Colorado Rapids make statement by signing Jermaine Jones as non-DP

The Colorado Rapids have made a huge statement of intent by announcing they have acquired the services of USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones in a trade with New England Revolution.

The move puts an end to months of uncertainty regarding Jones’ future, after he failed to reach an agreement with New England with regard to staying for a third season.

Colorado have brought in the 34-year-old powerhouse in exchange for general allocation money and their first pick of the 2017 SuperDraft.

Jermaine Jones in action for New England Revolution against DC United in their Eastern Conference wildcard game during the 2015 MLS Playoffs (Photo: Matt Mathai)

Jermaine Jones in action for New England Revolution against DC United in their Eastern Conference wildcard game during the 2015 MLS Playoffs (Photo: Matt Mathai)

Jones has not penned a Designated Player contract with Colorado, though, as targeted allocation money was used on his deal instead.

Keeping Jones in MLS is a boost for the league. The 58-time capped US international proved to be one of the league’s best midfielders over the last season-and-a-half in New England and Colorado fans will undoubtedly be excited by the move.

Jones joined the Revs in August 2014, via a blind draw and went on to make 33 total appearances for the club in the regular season and playoffs combined, scoring three goals with six assists. He was a major reason behind New England’s run to the 2014 MLS Cup Final and Colorado will hope his signing can propel them up the Western Conference.

Embed from Getty Images

The Rapids ended 2015 at the foot of the West and will be hoping that a busy offseason of incomings and outgoings can bring a change of fortunes this term.

They open their 2016 season away at San Jose on Sunday night, but will be without Jones for the first six games of the new campaign as he will serve a suspension for pushing referee Mark Geiger in New England’s playoff defeat to DC United last October.

How good a signing is Jermaine Jones for the Colorado Rapids? Can he help lead the team to a playoff spot?

Advertisements

Getting Stuck In: Should they stay or should they go?

The Getting Stuck In column delves into some of the more intriguing aspects in US Soccer and MLS, shining a light on the stories regarding the league’s teams and its most-loved characters. This week Dave Lewis looks into whether American players should strive to play in Europe or keep their feet grounded on home soil…

When Jurgen Klinsmann claimed that he wanted American players to push themselves to play at the highest level, he intentionally took a jab at MLS. Actually, it was more like a slap. The American soccer landscape shook. Just this week, Klinsmann’s second in command Andi Herzog was quoted as saying: “Our goal is to get as many players to Europe as possible.”

How could Klinsy dismiss MLS this way? I mean, this is his adopted country where he gets his tan and laid back SoCal vibe. And with so many MLS players on his January roster (20), why alienate them? How does that help his cause?

Embed from Getty Images

It’s no secret Europe is the highest level when it comes to soccer, with Champions League football being the toughest competition out there. And Helen Keller could see that MLS is nowhere near the level of Europe in general. That being said, the American player has always faced a dilemma: ‘Do I stay in the States and play college, get drafted by an MLS team and maybe get a shot in Europe later, or do I try and ply my trade in Europe right away (given the chance)?’

So many players have made the wrong choice. They either went too early or too late to Europe. Or they never go at all, leaving US fans wondering, what if.

Landon Donovan, arguably America’s finest footballer, did go to Europe but was all over the map – literally. His journey is the best example of what American footballers face; chaos and confusion.  He was brave and bold by going over to Germany as a teenager, playing with Bayer Leverkusen. Most players would recognize this as a dream – the Bundesliga, a big club, living in Germany – But he just never adjusted to the German culture. Donovan was just homesick (or maybe a victim of an unwritten anti-US bias). He was subsequently loaned to San Jose in MLS. When given another chance with Leverkusen years later, he lasted just seven games before getting homesick again.

Embed from Getty Images

Many US fans dubbed Donovan a bust in Europe despite having won two MLS Cups before the age of 23. It’s obvious LD went too young. But when Bayern Munich and his former Cal pal and Bayern manager Jurgen Klinsmann called in his late twenties, well, we all thought this was it. LD will do work for the Bavarian giants. But he worked for only six miserable games on loan. He would go on to have two incredible loan spells with Everton near the end of his career, that included winning a player of the month honour. His performances would leave me and my buddy Eric glued to the television going bananas with pride over how he looked like a legit Premier League player. But the verdict on LD’s career has to be MLS rich, European poor.

Players are plucked at different points from MLS rosters with varying degrees of success. Clint Dempsey (Revs) was young. Brian McBride (Crew) was old. And Carlos Bocanegra (Fire) was somewhere in between. They all are legends with Fulham so their timing was right. But the timing for players like Jozy Altidore was probably all wrong.

Jozy did well with the Red Bulls (37 games and 15 goals) and caught Villarreal’s attention while still a teenager. He was raw, but again Helen Keller could have seen he had talent. After a few loan spells he went to Hull and laid an egg: 1 goal in 28 appearances. Then, after crushing the Dutch League (my grandmother could score in that league and she has no left foot), he went to Sunderland and laid an even bigger egg: 1 goal in 42. As a result, most would label him a European catastrophe.

So Jozy went back to MLS where maybe he belonged all along. Some think Jozy got a fair chance in Europe. But some would say the deck was stacked against him from the start. Hull and Sunderland were bottom-dwelling teams clawing their way to stay up. Most managers don’t trust unknown commodities like US players to save their clubs and their jobs.

Fair? Not really. US players may lack technical skills and flair but they work hard, are extremely fit and are total professionals. That’s why when ex-Sounder DeAndre Yedlin got subbed after 18 minutes for Sunderland in December I thought: “Man, he sure wasn’t ready for England, and he sure didn’t deserve that.”

So now, with the January transfer window open, I thought I would look at three US players linked with European moves and evaluate whether they should stay in MLS or listen to Klinsy.

Matt Miazga – Age 20 – Central Defender – New York Red Bulls

Embed from Getty Images

Rumors: The Polish-American (hasn’t decided which national team to play for) was linked in the fall to Chelsea, Leicester, Stoke and Swansea.

What he does well: Strong in the air, exceptional pace for his size and defends set pieces like a warrior.

What he needs to work on: Ball at his feet, less fouling and temper.

Stay or go?: Will he sit on a bench in Europe if he goes? If he goes to the Prem, most likely. Germany? Less likely. His game needs to develop and getting matches under his belt in MLS (only 34 appearances so far) defending against the likes of Drogba, Villa, Kamara, Giovinco and Keane can’t hurt. STAY (for now)!

 

Jordan Morris – Age 21 – Forward – Unattached

Embed from Getty Images

Rumors: Is training with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen this month but could sign with his hometown club, Seattle Sounders, who own his MLS rights.

What he does well: Bullish approach to the game like a young Wayne Rooney; physically gifted with good speed.

What he needs to work on: Defense, pro experience

Stay or go?: This is a strange case. Usually a player like Morris, who just finished his junior year at Stanford, would go to MLS. But he already has a goal and seven caps for the national team, which is unheard of for a college player. He wants to play in Europe. His tenacity and high IQ would work well in Germany. GO!

 

Gyasi Zardes – Age 24 – Forward/winger – LA Galaxy

Embed from Getty Images

Rumors: The US international has been linked to Reading in the Championship and Belgian side Gent, while more recently there was an offer from an unnamed Championship side for $3 million.

What he does well: Big, strong and powerful, runs well down the flanks, links well with midfielders.

What he needs to work on: Passing.

Stay or go?: In 2014 he was a goal-scoring machine for the Galaxy. Struggled a bit in 2015. But he had a breakout year with the national team as Klinsmann used him as a winger. This is a tough call. Is the Championship that much better than MLS (a debate for another day)? Will he develop playing in a smaller league like in Belgium? He is 24, making decent money and playing for an MLS glamour club. STAY!

World Cup Qualifier Preview and Prediction: Trinidad & Tobago vs USA

Competition: CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier – Trinidad and Tobago vs. USA

Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium – Tuesday, November 17 – 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT) 

Match Odds: Trinidad 5/2 – Draw 11/5 – USA 19/20

Match Preview

Trinidad & Tobago host the USA in a key World Cup Qualifying clash in Group C on Tuesday night, with both sides looking to build on perfect starts to the campaign.

Trinidad managed to record a solid 2-1 victory over Guatemala on Friday night and know that a home win against the US here will put them in a great position early in the qualifying process.

The US Men’s National Team travel to the Caribbean in good shape as they survived a very early scare against St Vincent and The Grenadines to come back and win 6-1 on Friday evening.

Embed from Getty Images

That result was always expected, though, and the first real test lies in store here. Klinsmann knows his players must perform to their best if they’re to beat this Trinidad side, especially after what has been a solid few months for The Soca Warriors.

Trinidad beat Mexico to top spot in Group A of the Gold Cup in the summer before losing on penalties to Panama in the quarter-finals and have not lost a game in 90 minutes in any of their last eight.

Embed from Getty Images

USA on the other hand have only won two of their last seven and need to start putting a string of victories together now to rebuild confidence in the camp.

This will be the first meeting between the two side since a World Cup qualifying clash in 2009. USA won that game 1-0 at Hasely Crawford Stadium and will expect a similar result this time around too.

Team News

Trinidad & Tobago head coach Stephen Hart is unlikely to make too many changes, if any, to the side that won in Guatemala on Friday. MLS fans will be familiar with some of the names in the Trinidad side as Joevin Jones, Daneil Cyrus (both Chicago Fire) are set to start, while Kevan George (Columbus Crew) and Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes) will likely appear from the bench. Cardiff City striker Kenwyne Jones will spearhead the attack.

Jurgen Klinsmann has already revealed that Tim Howard, who is now fully focused after an international sabbatical, will start in goal for just the second time since the 2014 World Cup. There are unlikely to be too many changes as Klinsmann will want to start finding a consistent lineup but Fabian Johnson might be pushed back to his usual left-back berth, allowing Darlington Nagbe to start on the left side of midfield.

Key Points

Trinidad & Tobago’s last five: D/D/W/D/W

USA’s last five: W/L/L/L/W

Key Stat: USA have won 11 of the last 13 meetings with Trinidad (D1 L1) over the past 21 years and historically tend to dominate Tuesday’s opponents.

Key Player: Jozy Altidore – The powerful Toronto forward scored twice and picked up an assist in Friday’s 6-1 win over St Vincent and he will want to push on with further goal contributions here.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Trinidad & Tobago 1-2 USA – Expect this to be a close battle between two of CONCACAF’s better sides. The USA know this will be a stern test but they should have enough to seal a narrow victory and take control of Group C.

World Cup Qualifier Preview and Prediction: USA vs St Vincent & The Grenadines

Competition: CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier – USA vs. St Vincent & The Grenadines

Venue:Busch Stadium, St Louis – Friday, November 13 – 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)

Match Odds: USA 1/250 – Draw 14/1 – St Vincent 33/1

Match Preview

The US Men’s National Team get their 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign underway on Friday night with a home clash against one of CONCACAF’s smallest nations in St Vincent & The Grenadines at Busch Stadium in St Louis.

The two nations have never met before but the USA are overwhelming favourites to seal a comfortable victory against the nation with a population of just over 100,000 people.

Jurgen Klinsmann will be looking forward to starting the USMNT’s World Cup qualifying campaign after a poor summer that saw the team underperform in the Gold Cup before losing the CONCACAF Confederations Cup playoff to Mexico in October.

Embed from Getty Images

The USA have now only won one of their last six games, suffering five defeats in that time, and know they need to pick back up again.

The visit of St Vincent will be an intriguing one as so little is know about them. They beat Aruba 3-2 on aggregate in the playoff game to get to this stage of qualifying but are not expected to trouble the USMNT on Friday.

Klinsmann has labelled St Vincent as “tricky opponents” because he is so unfamiliar with how they play and who their main talents are.

Embed from Getty Images

One man to watch is Oalex Anderson, who scored in their first-leg playoff win over Aruba in September. He plies his trade with USL team Seattle Sounders 2 and has scored nine goals since making his international debut just over a year ago.

But USA supporters will be mainly focusing on how the two newest members of Klinsmann’s team fare. MLS duo Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga are both attending their first USMNT camp and will hope to impress in a squad filled with young talent as Klinsmann looks to the future.

Key Points

USA’s last five: D/W/L/L/L

St Vincent & The Grenadines last five: D/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: USA have not lost a World Cup qualifying match on home soil since a 3-2 defeat to Honduras in 2001.

Key Player: Darlington Nagbe – The Portland Timbers playmaker will be desperate to impress head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on his USMNT debut. He’s unlikely to play 90 minutes but will look to make the difference nonetheless.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

USA 3-0 St Vincent & The Grenadines – This should be a routine victory for the USA as they look to start their World Cup qualifying campaign in the right way. It was a turbulent summer for Klinsmann and his team. Although a comfortable win against one of CONCACAF’s smallest sides won’t answer many questions, it will give the home fans want they want to see.

Chelsea among Premier League trio chasing young Red Bulls star

New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga is a player with a seemingly limitless ceiling. His performances this season, for both club and country, have seen his talents recognised from across the pond as Chelsea are reportedly now keen on securing his services.

Miazga may only be 20-years-old but he has been labelled as “by far the best young prospect in MLS” by a league scout who went on to add: “He’s got all the potential to be one of the best defenders in the world for over a decade,” according to Four Four Two.

The same publication claims Chelsea, along with Leicester City and Stoke, are interested in bringing the Polish-American centre-back to the Premier League in the near future.

Embed from Getty Images

Miazga’s performances at the U20 World Cup with the United States in the summer proved his quality on the world stage and that seems to have attracted interest from Europe.

The player himself is remaining grounded for now, telling Four Four Two: “I’m aware of all those rumors, but at the moment I don’t want to focus on that.

“The ultimate goal is to play on the highest level, but right now I’m happy in New York. I can still grow here and become a better player. When the time comes – I will be ready for Europe.”

The 6ft 4in youngster has yet to decide whether to represent the US or Poland at senior international level with both nations desperate for his services. US U20 coach Tab Ramos recently labelled Miazga as “the future of American soccer”.

Embed from Getty Images

And a similar battle looks set to follow at club level as Miazga has plenty of suitors chasing his talents. Chelsea are currently the biggest club linked with the young Red Bulls star and a move could come in January.

Miagza himself has admitted he’s a fan of the Premier League but is remaining grounded for now as he looks to help the Red Bulls to a first ever MLS Cup title in the next month.

“The EPL is a very intriguing proposition. I love that league – it’s very competitive and there’s a lot of passion involved. Hopefully one day I will have an opportunity to play there. I believe my skillset fits the way football is played there.”

Should Chelsea make a move for Matt Miazga in January? Is the Red Bulls defender “the future of American soccer”?

Getting Stuck In: The Prince of Columbus

The Getting Stuck In column delves into some of the more intriguing aspects in US Soccer and MLS, shining a light on the stories regarding the league’s teams and its most-loved characters. This week Dave Lewis looks into Frankie Hejduk, the retired Crew SC and USMNT great, and the impact he is having on the city of Columbus.

By Dave Lewis

Remember Jeff Spicoli from the 1982 cult classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High? (Ok, you may need to Google it). Now picture him as a 140-pound (soaking wet) footballer with the aqua-lung capacity of a dolphin that can bomb up and down the right flank for 90 minutes a game. It’s Frankie Hejduk, the surfer dude from Southern California that ironically calls his adopted home Columbus, Ohio (C-Bus, as the local bearded hipsters like to call it), a land-locked capital city that is 900 miles away from the nearest beach and has more cloudy days than Seattle.

The Black and Gold of Columbus Crew Soccer Club has been coursing through Frankie’s skinny veins ever since he debuted for them in 2003. His footballing prowess took him to Germany (Bayer Leverkusen), South Korea and Japan (started four games for the US in their miracle run to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002), a quick stop in Switzerland and then on to Columbus (played 8 seasons with Columbus Crew SC, winning the MLS Cup in 2008). Not a bad run, but the second half of his career is just kicking off.

Embed from Getty Images

Walk or drive around Columbus today and you will most likely bump into Frankie. It could be a coffee shop on High Street, a bar in the Brewery District or at Fados Irish Pub. Hey, you might even pull up to a stoplight and idle next to him as he peers over the steering wheel of his black and yellow car with the Columbus Crew SC logo emblazoned on the side with Bob Marley blaring out of the windows. If you do see him, he will always take the time to talk to you, and talk some more and then talk a little bit more.

“Hey dude,” Frankie says in his best Spicoli-stoner tone as I bump into him on a chilly Tuesday morning at a local java spot last year. I say: “What up Frankie. Saw you the other day at Fourth Street. Looked like you were having a blast.” He says: “I am always having a blast man… don’t know any other way, dude.” He talks my ear off for ten minutes about everything from the Crew, Ohio State football, to the “rad” coffee this place has. In fact, Frankie is the rare athlete you have to tell, “Hey, I gotta run. No really, I gotta run”.

Frankie’s free-spirited nature is fan friendly – he once showed up in the Crew parking lot for a tailgate with fans before a game he was injured for to share a few “brewskis” – but not exactly corporate friendly. But somehow he has defied the odds, just like he did by dragging his scrawny body across pitches around the world. The Crew decided back in 2012, after he retired from MLS, to make him their brand ambassador. Some laughed at the appointment. “No way Frankie could rep the Crew in any other way than drinking some Buds and having a laugh with the fans,” the critics said. But he never changed his ways and that’s why management loves him.

Embed from Getty Images

He has embraced his U.N.-like role and is now part of the fabric of not only Crew games but the city of Columbus itself. So much so that you might be looking out of your office and see Frankie running down High Street with a huge Crew flag as he chants “we are massive” on a random Monday (saw it!). Or maybe you will hang with him at Fados as he drapes himself in Crew gear and stands behind the bar minutes before an away game, leading the supporters in voice, giving out scarves and free tickets to future games while enjoying the spirit(s). But Frankie is best known in the Nordecke, the main supporters section that is located in the northeast end of MAPFRE Stadium (it will always be Crew Stadium to me), for getting the supporters worked up into a frothy frenzy.

Frankie was so loved during his playing days that the Crew die-hards paid their respects by singing:

He chugged a beer in a fan’s truck bed, HEJDUK! HEJDUK!
“Columbus til I die” he said, HEJDUK! HEJDUK!
The black and gold’s heart and soul,
Steals the ball and stops a goal,
Frankie Hejduk, Columbus’ number two…

He adores the fans right back because he is one of them. Just a regular guy. You know, a surfer dude from Cali that feels right at home in Middle America. As the infamous Jeff Spicoli once said: “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” Frankie would agree.


Header photo courtesy of Frankie Hejduk on Twitter: @FrankieHejduk2

International Preview and Prediction: USA vs Costa Rica

Competition: International Friendly – USA vs. Costa Rica

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Tuesday, October 13 – 23:30 BST (18:30 ET)

Match Odds: USA 4/5 – Draw 9/4 – Costa Rica 11/4 

Match Preview

Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT will want to quickly forget the heartbreaking loss on Saturday with a win when they host Costa Rica on Tuesday night in an international friendly.

The USMNT lost out on the chance of playing at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia with the loss to Mexico on Saturday as they went down 3-2 in extra time.

Embed from Getty Images

That loss followed the the disappointing Gold Cup run on home soil in the summer in what will go down as a year to forget for the US national team. And they will not be too confident of turning things around instantly here, after only winning twice in their last eight against Costa Rica.

For those that remember, England were knocked out of the World Cup in 2014 at the expense of Costa Rica so the nation possesses a great team. However, they have also endured a difficult 2015.

Costa Rican have won just once this year, coming in a 1-0 win over Uruguay in September but they will see Tuesday’s game as a good chance to seal another victory over the USMNT.

Embed from Getty Images

Key Points

USA’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

Costa Rica’s last five: D/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: The USA have never beaten Costa Rica in an international friendly (P3 – D1 – L2)

Key Player: Joel Campbell – Everyone that saw Costa Rica at the World Cup should know how much of a talent Campbell is and it still baffles many as to how Arsene Wenger leaves him on the bench all the time at Arsenal.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

USA 2-1 Costa Rica – Hopefully this meeting will be more than just another game as both sides have a point to prove as CONCACAF rivals. Both have proved themselves as solid sides over the past few years and this will be a good test for both. This should be an advert for how good football has become in North and Central America and an entertaining affair is expected.

CONCACAF Cup Preview and Prediction: USA vs Mexico

Competition: CONCACAF Cup – USA vs. Mexico

Venue: Rose Bowl, California – Saturday, October 10 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: USA 11/8 – Draw 23/10 – Mexico 7/4

Match Preview

The USA and Mexico face off in the highly anticipated CONCACAF Cup on Saturday night as the international rivals will be facing off for a place at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

“This is one of the biggest soccer games to be played on North American soil since the 1994 World Cup,” CONCACAF acting General Secretary Ted Howard in a statement. He’s not wrong.

It’s set to be an absolute classic encounter between two teams that always play with full intensity and passion whenever they meet. They will play each other at the Rose Bowl in California where more than 90,000 fans are set to make the atmosphere as electric as the game itself in what is a sell-out.

Embed from Getty Images

This is the first ever CONCACAF Cup match, which is a playoff game for the Confederations Cup in two years time, between the last two winners of the continent’s Gold Cup tournament. USA won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2013 but the Mexicans were victorious at this summer’s tournament on US soil, so now a one-off game will be played to see who represents CONCACAF in Russia.

The USA finished a disappointing fourth at the Gold Cup this summer and Jurgen Klinsmann is now under intense pressure to ensure the Americans beat Mexico in California.

The USMNT have lost three of their last four games though and need to put in a much improved performance to have any chance of advancing past El Tri here.

Embed from Getty Images

Mexico are unbeaten in their last ten outings and will be the more confident of the two sides ahead of Saturday’s battle.

Both sets of fans will remember the most recent meeting between the two sides at the Rose Bowl as Mexico rallied from 2-0 down to beat the USA 4-2 in the 2011 Gold Cup final, sealing their place at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Embed from Getty Images

The entire stadium was filled with Mexico fans four years ago but a lot more USA fans are expected to be in attendance and should guarantee an incredible atmosphere.

Recent history is on the USA’s side as they haven’t lost to Mexico in any of their last six encounters (W3 D3). The last time they lost to El Tri was at the Rose Bowl in that 2011 Gold Cup showdown.

Team News

Jurgen Klinsmann has called up his veterans for this game as the more big-game experience in the starting lineup the better. Tim Howard could start in goal for the first time since the 2014 World Cup if Brad Guzan is dropped. Jermaine Jones will hope to start in midfield with Michael Bradley, though Kyle Beckerman is also an option. In attack, Clint Dempsey will look to shine with Jozy Altidore, Chris Wondolowski and Gyasi Zardes also available for selection.

Mexico have received a double boost ahead of the game as veteran defender Rafa Marquez and midfielder Andres Guardado have shaken off knocks and are expected to start. Other star names included in the squad are Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez but LA Galaxy attacker Giovani Dos Santos is out as he picked up a knock in the Galaxy’s draw with Seattle last weekend.

Key Points

USA’s last five: W/L/L/W/L

Mexico’s last five: W/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: The USA currently have a six-game unbeaten streak going against Mexico – the longest run of games without losing to their rivals in history.

Key Player: Michael Bradley – The USMNT midfield hero scored the opening goal at the Rose Bowl in the 2011 meeting and also netted in a 2-2 draw between the two last April. He loves these games and will look to fire the USA to victory.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

USA 2-1 Mexico – This is all set up to be one of the most memorable meetings ever between these fierce rivals. Both sides will be desperate to remain defensively solid but with so much attacking talent on display, goals look to be inevitable. If the USA fans can match the Mexicans for noise, then they stand a really good chance of edging this one. We’re going for a narrow USA victory, though don’t be surprised if they have to wait until extra-time or perhaps even penalties to earn that win.

International Preview and Prediction: USA vs Peru

Competition: International Friendly

Venue: RFK Stadium, Washington – Friday, September 4 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: USA 8/11 – Draw 5/2 – Peru 7/2

Match Preview

The US Men’s National Team return to action on Friday night as they take on Peru at DC United’s RFK Stadium in Washington in an international friendly.

Both sides will look to use the game to fine-tune some key details before they both play important matches in a month’s time. Peru take on Colombia in a key World Cup qualifier on October 9, while the USA face Mexico in their crucial CONCACAF Confederations Cup play-off game a day later.

Jurgen Klinsmann is under pressure after the USMNT’s disappointing Gold Cup campaign in July and will look to end a two-game losing streak on home soil here.

Embed from Getty Images

That will be a very tricky task against a Peru side that impressed in this summer’s Copa America as they finished in third place behind Argentina and eventual winners Chile.

They have only lost once in their last five outings and seem to be in fine shape heading into their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Embed from Getty Images

The USA face two huge tests against South American opponents this week as they play Brazil after the game with Peru. Klinsmann needs to ensure there are positives heading into the Mexico showdown and that’s the key here.

Tim Howard has returned to duty following a year’s absence but isn’t expected to walk straight back into the starting lineup as Brad Guzan appears Klinsmann’s first choice between the sticks for now.

This will be just the sixth meeting between these two nations and the first since 2000, as the USA beat Peru 1-0 in the Gold Cup on that occasion.

Team News

USMNT fans will be delighted to see Tim Howard’s name back on the team sheet but Brad Guzan will likely remain No. 1 for now. There are only six MLS players in the squad for the game, with European-based Americans looking to shine in the upcoming games. The likes of Jonathan Spector, Andrew Wooten and Tim Ream will all hope to get some minutes and prove their worth.

Embed from Getty Images

Peru have called up most of the players that starred in the Copa America this summer, with Paolo Guerrero looking to continue his fine goalscoring form after netting four in the tournament. Jefferson Farfan is probably the most recognised name on the squad but Peru have plenty of threats all over the pitch for the USMNT to deal with.

Key Points

USA’s last five: W/D/W/L/L

Peru’s last five: W/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: The USA’s last game at RFK Stadium saw a thrilling game that ended 4-3 to the USMNT against Germany. More goals are to be expected in this one.

Key Player: Jozy Altidore – The powerful Toronto striker has scored in two of the USA’s five friendlies in 2015 and will hope to shine here as the most experienced striker on the roster.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

USA 2-2 Peru – Difficult to split the sides coming into this one and both will be using the match to fix any apparent problems before huge games next month. Goals are to be expected but a draw looks to be the most likely result.

USMNT star joins Sunderland from Spurs on season-long loan deal

Sunderland have secured the services of young Tottenham right-back DeAndre Yedlin on a season-long loan deal today, just before Tuesday’s transfer window slammed shut in England.

Yedlin was signed by Spurs from Seattle Sounders last August but had to wait until January to complete his move to Europe. He has struggled to get any game time under Mauricio Pochettino, making just one senior appearance, and will hope a move to Sunderland will help him develop.

The Black Cats have started the season in poor form and sit bottom of the Premier League table after four matches. They have strengthened late on in the transfer window, however, and Dick Advocaat will hope to turn things around from here on in.

Yedlin has made 23 appearances for the US Men’s National Team over the past two years and is a part of Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against Peru and Brazil.

Embed from Getty Images

He will then return to England to team up with his new Sunderland teammates ahead of their next Premier League game against, would you believe it, Tottenham.

Spurs have surely implemented the usual loan clause that will not allow the pacey 22-year-old defender to face his parent club and so his debut will likely come in the away clash with AFC Bournemouth on September 19.

Many have questioned whether Yedlin will be able to shine in the Premier League as he did in MLS before joining Spurs, but he is sure to answer many of the questions as a part of a Sunderland defence that has conceded ten goals in four matches – more than any other top flight side.

Is a move to Sunderland a good one for DeAndre Yedlin?