PODCAST: Roy Hodgson’s England national team selection discussed

In a special edition of the MLSGB Podcast, host Zack Walford talks to Louis East, Ben Ashton, Jamie Ives and Lewis Addley about Roy Hodgson’s England national team selection for the upcoming fixtures in June.

As always, comment below if you have any thoughts on the topics discussed or get in touch on Twitter:@MLSGB_.

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Real Salt Lake receive double boost ahead of Desert Diamond Cup

By Keave Tollington

With the MLS preseason heading into its final stretch, the next few weeks will be crucial for every single player as they fight to impress in games where risks can afford to be taken.

Real Salt Lake headed down to Tucson today, boosted by the return of Luis Gil and Nick Rimando. Both joined up with the rest of the squad after spending the past month in Jurgen Klinsmann’s January camp coming off two matches with the USMNT. Rimando played in both matches against Chile and Panama while Gil saw his second cap in a short appearance against Panama last Sunday.

The return of 2014 shutout star, Rimando, is expected to provide the boost that RSL need to continue their successful preseason campaign so far.

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This Wednesday (February 18th) sees the start of the annual Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Arizona, involving FC Tucson and 5 MLS teams. Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City, New England Revolution, Seattle Sounders, and Colorado Rapids all take part this year.

The tournament will last 10 Days with each team playing 4 games in total. The competition aims to boost excitement for the new season, which commences just 7 days after its completion.

So far this preseason, Real Salt Lake have managed to beat UC Irvine and OC Blues in California. In those games head coach Jeff Cassar had the opportunity to see how the new signings gelled with a long list of returning players.

With the Desert Diamond Cup he can do the same but against MLS clubs, giving the fans a more clear vision into just how prepared RSL are for the 2015 MLS campaign.

FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup

These games are a bit more than just preseason friendlies for Cassar. It is not only an opportunity to win a trophy (however insignificant the title really is) but it’s also a pivotal time for him to see where play needs tweaking and he can allow the players to grasp new ideas before the start of the season.

Camp has been extremely positive for everyone at RSL so far and they meet 2014 MLS Cup runners-up, New England Revolution on Wednesday for a fixture that is likely to have more structure in terms of players than the two previous friendlies.

The Revs beat RSL 2-1 in a scrimmage game two weeks ago in both side’s first games of preseason but the meeting in the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday will be a lot more intense.

Real Salt Lake will now be moving into practicing more defined sets of plays, formations and starting lineups as the MLS season rapidly approaches.

Real Salt Lake’s upcoming friendlies:

Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution – Wednesday, February 18th

Real Salt Lake vs. FC Tucson – Saturday, February 21st

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas – Wednesday, February 25th

Real Salt Lake vs. TBD – Saturday, February 28th

How will Real Salt Lake fare in 2015?

DeAndre Yedlin joins US Men’s National Team for upcoming friendlies

New Spurs arrival DeAndre Yedlin will have to wait at least another two weeks before making his first-team debut for his new club as he has been called up to the US Men’s National Team ahead of their two friendlies against Chile and Panama.

The 21-year-old right-back has been with Spurs since the start of January but has only seen 60 minutes of action for the Tottenham under-21 side so far.

Jurgen Klinsmann has decided to add the former Seattle Sounders star to his 22-man USMNT squad for the upcoming friendlies against Chile on Wednesday and Panama on Sunday, February 8.

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That means Yedlin won’t be available to play for Spurs in their League Cup semi-final against Sheffield United on Wednesday, while he will also miss Premier League games against West Brom and Arsenal.

Klinsmann has decided to call up a mixture of young players with the usual names in his 23-man squad and only nine in the camp went to the World Cup last summer.

LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes has been involved in his first camp appearance for the USMNT, and 14 MLS clubs have players in the squad.

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Klinsmann will be hoping for improvement despite the rotation as an incredible 2014 for the National Team ended in poor form as they lost their last two games of the year against Colombia and the Republic of Ireland.

Yedlin is one of only two European-based players in the squad, joining 1860 Munich forward Bobby Wood and the pacey right-back will look to add to his ten caps for the USMNT in what will be a tricky game against Chile.

Full 23-man USMNT squad for upcoming friendlies:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (DC United), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (DC United), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (Orlando City), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)