America, the Naive

“One of Gregg Berhalter’s charms is that he can’t be bothered. Unshaven, attired in the uniform of Team Schlub, he loped along the sideline as if it were still the height of the pandemic and he was enjoying his newfound freedom from showering. Standing in the technical area opposite him was the Dutch coach, Louis van Gaal, looking very much like an uptight high-school principal eager to reprimand Berhalter for his aggressive indifference. Van Gaal is one of the most experienced and meticulous coaches in the game, wise to the ways of tournament soccer and a shrewd pragmatist. …”
The Atlantic

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USA 1-3 Netherlands: USMNT poor in possession, Depay’s finesse and roll on 2026


“The World Cup is over for the United States after losing 3-1 to the Netherlands. The USMNT went behind after just 10 minutes from a sharp Memphis Depay finish and Daley Blind scored a second just before half-time. In a game that looked increasingly comfortable for the Netherlands, the U.S. got a fortuitous goal back via Haji Wright’s heel, but that was cancelled out just five minutes later thanks to a full-back to full-back combination with Blind supplying an expert cross to Denzel Dumfries to volley home a third for the Dutch. …”
The Athletic (Video)
The Ringer: The U.S. Crashes Out of the World Cup—but There’s Reason for Optimism – Brian Phillips
The Athletic: Twenty passes, every player, one beautiful goal from the Netherlands vs the U.S.
Guardian: USA’s familiar shortcomings exposed against clinical Dutch at World Cup
NY Times: Three Dutch Goals End U.S. Run in Qatar

USA 1-0 Iran: Pulisic goal seals place in World Cup last 16, dominant Dest and focus on the wings


“As is often the case for the U.S., up popped Christian Pulisic when it really mattered to keep their World Cup journey alive. The Chelsea forward scored late in the first half from close range after a fine move involving Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest. Iran improved after the break but failed to really test Matt Turner in the U.S. goal. … From Pulisic’s vital intervention, to the atmosphere in the Al Thumama Stadium, and the energy and drive down the wings, our writers analyse the key talking points…”
The Athletic
The Athletic – Christian Pulisic eases World Cup injury fears: ‘I’ll be ready for Saturday, don’t worry’, W – Christian Pulisic
NY Times: Ahead of U.S.-Iran, Tough Questions and Two Teams Feeling the Heat (Video)
The Athletic – Carlos Queiroz: The many faces of Iran’s manager – tactician, statesman, populist (Video)

A U.S.-Iran Soccer Showdown Intensifies With Protests as a Backdrop


“…When players representing Iran and the United States take the field at the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday, millions of fans will be dissecting every move — not just passes, fouls and headers, but also whether the Iranian players sing the national anthem, celebrate any goals or speak about the protests shaking their country. The game has become yet another front line in the conflict between the two longtime geopolitical foes as Iran battles protests at home in one of the most significant challenges the Islamic Republic has faced since the 1979 revolution that brought it to power. And this time, it is all playing out under the glaring lights of the most watched event in the world. …”
***NY Times: A U.S.-Iran Soccer Showdown Intensifies With Protests as a Backdrop
***Guardian: Bloody history brings flashpoint to key Iran v USA World Cup clash
The Athletic: Detained at the World Cup for wearing a ‘Women Life Freedom’ T-shirt
The Athletic: Iran World Cup 2022 ‘spies’
CNN: Iran calls for US to be kicked out of 2022 World Cup after it changes Iran flag on social media to show support for protesters

Why some World Cup managers are using their full-backs to do very different jobs


“Louis van Gaal, the Netherlands head coach, has described his asymmetric lateral defenders as a ‘steering wheel’. That is, when Daley Blind (left wing-back) pushes forward, Denzel Dumfries (right wing-back) has to drop deeper and vice-versa. Full-backs, or wing-backs, being pivotal to a team’s chance creation is no longer novel at club level but is underpinning the attacking success of many sides in the first round of World Cup fixtures. …”
The Athletic

England 0-0 USA: All-action McKennie, retreating Kane and how USMNT dominated right side


England were outplayed by the United States men’s national team in the second group game in Qatar, as Gregg Berhalter’s side earned a deserved 0-0 draw. Gareth Southgate named an unchanged team following the impressive 6-2 win against Iran in their opening game. The U.S., meanwhile, had drawn 1-1 with Wales in their first game, because of a late penalty by Gareth Bale. Weston McKennie impressed in midfield for the U.S., causing all sorts of problems down the right, and Christian Pulisic came closest to a breakthrough when his shot hit the crossbar in the first half. …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Edgy England on verge of World Cup last 16 after fortunate draw with USA
The Athletic: USA vs England and the path towards respect and rivalry
***NY Times: England Gets a Look at Itself, and Isn’t Sure It Likes What It Sees

USA 1 Wales 1: Bale to the rescue, Weah’s vertical movement and Pulisic delivered

“It was Gareth Bale to the rescue for Wales in their opening game of the World Cup against the U.S. men’s national team as the forward who now plays in MLS for Los Angeles FC scored a late penalty to cancel out Tim Weah’s first-half goal. Christian Pulisic set Weah up brilliantly to put Gregg Berhalter’s side ahead at the Al Rayyan Stadium but Bale won a penalty with less than 10 minutes to go after a clumsy foul by USMNT centre-back Walker Zimmerman. …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Gareth Bale’s penalty rescues point for Wales in World Cup opener with USA

The Radar – The Athletic’s 2022 World Cup scouting guide


“Welcome to The Radar — the World Cup edition. Last year, for Euro 2020, we profiled 60 players that people were talking about — or would be by the end of the competition. Thirty-four of those players have since moved club. More teams means more players, so for the World Cup we’ve upped that to 100. The result is below, a carefully crafted guide to some of the best footballers on show in Qatar listed alphabetically by country — the heavyweight names, the rising stars and the under-the-radar players who could be coming to an elite club near you. …”
The Athletic

From Kudus to Gavi: eight players ready to break through at World Cup Federico Valverde, Gavi, and Rafael Leão.

“We pick the young stars well placed to shine in Qatar, ranging from Milan’s Rafael Leão to Real Sociedad’s Takefusa Kubo. … Rafael Leão (Portugal). A product of the Sporting academy, the attacker has become one of the most feared forwards in Serie A, helping Milan to their first title in 11 years last season and gaining a place in the league’s team of the year. In addition to height, the 23-year-old possesses plenty of pace and is often utilised on the flanks by Stefano Pioli. Leão is as adept at creating as he is scoring, making him a threat whether out wide or down the middle. …”
Guardian

Landon Donovan, 2010, and a Breakthrough Moment for American Soccer

“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves a breakthrough moment for American men’s soccer. …”
The Ringer (Video)

World Cup 2022 Group B guide: England’s control and the Iran goalkeeper’s javelin-style throws

“What tactics do England use? What is the USA’s weakness? Which quirk should we look out for from Wales? The 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and The Athletic will be running in-depth tactical group guides so you will know what to expect from every nation competing in Qatar. Liam Tharme will look at each team’s playing style, strengths, weaknesses, key players and highlight things to keep an eye on during the tournament. …”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup 2022 Groups: The Predictions


“The 2022 World Cup is finally here, with the tournament in Qatar being the first held in the months of November and December since the first World Cup finals in 1930. The 22nd men’s FIFA World Cup tournament will see 32 teams battle it out in the group stage after qualifying via five different regions – Asia, Africa, South America, North America/Central America and Europe (no nation from Oceania qualified). From there, 16 will make it through to the knockout stages. …”
The Analyst

LAFC finds Hollywood ending, beats Philadelphia on penalty kicks for first MLS Cup title


LAFC goalie John McCarthy dives to block a shot during Saturday’s penalty-kick shootout against the Philadelphia Union.
“LAFC beat the Philadelphia Union to win its first MLS Cup in unbelievable fashion Saturday at Banc of California Stadium. Here’s what you need to know: LAFC got a 128th-minute equalizer from Gareth Bale to bring the game level at 3-3 and force penalties, where backup goalkeeper John McCarthy, a former Union player and Philadelphia native, made two saves to lead the Black and Gold to an unreal win. McCarthy, who was named MVP, was substituted on after starting keeper Maxime Crepéau was carted off with an injury — and got a red card — late in extra time. LA is the eighth team in MLS history to win both the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup in a single season. …”
The Athletic (Video)
LA Times (Video)
NY Times: Los Angeles F.C. Wins First Title on Dramatic Day’s Final Twist (Video)

World Cup provisional squads explained: What are the rules and will they be made public?


“A month from today, it all begins. The World Cup in Qatar looms ever larger on the horizon and the countdown is on to the first of 64 games that will crown a winner at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, December 18. Doubts persist over the suitability of Qatar to host this World Cup, as well as its readiness to welcome more than one million visitors, but the biggest names in football are about to descend on a tiny Gulf nation that’s half the size of Wales and roughly as big as the US state of Connecticut. …”
The Athletic
The Analyst: World Cup 2022 Guide to Each Group

Countdown to Qatar: How Prepared Is the USMNT for the World Cup?

“Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup plan exists in many fragments across several mediums. There are whiteboards at the U.S. Soccer Federation headquarters containing tactical outlines and depth charts, as well as spreadsheets with detailed roster breakdowns. An internal database hosts all of the U.S. men’s national team’s logistics, and then there are the details constantly swirling in his own mind. …”
The Ringer

U.S. Soccer approaches Qatar World Cup with a focus on human rights issues

“Nearly two years before the U.S. men’s national team took the field for its first World Cup qualifier, officials at U.S. Soccer began planning for a tournament in Qatar they knew would bring significant challenges, and raise important issues, should the U.S. make it there. FIFA’s decision to select Qatar as a World Cup host has been under great scrutiny due to several issues regarding the country’s human rights record, including: workers’ rights and the country’s use of the kafala system for migrant workers; the reported deaths of hundreds of migrant workers tied to the building of soccer stadiums; women’s rights; and laws that criminalize homosexuality. …”
The Athletic
Guardian – Forget ‘sportswashing’: Qatar 2022 is about military might and hard sports power

Joe Gaetjens, and America’s Accidental Emergence on the World Cup Stage

“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves Joe Gaetjens and an assembly of amateur American players making history in 1950. …”
The Ringer (Video)

World Cup 2022 news round-up: Nkunku and Lewandowski shine as Argentina put faith in Scaloni

“Club football is back and with fewer than 50 days for players to find form and fitness before the World Cup kicks off on November 20, Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Leandro Trossard of Belgium and USA forward Ricardo Pepi laid down a marker at the weekend. Off the pitch, coaches are already being rewarded before the tournament kicks off with Wales extending Rob Page’s contract and Argentina set to keep Lionel Scaloni as head coach until the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico. …”
The Athletic

World Cup 2022 power rankings: how the 32 look with two months to go

“With most teams having played their final matches before the tournament in Qatar, who appear most likely to lift the trophy? …”
Guardian

Freddy Adu: What happened to ‘The Next Pele’, the wonderkid from USA?

“Most 14-year-olds daydream about the goal of the weekend in science class. Most 14-year-olds have, at one point or another, at least thought about breaking an XBOX or PlayStation controller in a FIFA–induced fit of rage. Most 14-year-olds do not start their professional football debuts and, in doing so, become a true global sensation. But Freddy Adu, at 14, wasn’t like the rest. …”
Foot the Ball

USMNT’s struggles vs. Japan mirror those seen throughout World Cup qualifying

“The U.S. men’s national team had plenty of problems in a 2-0 loss to Japan in a friendly on Friday in Dusseldorf, Germany. But while those problems are concerning, particularly with just one game to go until the World Cup, few of them are new. Throughout World Cup qualifying, the U.S. did a lot of damage by pressing teams high and hard, winning the ball in dangerous positions, then attacking vertically and quickly. …”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup health check: The issue each country must address before Qatar


“The September international break is normally relatively relaxed — a chance to tweak tactics and focus on formations. Not this time. For almost all 32 competing nations, this is the final set of international fixtures before the World Cup begins in Qatar on November 20. So that you can go into the break feeling prepared, The Athletic has identified one issue every team need to try to fix this break…”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup 2022 news round-up: Jesus’ Brazil snub, Pepi’s debut and Queiroz’s return

England and the USA have goalkeeper injury concerns, Ricardo Pepi has made his debut in Holland but Arsenal’s in-form Gabriel Jesus is suddenly out of favour with Brazil. With the transfer window shut and September international fixtures looming, a relentless domestic and European calendar is providing opportunities for players to shine and prepare for Qatar. …”
The Athletic (Video)

At World Cup, USMNT striker selections may come down to form and fit

“For the first time in years, several different U.S. men’s national team strikers are firing at the same time. Jeremy Ebobisse, Jesus Ferreira, Jordan Pefok, Josh Sargent, Brandon Vazquez and Haji Wright are all in fine form, with Ebobisse, Ferreira and Vazquez continuing their solid MLS seasons with some good play over the last month and Pefok, Sargent and Wright each off to strong starts in the 2022-23 campaign with their European clubs. …”
The Athletic (Video)

The disappearance of Wee Willie McLean: Solving America’s oldest soccer mystery


February 5, 1946. The entrance to Mount Pleasant Mental Health Center in Henry County, Iowa scales a gentle grade; a long, wide driveway passing through rows of oak trees, past manicured lawns and flowerbeds. If you’ve never been here, you’d assume you were entering the grounds of a botanical garden, or maybe an elegant estate. Then the facility’s main building comes into view, a brick-and-concrete goliath that eventually consumes your entire field of vision. It is cold, dark and imposing. Function over form, a warehouse for the unwanted. …”
The Athletic (Video)
W – Willie McLean (soccer, born 1904)

USMNT’s Memorable, Sloppy End to June Camp Gives Berhalter Much to Consider for World Cup


“The U.S. men’s national team ended its June international window, and its longest stretch of World Cup preparation, back where it set off on the road to Qatar. That September night in San Salvador, the U.S. was subjected to a raucous and deafening crowd that filled Central America’s largest stadium (despite pandemic limitations). There were fireworks during play, projectiles, and a motivated and energetic opponent. In short, the youthful visitors experienced a lot of what Concacaf has to offer. They escaped with a point and some valuable first-hand experience. On Tuesday night, with far lower stakes and amid rain-soaked conditions that somehow were significantly worse, the U.S. had to endure even more to earn yet another draw. …”
SI

Pulisic’s Quality Worthy of Applause as USMNT Accelerates Its World Cup Prep


“For the layman, it was extraordinary. For Christian Pulisic, it was expected. And once again, the margin of victory for the U.S. men’s national team could be measured, in part, by the distance between Pulisic’s ability and that of the average—or even exceptional—player. Amid the heat and humidity of FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium, and forced to work hard early by a Moroccan side as pressed for World Cup preparation time as the hosts, the U.S. men’s national team took a lead it never relinquished on another gorgeous, game-breaking play by Pulisic. …”
SI

How U.S. Soccer and Its Players Solved the Equal Pay Puzzle


“The new collective bargaining agreements approved this week by the United States Soccer Federation and its men’s and women’s national teams will, at last, bring an end to a decades-long, emotionally exhausting and wildly expensive fight over equal pay. For the first time, the women’s team, which has won the last two Women’s World Cups and four overall, will be paid at the same rate for game appearances and tournament victories as the men’s team, which has historically (and persistently) failed to even sniff that kind of success. In addition to those new (and higher) per-game payments, the new contracts also include an unprecedented redistribution of the millions of dollars in World Cup prize money the men’s and women’s teams can earn by playing in the tournament every four years. …”
NY Times
The Athletic – USWNT, USMNT achieve equal pay: How they reached a historic benchmark
NY Times: U.S. Soccer and Top Players Agree to Guarantee Equal Pay

USMNT Players Abroad Learn That Club Success at Highest Level Isn’t Linear


“Considering his effervescent personality and obvious on-field impact, not to mention the prominence of his name, it’s easy to forget that 12 months ago, Tim Weah was an almost totally unproven senior international. Untimely injuries had limited his time with the U.S. men to about 40 minutes across the preceding two-and-a-half years. …”
SI

What Seattle Sounders can learn from CCL Final woes of past MLS teams


“Even almost 10 years after that fateful night, Nat Borchers’ voice still dipped and dropped an octave or two as the painful memories flooded to the surface. ‘And I remember at the end of the game, being so upset because the fans there, they’d all been standing on their feet for the whole 90 minutes. They were expecting something, and we couldn’t give it to them,’ he said. ‘If you look back on it, it was probably the biggest game in American soccer history up to that point in time, I mean, in terms of club level, MLS vs. Liga MX. The fact that we couldn’t get it done was tough.’ …”
MLS Soccer (Video)

USMNT 2022 World Cup roster prediction 1.0: Our first guess at who is going to Qatar


“Previously, teams could only bring 23 players to the World Cup. The pandemic changed the nature of international soccer, however, leading to expanded rosters during the course of qualifying and in international tournaments over the last year. FIFA hasn’t yet made a final ruling on how large the squads will be for the 2022 World Cup, though USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said on CBS Sports’ Golazo Show last week that he’s hearing teams will be allowed to bring an expanded group of 26 players to the tournament. …”
The Athletic

How Canada used the 4-4-2 to success in World Cup Qualifying


“After thirteen long, hard-fought games, the Canadian Men’s National Team have officially qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. With 8 wins, 4 draws and just 1 loss in the final stage of qualifying, John Herdman’s men sealed their spot with a game to spare, after thumping Jamaica by a smashing score-line of 4-0. In the final stages of the competition, Canada smartly stuck by a 4-4-2 formation, maintaining consistency and chemistry en route to an impressive run to the finish line. Here is our analysis of how Canada used the 4-4-2 to success, and stood strong to stand on guard for thee. …”
The Mastermindsite

The 2022 World Cup draw analysed: ‘The Group of Dark Arts’, favourites France and that song


“Cringe-inducing cartoon meant to engage with no youngster we have ever met? Check. Song-and-dance routine combing local colour with avant-garde twist? Check. A massive advert for the official ball (the fastest ever, no less)? Yep, we had that, too, and several speeches, a first performance of the first song from the official Qatar 2022 album and a very contrived moment with France manager Didier Deschamps and a young lad who was in the crowd in Moscow four years ago. The 47 minutes of preamble before the draw for the 2022 World Cup at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre flew by! …”
The Athletic (Video)
NY Times – World Cup Draw Highlights: Matchups Let Teams Look Ahead to November
Guardian – World Cup draw: group-by-group analysis for Qatar 2022 – Jonathan Wilson
NY Times: World Cup Draw Brings Certainty. Now Comes the Hard Part.
The Athletic: With a marquee World Cup meeting vs. England, USMNT has a chance to change its perception writ large
BBC – Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022: What are the draw highlights? (Video)

The World Cup Draw Is Friday. Here’s How It Works.


“The World Cup field is almost complete. On Friday, soccer teams will learn the answer to the critical question they and their fans want to know: Who will they play when the tournament opens in November in Qatar? The World Cup draw — part gala, part pep rally, part math seminar — will deliver intriguing clashes of styles, testy political collisions and, if past events are any guide, a few uncomfortable moments. But given the stakes of the draw, it is also one of the biggest events on the global sports calendar. Here is a look at how it works. …”
NY Times
NY Times: Who Has Qualified for the 2022 World Cup? (Video)
NY Times: Your World Cup Questions, Answered
The Athletic – 2022 World Cup odds: France, Brazil are co-favorites ahead of the draw; England, Spain right behind

Despite a pair of horrible misses, the USMNT leaves the Azteca in good shape


“The final celebration was muted, more of a full-body manifestation of a sigh of relief than an explosion of joy: A fist pump, a high-five, a slap on the back and a quick exit to field level to congratulate the team. Not that U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart and U.S. men’s national team GM Brian McBride were that composed for the duration of the USMNT’s critical 0-0 draw against Mexico at Estadio Azteca on Thursday night. The former U.S. internationals, who both played in qualifiers at the Azteca, were visibly tense throughout, watching the match on a platform near the press tribune in the upper bowl of the cavernous stadium. The pair spent most of the game in a strained silence that was only punctuated by brief moments of encouraging applause and a couple instances of agonizing disbelief. Their anxiety was understandable. …”
The Athletic (Video)
The Athletic – ‘Positive disappointment’: After struggles in Mexico, a young USMNT must show their resilience once again
NY Times: U.S. Ties Mexico as World Cup Remains Just Out of Reach (Video)

MLS season guide: Predictions for MLS Cup, MVP, Golden Boot and how to watch


“MLS is back, and earlier than ever before. The league’s 27th season starts this weekend with a full slate of games to close February – a start date that was necessary in order for the season to end in time for the 2022 men’s World Cup. The past offseason has seen a new expansion team – Charlotte FC – build its inaugural roster, and exciting new arrivals like Lorenzo Insigne, Xherdan Shaqiri, and too many high-potential signings from South America to list in full here. Our American soccer staff has been following all of these developments closely, and we’ll continue to do so all season long. …”
The Athletic (Audio)

How to Strengthen Cross-Border Ties Between U.S. and Mexican Pro Soccer


“You’d be forgiven for not knowing what the Leagues Cup is. The annual series featuring eight teams—four from Liga MX and four from Major League Soccer—hasn’t garnered much enthusiasm since it began in 2019. It has the feel of an exhibition tournament awkwardly placed on the calendar, lacking the history and high stakes necessary to make it a credible competition. The Leagues Cup was in many ways more significant for what it represented: the possibility of a union between the two largest professional leagues in North America. Consolidating Liga MX and MLS makes a world of sense. It would bundle the popularity and prestige of the Mexican league with the commercial power of the American and Canadian markets. …”
The Ringer (Audio)

What it’s like to be a USMNT lightning rod for criticism: ‘It was overwhelming’


“It was midway through the first half of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Canadian men’s national teams when Gyasi Zardes charged forward toward goal. Canada had taken a 1-0 lead not long beforehand. An American equalizer would settle all of their nerves, maybe even quell the rising panic that a qualification disaster was happening to them again. This could’ve been Zardes’ moment, the play that would make him a hero whose goal put the team’s trajectory back on course for Qatar 2022. …”
The Athletic

Canada Beats U.S., Cementing a Soccer Power Shift


“If it wasn’t already clear which country in North and Central America and the Caribbean had the best soccer team during this World Cup qualifying cycle, Canada provided another resounding argument for its primacy on Sunday. With a 2-0 win over the United States on a frigid afternoon, Canada, without its best player, extended its lead atop the eight-team qualifying group that will determine the region’s berths in this year’s World Cup. Now four points clear of its closest rival with four games remaining, Canada has put itself in pole position for one of the region’s three automatic spots in Qatar in November. …”
NY Times (Video)

Is Canada the Soccer Rival the U.S. Needs?



“By most measuring sticks, Dwayne De Rosario enjoyed a successful career in soccer. He played 14 seasons in Major League Soccer, earning a most valuable player award, a league scoring title and collecting four M.L.S. championships. He represented Canada in the world youth championships, won a Gold Cup with its senior team and, although retired for years now, he still shares the title — for the moment at least — as his men’s national team’s career goals leader with 22. …”
NY Times
NY Times: U.S. Picks Up Another Win and Turns Focus to Canada (Video)
The Athletic: USMNT win over El Salvador highlights growing need for a reliable striker as World Cup hopes take shape

A New Wave of American Buyers Has Set Its Sights on European Soccer


“Last May, Venezia FC celebrated its improbable return to Italy’s top tier, Serie A, for the first time in exactly two decades, completing a remarkable five-year rise from the fourth division. Players celebrated with a ferry ride through Venice’s storied canals, steered by gondoliers wearing traditional candy cane uniforms. Among those celebrating in the victory parade was Duncan Niederauer, the club’s American president and majority shareholder since 2020. Niederauer, the former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, had been part of an American ownership group that first bought into Venezia in 2018, two years after the club emerged from its third bankruptcy in a decade. …”
The Ringer

Portland Timbers vs. NYCFC result: New York City FC wins first MLS Cup in penalty kick shootout


“New York City FC was seconds away from its first-ever MLS Cup, only to concede the latest goal in MLS Cup history deep in stoppage time. But it survived extra time and beat the Portland Timbers in a penalty-kick shootout to take the Major League Soccer title home to the Big Apple for the city’s first major sports championship since 2011 (New York Giants). NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopped the first two penalty kicks in the shootout to lead his team to a 4-2 triumph on PKs after the 1-1 draw persisted through extra time. …”
Sporting News (Video)/
New York City FC playoff dreams still alive after shootout win

World Cup 2022: ranking the top 10 contenders a year before Qatar


“With just over a year to go until the World Cup kicks off, 12 teams have qualified alongside hosts Qatar. All four semi-finalists from 2018 have sealed their spots and are joined by former world champions Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Spain, while recent European champions Portugal and Italy still have more to do. With most of the big hitters now able to prepare for the tournament, we assess where they stand as the countdown to Qatar begins. …”
Guardian
The Athletic: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying: Where USMNT, Canada, Mexico and Panama stand with six matches left
World Cup 2022 Power Rankings: France & England the early favourites as Portugal & Italy falter

U.S. Beats Mexico and Then Rubs It In


Weston McKennie and his teammates beat Mexico with goals and then taunted them in song.
“Michael Jackson’s 1988 song ‘Man in the Mirror’ — a classic tune, but no one’s idea of a rousing sports arena jam — was blaring over the stadium speakers late on Friday night as the U.S. men’s soccer team rollicked and embraced happily on the field. A bit less than half an hour earlier, Christian Pulisic had charged toward the sideline to celebrate the first of the Americans’ goals in their 2-0 victory against Mexico, lifting the front of his No. 10 jersey to reveal the same phrase, ‘Man in the Mirror,’ scrawled in permanent marker on his white undershirt. At that moment, even reasonably well-informed American soccer fans might have been left scratching their heads at the references, struggling to understand what, exactly, was afoot. …”
NY Times (Video)

USA-Mexico: 5 things to know about El Tri before crucial World Cup qualifier


“So begins Mexico’s most challenging – and most frigid – World Cup qualifying window. Following a promising start to the Octagonal with four wins and two draws, manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino and his squad will now embark on a demanding two-game away trip against the United States (Nov. 12) and Canada (Nov. 16). There’s much more than just World Cup qualifying points on the line here. After already losing to the USMNT twice this year in the Nations League and Gold Cup finals, Mexico will seek to avoid a potential third consecutive defeat since June. As for Canada, Mexico have had some issues with John Herdman’s team after narrowly defeating them 2-1 in the Gold Cup semifinals and being held to a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at the Estadio Azteca in October. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. …”
MLS Soccer (Video)

Why Are MLS Teams So Expensive?


“According to Sports Business website Sportico, the MLS’s top three most valuable franchises as of 2021 are Los Angeles FC, Atlanta United and LA Galaxy, valued at $860m, $845m and $835m respectively. Yet Newcastle United were recently sold for $415m, and West Ham United are estimated to be worth $508m. So how can the MLS be more valuable than the Premier League? Seb Stafford-Bloor explains. Illustrated by Henry Cooke.”
YouTube: Why Are MLS Teams So Expensive?
MLS 2021: Who is the highest paid player in US soccer?
W – Expansion of Major League Soccer

El Gráfico


Heleno de Freitas (Boca)
El Gráfico is an Argentine online sports magazine, originally published by Editorial Atlántida as a print publication between 1919 and 2018. El Gráfico was released in May 1919 as a weekly newspaper, and then turned to a sports magazine exclusively. It began to be scheduled monthly from 2002, and was discontinued in 2018, continuing only on internet. El Gráfico is widely the most regarded sports magazine in Argentina and Latin America. The magazine was nicknamed La Biblia del deporte (‘The Bible of sports’) due to its chronicles, notable journalists and collaborators and its photographies. … The best selling era of El Gráfico was during the 1986 FIFA World Cup when Argentina crowned champion, with 690,998 sold. The second place in the ranking of all-time best seller magazine is for the 1978 FIFA World Cup with 595,924. Diego Maradona was the sports man with the most appearances on the cover: 134, followed by Daniel Passarella (58) and Norberto Alonso (54). …”
Wikipedia
Angels with Dirty Faces – Jonathan Wilson: 15 – Our Way
Diego Maradona: A genius and the soul of a nation – Jonathan Wilson
El Pibe del Barrio: Understanding the Latin American archetype and what it means for U.S. Soccer

U.S. Suffers First Defeat in World Cup Qualifying



“Continuing the good vibes from one performance to the next can be tough, it turns out, when you switch out all of your top performers. That was one of the harsh lessons learned by the U.S. men’s soccer team on Sunday as it fell limply to host Panama, 1-0, in its fifth qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup. Things had looked so different on Thursday, when the Americans stomped to a 2-0 win against Jamaica in Austin, Texas. But with a quick turnaround between matches — and a third game to play on Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio — U.S. Coach Gregg Berhalter made seven changes to his lineup. …”
NY Times (Video)

Tyler Adams Is the Captain Now


“The age of Tyler Adams is a matter of perspective. In a strict, chronological sense, of course, he is 22 years 8 months, but what that means — whether it is young, as it appears to be, or old, as odd as that seems — depends on the context. There are times, in fact, when even Adams finds it hard to date himself with any degree of accuracy. Sometimes, he is aware of his youth. He shares the locker room at RB Leipzig, for example, with a host of players who joined the club in the lower reaches of German soccer, and remain in place even now that it has become a fixture in the Champions League. …”
NY Times
W – Tyler Adams
YouTube: Tyler Adams 2020/21 Season Highlights | RB Leipzig (May 2021)

Chasing New Revenue, FIFA Is Considering Major Move to U.S.


FIFA officials toured the United States in September, visiting possible host cities for the 2026 World Cup.
“Looking to expand its global footprint beyond its cloistered headquarters next to a zoo on the outskirts of Zurich, soccer’s governing body, FIFA, is studying the feasibility of moving its financial engine, the commercial operation that produces billions of dollars in revenues for the organization, to the United States. The possible move will be determined by technical factors including the suitability of locations on both coasts, the ease of acquiring work visas for overseas staff members and tax rules, according to an official with direct knowledge of the discussions who declined to speak publicly because a final determination had yet to be made. The operations involved represent a vital part of FIFA’s business: They oversee FIFA’s sale of sponsorships and broadcasting rights, which represent some of the most lucrative properties in global sports. …”
NY Times

What Liga MX and MLS must do to make the expanded Leagues Cup a success


“For years, MLS has tried to substantially grow its fanbase. The league has expanded rapidly, constructed fabulous new stadiums, made strides in youth development, thrown resources into marketing efforts and shuffled between different broadcasters. The work has paid dividends in attendance in many markets, massively raised the valuations of every club and attracted a growing number of deep-pocketed, motivated owners, but it hasn’t made MLS all that popular nationally. Still, MLS is on an upward trajectory. …”
The Athletic

Mexico–United States soccer rivalry


“A sports rivalry exists between the national soccer teams of Mexico and the United States, widely considered the two major powers of CONCACAF. The first match was played in 1934, and the teams have met 72 times, with Mexico leading the overall series 36–15–21 (W–D–L). Matches between the two nations often attract much media attention, public interest, and comment in both countries. The U.S.-Mexico matches are widely attended; several matches at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico have drawn over 100,000 fans, and several matches at the Rose Bowl in the United States have drawn over 90,000 fans. The most important matchups take place in quadrennial FIFA World Cup qualification matches and major tournaments such as the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The rivalry plays out often in annual friendlies scheduled during the early months in U.S. cities with large Mexican American populations such as Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago. …”
Wikipedia
Guardian: The beautiful chaos of the USA-Mexico rivalry has returned (Video)
ESPN – USMNT-Mexico rivalry, post-Nations League classic: What’s next? (Video)

USMNT, Ricardo Pepi shine against Honduras in second half of World Cup qualifier


“The U.S. men’s national team has gotten its World Cup qualifying campaign back on the rails with a 4-1 win over Honduras on Wednesday night. After entering halftime down 1-0, manager Gregg Berhalter made three substitutions to start the second half with aplomb. What ensued was a four-goal onslaught, as the USMNT climbed all the way to third in the Octagonal as the first international window comes to a close. It was a classic ‘tale of two halves’ type of match. After struggling in the 4-3-3, Berhalter lined his team up in a 3-4-3. What ensued was an even sloppier 45 minutes than any of the previous four intervals, with gaps galore in the midfield, between the back seven and the attack, and all over the defensive line. …”
The Athletic
NY Times: For U.S. Men’s Team, Win Salvages a Week They’d Rather Forget
Guardian: A brilliant 45 minutes against Honduras failed to mask US World Cup problems

For U.S. Men, Two Games and No Wins Add Up to Concern



“If every World Cup qualifying campaign is a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows, then the United States men’s soccer team has not yet left the ground. The Americans have played two games in four days to start the final round of their regional qualifying tournament for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and though they expected to win both matches, they have settled instead for two disappointing draws. These are early days, still. There are 12 games to go. And two points are better than none. …’
NY Times (Video)
Guardian: John Herdman aims to end Canada’s time in the World Cup wilderness (Video)

What’s the Endgame in the M.L.S.-Liga MX Alliance?



“One could forgive the top soccer players in Mexico and the United States if they feel as if they have seen quite a lot of each other recently. When some of the best players from Mexico’s Liga MX lined up against some of the biggest stars from Major League Soccer in the M.L.S. All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, it was not — for a handful of them — the first time they had played an important match north of the border this summer. Whether in a series of new cross-border club competitions or in two important national team tournaments, the Nations League and Gold Cup, U.S.-Mexico matchups — in a variety of jersey colors — are now more frequent than ever. …”
NY Times

Gregg Berhalter’s Plan for American Men’s Soccer Is Working


Some two dozen players sat in neat rows of chairs and peered at the projector screen in front of them, waiting for the tracksuited man to start the meeting. ‘I’m Gregg Berhalter, head coach,’ he announced, as if anybody in the room didn’t already know it. So began Berhalter’s first training camp in charge of the United States men’s national soccer team in January 2019. He paced around the room as he spoke, holding a marker in one hand and scraps of paper in the other. He smiled a lot but spoke seriously. …”
The Ringer
W – Gregg Berhalter

United States beats Mexico in Gold Cup final on late Miles Robinson header


Miles Robinson headed home an extra-time winner as the United States beat Mexico 1-0 in the 2021 Gold Cup final Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Matt Turner made a stellar save just after 10 minutes — his 20th of the tournament — from a goal-bound Rogelio Funes Mori header to keep the score level early. The U.S. missed a great chance to take the lead at 25 minutes when, after dispossessing Mexico in its own half, Sebastian Lletget sprang Paul Arriola in the area, but his shot came back off the post with only the keeper to beat. Despite having the better of the shots and possession, Mexico failed to score as a scrappy U.S. side went into halftime tied 0-0. …”
ESPN
USMNT vs. Mexico score: Miles Robinson nets dramatic extra time Gold Cup winner as USA beat El Tri again (Video)
YouTube: Extended Highlights: USA 1-0 Mexico – 2021 Gold Cup Final

USA 1 – 0 Jamaica, Mexico 3 – 0 Honduras


Matthew Hoppe rose up, got his head on a deflected cross and, by the time his feet hit the ground, the United States had a 1-0 lead against Jamaica in the Gold Cup quarterfinals. The decisive 83rd-minute goal was Hoppe’s final involvement in the game, capping his first breakthrough international performance. …”
ESPN: Matthew Hoppe rises to the occasion as USMNT withstands Jamaica test (Video)
“Saturday’s 3-0 win over Honduras in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals was a big night for a pair of Mexico players, but for varying reasons. For DF Alan Cervantes, it marked his debut in a Gold Cup, as he played the final nine minutes of the match after replacing Edson Alvarez. Appearing in an official Concacaf tournament for the first time is something the 23-year-old will always remember. …”
Concacaf: Mexico make more memories, while Honduras turn the page

How America Is Producing Great Players | How USA Revolutionized Their Youth System


“Why is America suddenly becoming a football force?”
Football Made Simple: July 18, 2021 (Video)

“Why are MLS clubs getting paid for U.S. talent going to Europe, but not the youth teams that played a part in their development? (Sep 2020): … The reason why FCD was left empty handed was that for decades the U.S. Soccer Federation, for a variety of reasons, opted not to adhere to RSTP. When MLS was getting players from the college ranks, or on free transfers from abroad, this didn’t matter so much. But now that MLS was investing tens of millions of dollars every year in youth academies, it either wanted to see something in return for its investment or scare off foreign clubs from poaching their youth players and keep said prospects for themselves. …”
ESPN