Andi Herzog

U.S. Olympic men’s soccer coach talks over-age players

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Should the U.S. under-23 men’s soccer team qualify for the Olympics in October (and that is by no means assured given it failed four years ago), coach Andi Herzog and US Soccer face an interesting question.

Which (maximum of) three players born before 1993 will be added to the Olympic roster?

That decision would be made some time after the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in October, where only U23 players are allowed and the semifinal winners in Sandy, Utah, will qualify for the Olympics. The third-place nation will advance to a playoff against a South American nation for a final Olympic berth.

ProSoccerTalk gauged Herzog’s early thoughts on over-age players in an interview this week. Click here for the full Q&A.

PST: Over-age players: is there a shortlist yet? Any timeline for that? 

Herzog: No, not yet. First we have to qualify and then I have to see which player could help me most and if I have a position where I need leaders. Maybe an attacking leader, defensive leader or a goalkeeper. I didn’t make any thoughts about this right now. First we have to qualify, then we have enough time. It doesn’t make sense if I say now for next August he is my over-age player for the Olympics and then one year later he is injured and it’s not working.

That is a normal question. First we have to qualify and of course we have a great chance to qualify. I am optimistic but first we have to do our job.

U.S. senior national team World Cup players have been named as over-age additions in the past (Brian McBride in 2008, Brad Friedel in 2000).

In particular, Friedel’s addition in 2000 meant that Tim Howard, then 21, spent every minute of the Sydney Olympic soccer tournament on the bench. The U.S. finished fourth.

Howard turns 37 in March and could be an option for Rio 2016 to finally earn an Olympic appearance (on the field) and to return to Brazil, where he performed so spectacularly at the 2014 World Cup.

The man Howard is competing with to be the U.S. senior No. 1 goalie, Brad Guzan, already got his Olympic experience in 2008. Guzan was recently named the starter over Howard for a U.S.-Mexico Confederations Cup playoff Oct. 10.

If Guzan remains the U.S. No. 1 for Copa America Centenario in June, that may have a side effect of keeping Howard fresh for a potential Olympic slate in August.

That is, if US Soccer (and, perhaps, Howard) are OK with an over-age goalie relegating to the bench the goalie that helped the U.S. qualify for the Olympics. Howard is familiar with that scenario from 2000.

Obstacles for Tim Howard to return to the Olympics

Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail at world championships, has surgery

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American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail at the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title, and underwent leg surgery as a result.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, who had a left leg laceration, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in Bologna, Italy, about 25 miles from the worlds host of Imola.

“We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been,” USA Cycling chief of sport performance Jim Miller said in a press release. “While this crash is distressing, Chloe is young and a fighter. With Chloe’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it. For now, we want her to focus on healing.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

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MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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