DeAndre Yedlin drawing Major Interest from 2 Championship Teams

deandre-yedlin-plays-tottenham-1According to rumors, Tottenham Hotspurs right-back DeAndre Yedlin may be loaned to another club in the near future. And this has left many contemplating exactly where the 21-year-old will end up.

It’s being suggested Bolton or Derby County could be where Yedlin lands on a loan. Both are in the Championship league, which is a notch below the Premier League. But as it stands, Yedlin is currently behind both Kyle Walker and the recently signed Kieran Trippier on the Suprs’ depth chart. And in the Championship league, he would get considerable playing time compared to the sparse amounts that he played for Tottenham last season.

Yedlin was brought over from the Seattle Sounders for £2.5 million, in a move that was officially completed in January. His only appearance for the Spurs’ first team was when he came on as a substitute against Aston Villa.

Assuming Tottenham loaned Yedlin out to Derby County, the latter would be an excellent spot in terms of development. Not only is Derby one of the better Championship teams, but they were also really fun to watch under now-Newcastle manager Steve McClaren. If he were to go to Bolton, Yedlin wouldn’t be on as good of a team, but first-team playing time would almost be guaranteed.

deandre-yedlin-plays-tottenhamAs for the Championship league in general, the competition is about equal to what Yedlin experienced in the MLS. And given his heavy international experience with Team USA in recent times, he would be well prepared for Championship play.

A loan to another Premier League team still isn’t out of the question either. Norwich City, which was promoted to the Premier League again, could use a good right-back like Yedlin, and it would give the latter some great experience. After all, there’s no competition like the EPL to groom a player into the type of star defender that Tottenham is looking for.

In any case, it will be interesting to see what the Spurs do with their talented youngster this off season. He’ll be playing international matches for USA off and on in the meantime and bettering his skills.

5 Takeaways from USA Soccer’s 2-1 Victory over Germany

usa-vs-germany-2015Just a week after their big win over the Netherlands, Team USA earned a 2-1 victory over defending World Cup champion Germany. This now marks two victories over top-ranked international squads, causing many to wonder where the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) is headed. It definitely feels like good things are coming in the future, that’s for sure. But what exactly is it that’s going so right for this team, which, despite a Round-of-16 World Cup appearance, seemed over-matched against soccer’s elite? Let’s analyze five points from the 2-1 win over Germany to determine what they are doing right now.

1. As Michael Bradley goes, the US goes

The 2014 World Cup wasn’t Michael Bradley’s finest hour, as the American midfielder had some tough games. But you’d never know that by looking at the 27-year-old now. Bradley played an excellent field game against the Netherlands, then followed up this performance with another gem against Germany. In fact, it was his sweet cross-field pass that set up the game-tying goal. Assuming USA is to win the Gold Cup next month, they’ll need Bradley to at least be on his A or B-game. Considering the latest results, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.

2. USA is winning without Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore

clint-dempsey-ghanaOne year ago, if you were to tell a die-hard soccer fan that USA would beat both the Netherlands and Germany without Clint Dempsey (child born) and Jozy Altidore (injury), they’d think you were crazy. And crazy is definitely the right word for what the Americans have done without their star players against top-flight international competition. Sure, these are only friendlies, and teams are always utilizing tweaked lineups that aren’t their best. But still, when you have an unknown like Bobby Wood step up and nail game-winning goals, it has to be encouraging for the overall US soccer system. On a side note, Wood isn’t even on the 35-man provisional roster for the Gold Cup.

3. The Americans have Incredible Speed

This American squad can definitely match other teams in regard to speed. This is especially the case with DeAndre Yedlin, Gyasi Zardes and Jordan Morris, who can create mismatches with their running ability. Teams will definitely have trouble containing Yedlin and Zardes on the flanks, which will give USA plenty of scoring chances in future international matches. So suddenly, the Americans, who featured below-average speed at the World Cup, have changed one of their greatest weaknesses into a huge asset.

4. The Tough, Grind-till-the-End Mentality is Back

While USA may not have been the most-talented team at the 2014 Cup, they did earn lots of praise for their never-quit attitude. Unfortunately, this mentality was largely missing in late 2014 and early ’15 matches, where they lost embarrassingly to Ireland (4-1), Chile (3-1) and even Denmark (3-2). However, things are looking up again as the USA toughness is back, and they’re grinding matches out until the end while waiting for their opportunities. And these opportunities definitely did come late against both the Netherlands and Germany.

5. Every Player has to compete for their Spot

Soccer: Friendly-USA vs GermanyUnder Jurgen Klinsmann, there’s no complacency in regard to a player’s international roster spot. As we saw with Landon Donovan before the 2014 Cup, Klinsmann won’t let big names decide who plays and who doesn’t. That said, there are a few players who’ve shown enough to be safe, including Bradley, Yedlin, Dempsey, Altidore, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson, Zardes, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando. However, from an overall perspective, Klinsmann is bringing a real European attitude to the table, where every spot is up for competition and players need to work hard to start, no matter how talented they are.

Has US Soccer entered Elite Status with Win over Netherlands?

2015-usa-netherlandsEver since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as coach of the US Men’s National Team, American soccer has been on an upward trajectory. Even still, nobody expected this team to walk out of Amsterdam Arena with a 4-3 friendly victory. This is especially the case for anybody who was watching the game when the Oranje went up 3-1 in the second half.

However, the Americans battled back in this friendly, even when down 3-2 with just two minutes left in regulation. A quick Danny Williams’ equalizer and Bobby Wood game-winner gave USA a stunning win over the Dutch. That said, it’s worth asking if the Americans have finally entered soccer’s elite, or if they’re still a fringe team who benefited from good fortune in this match.

USA beat a Very Good Team – And Under Tough Circumstances

2015-usa-netherlands-1Let’s give the USMNT some major credit here: they beat the team that finished third in the 2014 World Cup. This is no small feat for a squad that wasn’t expected to make it out of the “Group of Death,” but did, only to lose 2-1 to Belgium in a game where they were overmatched. What’s more is that USA was playing on the road against what is still one of the best football teams in the world.

Another point worth mentioning here is that the Yanks were playing without the injured Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, who was home to witness the birth of his fourth child. Finally, Klinsmann used this match as another one of his experiments, making seven defensive substitutions and giving the Dutch a great opportunity to run through his back line.

This may not be the Same Dutch Team

While the Oranje may still be very good on the international level, they’ve had their problems since the third-place 2014 Cup effort. First off, manager Guus Hiddink, who took over for Louis van Gaal, changed the defense from a 5-3-2 system to a 4-3-3. The results up until this point have been disastrous, which was proven in this match as USA took advantage of many Dutch defensive errors.

Another point worth making here is that it’s not like the Netherlands had their entire ‘A team’ out on the field either. Hiddink rested some of his top players as the team prepares for a Euro 2016 qualifier against Latvia.

Netherlands Largely outplayed the US

2015-usa-netherlands-2Regardless of the final score, and the Americans’ never-quit attitude, the Dutch still looked like the dominant team here. They maintained possession 61 percent of the time and remained on the attack, forcing the US to mainly rely on counterstrike opportunities.

In any case, it was the USMNT walking away with the victory here after an incredible comeback. And while they didn’t look to be quite on the same level as Netherlands, they are still a young team that’s improving. Furthermore, if they continue at this same pace, with Klinsmann at the helm, then they’ll be an even bigger threat at the 2018 World Cup.

Barcelona beats Juventus 3-1 in Champions League Final

barcelona-vs-juventusBarcelona won their fifth UEFA Champions League title in history after beating Juventus by a score of 3-1. Ivan Rakitic started the scoring for Barca in the fourth minute, while Luis Saurez (68th minute) and Neymar (stoppage time) put the match away in the second half.

This has been a huge season for Barcelona, given that they won their first title since 2011, along with the La Liga title and Spanish King’s Cup. All of this looks especially impressive for Luis Enrique, a former Spanish midfielder who’s coaching his first year at the Barca helm.

“It’s incredible, a dream, something unique,” said an excited Suarez. “To win these competitions you have to suffer, if not it’s not worth it, and today we had to suffer to win the match.”

Things obviously weren’t so cheerful for Juventus, which becomes the first club to love six Champions League finals. They have also lost their last four matches on Europe’s biggest stage.

“We believed we had a chance of pulling off this great feat but we didn’t manage it and the best team won,” said Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. “In football that doesn’t always happen but this time that was the case.”

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at a quick recap of Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Juve.

Fast Start

Rakitic’s goal at four minutes was actually the fourth-fastest goal in Champions League history. All 10 outfield players touched the ball on the possession, with captain Andres Iniesta finding Rakitic for the first score. If not for Buffon’s excellent one-handed save in the 13th minute, on a shot by Dani Alves, Barcelona would have had a quick 2-0 lead.

Barcelona takes Control in Second Half

barcelona-vs-juventus-1Three minutes into the second half, Alvaro Morata, a former Real Madrid striker, was able to give Juve their first score. This goal gave Juve life since they’d previously been struggling to keep Barcelona’s talented lineup from getting good shots.

However, the match would quickly swing into Barca’s favor, when Lionel Messi’s shot was deflected by Buffon, only for Saurez to find the net afterward. Not long after this, Neymar had a goal disallowed because his header bounced off his outstretched hand before going into the net. The Brazilian star forward wasn’t happy by any means, but he would get another chance in stoppage time, putting Barcelona up 3-1 and ending any hope for Juve.

barcelona-vs-juventus-2End of Eras

This is the last ride for Juventus’ core group, given that their average age is 30 and they’re Europe’s second-oldest team. This aging group fought hard in the finals, but the talented trio of Neymar, Saurez and Messi proved too much.

Barca’s Xavi has played his last game for the Catalan club, while it’s a wonder how many seasons Iniesta has left. The midfielder is now the first Barcelona player to have played in four European finals.

Champions League Final Betting: Barcelona vs. Juventus

2015-champions-league-final-bettingThe 2015 UEFA Champions League Final is now set, with FC Barcelona (La Liga) set to play Juventus (Serie A) for the title. Barcelona was able to hold off Bayern Munich by one goal (3-0, 3-2) in their two-legged playoff, while Juventus also got by Real Madrid by a one-goal margin (2-1, 1-1). Now the big question remains, who’s got the upper hand in the final match, which takes place on June 6th at 2:45 ET? Assuming you’re into Champions League Final betting, check out out the following as we discuss how each side can come away with the victory.

Why Barcelona can win

One doesn’t have to make much of a case for why Barcelona is supposed to win this match. They easily feature the best attack in the world, with the dream team of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi causing nightmares for opposing goalkeepers. Not only are these three capable of amazing, highlight-reel plays at any moment, but they’re also extremely intelligent on the field – of course, aside from Suarez’s bite of Giorgio Chiellini, who will be on the Juventus side by the way. This trio has put 78 balls in the net in La Liga play, and combined for another 25 goals in UEFA play.

This club isn’t only about offense, though. They also feature a strong defense that’s capable of supporting the attack. Sure, they gave up three goals against Bayern Munich in two-legged play; but they also held Spanish La Liga opponents to just 19 scores all season – very impressive when you consider that Atletico Madrid was second with 28 goals allowed.

The defense is aided by the fact that this side has maintained possession about 60 percent of the time in Champions League play. Combine this with the fact that the defense doesn’t give up many goals, and Juventus won’t have many opportunities to find the back of the net.

2015-champions-league-final-betting-1Why Juventus can win

Italy’s most successful club from a historical standpoint has finally reached the pinnacle of European football again. Dealing with the fallout of the Calciopoli scandal, Juventus was in Serie B just nine years ago. Now, a decade later, they’ve clawed their way back to the top and will be decided underdogs against what looks like an unstoppable Barcelona attack. But that’s just the thing: Juventus knows that they’re underdogs and they will be playing uphill. This humility will serve them well against the club that’s supposed to win this contest.

Of course, sentiments and surprise only go so far in a Champions League Final, so where’s the substance behind Juventus? Well, big-match experience is definitely on this side, with Carlos Tevez, Patrice Evra, Andrea Pirlo, Morata and Buffon all having played in a Champions League Final before (although not together). Furthermore, they blend some young talent with these veterans, since Alvaro Morata and Paul Pogba are two of the top youngsters in Europe. So this nice mix of new and old will give Juventus balance as they face the giants.

Final Score Prediction: Barcelona 2 – Juventus 1

USA Star DeAndre Yedlin now playing for Tottenham Hotspur First Team

deandre-yedlin-plays-tottenhamAmerican DeAndre Yedlin, who became famous for his breakout performance this summer, got his first chance to play for Tottenham Hotspur, subbing in at the 79th minute against Aston Villa.

Unfortunately, Yedlin couldn’t do anything to sway the tide for the Spurs, who lost 1-0 to Aston Villa. But it’s encouraging news for the 21-year-old Yedlin, who could be seeing more time with Tottenham’s first team in the near future.

Yedlin burst on to the main stage at the 2014 World Cup, where his beautiful pass to Clint Dempsey helped Team USA take a 2-1 lead over Portugal. The match ended in a 2-2 tie, but if it hadn’t been for Yedlin subbing in, it’s possible that the Americans could have lost the match and missed advancing to the Round of 16. The former Seattle Sounders right back also delivered a nice cross to Dempsey against Germany; but the latter couldn’t quite head the ball in during a 1-0 loss.

Following three notable World Cup appearances for Team USA, Yedlin signed a four-year deal worth £2.5 million with Tottenham. He remained with Seattle, until they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Playoffs on Nov. 30. From here, he traveled to White Hart Lane to play with Tottenham, one of the better teams in the Premier League this season.

Now, four months after crossing the pond, Yedlin is getting his chance to shine. He had some notable moments in the Aston Villa match, with one being the corner he gave up in the 83rd minute. However, this was by no means a poor play since he was matched up with Villa star Christian Benteke (10 goals), and definitely gave the taller opponent a tough challenge. The one questionable play he made was losing sight of Villa’s Fabian Delph, before being saved by Spurs goalie Michel Vorm, who made a nice deflection.

deandre-yedlin-plays-tottenham-1Any mistakes made by Yedlin should be forgiven since he hasn’t played any meaningful league action since late November. He spent his winter training with Tottenham’s under-21 team and got called up to action this past weekend. Yedlin also appeared in three friendlies for the USA national team from January to March.

Speaking of which, USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has repeatedly expressed a desire to see more of his national players compete in tougher leagues than the MLS. And while MLS has made great strides in terms of talent, they still lag behind superior leagues such as Bundesliga, La Liga, Premier League and Serie A.

Yedlin is definitely one player who’s heard the call because he’s playing in what’s arguably the world’s toughest soccer league. And, unlike many Americans who’ve flamed out overseas, Yedlin is already getting meaningful playing time at the age of 21. However, he’ll need to make the most of his minutes because Spurs defender Kyle Walker is due back from a foot injury soon, meaning Yedlin’s opportunities could be reduced if he doesn’t seize the moment.