No Short Corners

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November 22, 2017 12:01 UTC
September 5, 2008 03:13 UTC

The Final Cuts

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I'm fully aware of the historical numbers. I'm painfully aware that just two of my first eight picks for tie winners in this year's MLS Playoffs have come through. Be that all as it may, I can only go with Toronto FC and Seattle to take their respective conference finals and set up just the third MLS Cup rematch in league history (and the first not to feature Houston).

Morales shoots down the leaders

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Don't look now, but Alfredo Morales has three goals and a helper in his last six games for a streaking Ingolstadt. His latest strike stood up as a lone goal winner to knock Fortuna D├╝sseldorf out of the 2.Bundesliga penthouse on Sunday. - Greg Seltzer

Your USMNT Line-Up v Portugal

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Well... I got the back line I wanted, the central midfield triangle I asked for is there, and Sapong gets a shot. And yet, all I can think about is how we should bar coaches from using a 4-4-2. I mean, why??? Hrmph. Go time in Portugal. Introducing your final #USMNT starting XI for 2017.Lineup notes ┬╗ https://t.

I could go for some...

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It wasn't too difficult to pick the back I'd like to see in the USMNT's friendly at Portugal tonight, but there's just so many guys beyond the defense on hand to take a look at - can't see 'em all, unfortunately. In any event, we do get a head start on the next cycle, so it greatly bothers me to see some observes call this a meaningless match.

The Situation Room

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Looking forward into the next cycle, there were some of these jobs I want handed to short crews and other to have plenty of options. That may make some of these look lean, and a couple of those actually are. But some of the youth stars should come bearing restart skills when they eventually enter the frame.

Clearing The Racks

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Do forgive me for situationally sending you to a shop link, but I thought you might like to peruse a list of the top 25 jersey-selling players in MLS this season. It's interesting to see nearly half of the guys on the list play for either Atlanta United (five mentions) or Seattle (six). New York City FC and Portland were the only other clubs with as many as three players in the list.

The actual clipboard.

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The USMNT camp roster for next week's Portugal friendly is out, and it is very lean. Dave Sarachan summoned 21 players, including five impressive uncapped youngsters (marked by asterisks below. Josh Sargent is one of them, a fact which stands among my biggest surprises. The calls for Tim Ream and C.

Picking a Portugal roster

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A day behind original schedule and racing against the USMNT roster reveal, I've decided to swap order on the next two bits. Pick the selection now, and get to the dead ball duties later. It's a group of 26, which is kinda large for a one-off friendly - but I dun care. They're all important games when we need to learn things.

Here Or There?

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Piggy-backing on to that last Christian Pulisic post, it's time to run down all the USMNT guys who will be rightfully considered at more than one position on the Clipboard. Several of the wingers can be used on either side, but that's fairly obvious, so I skipped over them here. However, there are some very valuable and potentially helpful pieces to think about when it comes to finding optimum

An Example of a Dilemma

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When we see Christian Pulisic toy with Bayern Munich the way he did yesterday (despite not getting much help), it throws that question of whether he's best utilized on the wing or as the #10. The answer, of course, depends on 1) who we're playing & 2) who else is available to take the slot he doesn't.

A Fresh Clipboard: #9

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And so we've reached the last position, which probably won't make anyone super-happy for the time being. There has definitely been a talent gap at the striker spot, and the kids aren't quite ready for prime time yet. What we have now is two guys between 24 & 28 that can score, a small variety of unproven options and a wait.

A Fresh Clipbaord: #11

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We now slide over to check out the left wing position, where the USMNT has a wide variety of style choices.*Lynden GoochJordan Morris*Kelyn RoweFafa PicaultKenny SaiefWorth monitoring next season: Kekuta Manneh Rowe is probably the most well-rounded, and he quickly proved he can offer end product at the international level.

Prize Show

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We'll get back to the Clipboard in a bit, but first I'll drop my MLS award picks. Just to be clear, this is not an unveiled official ballot. MVP (announced Dec. 4)Diego Valeri, Portland - I fully get the logic behind giving another one to David Villa (even if NYCFC were 3-2-1 when he didn't start). But this one has to go the Timbers talisman.

A Fresh Clipboard: #7

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One might expect me appoint Arriola as a starter, but I'd rather throw this one open. It's not that he hasn't been solid. Some might find this slot to be paper thin, but there is some speed and young gusto around - which we hope can soon be augmented through consistency. There are also young prospects waiting on a shot.

A Fresh Clipboard: #10

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Okay... things are about to get as predictable as can be. And then they'll get a bit weird. I'm sure you can handle it. *Christian Pulisic*Mix DiskerudDarlington Nagbe The least surprising pick in the bunch (and just the third position I've handed outright to someone thus far) is Pulisic. No spoiler alert necessary there.