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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City SC vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City SC vs. FC Dallas

Venue: Citrus Bowl – Saturday, July 11 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando City 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – FC Dallas 19/10

Match Preview

Orlando City take on FC Dallas on Saturday night for the first time in MLS at the Citrus Bowl.

Orlando are back on home soil after their 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake last weekend, which has seen them draw on level points with Columbus Crew and New England Revolution. However the Lions have played two games less than their Eastern Conference opponents.

Although they sit third in the Eastern, the teams are split by fine margins, with second to seventh place separated by just four points.

Adrian Heath was under enormous pressure to turn things around, and three wins in their last five outings has seen his side on the up.

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Top scorer Kaka, will miss the game due to suspension after his red card last weekend. While second top scorer Cyle Larin is in Gold Cup action with Canada. Leaving Orlando light in front of goal.

FC Dallas play away from home for the sixth time in eight matches but bounced back after their impressive 3-0 rout over New England Revolution at Toyota Stadium last weekend.

Like Orlando, FC Dallas’ top scorer Blas Perez is unavailable as he is on International duty with Panama in the Gold Cup.

FC Dallas’ away form is something that does need to be addressed, in eight games on the road they have won just twice and lost six, which been their achilles heel.

Dallas will be hoping to capitalise on the fact Larin and Kaka are missing for Orlando and take all three points.

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Team News

Plenty of absentees from both teams due to Gold Cup commitments, Orlando City have Cyle Larin and Darwin Ceren away. Injuries to Kevin Molino (ACL), Martin Paterson (knee), Tony Cascio (back) Aurelien Collin (hamstring) and Brek Shea (groin) weaken the squad. Kaka’s suspension doesn’t make things any easier.

FC Dallas are without five players away on international duty; Tesho Akindele, Kyle Bekker, Moises Hernandez, Je-Vaughn Watson and Blas Pérez. They have no injury concerns.

Key Points

Orlando City last five in MLS: W/W/L/W/D

FC Dallas last five in MLS: D/L/D/W/W

Key Stat: Leaky – The two sides they have conceded forty five goals between them this season.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Columbian has seven goals this season and five assists. He is Dallas’ leading scorer in the absence of Perez and he could take advantage of Orlando’s weakened squad.

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Score Prediction: 

Orlando City 0-1 FC Dallas – A tight affair between the two, but the one goal could sneak it especially with both teams light due to injuries and international commitments.

Benny Feilhaber on pace for career year with SKC, deserves Gold Cup call-up

By Drew Farmer – Twitter: @CalcioFarmer

Benny Feilhaber joined Sporting Kansas City ahead of the 2013 season in a blockbuster Major League Soccer trade from New England Revolution. His arrival, a coup for the club, was seen as a young attacking team only getting stronger as Feilhaber joined the likes of top Sporting stars Graham Zusi and Matt Besler.

While Feilhaber played an important part in 2013, helping Sporting lift the MLS Cup, the midfielder was always another cog in the team wheel. The 2014 season, a down year in terms of the rise Sporting had shown since their move to Sporting Park, was a solid, if not unspectacular campaign.

However this season, Feilhaber’s third in the Midwest, the US international is putting up career numbers. In 14 games this term, Feilhaber has five goals and seven assists, surpassing his offensive output in his MLS career thus far.

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His current contributions have put the former Derby County man head-to-head with Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco in an early season dual for the league’s MVP award.

Since April 19, Sporting are unbeaten in a seven game stretch that has seen the team rise up the Western Conference table. That run of form has seen the midfielder score all five of his goals as well as add one assist to his 2015 resume.

In last weekend’s win over the Seattle Sounders, it was Feilhaber’s coolly placed penalty that helped the team defeat their Western Conference rivals. That penalty, though won from a contentious foul, helped Sporting beat Seattle for the first time since 2009; and pulled the club to within two points of the Sounders.

“It’s great to reverse the fortune for us,” the midfielder explained to SportingKC.com. “We definitely didn’t want to give up anything late.

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“That has been a problem when we’ve played against them [Seattle] and it was nice to get one late for ourselves.

“Like I keep saying, the most important thing for us is that we keep getting three points and we are very happy with that. We are happy to get that in front of our fans and I think that goes a long way in the standings.”

This summer will mark the eight year anniversary of the midfielder’s winning goal against Mexico in the 2007 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. The USA will kickoff this year’s Gold Cup campaign on July 7 against Honduras.

Currently, Feilhaber is on the outside looking in on Jurgen Klinsmann’s US Men’s National Team. Based on form, there is no reason Feilhaber shouldn’t be in the team’s squad for this summer’s Gold Cup. But Klinsmann has shown US soccer fans that he is his own man when selecting players.

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Feilhaber’s last call-up was in February 2014 when he made an appearance against South Korea. While form over the course of the last three seasons hasn’t necessarily warranted a call-up compared to his contemporaries, the former Gold Cup winner is deserving of one now.

While Feilhaber may be the USA’s loss, Sporting coach Peter Vermes will be happy to have his star midfielder sitting out. Sporting are playing well and a repeat of the club’s 2013 MLS Cup winning form is apparent. With the fewest number of losses in MLS in 2015, Sporting’s ”Blue Hell” is proving a heaven for Benny Feilhaber.

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that has written for Forza Italian Football and World Soccer Talk. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, English football and US soccer.

Former Sounders star in trouble as Spurs linked with £3.5m defender

Former Seattle Sounders star, DeAndre Yedlin, could find himself further down the pecking order at Tottenham Hotspur as they are interested in Burnley‘s Kieran Trippier, according to the Telegraph.

Yedlin, who linked up with Spurs in January 2015, signed a four-year deal in August 2014, and has made just one Premier League appearance. The 21-year-old speedster could see his playing time further limited if Spurs sign Trippier.

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The US international can be used as a winger, but his preferred and arguably best position is at right-back. With Spurs looking to add Trippier to their squad, Yedlin would be one of four right-back options at the club and he has next to no Premier League experience.

At this moment in time a loan away from Spurs could be a good move for Yedlin as his playing time looks as if it will be limited. If he can gain some Premier League experience he has a chance of showing why Spurs wanted to bring him to the club.

Yedlin will hope to impress Pochettino in Spurs’ pre-season and he will more than likely be called up for the US Men’s National Team squad for the upcoming Gold Cup.

What does Spurs’ interest in Trippier mean for DeAndre Yedlin?

International Preview and Prediction: Switzerland vs USA

Competition: International Friendly – Switzerland vs. USA

Venue: Stadion Letzigrund, Switzerland – Tuesday, March 31 – 12:00 ET (17:00 BST)

Match Odds: Switzerland 1/1 – Draw 23/10 – USA 13/5

Match Preview

The USA complete their international break with a trip to Zurich to play Switzerland in what is another tough test for an experimental US Men’s National Team squad.

Switzerland are currently ranked as the twelfth best national side in the FIFA World Rankings and are higher than both Chile and Denmark – two sides who have already beaten the USMNT in 2015.

Jurgen Klinsmann is without key players Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Clint Dempsey to name just a few, so the squad isn’t at full strength. That means this is a perfect opportunity for fringe players to play themselves into Klinsmann’s Gold Cup plans and it will be important to try and put in a better performance than in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Denmark.

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After a poor recent run that has seen the USMNT lose four of their last five, a lot of fans are calling for improved results and a more positive feel going into a tournament that the USA are expected to win this summer.

Klinsmann is clearly experimenting and some might even say he still doesn’t know his best team yet. A result and a good performance with it are much needed on Tuesday afternoon.

Switzerland come into this friendly having won 3-0 against Estonia on Friday night in their European Championship qualifier.

Switzerland are now unbeaten in their last four, and have enough firepower to test a quite fragile USA defence. Players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka will be tough to contain and Nicklas Bendtner’s hat-trick last Wednesday proves there are problems at the back.

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Switzerland currently lie joint-second in Group E of their European Championship qualifying group, behind England and are a well-oiled team that have scored 13 goals in their last four, conceding just twice.

This will be the eighth meeting between the two nations. The USMNT won their only ever game against Switzerland in the most recent meeting in 2007, courtesy of a late Michael Bradley goal.

Team News

Switzerland have no injury concerns going into this one and they’re expected to name an unchanged side from the team that beat Estonia 3-0 on Friday. Johan Djourou and Fabian Schar are expected to continue at centre-back, while Xherdan Shaqiri should continue at the point of a diamond in midfield.

The USA will be without Aron Johannsson after he withdrew with an infection, so College star Jordan Morris has been called up as cover. Jozy Altidore could play upfront on his own or could partner Gyasi Zardes up front if Klinsmann moves Zardes into his more familiar role this time after he started on the right side of midfield against Denmark. Changes from that defeat last week are expected as Klinsmann experiments for the upcoming Gold Cup in July.

Key Points

Switzerland’s last five: L/W/W/D/W

USA’s last five: L/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: USA has lost a lead on four occasions in their last three matches, conceding four of the six goals in the second-half.

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Key Player: Xherdan Shaqiri – The Swiss playmaker will be a huge problem for the USMNT to deal with, and they may have to play an extra man in midfield to try and contain him.

Score Prediction

Switzerland 2-1 USA – Klinsmann’s side will need to put in a better display than they did against Denmark and they are expected to do so. Though this Switzerland side are very strong and are on a good run at the moment. They should edge it but the USA must make sure they can take some positives from the game.

DaMarcus Beasley: Left-sided legend retires from international duty

DaMarcus Beasley announced that he would no longer be available for the USA on Monday, signalling the end to a great international career in which he amassed over 100 appearances for his country. Here’s a recap of what he has achieved so far.

Naturally left-sided, Beasley has recently been deployed as a left-back as he has aged, but he started his career as a direct winger who was always a threat with his speed.

A product of the IMG Academy, Beasley starred for the USA at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 1999 and never looked back.

He signed with LA Galaxy in the same year but failed to make an appearance before joining the Chicago Fire the following season and spending four seasons in the windy city.

He spent the most part of his career travelling around Europe and playing for clubs such as Manchester City (England), Rangers (Scotland), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Hannover (Germany).

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He was the man who replaced Arjen Robben for PSV in 2004 after the Dutch winger left for Chelsea, so is a player who many respect greatly across the world.

He joined Club Tijuana in 2011 and spent three seasons in Mexico before finally returning to MLS with the Houston Dynamo this year where he is a designated player.

For the USMNT he has been a great servant down the left flank and has an incredible 121 caps (17 goals) for The Stars and Stripes. Playing as either a left-winger or most recently at left-back.

He is the only American to feature at four FIFA World Cup’s, having played in 2002, 2006, 2010 and this summer in Brazil where the USA reached the last sixteen.

His greatest achievement for the USMNT has to be captaining the side to his fourth Gold Cup win in 2013, which the USA will defend next July on home soil.

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Beasley has retired for the USA a legend of US soccer and replacing him will be a huge task for the young Greg Garza. And at the age of just 32, many will question Beasley’s decision to quit so soon.

He can now focus on club football with the Dynamo but his successful international career and work rate given to his country is something few will forget.

Has DaMarcus Beasley retired too soon?

Preview and Prediction: Republic of Ireland vs USA

USA will complete their 2014 schedule on Tuesday night when they travel to the Aviva Stadium to take on the Republic of Ireland in another international friendly.

They will be looking to bounce straight back from the defeat to Colombia on Friday night and a positive result will be essential, with a strong performance to match high on the agenda.

Ireland will be without their all-time leading goalscorer in Robbie Keane, as he was released on Saturday in order to prepare for his upcoming MLS playoff matches with the LA Galaxy.

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[Ireland and LA Galaxy star Robbie Keane will not feature against USA on Tuesday as he was released from the squad]

Furthermore, Jurgen Klinsmann has released four MLS-based players from duty in order to increase game time for those not involved in the playoffs.

Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones, DeAndre Yedlin and DaMarcus Beasley have all been sent home following the loss to Colombia. Nguyen and Jones need to prepare for New England Revolution’s push for the Eastern Conference title, while Yedlin will be with Supporters’ Shield winners Seattle Sounders as they look ahead to their clashes with the Galaxy.

Klinsmann has not called anyone else up so he will go into the Ireland game with a 21-man squad and several players will be hoping to impress.

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[Jurgen Klinsmann looks on from the dugout at Craven Cottage during the USA vs. Colombia game]

The last time the two sides met was in April 2002, just prior to the FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. The game ended in a 2-1 win for the Republic of Ireland.

As much as this is billed as a friendly, both teams will want a result, as Ireland will be looking to regain a bit of form following their loss to Scotland, and the USA will be hoping to build towards the 2015 Gold Cup – which they are hosting.

This should be a good game, possibly open and end-to-end, but we expect that the USA will come out on top.

They played well against Colombia on Friday, and have enough quality to end 2014 on a high – something Klinsmann will be desperate to do.

Predicted USMNT lineup: Brad Guzan, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Greg Garza, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Kyle Beckerman, Julian Green, Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood.

Key Player: Kyle Beckerman – Was influential on Friday night and provided cover for the USMNT when they were going forward. Expect him to anchor the US midfield once again.

Key Stat: USMNT forward Rubio Rubin would have been only three months old (18 years ago), the last time the USA beat Republic of Ireland.

Score Prediction: Republic of Ireland 0 – 2 USA