Henderson, 58), 14-Jesse Lingard (10-Wayne Rooney, 58); 9-Callum Wilson (19-Marcus Rashford, 79) 
Substitutes: 13-Jack Butland, 12-Harry Kane, 15-Kyle Walker, 17-Raheem Sterling, 18-Ross Barkley, 20-John Stones, Head coach: Gareth Southgate

Stats Summary: USA / ENG 
Shots: 10 / 15 
Shots on Goal: 2 / 7 
Saves: 4 / 2 
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3 
Fouls: 7 / 8 
Offside: 4 / 2

Misconduct Summary: 
None

Officials: 
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP) 
Assistant Referee 1: Angel Nevado Rodríguez (ESP) 
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP) 
4th Official: Carlos del Cerro (ESP)

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Rooney’s England farewell adds meaning to a friendly https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/wayne-rooney-england-farewell-adds-meaning-friendly-usmnt-soccer.html 2018-11-15T15:30:53Z Wayne Rooney Jay DeMerit World Cup

The soccer news starts with England manager Gareth Southgate's opinion on including Wayne Rooney in his squad against the USMNT (2:45pm ET - ESPN2). The decision wasn't necessarily a popular one, with questions over focus in a new era for England.

"When it was first proposed to me, as a manager, it was something I was keen to do," Southgate wrote in the matchday program. "I don’t think we’ve always been very good at honouring our former players and since I’ve been in charge, we’ve tried to invite people to speak to the team. We’ve had the likes of John Barnes and Alan Shearer who have come in to do this and we’ve also invited former players to present first shirts to any debutants and I know what that’s meant to them. You don’t get a chance to do these things very often, so this is an opportunity for everyone to pay tribute to someone who is not only our record outfield player in terms of caps but also our record goalscorer, which is an incredible achievement."

The National's Andy Mitten makes the case for Wayne Rooney's international farewell. FourFourTwo's Richard Jolly argues that Rooney's farewell is drawing a line between eras for England. World Soccer's Brian Glanville isn't a fan of the Football Association's choice to call up Rooney.

Whether or not there's still space in the international calendar for the kind of testimonials clubs regularly hold for their players is a relevant question. The proponents of the Nations League concept would probably say no. Then again, the broader point for games that count instead of friendlies is because it's marketable and saleable content as much as it's a response to complaints from supporters. In the current environment, England opting for a Rooney sendoff is an interesting choice that carries a bigger message. Teams honoring their own on behalf of themselves and their fans.

Also in the soccer news, the Premier League will use the Video Assistant Referee system next season, aka instant replay. The decision came after a vote by the clubs and still needs approval from the International Football Association Board and FIFA. Given the adoption of instant replay across club and international soccer, that approval is a given. Instant replay is already used in the FA and League Cups in England.

Brian Sciaretta's preview of the England vs USMNT friendly for American Soccer Now. ESPN's Jeff Carlisle talks to USMNT midfielders Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie. The Washington Post's Steven Goff puts the focus on Christian Pulisic. Yahoo Sports' Doug McIntyre profiles USMNT goalkeeper Ethan Horvath. The NY Times' Rory Smith has a look at Wembley Stadium and what it now represents.

MLSsoccer's Ian Quillen with DC United coach Ben Olsen focused on realistic takeaways from 2018. Sounder at Heart's Andrew Harbey reports from the Sounders' business meeting where GM Garth Lagerwey won reelection. The St Louis Post-Dispatch's David Hunn reports on the stadium plan for an MLS expansion team.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at editor@usnstpa.com

Photo by Steve Bardens - ISIPhotos.com

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Another Galaxy rebuild needs to focus on designated players https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/another-galaxy-rebuild-needs-to-focus-on-designated-players.html 2018-11-14T21:00:07Z LA Galaxy goal celebration

By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Nov 14, 2018) US Soccer Players - During the LA Galaxy’s successful cup-filled run from 2009 through 2014, the club had one constant on the field - a dominant player to build around. The club had a deep and talented roster, but the main building block was Landon Donovan. Forming rosters is always challenging but it made it less so for the Galaxy knowing that Donovan was a keystone in the club’s blueprint for some time.

Those times are long gone now. These days, Galaxy executives are scratching their heads and wondering how to recapture past glory. The Galaxy missed the postseason for the second consecutive year, despite having the league’s second-highest payroll. This offseason, the Galaxy is yet again trying to sort out the mess as the coaching staff, front office, and roster are in near-disarray.

For the Galaxy, the biggest question might be Giovani Dos Santos. By any fair estimate, the Dos Santos era hasn't produced what the Galaxy hoped. Signed from Villarreal for $7m midway through the 2015 season, he was a star for the club in 2016. His salary and Designated Player slot makes him a key component for whatever the Galaxy have planned. That is assuming they want to try another rebuild with Dos Santos in the squad.

Dos Santos earned a prorated rate of $5.7 million in 2015 and guaranteed annual salaries of $4.25 million in 2016, $5.5 million in 2017 and $6 million in 2018. This year, he was the league’s fifth highest-paid player. Dos Santos earned more this year than David Villa, Ignacio Piatti and Diego Valeri, all of whom had fine individual seasons and, with the exception of Piatti, led their teams to the postseason. For its $6 million, the Galaxy received three goals and two assists spread out across 14 games and 823 minutes.

Injuries were a factor in limiting Dos Santos to just 79 minutes over the last three months of the season. Add to that his absence for World Cup duty with Mexico, and it's significant time without a key component. Adding to the Galaxy's problems, they staged a late-season resurgence without him. The Galaxy won three games and tied another. They needed just a home win over Houston to reach the postseason, but failed to do so. Dos Santos played the final 14 minutes.

Dos Santos had just six goals and three assists a year ago. In the last two seasons, he has played 39 games and scored a total of nine goals. It's not what anybody expected when he joined the club, but it's also not the only issue for the Galaxy.

Right now, the focus is on whether or not Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns. The Swedish superstar wants to stay with the Galaxy and the club is open to keeping him around. That might require a few things, including a higher salary than last year.

Ibrahimovic was a bargain in 2018, costing the Galaxy just $1.5 million. For that, the Galaxy got 22 goals and 10 assists over 27 games. He's likely to cost more in 2019. Ibrahimovic is a wanted man across Europe for obvious reasons.

The Galaxy has no open Designated Player slots. Brothers Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos take up two while Romain Alessandrini fills the other. If they want to keep Zlatan and at a price, they're going to need the ability to make him a DP. The most likely way to do that is to move one of their current DP's. If it's Gio Dos Santos, that means turning the page on what's turned into a lengthy rebuild. That might not be what the Galaxy has in mind. Gio Dos Santos has outlasted coaches and front office personnel, after all. He's still that building block.

It's perhaps unfair to put so much of the Galaxy's failures over the last two seasons on Gio Dos Santos's lack of output, but that's the situation for any DP. They get that title and that salary because the expectation is that they'll be key contributors. When they're not, it invites criticism. Dos Santos can silence all of this through production. If he gets his game to where it was for LA in 2016, the criticism stops. Easy enough to say considering where he's playing.

The Galaxy's issues are bigger than any single player, coach, or employee. Though MLS is a league known for the quick turnaround and simply making the playoffs answering most problems, that's not LA's situation. They've shown over two dismal seasons that they can't get it right, at least not right enough and not right now. That's another obvious criticism of a club that's missed the playoffs two years running, but it speaks to something bigger. The club needs change, fundamentally reworking what they used to take for granted. Without that, it's hard to predict better days for the LA Galaxy in 2019.


Luis Bueno is a veteran soccer writer. Follow him on twitter @BuenoSoccer.

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NYCFC after David Villa https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/nycfc-after-david-villa.html 2018-11-14T19:00:42Z David Villa NYCFC

By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Nov 14, 2018) US Soccer Players - How do you know when it’s the right time to say goodbye? That’s the question NYCFC faces as the weather turns cold and the club contemplates preparations for 2019. Sunday’s loss to Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference semifinals means the clock is now ticking on difficult decisions for next year. That includes the face of their franchise.

The player most identified with NYCFC is Spanish forward David Villa. Villa’s move to New York coincided with the launch of the team and with the arrivals of two other famous European stars, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo. That Villa is the only one of the trio still playing for the club speaks to Villa’s ability, even deep into his 30s. It also speaks to his commitment.

From the beginning, Villa laid waste to the stereotype of the “aging European star chasing one more big check in America." The first player ever signed by the expansion team, Villa understood his role to be one of both leading player and dedicated ambassador. He did numerous appearances, learning English quickly to better represent NYCFC, in addition to his work on the field.

NYCFC sent Villa on loan to fellow City Football Group outfit Melbourne City for a slightly strange four-game stint, then made him captain of the team for the inaugural MLS campaign. While Lampard was squeezing out another few months at the Premier League level with a post-signing loan to Manchester City, Villa was doing the work in the US. That included

Villa’s performance on the field lived up to the hype and to his extravagant salary. He scored 18 goals and provided eight assists in his first MLS season, leading the team in scoring under head coach Jason Kreis.

2016 was even better. Villa scored 23 goals and provided four assists, good enough to win the league’s Most Valuable Player Award. NYCFC fortunes improved with Patrick Vieira taking over for Kreis and the club made the playoffs for the first time.

The future, at least on the field, looked bright. Though 34, Villa became the beating heart of NYCFC. Despite a humbling 7-0 aggregate loss to Toronto FC in the playoffs, there was plenty of reason to believe NYCFC could compete for a championship in 2017.

NYCFC again topped out at the conference semifinal stage that year, crashing out against Columbus over two legs. Villa’s standard remained high, scoring 22 goals and becoming the first player in MLS history to record back-to-back 20+ goal season. If a drop-off was coming it wasn’t evident in 2017.

Things changed this season. Villa missed more than a dozen games due to injuries, impacting his production. His 14 goals in 1,754 minutes translate to a 0.71 goals-per-90-minutes average, good enough to keep him in the elite of the league’s goal scorers. That number is better than that of Bradley Wright-Phillips, Wayne Rooney, and Gyasi Zardes. When he’s on the field, Villa remains a significant goal-scoring threat and elevates the play of NYCFC.

Still, the question facing the club is about more than Villa’s numbers. There’s always a chance that at 36, Villa will hit the wall a suddenness that would put NYCFC in a difficult position. If Villa can’t make it through the whole of 2019, or lands on the bench with a hefty DP contract, it would limit the club’s ability to compete.

Villa did not speak with reporters in Atlanta following NYCFC’s playoff exit. He slipped away quietly, perhaps for the final time as a member of the club he helped launch. If that was the end for Villa, it wasn't a fitting one.

NYCFC’s calculus is about production, potential injury, and the ravages of age on an athlete’s body. If those were the only considerations, there might not be much to think about. Even if Villa left and scored 15 goals for another MLS team in 2019, the practical decision at the end of a contract is to say goodbye. Unfortunately, the calculus also includes elements of the club’s ability to sell tickets, the uncertainty with its head coach, and a debate over signing policy as the league changes.

NYCFC's situation might not seem so ominous if they'd gone a round deeper in 2018. Vieira's replacement as coach, Dome Torrent, needed time to get a grip on this league. NYCFC didn't slip far, but they certainly slipped. Then there are the big picture issues. The club has seen attendance decreases every year since their inaugural season. They head into 2019 with leadership yet to win the benefit of the doubt from fans. The stadium problem looms large.

Without Villa, the most marketable player they have, NYCFC could be looking an even more drastic regression in interest next season. Keeping him might help the receipts, depending on his salary. Letting him go might be the better choice for the long term.

The reality for NYCFC is that there’s probably nothing the club can do to stem the tide of dropping attendance that doesn’t involve a Villa-level signing. Throwing money at the problem could work, but it might mean taking the focus off of becoming something more. In this era of MLS, that's a business and sporting decision.


Jason Davis is the founder of MatchFitUSA.com and the host of The United States of Soccer on SiriusXM. Contact him: matchfitusa@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter:http://twitter.com/davisjsn.

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Fulham moves on with Claudio Ranieri https://ussoccerplayers.com/2018/11/fulham-moves-on-with-claudio-ranieri.html 2018-11-14T15:30:06Z Fulham logo

The soccer news starts with the first managerial change since the start of the 2018-19 Premier League season. Tim Ream and Luca de la Torre have a new manager at Fulham. The club announced that Claudio Ranieri replaces Slavisa Jokanovic. Fulham is in last place in the Premier League with 5 points from 12 games, two points behind 19th-place Huddersfield and three points and a tiebreaker from getting out of the relegation places.

"The objective at Fulham should never be to merely survive in the Premier League," Ranieri said. "We must at all times be a difficult opponent and should expect to succeed. This Fulham squad has exceptional talent that is contrary to its position in the table. I know this team is very capable of better performances, which we will work on straight away as we prepare for Southampton at the Cottage.”

Ranieri spent last season with Nantes in Ligue 1, finishing in 9th-place. He wasn't coaching this season. Ranieri's Premier League return carries with it expectations after winning the title with Leicester City in 2015-16, his first season managing that club. He didn't last through his second season, with the club firing him on February 23, 2017 while trying to stay out of the relegation places. Leicester City was still alive in the Champions League at the time, making it to the knockout round.

Also in the soccer news, Major League Soccer's award season continues with Atlanta United's Tata Martino winning 2018 MLS Coach of the Year. Martino led Atlanta to a 2nd-place finish in the Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield races, once again making Mercedes-Benz Stadium a tough place to play. Martino announced before the end of the season that he won't be returning to the club, with reports indicating that he will be Mexico's next coach.

Martino won the voting in the Player and Club category with the media preferring LAFC coach Bob Bradley 31.53% to 21.32%. Martino took the overall voting 32.72% to Bradley's 22.34%.

The NY Times' Tariq Panja on the Premier League choosing Susanna Dinnage as CEO. BBC Sport's Dan Roan lists what challenges Dinnage will face, including the super league and Brexit. The Guardian's Sid Lowe's look at what Real Betis is doing in La Liga. Yahoo Sports' Leander Schaerlaeckens has a big picture point from The Football Leaks.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at editor@usnstpa.com

Logo courtesy of Fulham

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