Six days ago, we were in full-scale meltdown mode over the U.S. under-20 national team. A 1-0 defeat to 10-man Panama and an early deficit against Haiti put the Americans on a path for humiliation at the CONCACAF championship in Costa Rica and a conspicuous absence from the U-20 World Cup in South Korea. Tab Ramos’s squad reversed course, however, scoring eight consecutive goals in trouncing Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis for a spot in the classification stage (which is being used instead of standard knockout rounds). Then on Monday, the Americans defeated Mexico, 1-0, on Erik Palmer-Brown’s first-half header to send them to the brink of a World Cup berth. Two teams from each of the two three-nation
Sebastian Rudy nodded in a 79th-minute equaliser on Sunday as Hoffenheim rescued a 1-1 draw at Schalke 04, a result that serves neither team in their quest for a European spot. Schalke, who are unbeaten in their past seven matches in all competitions, have only themselves to blame for not killing off the game earlier after taking a fifth-minute lead through Alessandro Schoepf. The draw meant Hoffenheim missed the chance to join third-placed Borussia Dortmund, remaining two points behind in fourth place on 38.
Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker. Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports: “We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,”