Confirmed U.S. national team starting lineup vs Trinidad and Tobago. Gregg Berhalter didn’t deploy his strongest possible lineup in the U.S. national team’s Gold Cup opener against Guyana, but we should see the Americans trot out a first-choice group for Saturday night’s match against Trinidad and Tobago.Forward Jozy Altidore is expected to get the nod at striker after being rested in the Gold Cup opener, with Gyasi Zardes taking a seat after scoring a fortuitous goal in the 4-0 win against Guyana. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Weston McKennie looked to be a question mark after suffering a hamstring injury against Guyana, but Berhalter said on Friday that McKennie was healthy and available for selection. Berhalter could choose to rest McKennie as a precaution, with Cristian Roldan the player most likely to step in for the Schalke midfielder.Another question mark for the USMNT lineup is in central defense, where Matt Miazga could step in for Walker Zimmerman, who earned the start next to Aaron Long against Guyana. Miazga’s last Gold Cup start came in 2017, also in Cleveland, when he scored the vital goal in a 3-0 USMNT victory that helped the Americans win their group.The rest of the U.S. lineup should look similar to the group that defeated Guyana, with Tyler Boyd and Paul Arriola reprising their roles on the wings, with Cristian Pulisic working as an attacking midfielder on the left side of the dual-10 setup in Berhalter’s system. Michael Bradley is still working his way back to full fitness, but should get the nod as the defensive midfielder against Trinidad and Tobago after having his minutes limited against Guyana. Bradley, Pulisic and Altidore would give the Americans three players who were in the starting lineup in the 2017 World Cup qualifying loss to the Soca Warriors. Omar Gonzalez also started in the 2017 loss, but is unlikely to get the nod on Saturday. Nick Lima should earn the start at right back, where he posted another solid showing in the win against Guyana. Tim Ream is the projected starter at left back, and could also function as a left-sided central defender if Berhalter decided to experiment with a three-centerback setup in the 5-4-1 system we saw from the Americans in the pre-Gold Cup friendly against Jamaica.
by Hannah Dreier, The Associated Press Posted Dec 2, 2016 10:22 am MDT Last Updated Dec 2, 2016 at 1:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Mercosur suspends Venezuela for failure to follow rules CARACAS, Venezuela – South American nations suspended Venezuela on Friday from the Mercosur trade group over what they said was its failure to comply with the commitments made when it joined the group in 2012.Argentina’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Venezuela had failed to meet a Thursday deadline to adopt certain standards required for membership. The foreign ministers of the four founding members— Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay — notified Venezuela’s government of the decision in a letter.Mercosur accepted Venezuela as a member when South America was dominated by leftist governments in an effort to link the region’s biggest agricultural and energy markets.But the socialist-run Venezuela fell afoul of its neighbours as it cracked down on the opposition and conservative governments assumed power in Argentina and Brazil. Venezuela’s regional influence also waned as the country cut back on oil shipments once provided to allies at cut-rate prices.This strong rebuke from Venezuela’s one-time friends could open the door to stronger action from countries and regional blocs. The head of the Organization of American States for months has threatened moves against Venezuela for its increasing authoritarianism. Some U.S. Congress members have called for sanctions and other forms of pressure.Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Friday she had not been informed of the suspension. She rejected the notion that Venezuela had failed to conform to the trade group’s rules.“Venezuela does not recognize the null action carried out under the law of the jungle taken by the officials who are destroying Mercosur,” she said.Earlier in the week, Venezuela’s opposition coalition threatened to walk away from ongoing dialogue with the socialist government. The Vatican-mediated talks were intended to head off a growing political crisis as critics of President Nicolas Maduro allege he has become a dictator and call for him to resign.Venezuela has arrested hundreds of opposition activists in recent years and stifled opposition media. A local human rights group counts 100 political prisoners still in jail. This fall, the government killed an effort stage a recall referendum against Maduro.___Hannah Dreier is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hannahdreier. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/hannah-dreier.