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The 25th anniversary of one of the greatest soccer goals in U.S. men’s national team history — a 28-yard free kick by Lights FC coach Eric Wynalda that gave the Americans a 1-1 draw against Switzerland in their first World Cup game in 34 years — was Tuesday.

Some background about the 1994 goal from the man who scored it:

Loudest I’ve ever heard a stadium – man I’m old https://t.co/uP6RxQIFkG

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— Eric Wynalda (@EricWynalda) June 18, 2019

■ Wynalda was feeling fatigued when he lined up the memorable boot at a steamy Pontiac Silverdome in front of 73,425 anxious spectators. Blame it on O.J. and his pal Al Cowlings. “The whole O.J. Simpson thing (slow speed car chase) was the night before, so none us got a whole lot of sleep.”

■ Did the shot tick the crossbar? A $1,000 bet in Germany was riding on the sketchy evidence: “Two of my German friends — one was a teammate, one was a guy I played against — made a $1,000 bet that I would hit the crossbar, because the last three free kicks I took in Germany, I hit the bar. If you watch the video, it’s really hard to tell. But it did hit the crossbar.”

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■ Wynalda wasn’t supposed to take the shot: “Two days before the game, (free kick specialist) Claudio Reyna popped his hamstring in practice, (and then) they went from Gatorade to Powerade (sports drink) and they didn’t tell us. I cannot drink Powerade because of synthetic dye or whatever, and I drank two bottles of it. I had hives over my entire body, and then it was intensified by the heat in the Silverdome.”

But he played anyway. And then Eric Wynalda scored one of the most dramatic goals in domestic soccer history. On its 25th anniversary, he received dozens of congratulatory messages. One was from the famous Argentine broadcaster Andres Cantor:

Playing Cuba is always an odd proposition for the US, given the nature of the diplomatic issues between the two countries for the last 50 years. The US did play what amounted to a goodwill friendly in Havana back in 2016 (in a stadium that had no running water). Frequently, when Cuba plays against the US in the US, a number of players tend to defect and seek asylum in this country. While in the commentary booth for FOX during a game against Cuba at the 2013 Gold Cup, Eric Wynalda told a story about how when he played several Cuban players came up to him to ask how they could go about becoming US citizens. On the purely soccer side of things, Cuba is playing rather poorly. They looked halfway decent in the second part of 2018 as they posted four straight wins to close the year, three of which were in Nations League Qualifying. However, in 2019 they are winless and have lost six straight games.

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They didn’t score a single goal at the Gold Cup as they lost all three games: 7-0 against Mexico, 3-0 against Martinique, and 7-0 against Canada. So far in this current round of Nations League games they’ve been swept by Canada. They lost 6-0 in Toronto and then fell 1-0 in the return leg (that was played in George Town in the Cayman Islands). When it comes to roster makeup, Cuba is typically a homogenous team with all players based in Cuba and the manger being Cuban as well. Not the case in 2019. They are managed by an Italian named Lorenzo Membrini and have several players playing abroad: Aricheel Hernandez of Independiente in Panama, Yosel Piedra of USAC in Guatemala, and Luis Paradela of Reno 1868 right here in the US.

“People have told me when they ripped down the Silverdome, they went back and tried to get the seat they sat in,” the Lights coach said. “It was pretty cool. Everybody who was a part of that remembers it in their own way.”
Lost in the fire

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Wynalda’s goal was nearly as memorable as the jerseys he and the U.S. wore that day — lurid denim blue and festooned with stars in no discernible pattern. They were to soccer kits what multicolored Houston Astros stripes were to baseball uniforms during the Nolan Ryan era.

Still, that No. 11 shirt was one of Wynalda’s most treasured keepsakes — until it went up in flames along with the rest of his home during last summer’s deadly California wildfires.

The Lights on July 4 will don jerseys inspired by the ones Wynalda and his teammates wore against Switzerland in 1994. Fans will be able to purchase the souvenir jersey, along with a midfield ticket at Cashman Field for the game against LA Galaxy II, for $94.

On July 4th we’re wearing these jerseys to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the legendary U.S.A. “denim” kit worn by our own @EricWynalda.

For $94 you get a jersey + a midfield lower ticket to our 4th of July game

Visit https://t.co/hdeX8pKOo3 or text USA to 702-728-4625 pic.twitter.com/glwaLBAsCs

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— Las Vegas Lights FC (@lvlightsfc) June 19, 2019

Fielder’s choice

Cool statistic that didn’t make the cut in last week’s Father’s Day edition notes: Prince Fielder and his dad, Cecil, each finished their major league careers with 319 home runs.

Cecil Fielder once envisioned a college career at UNLV. He spent a fall semester at the school, but clashed with Rebels coach Fred Dallimore over his weight and other matters.

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CHICAGO (Oct. 10, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team takes its first steps in the inaugural Concacaf Nations League when it faces Caribbean foe Cuba on Friday, Oct. 11 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Pre-game coverage of USA-Cuba begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on FS1, UniMás and TUDN, with kickoff to follow at 7 p.m.

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

USA DETAILED 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)

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 (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)

BERHALTER CALLS 25 PLAYERS FOR NATIONS LEAGUE MATCHES
Following the completion of club matches last weekend, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has been working with a group of 25 players in preparation for the side’s Concacaf Nations League games against Cuba and at Canada this month. Seventeen players on the roster hail from clubs in Major League Soccer, while eight play abroad in England (4), Germany (3) and Turkey (1). Continuity continues to be a theme in this camp, as 24 of the 25 players have previously seen time with the USMNT this season, with 18-year-old Brenden Aaronson of the Philadelphia Union the only first-timer joining the group.

ALTIDORE, ZIMMERMAN WITHDRAW WITH INJURIES
Part of the original 26-player roster announced last week, forward Jozy Altidore and defender Walker Zimmerman were forced to withdraw from the squad following injuries sustained in their respective clubs’ MLS regular season finales on Sunday. Zimmerman was replaced by Atlanta United FC defender Miles Robinson, while no replacement was named for Altidore, leaving the squad at 25 players.

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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 replicates 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. Anytime there is a trophy on the line is exciting, and in the inaugural Nations League tournament we want to put ourselves in a position to win the tournament.”

LEAGUE A, GROUP A
Drawn into Nations League A, Group A, the USMNT will close 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.

Check out the full League A, Group A standings and schedule below:

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2019-20 Concacaf Nations League A, Group A Standings

It’s a win on a number of levels for the U.S. Not only does a player of Dest’s pedigree help a first team that is seeking to establish cornerstones for the present and future, but he plays at a position of need. That Tyler Adams was going to be shoehorned into right back due to the lack of discernible fullback depth spoke volumes. Suddenly, a depth chart that includes Dest, Reggie Cannon–one of the few bright spots on the field for the U.S. recently–and veteran DeAndre Yedlin gives manager Gregg Berhalter some options. Dest can either fill the longstanding hole at left back, where he is comfortable, or he can deputize on the right, something he’s more accustomed to doing for his club.

Dest played at left back in his two caps with the U.S. senior team in September, displaying his potential and technical ability–though also his faults–against Mexico and Uruguay. Before anointing him as the next Roberto Carlos or Cafu–most would suffice for the next Steve Cherundolo, to be honest–though, it’s important to note he’s not an infallible player. Then again, what 18-year-old not named Kylian Mbappe is? Pulisic himself undressed Dest for his game-winning assist in the Champions League last week, and his 1-v-1 defending is a needs-improvement area.
-7

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RESULTS/SCHEDULE:
Sept. 7 Canada 6-0 Cuba Toronto, Canada
Sept. 10 Cuba 0-1 Canada Georgetown, Cayman Islands
Oct. 11 USA vs. Cuba Washington, D.C.
Oct. 15 Canada vs. USA Toronto, Canada
Nov. 15 USA vs. Canada Orlando, Fla.
Nov. 19 Cuba vs. USA Georgetown, Cayman Islands
WHAT IS THE NATIONS LEAGUE?
Similar to the recently launched UEFA Nations League, Concacaf’s version was created to maximize the quality, quantity and frequency of competitive matches for all of the confederation’s 41 Member Associations. Following a qualifying tournament that concluded earlier this year, teams were placed into one of three Leagues: A, B and C.

From there, teams were drawn into groups within their specific leagues, with each group providing a home-and-away format which runs during the course of the September, October and November FIFA international dates in 2019. At the end of the round-robin competition, the League A and B teams which finish last in their groups will be relegated to the lower league, while the group winners in Leagues B and C will be promoted to the higher league for the next edition of the competition.

READ MORE: Five Things to Know on the Nations League

Additionally, the four group winners from League A will advance to the Knockout Round where a semifinal and final will be played during the June FIFA international dates to crown the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League champion. The semifinal matchups will place the No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 and No. 2 seed vs. No. 3.

The tournament has major implication on future competitions as well. With Concacaf changing its World Cup qualifying format for the 2022 cycle, the top six teams in the FIFA World Rankings come June 2020 will advance straight to the region’s final round of qualifying, while those outside will have to play a longer, drawn out format for the chance to go to Qatar in 2022. The Nations League also will serve as qualifying for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.

-

^-indicates Concacaf Gold Cup; #-indicates Concacaf Nations League

USA-CUBA NOTES
The USA and Cuba meet for the 13th time on Friday, with the USMNT holding a dominant 10-1-1 all-time series lead.

The only two blemishes on the USA record came during the first two matches of the series – a 5-2 defeat to Cuba in the North American Football Championship on July 20, 1947 in Havana and 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw on Sept. 14, 1949 in Mexico City.

A week after that draw, the USMNT earned a 5-2 World Cup qualifying victory in Mexico City, beginning the current 10-game, 70-year winning streak which is the team’s longest against any international opponent all-time.

The teams last met on Oct. 7, 2016 in Havana, a 2-0 USMNT victory in the only friendly match played between the two nations.

Friday’s game comes 11 years to the day of the USMNT’s 6-1 World Cup Qualifying win against Cuba which was also played in Washington, D.C. at historic RFK Stadium.

USA ROSTER NOTES
The roster has an average age of 25 years, 168 days and 24 caps.

A total of 20 players return from the USMNT’s September camp.

Seventeen players represent 14 different Major League Soccer clubs, while eight hail from sides in Europe: England (4), Germany (3), Turkey (1).

Having last appeared for the side in March, defender DeAndre Yedlin returns after recovering from a groin injury which required surgery in May.

Defender Matt Miazga also returns to the USMNT fold after missing out on September camp with a hamstring injury.

D.C. United winger Paul Arriola also has the opportunity to play in familiar territory as the USMNT opens Nations League play at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

Leading all Bundesliga goalkeepers with 34 saves this season, Zack Steffen also made his first save on a penalty kick in Fortuna Düsseldorf’s 2-1 defeat to Freiburg on Sunday.

Having registered three goals and two assists across 27 matches during his rookie season, 18-year-old midfielder Brenden Aaronson is the lone newbie on the USMNT roster.

Gyasi Zardes is only player on the roster with a goal against Cuba, having tallied in a 6-0 Gold Cup quarterfinal victory on July 18, 2015 in Baltimore.

Eight players on the roster have already collected double-digit caps in 2019: Zardes (13); Arriola, Long and Roldan (11 each); Lovitz, Morris, Ream and Steffen (10 each).

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — It’s been a tough couple of weeks for San Jose Earthquakes defender Nick Lima, but he’s not letting any recent disappointments on the field slow him down.

Lima barely had time to digest the Quakes’ disappointing end to the 2019 Major League Soccer season, a Decision Day 3-1 loss at the Portland Timbers that eliminated San Jose from the MLS Cup playoffs chase, before he was on a plane to join up with the U.S. men’s national team for a pair of Concacaf Nations League matches.

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The USA beat Cuba convincingly in their tournament debut but followed that up with a dispiriting 2-0 loss on the road against Canada, the first time in 34 years they’d lost to their northern neighbors. Lima played a role of the bench in Toronto after not seeing the field against Cuba, but he could do little to help the U.S. avoid defeat.

A day later, after traveling cross continent, Lima was finally back in the Bay Area, reunited with his Earthquakes’ teammates and taking part in the team’s Thursday morning training session. Blocking out the vitriol that spewed forth after the Canada loss, he was already looking ahead to what is next for both club and country.

“Clearly, we weren’t happy with the result,” Lima said from the Avaya Stadium press room, “but going forward there’s stuff you can control in a game. We go forward and we know what we can control, and that’s our effort and what we put into the field.”

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With the Earthquakes beginning a three-month off-season, Lima’s full attention is with the national team, and he expects to be called up by head coach Gregg Berhalter in November for two more Nations League games against the same two opponents. If the USMNT wins both, defeating Canada by at least two goals when they face off November 15 in Orlando, they’ll advance to the semifinal round of the tournament next June. Lima feels the defeat to Canada provides plenty of lessons for him and his countrymen.

“You know, eleven guys working as a unit, as a team, follow the tactics and then just go out and execute the next game,” Lima said. “But we have to execute it with 110% from everyone, and I think it’s something that we can easily fix. Guys are willing, guys are hungry, so it’s a bump in the road for sure, but I think that it is a group that is resilient and will be able to make some good out of it.”

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Berhalter has received the brunt of the criticism following the defeat to Canada, especially as he works to instill a specific system of play within the group. There are concerns that the coach’s ambitions may be too grand for a roster that spends such limited time together, but Lima is not buying it, especially since Berhalter communicates regularly with every player. He does feel that more games together, including those in November and friendlies expected to be scheduled early in 2020, are what is necessary for the team’s development.

“Gregg breaks it down in a way that is understandable for each player,” Lima said. “He’s good with communication and talking guys when they have questions, seeing their confusion on the field without them having to say anything. He analyzes it very well, players and tactics, and I think guys are learning. Yeah, it’s a process and it’s going to take time for guys to really get full confidence, and hopefully this turns around sooner than later. It will take time.”

Trusting the process is nothing new for Lima, as he’s been going through the same trials and tribulations at the club level throughout 2019. He was the Earthquakes’ Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and one of the few bright spots during a lost MLS season, earning the attention of the soccer public heading into the new year. His call-up to Berhalter’s first camp in charge of the men’s national team was heralded as the next step in his professional development, and following an impressive debut against Panama, followed closely by another strong performance against Costa Rica, Lima was touted as a favorite to be the U.S. right back for years to come.

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Big, meaningful victories have become scarce for the US national team over the last couple years, but they definitely scored one when Ajax right back revelation Sergino Dest announced that he would continue his international soccer in red, white and blue.

The 18-year-old son of a Dutch mother and a Surinamese-American father, who earned his first two senior caps in October, was eligible to make a one-time switch to the Netherlands. Though Dest has come up through the youth international ranks in a US shirt, Oranje boss Ronald Koeman made a late bid to turn his head on behalf of the country of his birth. He took a spell to think it all over, setting off sweat glands at Soccer House and across our soccer bubble.

In the end, Dest opted to stick with the USMNT instead of teaming up with the Dutch, who have reached three World Cup finals and routinely boast one of the most talented squads in the world. Now that the sighs of relief have passed, we can all take stock of what his decision means for the Nats, both now and in the years to come.

The obvious factor relates to what Dest adds to the team on the field. The youngster greatly improves and deepens Gregg Berhalter’s right back pool, if not also providing the manager with a starting-caliber choice for the left side.

Dest is more comfortable on his natural right side, but possesses enough adaptable quality to make it work on the opposite flank. Whether working starboard or port, the youngster display some wizardly moves rushing in to attack. He already has four assists in just 16 games for Ajax and can also threaten with long-range shots. He largely defends well, especially when facing up to a ball-carrier, but can certainly gain more savvy to eliminate mistakes.

On the right-back depth chart, Dest is in a dogfight with the likes of Reggie Cannon, Nick Lima and the presumed top pick, fit-again Newcastle United man DeAndre Yedlin. However, it can be well-argued that he instantly becomes the best option on the left.

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But upon joining his Quakes teammates in preseason, two weeks later than everyone else, he had a tough transition under another new head coach, Matias Almeyda, and suddenly his position upon the pedestal he had ascended was in peril. The Argentine coach had his own grand tactical plans he was implementing, and they seemed almost orthogonal to those Lima had been groomed with under Berhalter. It was a challenge.

“I think it was a learning experience for us all,” Lima said. “We had the opportunity to come in and learn from a different system. We had so much to work on coming off of last year. We started off slow, but then as time went on, we gained confidence, and then it was up and down, and I think through it, we put ourselves in positions we wanted to be.”

Lima, perhaps more than others on the team, seemed to struggle under the guidance of Almeyda during the first two months of the season. He had lost his starting role as the Earthquakes right back to Tommy Thompson, the role he also featured at with the USA, and was finding his minutes limited to left back. It was a big adjustment for Lima, but it was not one he shied away from in making his presence felt on the field.

“It was different, you know, from playing on the right, but it is just not thinking about it,” Lima said. “You go out and read the game and try to put myself and teammates in positions they want to be in. You still go out with full confidence, but work more on the training pitch, ask questions, look at film. … It is different, but at the same time, you are still playing, and it’s soccer, and I know how to do that.”

After a season in which he started all 34 games for the Earthquakes, Lima featured in only 24 games in 2019. With Thompson established at right back, Lima battled with newcomer Marcos Lopez for time on the left. By season’s end, he had bested the Peruvian international and was Almeyda’s every game starter. Accordingly to the underlying numbers, Lima’s last four games were his best for the Quakes all season, and it was a tough pill to swallow to not see San Jose make the MLS Cup playoffs.

“By the end of the season, we dipped a little bit and we, unfortunately, didn’t make it,” Lima said, “but I think there is a lot of good that we take away from it. We have the knowledge going into the off-season for what we need to do to be ready for, in terms of workload, practices, the preseason. When the season starts to not still be learning something that is brand new, and I think we are in a good spot to move forward.”

2019 has been a learning experience at the club and country level like no other for Lima, and he showed no signs of being worn down by the process. Rather, the 24-year-old defender, with 9 national team caps and counting this year and a new on-field responsibility with the Earthquakes, knows exactly what he needs to do in the coming months to continue his growth for both teams.

“It goes without being said, you bring your top level when you go into the off-season and get ready,” Lima said. “There’s another camp in November, so stay ready for next month. And then, it starts in early January and you keep going and come in and bring a level of quality to the guys, improved fitness, speed, endurance, strength, a little bit of everything. That’s what the off-season is for. It’s enjoyable in that aspect because I get to train in ways that I don’t normally get to in the season.”

For Lima and his development as a professional, 2018 might have provided the awards, but 2019 has been even more rewarding. And given his drive and determination, 2020 promises to be, whether he’s donning Quakes’ black and blue or the colors of the USA, his best year ever.

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It’s not every day that two all-time greats from one national team hang up their boots during the same afternoon, but that’s exactly what US national team fans saw when DaMarcus

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Beasley and Tim Howard played their final club matches on Sunday.

Given that occasion, we decided to tackle the thankless challenge of ranking the best players ever to suit up in red, white and blue, keeping the criteria as simple as possible.

Only senior national team contributions counted, and only players from the 1970s and onward were considered. That’s meant as no offense to Walter Bahr, Harry Keough and Bert

Patenaude, among others, but that era’s group have extremely short US résumés from eras with far less athleticism and much looser fitness regimens.

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Before we dive into the top 10, let’s pay tribute to some very honorable mentions: Jozy Altidore, Marcelo Balboa, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Paul Caligiuri, Thomas

Dooley, Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola, John O’Brien, Christian Pulisic, Tab Ramos, Earnie Stewart and Eric Wynalda.

10) Cobi Jones

Jones in action for the US against Brazil in the 1994 FIFA World Cup | USA Today Sports Images

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The gutsy winger was the USMNT’s dreaded play driver for a solid decade. Jones remains the team’s most-capped man with 164, and stands third on the all-time assist list with 22.

He had a hand in stirring World Cup runs in 1994 and 2002, and also played a significant part in a surprise bronze finish at the 1999 Confederations Cup.

9) DaMarcus Beasley

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Beasley’s US career was incredible for its longevity. Pictured left, here he is playing against Mexico in a 2017 World Cup qualifier | USA Today Sports Images

The man they call Run DMB got his USMNT start as a thoroughly game left-wing lightning bolt back in early 2002. Less than six months later, Beasley had already celebrated the

first of four Gold Cup crowns and played a part in the team’s wild ride to the World Cup elite eight. He cemented his place on this list by re-inventing himself as a left-back

to put in a very steady showing aged 32 at the 2014 World Cup, which made him the only US player to feature at the grand tournament four times.

2007: Cuauhtémoc Blanco – Chicago Fire | 8/18/07 vs. Real Salt Lake, 43rd minute
2006: Brian Ching – Houston Dynamo | 9/30/06 v D.C. United, 86th minute
2005: Dwayne De Rosario – San Jose Earthquakes | 10/15/05 vs. LA Galaxy, 45th minute
2004: Dwayne De Rosario – San Jose Earthquakes | 8/7/04 vs. D.C. United, 82nd minute
2003: Damani Ralph – Chicago Fire | 8/13/03 vs. Columbus Crew SC, 90th minute
2002: Carlos Ruiz – LA Galaxy | 7/27/02 vs. Columbus Crew SC, 75th minute
2001: Clint Mathis – MetroStars | 4/28/01 vs. Dallas Burn, 60th minute
2000: Marcelo Balboa – Colorado Rapids | 4/22/00 vs. Columbus Crew SC, 55th minute
1999: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United | 5/22/99 vs. Miami Fusion, 90th minute
1998: Brian McBride – Columbus Crew | 7/9/98 vs. Chicago Fire, 68th minute
1997: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United | 8/27/97 vs. New England Revolution, 39th minute
1996: Eric Wynalda – San Jose Clash | 4/6/96 vs. D.C. United, 88th minute

After a 2-0 loss at the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sporting KC will continue its road swing this week with a match against the Colorado Rapids at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on FOX Sports Kansas City and the FOX Sports GO app.

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To preview the match, Colorado Rapids broadcaster and U.S. Soccer legend Marcelo Balboa joined Tuesday’s Sporting KC Show on Sports Radio 810 WHB. It was also the first episode of the season with a #CapFedGuestHost. Listen to the podcast of the episode below to get you ready for Saturday’s Western Conference clash.

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Plenty of interesting milestones – both individual and team-related – came out of the USMNT’s 7-0 goal fest to open up Concacaf Nations League play against Cuba on Friday night in Washington, D.C.

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WESTON MCKENNIE RECORDS FASTEST HAT TRICK
Folks had barely taken their seats by the time Weston McKennie put home the game’s first goal in the first minute. McKennie’s strike has now officially been recorded as coming 32 seconds into the match, standing as the second-fastest goal in USMNT history behind only Clint Dempsey’s marker to open the scoring against Ghana during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

While he didn’t set that record, McKennie stayed on mission, adding goals in the fifth and 13th minutes to register the fastest USMNT hat trick from the start of a match. McKennie’s 13-minute hat trick also sits second in USMNT history in terms of the minute span, coming just one minute behind Brian McBride’s effort against El Salvador during the Gold Cup quarterfinals on January 27, 2002.

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Dating back to Archie Stark’s four-goal effort against Canada on Nov. 8, 1925, McKennie’s was the 19th hat trick in USMNT history, while the 21-year-old is the 15th different player to achieve the feat.

Fastest USMNT Hat Trick at Start of a Match

Player

Date

Opponent

Score

From Start of Game

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Minute Span

Weston McKennie

Oct. 11, 2019

Cuba

7-0 W

13

13

Brian McBride

Jan. 27, 2002

El Salvador

4-0 W

21

12

Chris Wondolowski

July 9, 2013

Belize

6-1 W

41

29

Bert Patenaude

July 17, 1930

Paraguay

3-0 W

50

40

Clint Dempsey

March 24, 2017

Honduras

6-0 W

54

22

JORDAN MORRIS TIES SINGLE-GAME ASSIST RECORD
If McKennie has anyone specific to thank for helping him achieve the fastest hat trick in USMNT history, it’s Jordan Morris. The winger provided the assists on his first and fifth minute goals, and to be fair, McKennie also returned the favor to set up Morris to make it 3-0 in the ninth minute. Morris then laid off a pass for Josh Sargent’s 40th minute strike to tie the USMNT record for most assists in a single match.

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WASHINGTON — On the surface, the challenge facing the US national team in Friday night’s Concacaf Nations League opener against Cuba differed starkly from what lies ahead four days later against Canada in Toronto.

Friday, the US dominated early against a dramatically overmatched opponent, saw Weston McKennie score a hat trick by the 13th minute and eventually coasted to a 7-0 win.

In the latter, they’ll be asked to meet the intensity of a partisan Canadian crowd and an intriguingly talented opponent fighting potentially for their World Cup lives.

Yet there’s a symmetry in the two fixtures in asking the Americans to rise to occasions when a heightened response might not come naturally. On Friday, they succeeded as well as coach Gregg Berhalter could ask.

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“From the start of the game, you see the focus of the players and the intensity of the players, and it’s good to see,” Berhalter said after Friday’s rout. “And I think we maintained that focus and intensity for the entire first half. So overall I think it was a worthwhile game for us to continue to grow.”

Josh Sargent, Jordan Morris and Christian Pulisic also scored on a night that set US modern-era records for the highest scoring first half (6-0) and the quickest hat trick from kickoff. McKennie and Pulisic also combined on a sequence that resulted in a 37th minute own goal. And Morris became the third American to record three assists in a game for his country, joining Cobi Jones and Landon Donovan.

None of that really mattered to the US camp, who probably recognized that despite qualifying for League A of this competition, Cuba isn’t at the same level as their Group A opponents.

It wasn’t the scoreline or the history that rescued this from being a wasted night. It was the attitude they brought to Audi field.

“A lot of players in this situation, it’s easy to kind of bring your foot off that gas pedal,” said FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon, who assisted McKennie’s third goal. “The killer instinct of this team, maybe for lack of a better term, has been missing for the last few years. I think that killer instinct is something the US national team needs. And you could really see it tonight.”

Said goalkeeper Brad Guzan: “We can’t control the opponent, we go out and play whoever we’re meant to play against. In that sense, it was a professional performance.”

Sure, rising the occasion Tuesday will be a bigger challenge. Berhalter freely admitted Canada will be clearly of a “higher quality” than Cuba. But as for the suggestion that the ease of Friday’s victory is somehow harmful to that aim? Berhalter insisted the opposite.

“We wanted the game to go like this to be honest, because it’s cost us less energy,” Berhalter said. “If I could’ve written the game up, it would’ve been exactly like this. Score early. Score many goals early. And then cruise. And that was important. I think we saved ourselves. I think we’ll be fit and ready to go in this game.”

That mark has only been achieved three times, by two different players – Cobi Jones and Landon Donovan. See the full details below:

USMNT Single-Game Assist Record – Three Assists

Player

Date

Opponent

Score

Cobi Jones

Nov. 14, 1993

Cayman Islands

8-1 W

Landon Donovan

April 1, 2009

Trinidad & Tobago

3-0 W

Landon Donovan

July 21, 2013

El Salvador

5-1 W

SIX GOALS IN A HALF
As a team, the USMNT’s six-goal output during the first 45 minutes also set a USMNT record for goals in one half.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — For decades, U.S. soccer players have set out for Europe to hatch or elevate pro careers. Their primary destinations have been the top tiers in England and Germany, the Dutch league and the Scandinavian circuit.

Few have landed — and even fewer have thrived — in Spain, home to La Liga, to the epic rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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This season, though, along came Shaquell Moore, a largely unknown American defender for Levante UD by way of Florida, Georgia, Texas and two smaller Spanish teams, one of which didn’t pay him for months and soon went under.

Known by one name at his Valencia-based club, “Shaq” has started five La Liga matches and entered as a sub in another. He started twice in the Copa del Rey tournament. His rise earned a first invitation to U.S. national team training camp, which began this past week in North Carolina and will culminate Tuesday with a friendly against Paraguay at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

At 21, Moore is among several promising young players enlisted to begin turning the fortunes of a program that failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

“All the guys are welcoming and it’s been an easy transition,” the right back said. “I know a good bunch of these guys, so it’s been cool.”

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He has a Serbian accent, scores goals in the Netherlands and may help rebuild U.S. men’s soccer

Moore was well known inside the U.S. system — he captained the under-17 national team and started twice at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup — but until this past fall, had not made enough of a splash in his pro career to warrant a look on the senior level. Among the top young players overseas, he toiled in the shadows of, among others, German-based Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie.

Last fall, after spending a year with Levante’s reserve squad, Moore began to earn first-team assignments. Injuries to others allowed him to climb the depth chart, and his debut came in a cup match against Girona on Oct. 26. Three days later — and four days before his 21st birthday — he started a league game at Eibar. “It was a really good week,” he said.

GREENWOOD, S.C.— Hydro One Premium Beverages, the maker of natural functional beverages, is proud to announce that United States Men’s Soccer Team player Shaquell Moore has joined their growing team.

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“It goes without saying that we are very excited to have such a young, talented, and accomplished player, Shaq Moore, join our Hydro One Beverages Team. Shaq is one of the youngest USMNT player and is one of the future stars in the world of soccer,” said Sammy Nasrollahi CEO and CO-Founder. “What excites us even more is that Shaq has the same determination when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle for himself, his family, and his rapidly growing fan base.” We are looking forward to both a personal and business relationship for many years to come,” Nasrollahi stated.

“My name is Shaq Moore, and I am a member of the United States Men’s National Soccer Team and a proud partner of Hydro One Premium Beverages. I love all the products, especially how they are natural, and my favorite is BÖDE SPORT. What I love about it, it is less sugar and more potassium along with other ingredients that helps me with cramps. To go along, I have close family members who suffer from diabetes and the product not only helps me but my loved ones too, ” Shaq explained.

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Only three U.S. national team players have ever started in La Liga: goalkeeper Kasey Keller (Rayo Vallecano, 1999-2001), forward Jozy Altidore (Villarreal, 2008, ’10-11) and defender Oguchi Onyewu (Malaga, 2012-13). Keller and Onyewu were deep into their careers; Altidore was with his second club.

On consecutive weekends, Moore played 90 minutes against Las Palmas, Atletico Madrid and Malaga.

The biggest moment came Jan. 7, when he started against Barcelona at famed Camp Nou stadium. Playing on the right corner meant confronting superstar Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba, an elite left back. There was also interaction with the greatest of them all, Messi. In the 65th minute, behind by two goals in what became a 3-0 defeat, Moore forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into making a superb save.

For a young American facing soccer royalty, “there is no time to reflect,” he said. “If you think about it, ‘Oh, I am actually here’ and give them too much respect, they can kill you. I was just thinking about competing. You learn you have to be ready. In this league, you have to be 100 percent aware of everything all the time.”

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Moore earned good reviews, including two 7s on the 1-10 scale issued by various media outlets.

Four days later, he started against Espanyol in a round-of-16 cup defeat. Since then, with veterans Pedro Lopez and Coke ahead of him in the pecking order, Moore has spent most of his recent time with the reserve squad.

Nonetheless, it’s been a breakthrough campaign for a player born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who moved at age 10 to greater Atlanta with his family — his father represented Trinidad and Tobago a few times — and entered residency with the U.S. U-17 team in Bradenton, Fla., and then FC Dallas’s academy. However, he said, “my goal was always to go to Europe.”

Moore’s stint with third-division Huracan was over in six months because of the third-division club’s financial issues. “I was thinking, ‘Wow, I came all the way over here for this?’ It makes you grow up a little bit. I’m glad I stuck it out.”

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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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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.