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ON MONDAY MORNING, Ajax fullback Sergino Dest announced that he had made his decision over his international future and that he has opted to represent the United States over his native Holland. The decision helped provide a needed boost the U.S. national team.

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Dest, 18, has enjoyed a breakthrough in recent months where he as earned the starting right back position for Ajax and has impressed in both Eredivisie and Champions League games.

While he was born and raised in the Amsterdam area, Dest’s involvement with U.S. youth national teams is extensive. In 2017 he played for the U.S. team at the U-17 World Cup. Earlier this year, he played for the U.S. U-20 team at the 2019 World Cup. In both occasions, the U.S. team advanced to the quarterfinals. In September, he made his senior team debut for a pair of non-cap tying friendlies.

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But as Dest became more successful, the Dutch federation began its public pursuit of Dest in hoping to convince him to use his one-time switch of national team affiliations.

Liverpool midfielder Matteo Ritaccio (age 18): U-18s

Leicester City goalkeeper Chituru Odunze* (age 17): U-18s (did not play in 4-1 defeat to Senegal at U-17 World Cup)

Women’s Super League

Birmingham City defender Adrienne Jordan: played 90 in 2-0 victory over Liverpool

Birmingham City midfielder Bri Visalli: played 90

West Ham defender Erin Simon: not in the 18 for 3-1 defeat to Chelsea

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Championship

Reading defender Matt Miazga, on loan from Chelsea: at Nottingham Forest, ppd.

Fulham defender Tim Ream: played 90 in 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough

Stoke City defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur: played 90 in 2-0 defeat at Millwall

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Wigan defender Antonee Robinson: played 90 in 2-2 draw at Bristol City

Hull City defender Eric Lichaj: played 90 in 2-0 victory over Derby County

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Derby County midfielder Duane Holmes: played 90

Queens Park Rangers defender-midfielder Geoff Cameron: played 72 in 3-1 defeat to Brentford

Fulham midfielder Luca de la Torre: played 90 (scored in 88th) in U-23s’ 4-0 victory over Sunderland

Fulham goalkeeper Damian Las* (age 17): U-23s (played 90 in 4-1 defeat to Senegal at U-17 World Cup)

Fulham defender Marlon Fossey: not in the 18 for U-23s

League One

Rotherham defender Matthew Olosunde: played 73 in 1-0 defeat to Wycombe

Sunderland midfielder Lynden Gooch: not in the 18 (injured) for 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town

Southend forward Charlie Kelman (age 18): not in the 18 (injured) for 3-1 defeat to Ipswich Town

Last week, U.S. national team head coach Gregg Berhalter and U.S. Soccer’s soccer director Earnie Stewart travelled to Holland to meet with Dest and his father. It apparently helped in Dest’s decision.

Here are a few thoughts on the matter

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BIGGEST DUAL NATIONAL RECRUITING WIN

While Jonathan Gonzalez opted to leave U.S. Soccer for Mexico in 2018 and Neven Subotic left for Serbia in 2008, U.S. Soccer’s record with dual nationals is actually strong despite the two high-profile defections.

This year, it has brought in players like New Zealand-born Tyler Boyd (whose stock was soaring with Ankaragucu in May) and American-born, English-raised Duane Holmes who has been effective with Derby County.

Under previous coaches, Bob Bradley brought in Timothy Chandler, Mix Diskerud, Jose Torres, and Jermaine Jones. Jurgen Klinsmann brought in John Brooks, Danny Williams, Julian Green, Fabian Johnson, Terrence Boyd, Ventura Alvarado, Aron Johannsson, and Matt Miazga. The short-lived second tenure of Bruce Arena introduced Kenny Saief (who was highly regarded at the time) and Dom Dwyer. Dave Sarachan, meanwhile, introduced Cameron Carter-Vickers and Antonee Robinson for their first respective caps.

But this dual national recruiting win is unique for a variety of reasons. It essentially involves having a player commit to the U.S. program over Holland where that player was born and raised in the Amsterdam area, was a Champions League starter for Ajax at 18 years old, and had concrete and public interest from a Dutch federation that is has far more prestige in the sport compared wtih U.S. Soccer. With all of those factors working against U.S. Soccer, U.S. Soccer pulled it off.

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Pessimism permeates the United States men’s national team fanbase at the moment. The team has suffered two losses to Mexico in the past four months, Christian Pulisic can barely get off the bench for Chelsea, and stars Tyler Adams and Tim Weah are injured. But if you’re looking for something to get excited about heading into the next two games against Cuba and Canada, and for the rest of the season, it’s Weston McKennie.

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McKennie’s club career is going great at the moment thanks to FC Schalke 04’s hiring of German-American coach David Wagner, who previously managed Huddersfield in England. Previous Schalke boss, Domenico Tedesco, had his team play a low defensive block and long ball-oriented attack that made the Royal Blues downright painful to watch. Wagner brought his high pressure style to Germany, and his team has lost just once in its first seven games, falling only to Bayern Munich.

“It’s been nice to watch the evolution of Schalke this season under David Wagner, I think he’s done an excellent job,” USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said at a Thursday press conference. “They’re a very dynamic team. A lot of emphasis on counter-attacking, and organized, but they still have some very creative players. It’s good to see Weston performing in that team.”

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McKennie, who had little to do but sit deep and clear long under Tedesco last season, is playing a more dynamic role under Wagner. He still has room to improve as a passer, but he’s been excellent in defensive transition, regularly helping to force turnovers that lead to scoring chances. He’s one of the Bundesliga’s elite pressing players, and he’s improved the rest of his game dramatically as well.

Here, from StatsBomb, are some of McKennie’s key stats from this season compared to last season. He’s far from elite at anything but pressing, but he’s starting to become a useful passer.

Weston McKennie scored hat-trick in the USMNT’s 7-0 win over Cuba on Friday night. The midfielder poses a unique conundrum: he is a box-to-box midfielder who is best in advanced areas.
Weston McKennie is one of the primary talents in the U.S. Men’s National Team set-up. For some time, the central midfielder has been one of the most touted names of the Gregg Berhalter era. And given his natural ability, ever since he broke through at FC Dallas and moved to Germany as a teenager, there was good reason for it.

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What McKennie represents is a very modern midfielder. He has all of the tools that you would want in a present-time central midfielder. Extremely athletic and mobile, highly capable in tight spaces and a calm, composed, accurate and consistent passer.

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While goalscoring central midfielders were the talk of the town just a decade ago, nowadays, with the influx of 4-3-3 shapes and inverted wingers where the goals are more completely scored by the front three, it has become more customary for central midfielders to offer control and command, not goals and game-changing moments.

McKennie has the quality to play that role. He is a capable enough player to conduct such control in central zones. But it seems a little foolish to ask him to play in this manner when it might undermine the number of goals that he can score.

After his historic hat-trick in Friday night’s 7-0 victory over Cuba, McKennie spoke about the offensive freedom that he is enjoying under new manager David Wagner at Schalke:

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“He’s more on the attacking side and wants us to play our style. He always says that he gives us ideas, it’s not something we just have to stick to, he understands that we have our own individual qualities that we can apply to the game and he wants us to do that. In a way he has a leash on us, but he lets us free sometimes, too.”
It is this attacking license that allows McKennie to be so dangerous with his late runs into the box. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter echoed the same sentiment:

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“[Wagner] has ideas that they want to get Weston involved, he wants him arriving late in the penalty box, being an attacking midfielder, so there are a lot of similarities.”
It is a nice problem to have. The unique goalscoring abilities of McKennie are what make him so special. You do not want to take it away from him. But against better teams, his natural offensive make-up could be exploited, his late runs into box turned against them on the counter-attack. In a 4-3-3, the positional balance of the attacking most central midfielder is vital to a well-structured team, and McKennie must prove that he can play with the required nous and guile to proficiently fulfil the responsibilities of a goalscoring, box-to-box role.

For now, it seems as though Berhalter is at peace to let McKennie go. And against opponents Cuba, that is all well and good. But what happens when you play better teams, with more tactically astute midfielders who can contain spaces and release counters? That is when the McKennie conundrum surfaces.

NEXT: USMNT Vs Cuba: 3 things we learned
It remains to be seen how Berhalter uses McKennie moving forward. But for now, he is a premier USMNT talent, even if some uncertainties come with his usage.

McKennie is enjoying playing for Wagner, and playing a more ambitious style of soccer.

“This year he’s really big on playing our style, and our style is with high pressure and counter-attacks, as well as keeping the ball well and combining,” McKennie says. “That’s been a fun way for us to play, and I think a lot of the players are having a lot more fun, realizing we can play instead of just sitting back and playing the ball long.”

McKennie adds, “We feel like [Wagner] believes in us. He’s more on the attacking side and wants us to play our style. He always says that he gives us ideas, it’s not something we just have to stick to, he understands that we have our own individual qualities that we can apply to the game and he wants us to do that. In a way he has a leash on us, but he lets us free sometimes too.”

Having McKennie on a team that plays attacking soccer, and asks him to contribute going forward, is important for the future of the national team. While Schalke could move McKennie into a more defensive role and buy pure playmakers, the USMNT does not have the same luxury. Young attacking talents are coming up through the USMNT pipeline, but for the foreseeable future, Berhalter needs McKennie to make creative contributions.

“[Wagner] has ideas that they want to get Weston involved, he wants him arriving late in the penalty box, being an attacking midfielder, so there are a lot of similarities,” Berhalter says about McKennie’s roles for club and country.

“They have the same idea of what type of role I play,” McKennie says about his two managers. “They both know that I’m good at applying pressure to the defense, breaking up play and winning tackles. They also know that I can bring some flair to the game in offensive plays.”

A decade ago, having any American player competing in Champions League and the Bundesliga was a dream. McKennie did it as a teenager. He has yet to round into a complete midfielder, but McKennie is undoubtedly one of the biggest talents to ever grace the USMNT. With a club manager like Wagner, McKennie now has the opportunity to make the most of those talents and become a cornerstone player for his country.

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (Oct. 4, 2019) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club today announced that midfielder Djordje Mihailović has been named to the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team roster for its upcoming training camp in Miami, Fla.

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Led by Head Coach Jason Kreis, the team’s training camp will be held at Florida International University from Oct. 6 to Oct. 16. On Tuesday, Oct. 15, the U.S. U-23 MNT will face El Salvador’s U-23 side at Florida International University.

MIAMI (Oct. 15, 2019)—The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team defeated El Salvador 6-1 in an international friendly at Florida International University. Wingers Brooks Lennon and Jonathan Lewis opened the scoring for the USA in the first half, while Richard Ledezma, Sebastian Soto, Mason Toye and Manny Perez added goals after the break to seal the victory over fellow 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship participant La Selecta.

El Salvador came out aggressively, but the U.S. matched the intensity, finding chances via the press. After a few early chances, the USA opened the scoring in the 10th minute. Captain Djordje Mihailovic won the ball high up the field and played to Alex Mendez on the left wing. The 2018 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year served a cross to the far post, where Lennon tapped it past El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Gonzaelz for the 1-0 U.S. lead.

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Playing in front of family and friends from his nearby hometown of Plantation, Fla., Lewis knocked on the door a number of times in the game’s early-going; the forward ultimately finding the back of the net in the 29th minute. Mihailovic picked up another ball in the midfield, and slid it up the wing to Lewis, who used a nifty finish from a tight angle to double the U.S. advantage.

As the half wore on, El Salvador brought a distinct Concacaf flavor to the match as things progressed, playing the U.S. physically and fighting for every ball. A few questionable fouls saw El Salvador win a series of restarts in U.S. territory, but the USA did well to thwart the attacks and keep their composure against a wily Central American opponent.

U-23 MNT head coach Jason Kreis made seven changes at the half, and the reinforcements opened the floodgates by quickly extending the U.S. lead.

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In the 48th minute, Miahilovic played a ball across the box to streaking winger Omir Fernandez, who dished to Ledezma and the midfielder’s first touch put the ball in the back of the net. Just a minute later, the U.S. press led to a 4-0 advantage. Winning the ball deep in Salvadoran territory, Mihailovic evaded a few defenders to pass to Lewis, who wheeled through the box before laying it off for Soto to knock it home from close range.

El Salvador scored its lone goal of the night in the 54th minute, earning a penalty after getting tangled up with a U.S. defender in the box. Andres Hernandez converted from the spot for La Selecta.

Center forward Mason Toye entered the match in the 57th minute for the U.S. and wasted no time finding the back of the net. Defender Auston Trusty played up the wing to Lewis, who centered it to Ledezma. The PSV Eindhoven midfielder slid a lovely pass through the defense to put Toye in on goal, and the Minnesota United man finished to give the USA a 5-1 lead.

The USA continued to threaten down the stretch and found a sixth tally in stoppage time. Ledezma sent a cross into the box that bounced before defender Manny Perez bounded into the box to send it into the back of the net.

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U.S. UNDER-23 MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT

Match: U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team vs. El Salvador

Date: Oct. 15, 2019

Competition: International Friendly

Venue: FIU Soccer Stadium; Miami, Fla.

Kick-off: 7 p.m. ET

Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F

USA 2 4 6

SLV 0 1 1

USA – Brooks Lennon (Alex Mendez) 10th minute

USA – Jonathan Lewis (Djordje Mihailovic) 29

USA – Richard Ledezma (Omir Fernandez) 48

USA – Sebastian Soto (Jonathan Lewis) 49

SLV – Andres Hernandez (penalty) 54

USA – Mason Toye (Richard Ledezma) 62

USA – Manny Perez (Richard Ledezma) 90

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LINEUPS:
USA: 22-Matt Freese (1-JT Marcinkowski, 46); 2-Aaron Herrera (23-Manny Perez, 46), 6-Mark McKenzie (15-Auston Trusty, 46), 5-Justen Glad (14-Chris Richards, 46), 3-Chris Gloster (20-Sam Vines, 66); 13-Hassani Dotson (16-Chris Durkin, 46), 8-Djordje Mihailovic (capt.) (24-Christian Cappis, 66), 10-Alex Mendez (17-Richard Ledezma, 46); 11-Brooks Lennon (21-Omir Fernandez, 46), 9-Sebastian Soto (18-Mason Toye, 57), 7-Jonathan Lewis (25-Johnny Cardoso, 79)

Mihailović, 20, is one of only two players to appear in all three games for the U-23s in 2019. After notching starts for the U-23s against Egypt (March 22) and the Netherlands (March 24), Mihailović recently started and captained the U-23s in a 2-0 friendly win over Japan on Sept. 9 at the Chula Vista Elite Athletic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. At the senior team level, the midfielder has also earned five caps under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter in 2019, including two appearances in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.

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This is true of most relationships in life, they take time to build up and time to break down. In sports, at least as seasons finish, the end comes quickly and without pretense. Fans almost always wish they had more time, one more game, one more tailgate, one more win.

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But even in victory, there are always more questions than answers.

Here’s a list of the most prominent of the former and a guess at some of the latter, starting with the players.

The 2020 Philadelphia Union
At the end of the 2018 season, the Union moved on from players like Josh Yaro, Richie Marquez, Marcus Epps, and Jay Simpson by not renewing their contracts. None were large contributors and only Epps is playing American professional soccer today, albeit sparingly for New York Red Bulls.

Simpson’s Wikipedia page has him listed on the roster of Cypriot side Nea Salamis Famagusta FC. This is perhaps a fitting stop for the journeyman because the team “has been a refugee club since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, when Turkey occupied the northern part of the island. The club is temporarily based in Larnaca.”

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As roster decisions loom this autumn, it’s likely the team will move on from much more talented players than they did the year before; players like Jamiro Monteiro (whose loan from Metz will expire and price will be too high to keep), Aurellien Collin (who filled in on a one-year deal and might just retire back to France where he was when the Union came calling last year), Warren Creavalle (who is starting caliber for many MLS teams but hasn’t found his place in the Union midfield), and of course Marco Fabian (who was among the team’s most productive players but found himself a useful cog in the Union machine less often than he did the odd man out).

Ok, Turner’s probably not next in line for real, but I’d be happy to see him as the third ‘keeper in this camp or the next. But my guess is we’ll wait until January.

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For those of you wondering where Ethan Horvath is: mostly on the bench. The 24-year-old has lost his starting job for Club Brugge, though he is playing in Belgian Cup games. Given that and his struggles with the ball at his feet, he’s going to have to do a lot of work to get back into the picture here.

RIGHT BACKS (2): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

Cannon has not been at his best since the Gold Cup, which is not unusual for a young player coming off his first major tournament. We’ve seen that kind of dip in performance repeatedly over the decades, and it’s not limited to the US. It’s kind of a natural thing when transitioning from club to country and back again.

But he’s been good enough and is promising enough to not lose his spot on the roster.

Yedlin, meanwhile, returned to action this week for Newcastle after a lengthy injury absence. He’s played only 16 minutes in the past six months so it’d be perfectly understandable if Berhalter left him with his club to reintegrate. But I’m going to assume DeAndre gets a call for these games and a brief cameo at the end of one or both, since he has to reintegrate with the US as well.

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Next in line: Keegan Rosenberry (Colorado Rapids)

I don’t actually think Rosenberry has any chance of getting a call, largely because the two left-backs on this roster are both natural right-backs. But he’s been better than both Cannon and Nick Lima this year, and his passing matches what Berhalter looks for from this spot:

Matthew Doyle

@MattDoyle76
This is really nice stuff from the Rapids, and a good example of Rosenberry’s versatility when pushing up (that’s him w/ the one-touch through the lines to Serna).

Kei’s gotta head that back across.

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There are certainly others on the Union depth chart today that might not be there come March.

For the first time since he was drafted, the Union will have a real chance to move on from goalkeeper Andre Blake should they want to. They have this chance because Jamaica’s national team is finally ranked high enough that a move to England is in play, and two years ago Brighton and Crystal Palace were kicking Blake’s tires.
Ray Gaddis already has his place penciled into the Union’s Ring of Honor, as well as Jim Curtin’s undying love. Though he’s fended off challenges to his starting Right Back spot since he was drafted (goodbye, Sheanon Williams, au revior, Keegan Rosenberry), perhaps this is the year he’ll be usurped.
Jack Elliott was as good as gold to suit up for the Union this year, starting every single match. He also has a European passport of course, and if there’s one thing English soccer coaches love it’s a tall center back with good feet.
Coming to the end of his contract, Fafa Picault might be the odd man out of a crowded attack. Or he might just adapt like he did in 2019, in which he finished 6th on the team in goals and tied for 4th in assists. Maybe he’s the answer at the #10 position, a spot he played in the friendly against PUMAS, did this,…

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…and all but broke the Mexican side’s midfield who were issued two red cards while chasing the Gazelle.

As some players shuffle out, there will be a new group who shuffle in. To that end, as much as fans value the contributions of players like Jamiro Monteiro today, even the most plugged-in of them had likely never heard of the maestro before he signed with the side this spring.

Ernst Tanner, Chris Alright, and the team’s scouting network have proven themselves adept thus far at finding diamonds in the rough (see also: Wagner, Kai and Pryzbylko, Kacper) and there shouldn’t be much doubt as to whether the new stock will be talented enough to make do.

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UNITED STATES national team head coach Gregg Berhalter today unveiled his 25 player roster for its first ever games of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League against Cuba on October 11 in Washington DC and against Canada on October 15 in Toronto.

The roster consists of many of the same players who have featured throughout the year and the only debutant is Philadelphia Union midfielder Brendan Aaronson.

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Here is the roster along with some thoughts.

THE ROSER

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 61/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), Zack
Steffen (Fortuna Düsseldorf/GER; 16/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 8/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 8/0), Aaron Long (New
York Red Bulls; 13/2), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 10/0), Matt Miazga (Reading/ENG; 17/1),
Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 36/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 59/0), Walker Zimmerman
(LAFC; 11/2)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN;
150/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 11/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 15/3), Christian Pulisic
(Chelsea/ENG; 32/13), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 16/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 20/0),
Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 3/0)

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FORWARDS (7): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 115/42), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 28/5), Corey Baird
(Real Salt Lake; 4/0), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas/TUR; 7/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 35/6), Josh
Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 9/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 53/10)

THOUGHTS ON THE ROSTER

NO DEST

This shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise to American fans that Sergino Dest was not included on this roster. He has exploded on the scene and Dutch Federation has approached him about switching. As a very young player who was born and raised in the Amsterdam area and now starts for Ajax, this must be very appealing. At the same time, he’s been involved with the U.S. program for years.

The Spaniard tallied 10 goals and 14 assists in his first season with New England after joining from Deportivo La Coruña in Spain.

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After New England acquired forward Gustavo Bou, Gil enjoyed even more success, including a stretch over the summer with a goal and an assist in four of five matches.

Others Receiving Votes: Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC; Héber, New York City; Brian Fernández, Portland Timbers

Rookie of the Year
Brenden Aaronson, Philadelphia Union

Jul 20, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Brenden Aaronson (22) in action against the Chicago Fire at Talen Energy Stadium. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Brenden Aaronson’s MLS career began with a March 17 start at Atlanta United. By October, Aaronson earned his first United States men’s national team call-up.

The 18-year-old homegrown midfielder totaled three goals and two assists over 1,722 minutes and was one of a few players who displaced Marco Fabián from the Union lineup.

Aaronson started six of the Union’s past seven games and is in contention to make Jim Curtin’s XI for the Eastern Conference first-round clash with the New York Red Bulls.

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Others Receiving Votes: Andre Shinyashiki, Colorado Rapids; Hassani Dotson, Minnesota United

The point here is to give Dest time to make a decision and have him play for the United States because he wants to.

Berhalter added this: “I understand there is going to be a lot of attention surrounding the availability of Sergiño in this next camp. I’ve had conversations with Sergiño, the conversations were positive, and the content of these conversations is going to remain private.”

YEDLIN’S RETURN

DeAndre Yedlin will return to the team for the first time since March. The Seattle native recently played his first game of the season for Newcastle in a 5-0 loss to Leicester City over the weekend. His inclusion will give the team more experience on the backline.

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He is probably rusty at this stage but his return is welcome news for the U.S. team that needs leadership as the team has taken and will continue to take a youthful turn. Yedlin is one of the few players in the pool who is in his prime years and who has also played in a World Cup.

SURPRISING OMISSIONS: HOLMES, POMYKAL, ROBINSON

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the roster is the absence of Derby County midfielder Duane Holmes who has been in fine form since returning from a recent injury. He is back to starting again for Derby and should continue to be an important player for them.

Holmes was initially named to the U.S. team’s Gold Cup roster but had to withdraw due to a quad injury which kept him out for all of preseason and into the first four games of the Championship campaign.

Regarding Paxton Pomykal and Miles Robinson, the likely bet is that both will be with the U.S. U-23 team this month as it prepares for Olympic qualifying. The same can be said for many of the emerging talent from the last U.S. U-20 team such as Richie Ledezma and Alex Mendez.

AARONSON’S INCLUSION

The inclusion of Brendan Aaronson as the team’s lone debutant is welcome news. In addition of being a starter for a very good Philadelphia team, he has also been among the best performers at the two recent U-23 camps.

“There are two things that standout about Brenden,” Berhalter said. “The first thing is that he’s getting regular minutes, and the second is that he’s playing for a team that’s doing really well. We always look for that combination. He’s a very agile player, very aware between the lines, able to give solutions offensively and very secure on the ball. He’s another case of getting a younger guy into the program, getting our eyes on him and also letting him understand what it means to be in with the full Men’s National Team.”

With U.S. Soccer also holding a U-23 camp this window, Aaronson’s success with that team allows Berhalter a chance to pull him away from that team and give him a glimpse as to what the full national team is like. He will likely return to the U.S. U-23 team soon and minutes might not come in these upcoming games, but he has shown enough promise at Philadelphia to make this a justified move from Berhalter.

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TORONTO — Daniel Lovitz’s 2019 season has been filled with ups and downs.

Lovitz earned his first cap with the U.S. men’s national team in January and has since played 13 times. He also featured in the crushing 2-0 defeat to Canada at BMO Field earlier this week. At the club level with the Montreal Impact, he lifted his second Voyageurs Cup. Lovitz was also left out of the 18 by Wilmer Cabrera for the Impact’s season finale.

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“It was a discussion between me and the head coach,” Lovitz said. “I’ll keep that between us but more than anything it was nice to be on the same page about it. Obviously, I expressed to him that I wanted to play but I respected his decision and it’s one of those things.”

Ahead of the U.S.’s loss to Canada, Gregg Berhalter spoke about Lovitz’s progression with the national team. Berhalter enjoyed what the Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania native has been giving his squad.

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“He’s done a good job, he really has,” Berhalter said. “What I really like with Danny is that he can attack. He’s very aggressive going forward. He’s a competitor as well.”

Tonight’s USMNT Starting XI vs. Canada: 1-Zack Steffen, 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 4-Michael Bradley, 5-Daniel Lovitz, 8-Weston McKennie, 10-Christian Pulisic, 11-Jordan Morris, 13-Tim Ream (capt.), 15-Cristian Roldan, 19-Josh Sargent, 23-Aaron Long

Substitutes: 12-Sean Johnson, 22-Brad Guzan, 3-Matt Miazga, 6-Wil Trapp, 7-Paul Arriola, 9-Gyasi Zardes, 14-Jackson Yueill, 16-Nick Lima, 17-Sebastian Lletget, 18-Corey Baird, 21-Tyler Boyd, 20-Reggie Cannon

Starting XI Cap Numbers (including this match): Michael Bradley (151), DeAndre Yedlin (60), Tim Ream (38), Jordan Morris (37), Christian Pulisic (34), Cristian Roldan (18), Weston McKennie (17), Zack Steffen (17), Aaron Long (14), Daniel Lovitz (12), Josh Sargent (11)

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Tonight’s Starting XI has an average age of 25 years, 219 days and 37 caps.

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter makes four changes to the starting XI that faced Cuba, inserting Zack Steffen in goal, Aaron Long and DeAndre Yedlin on the back line and Michael Bradley in central midfield.

Tim Ream captains the USMNT for the fourth time tonight. The team is 2-0-1 when Ream wears the armband.

Having returned from groin surgery, DeAndre Yedlin makes his first USMNT appearance since the 1-1 draw against Chile on March 26.

Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley becomes the first USMNT player to feature in an away game in his current club’s home stadium.

Having started his career with Toronto FC in 2014 and played his whole professional career in Canada, current Montreal Impact defender Daniel Lovitz is the other Canadian-based player in the USMNT lineup tonight.

Six players will appear in their first away match in official competition tonight: Long, Lovitz, McKennie, Roldan, Sargent and Steffen.

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Aaron Long and Tim Ream pair in central defense for the second time, having previously worked the 1-1 draw against Uruguay on Sept. 10 in St. Louis.

Coming off his hat-trick performance against Cuba, Weston McKennie earns his 10th appearance of 2019 tonight.

Interest in returning to Montreal
In his introductory news conference, Impact sporting director Olivier Renard expressed his interest to build an attacking style. When asked about potentially contributing to the Impact’s new era, Lovitz simply said: “I would love to.”

“I was a winger for the majority of my life and my professional career so it’s something that I have a natural knack for,” Lovitz added. “It’s been an adjustment to just pick the right spots, to do that and to be on a team that is constantly trying to attack from wide areas.”

The fullback had an informal conversation with Renard. For him, the sit-down with the Impact’s new sporting director was “to get on the same page and put a face to a name more than anything.”

“I think that anyone that knows MLS knows that things operate quickly and when you least expect it sometimes,” Lovitz said. “Especially now that the Impact are not in the playoffs, I think a lot of other teams still focused on the current year in the season and they’ll kind of reevaluate things when the dust settles.

“For us, it’s a head start to try to figure out what we want to look like next year and who’s going to be available. That stuff always plays out and players don’t always have a say in what happens.”

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Growing pains
Playing at BMO Field last Tuesday brought back memories of Toronto FC, the club where Lovitz started his professional career. He hadn’t made the transition to left back yet and struggled to find regular minutes.

“For me it was about sticking around and doing what I can do to impress the coaches, whoever they were at the time, and to make sure that I was consistent when it counted,” he said. “At times [in Toronto] I didn’t think I did a great job with that and I was able to transition into Montreal and find some stability in a position that I was able to call home as a left back and move forward from there.”

Lovitz added that one of the challenges for him growing as a left back in Montreal has been finding balance. He needed to know when to move forward and stay back with star left winger Ignacio Piatti. He believed that playing for the USMNT helped him play through that struggle as a left back.

“We struck a good balance at times and we were incredibly dangerous,” Lovitz said. “I think the structure [at the U.S. national team] has been good for me I think especially this camp. The [Cuba] game, just what we’ve been able to put together structurally, I feel the most like myself in the position and I’m able to get across half field and get touches on the ball and I love that.”

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FAIRFAX, Va.— Called into US national team camp for just the third time in his career, San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill is already feeling a duty to help guide the program into a new era and identity under coach Gregg Berhalter.

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“Being able to play at more practices and games with everyone, definitely the comfortability level is increasing, and [I’m] getting to show my way of football,” the 22-year-old central midfielder said earlier this week, ahead of the US’s Concacaf Nations League opener against Cuba Friday (7 pm ET | FS1, UniMas, TUDN). “I think the calmness, the possession that we’re trying to build here, I definitely think I’ll be able to help in that sense.”

“Calmness” was not exactly Matias Almeyda’s MO in charge of Earthquakes this season, in which they employed a frenetic, man-marking press that took the rebuilding club within a win of the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

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A holding midfielder with liberty to go forward at times with San Jose, Yueill has shown promise in adjusting to Berhalter’s more nuanced approach in his two international appearances to date.

After debuting in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Jamaica back in June, in which nearly everyone in the US squad played poorly, Yueill was a very active distributor in a 1-1 draw against Uruguay, completing nearly 50 passes.

HICAGO (Oct. 8, 2019) – U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore has been forced to withdraw from the roster for the team’s Concacaf Nations League matches against Cuba and Canada following an injury suffered in the MLS regular season finale on Sunday.

Altidore left Toronto FC’s match against Columbus Crew SC in the 70th minute on Sunday afternoon.

The training camp roster now stands at 25 players ahead of the USMNT’s opening match of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League against Cuba on Friday, Oct. 11 at Audi Field in Washington D.C. (7 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMás and TUDN). The team then plays its first away match of 2019 when it visits Canada at BMO Field in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 15 (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMás and TUDN).

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Fans can follow all the matches on U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@USMNT) and Instagram (@USMNT) accounts.

U.S. MNT ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 61/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), Zack Steffen (Fortuna Düsseldorf/GER; 16/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 8/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 8/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 13/2), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 10/0), Matt Miazga (Reading/ENG; 17/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 36/1), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC; 2/0); DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 59/0)

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MIDFIELDERS (8): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 150/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 11/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 15/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 32/13), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 16/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 20/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 3/0)

FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 28/5), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 4/0), Tyler Boyd (Beşiktaş/TUR; 7/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 35/6), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 9/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 53/10)

Charles Boehm

@cboehm
Jackson Yueill’s night in #USAvURU, via Opta: 49/53 passing (granted, 1 missed pass was an ugly turnover that led to a Uruguay transition), 1 shot (wide), 7 defensive actions. He’s still green & not really a 6 IMO, but I want to see more of him @ int’l level.

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“Definitely the way that we play at San Jose is much different,” Yueill said. “I think the movements [with the US] are a little bit subtler. The way we play at the club level is just kind of rambunctious, just a lot of movements, and throwing opponents off. Here it’s more tactical.”

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As one of the attackers who could benefit from Yueill’s field vision, as well as one well versed in that “more tactical” system from his time under Berhalter at Columbus Crew SC, Gyasi Zardes has seen Yueill make definite progress.

“There’s so much promise for him, just because of the way he’s controlling the ball and also paying attention to what the coaches are asking of him, and then adapting and changing his game,” Zardes said. “It’s a good character trait to have and I think he’s going to be a phenomenal player.”

There is near-universal acknowledgement of a learning curve for players in Berhalter’s project, and Yueill is no different. Even so, his club and international teammate Nick Lima has advised Yueill to remember the traits that won him these opportunities in the first place.

“[I’ve told him] Just to play his game,” the Quakes fullback said. “Because he’s so good, so technical and so smart. He sees things that a lot of players don’t. So just stick to that.”

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FLUSHING, N.Y. — New York City FC finished the regular season on top, but is going home after just one playoff game.

A last-minute penalty sent top-seeded NYCFC packing Wednesday with a 2-1 loss to No. 4 Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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Alejandro Pozuelo scored both of Toronto’s goals in the second half. Toronto will now advance to the conference final to face the winner of a Thursday semifinal between Atlanta United and the Philadelphia Union.

“The mentality is really strong with this team, the work rate is really strong, the quality is there, they believe in themselves,” Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney said. “Anything is possible when all those things are put together.”

The decisive goal came after Ronald Matarrita tripped Toronto’s Richie Laryea inside the penalty area. Pozuelo put his penalty kick past Sean Johnson in the 90th minute in front of an announced crowd of 19,829 at Citi Field.

NYCFC coach Dome Torrent is under contract for next season, but said after the game he does not know whether he will return. He has to go back to English sister cub Manchester City to meet with ownership and discuss his future.

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“I don’t know what will happen,” Torrent said. “Right now we have time, it’s October, we have time to talk about the next year. But don’t worry because if Dome’s not here … the most important thing is the club. They have a good, good team, amazing players and no doubt about if Dome is the head coach or another coach, he can play really well with these kind of players.”

Torrent said he told the players many times leading up to Wednesday’s match, “It’s about the mistakes” in knockout games.

That proved true.

Just three minutes into the second half, Toronto FC capitalized on a gaffe by NYCFC’s defense to score the game’s first goal. Maxime Chanot attempted to head back to Johnson, but only popped the ball slightly behind him. Pozuelo picked the ball off and finished with his left foot from 12 yards out.

“It’s just one of those moments where things don’t work out the way you really planned them,” Johnson said. “That’s the game of football. He’s a terrific defender so it doesn’t define him by any means. I’m sure we’d all have that back that moment back and do it differently next time.”

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Sean Johnson: “Best point total and all that goes out the window if you can’t make anything of it.” (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

QUEENS, N.Y. — New York City FC’s elimination from the MLS Cup Playoffs was one bitter pill to swallow for goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

He just came off one of his best, if not the best games of the Major League Soccer season. In the first half alone, the 30-year-old keeper made four spectacular saves to keep City in the game at Citi Field.

As well as he played, Johnson wasn’t a miracle worker and gave up two goals in what turned into a distressing 2-1 defeat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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“It’s tough to find words right now,” he said. “The emotions are still pretty fresh in a game where it’s everything to play for. We simply weren’t good enough today. I think you look at the course of the game. We start off with 45 minutes and we’re lucky we escape with 0-0 at halftime. We didn’t show up with the right energy, the right focus.”

Johnson refused to blame any of his teammates for both Toronto FC’s goals, even though they were dreadful mistakes.

“Mistakes happen, but I think it’s a collective,” he said. “In big games and in big moments we’ve got to show up. That’s the name of the game in the playoffs and fighting for each other. I think for 90 minutes Toronto did what they had to do to get the lead twice. It’s disappointing because you put so much into a long year.”

Indeed.

NYCFC won its first conference title with an impressive 18-6-10 record and 58 points. Many members of the media, pundits, observers and fans were pointing toward a possible MLS Cup match-up with Supporters Shield winner Los Angeles Football Club Nov. 10.

“Thirty-four game season, postseason, international breaks, Open Cup, all that jazz, first place in the East, best point total and all that goes out the window if you can’t make anything of it,” Johnson said. “Off-season’s here and it’s a harsh reality for a lot of guys who haven’t experienced that yet. And for those who were here last year, it’s a repeat. I said it last year, it wasn’t good enough. We did all we did to come back this year to make things better, but we fell short again. So, no lack of support all year from the fans. They were incredible and spurred us on until the very last minute of the game. So, for that I’m thankful.”

Still, NYCFC can’t get over the hump in the playoffs. After missing the postseason in its first year in 2015, City has booked a spot there four consecutive times. And every time the club has exited in the first round in which has competed.

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In fact, NYCFC is 1-6 in seven playoff matches as it has been outscored, 17-5. It also been eliminated by Toronto FC twice, including by a 7-0 aggregate in 2016.

Since it received a first-round bye, City had a 17-day break from matches. Toronto FC, on the other hand, was coming off a 120-minute affair, a 5-1 extratime win over D.C. United Saturday.

“To be honest I don’t think we can make any excuse whether it was the amount we had,” he said. “Not playing any meaningful games in that time period, you can write the narrative any way you want, but at the end of the day, you have to take responsibility as players. We worked hard enough to put ourselves in that position and with that position comes responsibility to take care of business when the moment comes up. I think you can go around the room and ask any player and I don’t think they’ll put it down to anything that happened in the last week and a half, two weeks. For us, the moment was now, and it wasn’t good enough for a team to go out the way we did and now we’re looking at another offseason.”

Taty Castellanos came close to the equalizer in the 57th minute when he turned from 20 yards out and fired just wide of the far post. Two minutes later, Maxi Moralez put a shot on frame, but goalkeeper Quentin Westberg made the save.

The leveler came in the 69th minute, when Moralez crossed to the back post and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi beat Westberg off the bounce.

NYCFC had a first-round playoff bye, and looked every bit a team that hadn’t played in 17 days during the opening 45 minutes. The home team would have trailed at the break if not for the play of Johnson.

Toronto FC 2, NYCFC 1 – 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs

Oct 23, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (4) warms up before a game against New York City FC at CitiField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“Simply we just weren’t good enough today,” Johnson said. “I think you look at the course of the game and we start off for 45 minutes and think get lucky to escape 0-0 at halftime. We didn’t show up with the right energy, the right focus and mistakes happen, but i think is a collective. In big games, in big moments, we have to show up.”

Johnson made four saves in the first half, each a critical intervention. He parried away an attempt by Tsubasa Endoh in the 5th minute and dived to his right to push aside a point-blank shot by Pozuelo 10 minutes later.

In the 37th minute, a clever combination for Toronto FC saw Pozuelo play a penetrating pass to Endoh in the box. The Japanese midfielder set up Jonathan Osorio with a backheel, but Johnson pushed the Canadian international’s shot over the crossbar for one of TFC’s three first-half corner kicks.

The best chance for NYCFC in the first half came on a quick restart by Alex Ring after Moralez was fouled. He played to a streaking Castellanos, but Westberg got a piece of the attempt for an NYCFC corner. NYCFC had one final shot to level in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time, but Westberg pushed aside Castellanos’ close-range header.

“I think the second half we played much better than the first half and we deserved more,” Torrent said. “But sometimes the soccer is unfair with the players and that happened tonight.”

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CHICAGO (Oct. 7, 2019)—Two players have been replaced on the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team roster for its October training camp, which culminates in a match against El Salvador on Oct. 15 in Miami, Fla.

Defender Kyle Duncan suffered an injury during the New York Red Bulls’ 3-0 loss to Montreal on Sunday. North Carolina FC defender Manny Perez will replace Duncan in South Florida. The outside back was a part of the USA squad that won the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship in Bradenton, Fla. and has made 19 appearances for North Carolina this season.

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The USMNT defender wouldn’t be where he was today without his older sibling’s example and her stories, his favorite being her meeting Freddy Adu
As women’s soccer grows and grows, there are plenty of stories of today’s stars getting into the game by joining in with their brother and his friends, kicking a ball around.

Jill Ellis, who led the United States to back-to-back Women’s World Cup titles, spent her childhood “playing with her brother in the backyard”, while photos of Lucy Bronze tackling her older brother, Jorge, have circulated the internet for years.

But Auston Trusty is one of the rare examples of the shoe being on the other foot.

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When the Philadelphia Union defender was born, his sister, Onnie Nicholson, was already in love with soccer and would soon be travelling around with the national team, starring in their youth teams and inspiring her little brother with her stories.

“I’m the youngest of six. Everyone in my family played collegiate sports and high-level sports so I was kind of bound to have that pathway,” Trusty explains to Goal.

“My sister played with national teams in soccer, so I fell in love with soccer watching her.

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“She was on the women’s national team and everything. She was a big-time player and I was the little ball boy on the sidelines, kicking a ball.

“I never got to really play with her because by the time I was really able to play, she had already stopped playing and already had a kid, but I get to hear her stories and everything so that’s pretty cool.”

The tale that stands out for Trusty is that of his sister meeting Freddy Adu while away with the national team, the former D.C. United ‘wonderkid’.

“When I was really little, I remember her saying she’d just got back from a trip playing with the national team and the men’s national team was there too,” he recalls.

“And Freddy Adu – he actually played for the Union too at the time – he was like the biggest name in America, the biggest soccer player, the biggest prospect in the world.

“And he was like 15, 16 years old. I remember her telling me she’d met him and they were friends and I was like, ‘wow, one day I want to go to that national team place and see it and play at the World Cup’.”

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Auston’s sister, Onnie (No.24), pictured here playing with future USWNT World Cup winners Naeher (No.1), O’Hara (No.8), McDonald (No.15) and Heath (No.10) in 2005

Although Trusty is yet to be capped at senior level for his country, the 21-year-old has risen through the youth ranks at some pace and has represented the USMNT’s under-17s and under-20s at World Cup tournaments.

“Not too much later, I was in the residency school and playing at the World Cup,” he beams.

“I never knew that existed until she told me that. So it’s stories like that.”

Despite his parents being very supportive of his passion for soccer, and being able to financially support him too, Trusty’s love for the game wasn’t shared by many outside of his family.

“I grew up when soccer wasn’t the main thing. My friends didn’t grow up playing soccer and I was the weird one for playing soccer,” he explains.

“All the kids in the neighborhood, every single day we were outside playing but it would never be soccer. It was always football or basketball or baseball or anything else but soccer.

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“If I even mentioned soccer they’d be like, ‘what?’, you know?

“It’s just not in the American mindset. It’s hard growing up. When you’re growing up, you do what your friends do, and they’d rather watch a football game than a soccer game. It’s not in their mindset. It’s sad, it’s unfortunate for me, but you get over it.

“It was easier for me because my family had the money to afford it all for me but a lot of kids it’s not as accessible for them. It’s really, really expensive.”

The issues that exist in America’s relationship with soccer are something Trusty discusses at length in Soccer in the City, a documentary featuring a plethora of top talent from the USA and beyond that is set to premiere on October 17.

“I think it’s getting the backing from the city itself to allow fields to be put in parts of town,” Trusty says.

“I think it’s extremely important because if kids in the city have to have access to proper fields and proper nets and everything, it can grow the game and there’s more potential for teams to look at.

“Every team is in the city but not every team is tapping into the full potential of that city.”

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While soccer has developed into something of a pay-to-play sport in the States, it’s something that Trusty sees improving since he was a kid.

The defender grew up just five minutes from the Union’s stadium and spent his childhood idolising those who he plays with now – describing current teammate Ray Gaddis as someone who was his favorite player, and is now his best friend.

Thanks to the Union’s work in the community, the soccer landscape of Philadelphia is changing for the better, and Trusty is delighted that the next generation of future soccer players will enjoy that.

“I go home and I can see little kids playing around, which I always did, but I see them with a soccer net outside their house.

“It makes me really happy. When I grew up, that was not a thing. I had a net, but it was two lacrosse nets because my brother played lacrosse, so I put them together. I always wanted a net.”

He also believes that attitudes in the U.S. are changing for the better when it comes to the future of soccer in the country.

“I think the mindset of the people I grew up with has changed,” he says.

“But that might be because they see me and they want to support me so they get involved in it.

“That said, it shows that when you put aside the fact that ‘soccer’s a wimp sport’ or things like that and people try to watch it and they enjoy it.

“If you give it a chance, when the American mindset gives it the chance, it’ll grow on you.”

Additionally, defender Miles Robinson has been called up to the senior MNT for the upcoming Nations League matches against Cuba and Canada after defender Walker Zimmerman was forced to withdraw from the roster due to injury. Robinson earned his first call-up to the full team during the Sept. international window and earned his first two caps vs. Mexico and Uruguay.

Robinson will be replaced by Philadelphia Union defender Auston Trusty. Trusty has been a part of the last two U-23 MNT camps and has made 22 appearances this season for the Union, helping the team to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

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CHICAGO (Oct. 14, 2019) – Following a comprehensive 7-0 win against Cuba on Friday night, the U.S. Men’s National Team heads north to take on Canada on Tuesday, Oct. 15 where a win would see the side pull level with les Rouges in the Concacaf Nations League A, Group A table. Pre-game coverage of Canada-USA begins at 7:10 p.m. ET on ESPN2, UniMás and TUDN, with kickoff to follow at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Fans can also follow along via U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@USMNT) and Instagram (@USMNT) accounts.

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USA DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 62/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), Zack Steffen (Fortuna Düsseldorf/GER; 16/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 9/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 8/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 13/2), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 11/0), Matt Miazga (Reading/ENG; 18/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 37/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 59/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 150/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 12/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 16/6), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 33/14), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 17/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 20/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 4/0)

FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 29/5), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 4/0), Tyler Boyd (Beşiktaş/TUR; 8/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 36/7), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 10/3), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 53/10)

USMNT ROUTS CUBA 7-0 FRIDAY IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The U.S. Men’s National Team opened Concacaf Nations League play in impressive fashion, routing Cuba 7-0 on Friday night at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. The side used a hat trick from Weston McKennie and a Jordan Morris strike inside the first 13 minutes to put the game away early. Morris then forced an own goal not long after the hour mark, before Josh Sargent gave the side a 6-0 halftime lead. Captaining the team for the third time, Christian Pulisic recorded his 14th goal and first from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute, capping the scoring and sending the USMNT north to Canada with its largest margin of victory of the Gregg Berhalter era.

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RECORDS TIED AND SET VS. CUBA
With three goals inside 13 minutes, USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie recorded the fastest hat trick from the start of a game in team history. It was also the second-fastest in minutes spanned, coming in just one minute behind Brian McBride, who tallied three goals in 12 minutes in a 4-0 Gold Cup quarterfinal victory against El Salvador on Jan. 27, 2002.

With a trio of assists, Jordan Morris became just the third player in USMNT history to achieve the record of three in a match, tying Cobi Jones (Nov. 14, 1993 vs. Cayman Islands) and Landon Donovan (April 1, 2009 vs. Trinidad & Tobago and July 21, 2013 vs. El Salvador).

Finally, the USMNT’s six first-half goals in the match set a new record for goals in a half among matches which goal times are recorded (going back to at least 1968). Interestingly, the previous record of five goals all came in the second half of matches.

BERHALTER APPROACHING 10-WIN MILESTONE
Friday’s 7-0 victory against Cuba also marked Gregg Berhalter’s ninth as USMNT head coach.

Set to manage his 16th match on Tuesday against Canada, a win would see Berhalter become the second-fastest USMNT manager to achieve double-digit victories after only Bob Bradley, who achieved his 10th win in his 11th match as head coach in 2007.

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USMNT HEAD COACHES – FASTEST TO 10 WINS OVERALL

Coach

Games Coached

10th Win Date

Result

Competition

Bob Bradley

11

June 24, 2007

2-1 W vs. Mexico

2007 Gold Cup

Bruce Arena

18

February 16, 2000

1-0 W vs. Peru

2000 Gold Cup

Jurgen Klinsmann

18

September 11, 2012

1-0 W vs. Jamaica

2014 WCQ

Steve Sampson

19

June 9, 1996

2-1 W vs. Ireland

Friendly

Bob Gansler

21

April 8, 1990

4-1 W vs. Iceland

Friendly

Bora Milutinovic

24

May 30, 1992

3-1 W vs. Ireland

Friendly

* Gregg Berhalter has 9 wins in 15 games coached with the USMNT

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MILES ROBINSON DEPARTS CAMP WITH HAMSTRING INJURY
The USMNT roster was reduced to 24 players on Saturday with defender Miles Robinson returning to Atlanta United FC after suffering a left hamstring strain in training following Friday night’s win against Cuba. Robinson was summoned to camp earlier in the week as an injury replacement for Walker Zimmerman who suffered a concussion in LAFC’s regular season finale.

TORONTO (AP) — The U.S. men’s soccer team lost to Canada for the first time in 34 years, allowing second-half goals to Alphonso Davis and Lucas Cavallini in a 2-0 defeat Tuesday night in the CONCACAF Nations League.

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A little over two years after the Americans failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by losing at Trinidad and Tobago, they saw their 17-match unbeaten streak against their northern neighbor come to an end.

The U.S. men’s national team—and let’s be clear, the U.S. Soccer Federation as a whole—are in crisis again. And the whole thing makes you wonder if anyone learned any lessons at all from the monumental failure to qualify for World Cup 2018.

On Tuesday, Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT lost 2-0 to Canada in Toronto in the Concacaf Nations League, a loss that was deserved, a loss that was historic (the first time Canada has beaten the U.S. in 34 years) and a loss that probably should have been by an even bigger margin. It was the latest example that the U.S., whose best teams were always hard to play against, has lost that identity in the last five years of freefall.

It was one thing to lose 1-0 to Mexico in the 2019 Gold Cup final. But to lose 3-0 to the Mexicans after that (while failing to execute on the basics) and 2-0 to the Canadians in a competitive game are other things entirely.

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Under Berhalter—as was the case under Jurgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena—the U.S. is worse than the sum of its parts. The talent that is there is being asked by Berhalter to adopt a play-out-of-the-back tactical approach that isn’t suited to the players at hand, who would be better off using a more direct style that (combined with pressing) would help keep the ball in the opponent’s half of the field. If Berhalter doesn’t adapt now, he should be out of a job soon.

Davies turned in a cross from Scott Arfield. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen put a palm up to block Davies’ shot but the ball still dropped over the line as Canada’s players rushed to join Davies for a raucous celebration.

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Concacaf Nations League

@CNationsLeague
63′ Goal by Alphonso Davies! @CanadaSoccerEN’s has the lead! 1-0 over @ussoccer_mnt in Toronto | #FollowTheDream #CNL

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Cavallini added a 90th-minute for 75th-ranked Canada, taking long pass and beating Steffen to the near post with a low shot.

Concacaf Nations League

@CNationsLeague
Goal @CanadaSoccerEN ! Lucas Cavalini scores Canada’s second goal of the night! This is the first win against @ussoccer_mnt since 1985! #CNL #FollowTheDream

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Christian Pulisic had a point-blank shot saved by goalkeeper Milan Borjan in the 51st minute.

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The 21st-ranked U.S., coming off last week’s opening 7-0 home rout of Cuba, had nine wins and eight draws against Canada since a 2-0 exhibition defeat at Vancouver, British Columbia, in April 1985.

Canada is trying to climb into the top six in the region in FIFA rankings, which will be used next summer to determine the nations in the hexagonal will produce the three direct qualifiers from the North and Central American and Caribbean region for the 2022 World Cup.

The U.S. and Canada meet again Nov. 15 at Orlando, Florida, and the U.S. faces Cuba four days later George Town, Cayman Islands.

American coach Gregg Berhalter made four changes, inserting Steffen, right back DeAndre Yedlin, central defender Aaron Long and midfielder Michael Bradley. Yedlin made his first international appearance since March 26 after recovering from groin surgery.

With the departure, the USMNT roster stands at 24 players heading into Tuesday’s match against Canada. Teams are allowed to dress 23 players for Concacaf Nations League games (20 field players and three goalkeepers).

CNL PROVIDES COMPETITION, PREP FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
Normally at this point of the cycle, the USMNT would still be playing friendlies in preparation for the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying. With the advent of the Concacaf Nations League, the team is now getting competitive matches in a home-and-away format that can replicate what the team will experience come the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup which begins next September.

“This is competitive soccer,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said about the new competition. “For us, it’s playing away games and playing home games that leads to a result in a tournament format which is important. World Cup qualifying is an absolutely crucial event, and these games will help prepare us. Any time there is a trophy on the line and in the inaugural Nations League tournament [there is], we want to put ourselves in a position to win.”

LEAGUE A, GROUP A
Drawn into Nations League A, Group A, the USMNT closes out the year with home and away matches against Canada and Cuba. Those countries faced off during the September window, with Canada earning a 7-0 win on Sept. 7 in Toronto before a 1-0 victory in Cuba’s “home” match on Sept. 10 in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. With those results, the USMNT will have the goal of equaling Canada’s six points by the end of the October window.