Copa America Preview and Prediction: USA vs Colombia

Competition: Copa America Centenario – USA vs. Colombia 

Venue: Levi’s Stadium, California – Saturday, June 4 – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: USA 13/8 – Draw 11/5 – Colombia 7/4

Match Preview

USA and Colombia kickstart the 2016 Copa America Centenario on Saturday night as they face off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California in the tournament’s opening game.

Both sides will have high hopes for this tournament. Colombia will look to continue to impress at international level, while the US Men’s National Team need to repay the passionate support of their fans with strong performances on home soil.

USA come into the game off the back of four-straight wins and it’s important they perform well in this tournament as the nation is desperate to see the national team continue to develop ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

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The big stage has always been the place to show off talent and how progression is going. Jurgen Klinsmann knows that and with USA hosting the tournament, the weight of expectation on a good group of players has been intensified.

A below-par showing may mean that there is time for a change at the helm and so a good start to the Copa America is needed.

Colombia stunned the footballing world with their displays at the World Cup two years ago. The rise of their captain, James Rodriguez was perhaps the most remarkable feat from that tournament and he was rewarded by earning a big-money move to Real Madrid.

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They come into this tournament off the back of three consecutive wins, ending a poor run which saw them win just one of seven prior to their recent turnaround.

Manager Jose Pekerman knows what his side are capable of. They struggled at last year’s Copa America in Chile, winning one game and scoring just one goal in four games before being eliminated on penalties by Argentina in the quarter-finals.

But they enter this tournament as one of the more favoured sides and will need to show the form they did two years ago in Brazil if they are to succeed.

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Colombia are missing notable strikers Radamel Falcao and Jackson Martinez from their squad, so they may be slightly short up front but they still have quality all over the pitch and are rightly favourites on paper.

This will be the 18th all-time meeting between the two nations. Colombia hold the advantage based on history, winning 11 of the previous clashes. USA have only won three games against the South American side, the most recent of which came in a friendly in 2005.

Team News

USA look set to go with a 4-3-3 setup as they have done successfully in recent friendly games. Clint Dempsey will spearhead the attack, with fellow MLS stars Gyasi Zardes and Graham Zusi fighting for spots out wide along with Bobby Wood. Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Alejandro Bedoya look the most likely starters in midfield, though Kyle Beckerman may be considered due to his more defensive capabilities. Tim Howard is expected to start in goal.

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Colombia have tried various formations in recent friendlies but are likely to start with a 4-2-3-1 setup, with Carlos Bacca leading the attack. James Rodriguez will sit in behind him, with Juan Cuadrado and Edwin Cardona likely to play out wide. Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina will start in goal.

Key Points

USA’s last five internationals: L/W/W/W/W

Colombia’s last five internationals: D/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Colombia are undefeated in the last three matches between the two sides (W2 D1), conceding just one goal in that time.

Key Player: James Rodriguez – James was, in many people’s eyes, the best player at the 2014 World Cup. He has struggled at club level with Real Madrid this season but returning to his key role for his home nation could spell trouble for the USMNT. His vision, as well as the ability to pull off the spectacular at any moment, makes him almost impossible to stop when on form.

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Score Prediction

USA 1-2 Colombia – Opening games always provide excitement and USA will have the benefit of the home crowd in Santa Clara on Saturday. However, Colombia have key players in key areas which should see them edge this one by a single goal. Both will expect to trouble each other’s defences but ultimately, the Colombians have a stronger attacking force and that is likely to show.

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World Cup Qualifier Preview and Prediction: Guatemala vs USA

Competition: CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier – Guatemala vs. USA

Venue: Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala – Friday, March 25 – 22:00 ET (02:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Guatemala 17/2 – Draw 100/30 – USA 1/3

Match Preview

Guatemala host the USA in an important World Cup qualifier on Friday night in what will be the first of two games between the nations in five days.

Both sides have played two games so far in Group C of CONCACAF qualifying, with the USA topping the group ahead of Trinidad and Tobago on goal difference. Guatemala sit in third place, but know that picking up at least one good result against the USA over the next week will keep their hopes alive.

Guatemala have never qualified for a World Cup but did reach the Hexagonal stage of qualifying in 2006, where they finished fifth and narrowly missed out the intercontinental playoff spot.

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Los Chapines fell 2-1 to Trinidad before thrashing St Vincent and the Grenadines 4-0 in their first two Group C games. Back-to-back losses to the USA this week will all but end their hopes of qualifying, so Guatemala need to try and make home advantage count on Friday evening.

The US Men’s National Team are entering two important games as the double header against Guatemala will be Jurgen Klinsmann’s last chance to assess his squad ahead of this summer’s Copa America Centenario.

The German head coach has said the USA “badly want to get the job done before the Copa America if possible” and he is targeting six points from the two games against Los Chapines this week.

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An opening 6-1 win over St Vincent and the Grenadines was followed by a 0-0 draw in Trinidad. The USA have only won two of their last eight games away from home and a win on Friday would be a real boost.

Klinsmann has called up an experienced squad for these games. He will expect his side to record two victories as all attentions will turn to this summer’s Copa America as soon as this home-and-home series with Guatemala is over.

These nations have met at this stage of CONCACAF qualifying in each of the past five World Cup cycles. The USA have posted a 7-0-5 record in those qualifiers but have only won one of the five games in Guatemala (W1 D4).

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Team News

Jurgen Klinsmann has called up 26 players for the upcoming home-and-home series with Guatemala over the next five days, with 13 MLS stars in the latest squad. There are eight players looking to appear in their first World Cup qualifying matches, while 15 members of the squad travelled to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. Bobby Wood will be one to watch as the Union Berlin forward will hope to continue to shine if given the chance to in attack.

Guatemala have called up 24 players for the two qualifying games against USA, with six attackers named to the roster. MLS fans will be familiar with Colorado Rapids midfielder Marco Pappa as well as Carlos Ruiz, who played for five MLS clubs between 2002 and 2013. Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas) and Rodrigo Saravia (Columbus Crew) have also made the squad and will hope to impress.

Key Points

Guatemala’s last five: D/L/W/W/W

USA’s last five: L/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: The USA are unbeaten in 21 consecutive matches against Guatemala – their longest current unbeaten run against any other international side.

Key Player: Marco Pappa – Americans will be familiar with Guatemala’s Marco Pappa. The midfielder in currently in his seventh MLS season after joining the Colorado Rapids this offseason. He is nearing full fitness now and will need to be at his best to break down the USMNT defence and give Guatemala a chance of winning this game.

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Score Prediction

Guatemala 1-1 USA – Clashes between these two in Guatemala have proven to be low-scoring affairs in recent history and a close-fought battle is expected here. The USA are favourites and have a much stronger squad. But Guatemala will be tough to break down and could pick up another home draw in what is an important qualifier for both nations.

Seattle Sounders secure services of Jordan Morris after months of speculation

Seattle Sounders fans can finally exhale.

Jordan Morris is returning to the club after being announced as the club’s seventh Homegrown Player signing in history earlier today, despite being linked with a move to Europe.

Morris, who joined the Sounders FC Academy in 2012 before then moving on to play college soccer for Stanford over the past three years, turned down an offer from Bundesliga club Werder Bremen in order to return to Seattle earlier this week.

And he has now penned his Sounders contract, ending months of speculation about where his professional club career would begin.

The 21-year-old striker was named as the top player in college soccer two weeks ago. He picked up the Hermann Trophy after leading Stanford to the NCAA title last month and will hope to make an immediate impact with Seattle.

Morris already has seven USMNT caps and scored his first, and only current, national team goal in a friendly against Mexico last April.

Jurgen Klinsmann is a big fan of the young forward and Morris will join the USMNT camp on Friday after performing media duties in Seattle.

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He is believed to have signed the most lucrative Homegrown Player contract in MLS history, although terms of the deal were not officially disclosed.

Seattle Sounders General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey confirmed in November that Morris had been offered the richest HG contract in league history and so he is almost certain to have penned a deal that makes that official.

Morris will join Seattle for the preseason camp after finishing his duties with the USMNT in February and could make his MLS debut when Seattle host Sporting Kansas City on the opening weekend of the 2016 season.

Do you think Jordan Morris made the right decision by choosing Seattle over Werder Bremen? Will he be a success in MLS?

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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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.

International Preview and Prediction: Germany vs USA

Competition: International Friendly – Germany vs. United States

Venue: RheinEnergieSTADION, Cologne – Wednesday, June 10 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Germany 4/11 – Draw 15/4 – USA 13/2

Match Preview

The US Men’s National Team face World Cup winners Germany on Wednesday night for the first time since they met in Brazil last summer.

Germany beat the USA 1-0 in the group stages on their way to World Cup victory a year ago but both sides come into this game looking ahead, rather than behind.

Die Mannschaft boss Joachim Low has had to change up his team after Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose all retired after last summer’s success. Germany have only won four of their eight games since the World Cup and are behind Poland in their European Qualifying group.

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Wednesday’s friendly against the USMNT will give the Germans a good warm up before their qualifier against Gibraltar on Saturday.

But they could be in for a real test as Jurgen Klinsmann takes his USA side to his homeland for the first time in fine spirits after their 4-3 win over the Netherlands on Friday.

The USMNT rallied from 3-1 down to win the game in Amsterdam late on thanks to goals from Gyasi Zardes, John Brooks, Danny Williams and Bobby Wood.

The game in Cologne on Wednesday will be just as big a test, if not bigger, but that result has put USA fans in a great mood.

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In the 11 friendlies the USA have played since the World Cup they have only won four, but with back-to-back victories over Mexico and the Dutch coming into this, they shouldn’t be underestimated by the World champions.

It’s less than a month until the Gold Cup kicks off – a tournament the USA are co-hosting with Canada this summer, and with this being the penultimate friendly before that game, players will be desperate to prove why they need to be heading to the tournament with Klinsmann.

These two nations first met in 1993 and have faced off 10 times since. There has never been a draw, with Germany winning seven of the games between the two. The last USA win came two years ago in Washington as Klinsmann led the USMNT to a 4-3 victory.

Team News

Germany coach Joachim Low has left three World Cup winners out of his squad as Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller have been given the chance to rest. That doesn’t mean this will be easy for the USA though as stars such as Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger are all included. Patrick Herrmann is expected to finally make his debut in midfield.

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Jurgen Klinsmann will not be able to call upon goalkeeper Nick Rimando as Cody Cropper has been called up as a replacement. Brad Guzan should keep his place in goal though, with the team likely to start in a 4-3-3 system once again. Brad Evans, Juan Agudelo and Miguel Ibarra are the only three players in the squad who didn’t see any minutes against the Netherlands so they will expect to feature.

Key Points

Germany’s last five: D/WW/D/W

USA’s last five: W/L/D/W/W

Key Stat: There have been 20 goals in the last five games between these two sides – an average of four per game.

Key Player: Michael Bradley – Since being appointed as captain, Bradley has been in fine form. His drive and leadership will be needed if the USMNT are to win this one.

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Score Prediction

Germany 2-2 USA – Expecting goals in this one between two sides that like to attack. Germany’s squad is not at its best and with the USA in fine spirits, it’s tough to separate the sides on paper. An entertaining draw looks to be on the cards.