Soccer Outsider: USA-Jamaica match diary, player ratings

Having lost influential leader Andrew Tiedemann to injury, experienced flanker Adam Kleeberger will captain the side from number 8. South African-born Giuseppe du Toit, aged 18, starts at fly half less than two months after playing age grade rugby for British Columbia. He is a great player with a huge future, said Kleeberger. He is here to learn and playing against the USA Select XV is always an important experience. Kleeberger, who no longer sports the huge beard that was once a much remarked upon feature, is expecting a tough game against USA Select. They are our neighbours and we play them often. There is a lot of passion involved but we need to focus on our own game. Weve worked hard on our work at the breakdown in training, as that was an issue against Uruguay. Jaguars put their trust in youth Like their North American counterparts, Argentina Jaguars and Uruguay have gone down the squad rotation route as they look to expose more players to higher intensity rugby in what is a key development tournament in the international arena. Jaguars head coach Daniel Hourcade has made 11 changes to his starting line-up, as the three-time Americas Rugby Championship winners kick off proceedings on Tuesday with a River Plate derby against Uruguay. Captain and full back Joaquin Tuculet, the star of the opening night win over USA Select, moves to the left wing to accommodate former Under 20 international Ramiro Moyano. Matias Orlando, a try scorer from the wing, moves to centre, while only second row Matias Alemano and try scoring flanker Martin Chiappesoni are retained in the starting fifteen. Patricio Fernandez, who starred in this years IRB Junior World Championship and is eligible for next years tournament, will play at fly half. I hope I can enjoy the experience of starting in this tournament. We are expecting a very hard game as we know Uruguay has a good team, he said.

The USA players are going to want to defend this well, because if Jamaica score then well have to start trying. 45 – Evans is down possibly from boredom? Half time: 0-0. Well, we wanted this match to be meaningless, and it is. This is still better than needing a result; Im sure Mexico would rather have a leisurely run-out than their nail-biting, sphincter-clenching match with Panama. 46 – Zusi comes in for Donovan. Donovan was underwhelming in the first half, but so was everyone else. I think Klinsmann pulled Donovan to show everyone that they have to perform. 50 – While were waiting for something to happen here, lets look at what happened in World Cup qualifying elsewhere. News flash: Germany have qualified. So have the Swiss, perennial contenders for most boring team of the tournament. Belgium are in, a team with about 15 world-class players that will still be referred to as a dark horse. England got the job done against Montenegro, so you can flip the English Journalistic Hyperbole Switch to optimism. Hey: Remember the 90s? Colombia does: Theyre in. And worth noting: Iceland home of Aaron Johansson, Bjork, and about 30 other people are in a good position to make the UEFA playoffs and possibly qualify for their first World Cup ever. 55 – A banner in the crowd: Off To Brazil. Mentally, the team is already there.

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And then nothing much. Dallas won games early on, with contributions from their midfield at least as important as the vaunted trio; Hassli was a bust and Perez was in and out of the side with international duty, suspensions, injuries etc. And Cooper? Cooper went from last season’s 20-goal man back to being what he’s been in recent seasons an enigma. Still a finisher on his day, but no target man for the size of him, and prone to dry patches in front of goal. Cooper had made 17 starts and 11 substitute appearances before Saturday night’s visit of Chicago Fire , suggesting Schellas Hyndman had questions over what he can do for this team. Cooper hadn’t scored in 15 games until last week, when he came on as a half time sub for Mauro Diaz against RSL, to score and salvage a point, before this week bringing FC Dallas , at one point 3-0 down to Chicago Fire, to within a goal, by scoring twice in the last half hour (again after coming on as a sub for Diaz). That was as close as Cooper and Dallas got though, as their competitive season ended on Saturday night. They’d needed a win to stay in remote contention for a playoff spot and ended up making it all too easy for a Chicago team trying to stay in touch with their own playoff rivals in the East. With Philadelphia’s late equalizer in DC, Chicago now join Montreal and the Union on 46 points with New England just one behind. Dallas meanwhile, join Chivas USA in the West’s “nothing to play for” pile. Dallas’s slump seemed dramatic, but in truth a favorable early schedule possibly had them artificially elevated as spring became summer.

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