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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: U.S. Youngsters Impress, Sergio Ramos Doesn’t, and More

This week a young USMNT dominates Bolivia, OCSC has a center back problem, and Sergio Ramos ticks off thousands.

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Soccer: International Friendly Men's Soccer-Bolivia at USA Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It feels like it’s been a bit since we’ve done one of these, but there was certainly no lack of subject matter to choose from. It’s rare I get to provide you with some reading material two days in a row, but I’m kinda digging it. So let’s not wait any longer and take a look at what I think about soccer this week.

The Good Great

The USMNT fielded a very young squad for its friendly match against Bolivia last night. It was a chance for the future of the USMNT to show what it has and where it needs to grow. I know it was just a backup Bolivia side, but the Yanks were able to not only pull out the win, but to look like the better team most of the night. Walker Zimmerman started the party with his first international goal in the 37th minute. Josh Sargent became the third-youngest player to score for the USMNT in the 52nd minute. The other 18-year-old on the field, Tim Weah, also scored his first international goal in the 59th minute, becoming the fourth-youngest to accomplish the feat. This was a dynamic, fun-to-watch squad of players who gave their all because they have something to prove. I kinda wish we’d had them against Trinidad and Tobago. If these guys can continue to develop, you have to feel better about the U.S. going forward.

The Bad

Orlando City has played six different players at the center back position this season. In 12 whole games. Ugh. Jonathan Spector, Lamine Sané, Amro Tarek, Chris Schuler, RJ Allen, and Tony Rocha have all gotten playing time in the center of the defense. Add in that Schuler played part of the last match with a broken arm, and you can see what the position has been like for the Lions this season. Heck, we’re hoping that Schuler will be able to play again once he’s in a cast! This is nuts. If we lose anyone else, be careful if you’re in the front row behind Head Coach Jason Kreis, because you might be handed a jersey and be told to suit up on the back line the way things have been going. Spector, Sané, and Tarek, we miss you. Come back healthy soon. Very soon.

The Ugly

In the 29th minute of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, Mo Salah left the pitch a few minutes after Sergio Ramos had taken him to ground, resulting in a dislocated shoulder for the Liverpool stand out. Was it on purpose? Was it an accident?

Ramos wasn’t sent off, so at the very least, the refs didn’t see anything, but that’s at full speed. It wasn’t the only time Ramos got a little bit more physical in the final, and got away with it as well. Later in the match, Ramos seemingly delivered an elbow to Loris Karius’ head. You decide if it was intentional.

The ugly is that any of this happened. If it had been just one or the other, it might be seen as a one-off, but given that both happened during one of the biggest competitions of the year, tongues are going to wag — so much so that the petition from Liverpool fans for FIFA or UEFA to punish Ramos has topped 385,000 signatures. Additionally, an Egyptian lawyer has sued Ramos for €1 billion.

“I’ll ask for compensation, which could exceed €1 billion (£873 million), for the physical and psychological harm that Ramos gave Salah and the Egyptian people.” -Egyptian Lawyer Bassem Wahba

All this because Ramos made something ugly out of the beautiful game.

There you have it, Mane Landers. Agree? Disagree? Want to suggest something else? Let me know in the comments. Go City, go Pride!