U.S. Soccer
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Pulisic Goals Lift MNT to 2-0 Win in USA-Trinidad & Tobago, Presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (June 8, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team used two second-half goals in the span of 10 minutes from Christian Pulisic to earn a 2-0 World Cup Qualifying victory against Trinidad & Tobago in front of a sellout crowd of 19,188 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. With the victory, the U.S. is now 2-2-1 (seven points) in the Final Round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup ahead of Sunday’s match away to rivals Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, Univision and UDN).

Facing a Trinidad & Tobago side content to absorb pressure and counter, the U.S. attacked early and often, seeing a 15th minute attempt from Clint Dempsey swing just over the cross bar, before John Brooks and Jozy Altidore forced T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams into back-to-back diving saves 10 minute later.

The Soca Warriors would break some of the pressure and get their best chance of the half in the 33rd minute when Khaleem Hyland crossed from the left for Kenwyne Jones. USA goalkeeper Tim Howard couldn’t get to the ball in time and Jones nodded his effort off the cross bar before it was cleared from danger.

The U.S. forced another two-save sequence out of Williams in the 35th minute when Jorge Villafaña’s long-range effort was palmed away before Altidore’s follow-up header was tipped out for a corner kick. Trinidad & Tobago kept the U.S. honest just before the break, when another counter attack resulted in Hyland blasting a low effort that forced a diving stop out of Howard. 

The breakthrough came just seven minutes into the second half when a well-worked build up between Darlington Nagbe and Clint Dempsey eventually saw DeAndre Yedlin pick out Pulisic, who slid through the area to finish his sixth international goal in the 52nd minute.  

Pulisic doubled the U.S. lead 10 minutes later when a simple combination between Yedlin and Altidore allowed the 18-year-old a lane into the box where he finished past Williams and inside the right post.

The U.S. nearly had a third when Alejandro Bedoya connected with fellow substitute Bobby Wood, who powered his effort from the top off the area off the left post in the 84th minute.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT quickly shifts its focus to the much anticipated road trip to face Mexico on Sunday, June 11. Kickoff from historic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City is schedule for 8:30 p.m. ET and the match can be seen live on FS1, Univision and UDN.
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Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Christian Pulisic (DeAndre Yedlin), 52nd minute:
The U.S. broke through on a great team goal early in the second half. Darlington Nagbe picked up a loose ball and drove toward goal where he played a quick combination with Clint Dempsey to get into the box. When Nagbe was cut off in the area, he laid back for Yedlin, whose low cross found Pulisic sliding through the area to beat Jan-Michael Williams. USA 1, TRI 0 [WATCH]

USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore), 62nd minute: Arena’s side doubled the advantage 10 minutes later when a simple combination between Yedlin and Altidore saw the veteran forward slip Pulisic into the box on the right. The 18-year-old attacker entered the area before beating Williams inside the near post for his second of the match. USA 2, TRI 0 [WATCH] FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
TRI – Jan-Michael Williams, 25th minute: After a long spell of possession, center back John Brooks pushed forward into midfield, received a pass and uncorked a surprising effort through traffic that required a diving Williams to punch it away.

TRI – Jan-Michael Williams, 25th minute: Just seconds later, Jorge Villafaña gained space down the left and cut back for Jozy Altidore at the top of the box. The veteran U.S. forward hit a powerful first-time drive that Williams palmed away from danger.

TRI – Jan-Michael Williams, 35th minute: After teaming with Michael Bradley to win possession at midfield, Jorge Villafaña quickly blasted a long-range effort that forced another diving stop from Williams. The T&T goalkeeper was beaten to the rebound by Dempsey, who alertly found Villafaña in space on the flank before the left back crossed for Altidore, only to see his header tipped over the bar by Williams.

USA – Tim Howard, 42nd minute: T&T quickly broke in transition again as Carlos Edwards fed Hyland with a through ball before the Soca Warriors attacker launched a blistering, low effort that Howard sprawled out to his right to save before Geoff Cameron cleared the danger.

TRI – Jan-Michael Williams, 77th minute: Shortly after entering the match, Kellyn Acosta stepped up to take a free kick and looked to tuck his effort inside the left post, only to see Williams get across to make another diving stop.

NOTES:

  • With the brace, Christian Pulisic now has seven international goals in 15 total appearances and five goals in eight World Cup Qualifying caps.
  • The double was also the second multi-goal game of Pulisic’s MNT career, with his first coming in a 6-0 World Cup Qualifying win against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, 2016.
  • Pulisic has now scored four goals in his last four games for the U.S. MNT.
  • DeAndre Yedlin tallied his seventh career assist on Pulisic’s first strike; it was his second in World Cup Qualifying.
  • Jozy Altidore recorded his 12th career assist in the 62nd minute. With five, Altidore now sits tied with Pulisic for the most assists in CONCACAF during 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
  • Goalkeeper Tim Howard made two saves to earn his 14th clean sheet in 36 World Cup Qualifying appearances and 39th in 115 total games for the USA. 
  • Clint Dempsey made his 134th appearance, tying him with Jeff Agoos for third on the MNT all-time caps list. Dempsey (39) also now sits just one World Cup Qualifying appearance behind Landon Donovan for the USA’s all-time lead in that category.
  • Geoff Cameron and John Brooks paired in central defense together for the 10th time. Since first partnering together in a 4-3 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Aug. 14, 2013, the USA has gone 7-2-1 when the two have started in central defense.
  • The U.S. MNT improved its record to 3-0-0 all-time at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The MNT is 18-2-4 all-time against Trinidad & Tobago. The USA has gone 13-1-3 in World Cup Qualifiers against the Soca Warriors and 9-0-1 all-time at home.
  • Head coach Bruce Arena improves his record to 4-0-1 all-time against Trinidad & Tobago
  • The U.S. MNT is unbeaten in six matches since Arena returned to his position last November, going 3-0-3, while scoring 11 goals and conceding just two. 
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MNT Jun 8, 2017

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: June 8, 2017
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. MT
Attendance: 19,188 (sellout)
Weather: 82 degrees; partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F                                                         
USA                             0          2          2        
TRI                              0          0          0 

USA – Christian Pulisic (DeAndre Yedlin)     52nd minute
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore)          62 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 20-Geoff Cameron, 6-John Brooks, 21-Jorge Villafaña; 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 23-Fabian Johnson (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 74), 10-Christian Pulisic, 15-Darlington Nagbe, 8-Clint Dempsey (16-Kellyn Acosta, 61), 17-Jozy Altidore (9-Bobby Wood, 83)
Subs not used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Tim Ream, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 13-Dax McCarty, 14-Paul Arriola, 18-Jordan Morris, 19-Graham Zusi
Head coach: Bruce Arena

TRI: 21-Jan-Michael Williams; 11-Akhenaton Edwards, 4-Sheldon Bateau, 17-Mekeil Williams, 5-Daneil Cyrus; 10-Kevin Molino, 19-Kevan George, 8-Khaleem Hyland (23-Leston Paul, 76), 3-Joevin Jones (12-Shahdon Winchester, 68); 7-Nathan Lewis, 9-Kenwyne Jones (capt.) (20-Jamille Boatswain, 82)
Subs not used: 1-Marvin Phillip, 2-Aubrey David, 6-Radanfah Abu Bakr, 13-Hughtun Hector, 14-Andre Boucaud, 15-Curtis Gonzales, 16-Alvin Jones, 18-Hashim Arcia, 22-Adrian Foncette
Head coach: Dennis Lawrence 

Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Goal: 9 / 2
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 3 / 4
Offside: 0 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
TRI – Leston Paul (caution)                      76th minute
USA – Alejandro Bedoya (caution)          85 

Officials:
Referee: Oscar Moncada (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Ramirez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Melvyn Cruz (HON)
Fourth Official: Raul Castro (HON)                                        

Budweiser Man of the Match: TBD

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US Soccer

Vexed by the Hex? A Simple Guide to the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying

The U.S. Men’s National Team has played in the last seven World Cups – one of only six nations in the world to accomplish that feat – and some people naturally assume that every four years the U.S. is just penciled into the bracket. Not so!

In fact, qualifying for the FIFA World Cup out of CONCACAF  is a marathon. Since the current qualifying format was adopted for the 1998 tournament, the U.S. has had to play 16-18 matches spanning two years in order to book its place in the FIFA World Cup.

In the case of the current cycle, the MNT began its quest to qualify for Russia 2018 when it started play in CONCACAF’s Semifinal Round in November 2015. Having finished on top of a group that also featured Trinidad & Tobago, Guatemala and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the U.S. now finds itself in the CONCACAF's Final Round of World Cup Qualifying.

The six-team group, nicknamed “The Hex” (short for Hexagonal), pits the top two teams from each of CONCACAF’s three semifinal groups – in this case, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and USA -- in a home-and-away mini-league which began in November 2016 and concludes in October 2017. At the end of the 10-game schedule, the top three teams in The Hex automatically qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Meanwhile, the fourth-place team from CONCACAF will go into an intercontinental playoff with the fifth-place finisher from the Asian Football Confederation’s own qualifying tournament. The winner over two games will be 32nd and final entrant into the World Cup.

Got all that?

Here’s a breakdown of the 10-game schedule the MNT will have to navigate to qualify for its eighth consecutive FIFA World Cup, with a little history added in.

USA 1, Mexico 2 - Nov. 11, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio
Having defeated Mexico 2-0 in each of its previous four Final Round matches played in Columbus, Ohio, the MNT went back to MAPFRE Stadium in November, where they fell 2-1 to a talented Mexico side

A deflected effort from Miguel Layun gave Mexico a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute, before the U.S. suffered another setback when goalkeeper Tim Howard suffered a fractured right adductor while taking a routine goal kick and had to leave the match in the 40th minute. After halftime, the U.S. bounced back through Bobby Wood's 49th minute strike and had chances to push ahead that came up empty. Just as it looked like both teams would settle for a 1-1 draw, Mexico captain Rafael Marquez headed home an 89th minute corner kick from Layun to give El Trí all three points.

WATCH: U.S. Falls 2-1 to Mexico in November 


Costa Rica 4, USA 0 - Nov. 15, 2016 in San Jose, Costa Rica

Four days after falling to Mexico, the U.S. traveled to Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica for a match against Los Ticos. The MNT's success rate in Costa Rica had never been great and while the U.S. nearly went into halftime tied 0-0, but Johan Venegas pushed the home side ahead in the 44th minute. Costa Rica then added strikes from Cristian Bolańos and a brace from Joel Campbell to run out 4-0 winners.

In the days following the match, Jurgen Klinsmann was replaced by former MNT head coach Bruce Arena, who is charged with righting the ship for the U.S. to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. 

USA vs. Honduras - March 24, 2017

With just eight previous qualifying meetings, there’s much less history with Honduras than some of the MNT’s other Hex opponents. That said, Honduras does have its place in the USA’s World Cup Qualifying history thanks to its 3-2 victory in 2001 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. That result ended the MNT’s then record 19-match home unbeaten streak in qualifying and also stands as the USA’s last home qualifying defeat. The team will enter Final Round qualifying riding a 30-match home unbeaten run dating back to that 2001 loss.

WATCH: Honduras hands the U.S. its first home World Cup Qualifying loss since 1985

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Honduras: 5-2-1
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Honduras:
2-1-0 

Panama vs. USA - March 28, 2017
Having only first met Panama during qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. has become better acquainted with Los Canaleros in recent years. While qualifying visits to Central America are far from easy, the MNT has fared reasonably well in Panama, going 2-0-1 in its three contests at Estadio Rommel Fernandez. The most recent meeting will be fresh on the minds of Panama after the U.S. eliminated them from contention for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in heart-breaking fashion. With only a few ticks remaining on the clock and Panama’s dream of reaching its first World Cup moments from being realized, goals by Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson elevated the MNT to a 3-2 win on Oct. 15, 2013. Adding a bit of irony, the USA’s comeback win handed its nemesis Mexico a lifeline in their bid to advance to Brazil.

WATCH: U.S. eliminates Panama from World Cup contention in 2013

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Panama: 5-0-1
All-Time Away WCQ Records at Panama: 2-0-1 

USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago - June 7-8, 2017
The U.S. will be best acquainted with Trinidad & Tobago after facing the Soca Warriors twice in the semifinal round. While T&T has offered tough challenges over the years, the MNT has dominated the series overall. The 4-0 win in September in Jacksonville moved the USA’s all-time home World Cup Qualifying record to 8-0-1 against the Caribbean nation. The matchup will bring back fond memories for Jozy Altidore, who in the 2008 edition of the series became the youngest player in history to score a hat trick for the U.S. Men’s National Team, tallying all three goals in the dominating 3-0 victory on April 1, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.

WATCH: Kljestan, Altidore, Arriola lead MNT past T&T in September

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 12-1-3
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 8-0-1

Mexico vs. USA - June 11-12, 2017
The second half of the cycle begins with the U.S. visiting Mexico and very likely the daunting Estadio Azteca. The heat and humidity of Mexico City in June combined with the 7,380 feet of altitude will certainly be payback for the potentially cold temperatures of Columbus in November. While the more than 100,000 fans packed into the arena create an even greater home-field advantage, the U.S. has put chinks in the armor in recent years. Having first earned a 0-0 World Cup Qualifying draw there in 1997, the MNT collected its first win against Mexico on their own soil in a 1-0 friendly win in 2012, and went on to secure a point from a 0-0 draw in 2013 during final round qualifying. 

WATCH: U.S. earns crucial 0-0 draw at Estadio Azteca in 2013

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Mexico: 6-16-6
All-Time Away WCQ Record at Mexico: 0-13-2

USA vs. Costa Rica - September 1, 2017
Just as the United States has found little qualifying success in Costa Rica, so the story goes for Los Ticos on U.S. soil, where the MNT holds a 6-1-2 all-time advantage. Costa Rica’s last two qualifying visits have provided memorable moments. In 2009, Jonathan Bornstein’s game-tying goal in the 95th minute not only ensured the U.S. remained unbeaten in home World Cup Qualifying, but also helped Honduras leapfrog Costa Rica for CONCACAF’s third World Cup Qualifying place for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In March 2013, the U.S. earned a 1-0 home win against Costa Rica in a match dubbed the “Snowclasico” for its blustery winter conditions at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. As field conditions worsened during the match, referee Joel Aguilar halted the game in the 55th minute to allow the stadium grounds crew to clear the lines on the field of snow. A gutsy performance saw the U.S. win 1-0 behind a first-half goal from Clint Dempsey as Costa Rica departed Colorado with jittery teeth and a bitter taste in their mouth.

WATCH: MNT grinds it out in the snow vs. Costa Rica

U.S. All-Time WCQ Record vs. Costa Rica: 6-10-3
U.S. All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Costa Rica:
6-1-2

Honduras vs. USA - September 5, 2017
Interestingly, Honduras is the only Hex opponent that the U.S. has won against on the road more times than they have at home. The series dates back to a 1-0 victory in San Pedro Sula in 1965 and has seen the U.S. earn two more wins at Estadio Olimpico – 2-1 in 2001 and a 3-2 result in 2009 in a game that feature two goals from Conor Casey and a Landon Donovan free – as well as a late penalty miss by Honduran striker Carlos Pavon - which clinched a berth for the United States at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Still, the U.S. will return looking to avenge its last meeting there. In the blistering heat of San Pedro Sula – matched only by the intensity of their fans both inside and outside the stadium – the United States suffered a 2-1 defeat to open the final round of qualifying in 2013. 

WATCH: U.S. earns 2010 World Cup berth in San Pedro Sula

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Honduras: 5-2-1
U.S. All-Time Away WCQ Records at Honduras: 3-1-1

October 6, 2017 - USA vs. Panama
Historically speaking, the MNT will still be in need of points to qualify when they host Los Canaleros on Matchday 9. The U.S. has won all three of its previous home World Cup Qualifying matches against Panama, outscoring the Central American side 10-0 in process. Nonetheless, the USA must remain vigilant: Panama has earned two consecutive draws on U.S. soil and won the Third Place match of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup in penalties. The 2004 meeting in qualifying added to the U.S. history books when after entering in the 65th minute, Eddie Johnson ripped off three straight goals to become the first player in MNT history to record a hat trick as a substitute. The U.S. ended with a 6-0 win. 

WATCH: U.S. sees off Panama during 2013 Hex in Seattle 

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Panama: 5-0-1
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Panama:
3-0-0

October 10, 2017 - Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA
In 1989, the MNT visited Trinidad & Tobago on the final day of World Cup Qualifying knowing that only a win would take the USA to its first World Cup since 1950. On that day, the task of winning away in Port of Spain was no foregone conclusion, and Paul Caligiuri’s “shot heard ‘around the world’ launched the modern era of U.S. Soccer. Flash forward almost 30 years, and anything less than three points there hasn’t met expectations. The MNT learned that lesson last November following a 0-0 draw in its semifinal round match at Hasely Crawford Stadium. With competition in CONCACAF at its fiercest, the U.S. could very well enter the final game of the Hex needing a result to book passage to Russia. 

WATCH: Paul Caligiuri sends USA to first World Cup since 1950 

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 12-1-3
All-Time Away WCQ Record at Trinidad & Tobago:
4-1-2

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MNT Mar 21, 2017

Q&A: Bruce Arena on the U.S. MNT's Successful June WCQ Camp

With a few days to reflect on the U.S. Men’s National Team’s successful June World Cup Qualifying camp, Bruce Arena spoke to ussoccer.com about his takeaways from the Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico games and outlook for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

ussoccer.com: On the first day of camp, you told the team about your plan for the two matches which centered around preparing two very different lineups to play in the June World Cup Qualifiers. How did you feel about the team’s response to the approach?

Bruce Arena: “I think there’s enough evidence there to indicate that they responded well to a plan that we had in place. When we came into camp, we had an unprecedented challenge ahead of us with playing two games at altitude and having two less days of rest between games than you typically have. We had to have a plan that not only enabled us to have fresh players available to play against Mexico, but also to deal with the altitude for the two games and the two weeks. Overall, I think the players did well.”

ussoccer.com: In playing nearly two different teams, you made the decision to insert younger players in the midfield, with Paul Arriola and Kellyn Acosta joining Christian Pulisic and Michael Bradley. How did you feel they responded to being put into a game of that magnitude?

BA: “I think with Christian we saw the effects of the altitude. He played three full games for us when you include the Venezuela game, and he was really physically done near the 60-minute mark in Mexico and hung in there. That was good, but it also validated the fact that we did need to make changes when you see our fittest player struggling so much. I thought Paul Arriola did an excellent job on the right side of the field, and with a little bit more experience he’ll be a little bit better in passing and having more composure. It’s the same thing with Kellyn. His work rate was outstanding. He could be a little better passer of the ball, but I think the experience for him was outstanding as well.”

ussoccer.com: The U.S. MNT now has eight points and sits in third place after six Final Round World Cup Qualifiers. With you taking over a team that was rooted to the bottom at the start of the Hex, does it now feel like there’s a little more breathing room?

BA: “There’s a little bit more, but there’s not a whole lot. It’s a pretty tight race at this point, and I don’t think we have any interest in finishing fourth. Our goal is second or third place, because I think Mexico is far ahead and it’s unlikely we can catch them. We can be second or third and I don’t really care which way we end up, but we certainly don’t want to be in fourth. Stepping away from this camp, we recognize the home game against Costa Rica on Sept. 1 is critically important to making sure we finish in the top three.”

ussoccer.com: Michael Bradley scored a stunning goal early in the game against Mexico. Could you speak to the U.S. MNT captain’s performance and leadership since you returned as head coach?

BA: “I think he’s been pretty solid with his approach to everything. Michael has been consistently good for us, buys into everything we’re doing and leads the team that way. He’s been very good both on and off the field.”

WATCH: Bradley Discusses Highlight Reel Chip at Azteca

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MNT Jun 15, 2017
US Soccer

BY THE NUMBERS: U.S. MNT's June World Cup Qualifying

The U.S. Men’s National Team just completed a successful three-game stretch in June capped off with four massive points from two important World Cup Qualifiers – a 2-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago and another historic 1-1 draw away to Mexico

Here are some of the significant numbers that stick out:

16,995 feet or 3.2 miles – Combined elevation the U.S. MNT played at during its three June matches: Mexico City (7,382 feet), Commerce City, Colo. (5,164 feet) and Sandy, Utah (4,449 feet).

134 and 39 – Number of overall caps and World Cup Qualifying appearances made by Clint Dempsey. The U.S. forward is tied with Jeff Agoos for third all-time on the MNT caps list and just one World Cup Qualifying appearance behind U.S. MNT leader Landon Donovan (40).

Some current teammates are right on his heels in both categories

All-Time Time U.S. MNT Cap Leaders

All-Time U.S. MNT WCQ Cap Leaders

Cobi Jones

164

Landon Donovan

40

Landon Donovan

157

Clint Dempsey

39

Jeff Agoos

134

Jozy Altidore

37

Clint Dempsey

134

Tim Howard

36

Michael Bradley

133

Michael Bradley

35

Marcelo Balboa

127

DaMarcus Beasley

34 

92% - Average passing percentage in the opponent’s half by U.S. MNT outside backs Jorge Villafaña (92.6%) and DeAndre Yedlin (91.4%) in the 2-0 win vs. Trinidad & Tobago. 

51 – Number of all-time home World Cup Qualifying wins following the 2-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago. The USA is 51-5-12 in 68 all-time home World Cup Qualifying matches. 

WATCH: Michael Bradley Discusses His Chip Against Mexico at Estadio Azteca

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MNT Jun 13, 2017
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