With a combined score line of 18-0 from group play, the United States Under-17 Women’s National Team is within striking distance of a World Cup berth. Conventional wisdom might call it a done deal, but recent history suggests otherwise.
Albertin Montoya’s team topped Group B Monday night with a 3-0 win over Mexico. The team could make World Cup qualification official on Thursday with a win against Panama.
Forward Summer Green was on target again, netting all three of the U.S.’s goals. The Michigan native has had a downright goal-scoring bonanza in Guatemala. She collected five goals in the team’s 10-0 tonking of the Bahamas in their first group match (in which the U.S. outshot their opponents 52 to 1). Green’s first-half hat versus Mexico trick ups her total to nine goals in the group stage alone. She’s averaged a goal every 27 minutes.
A victory in the semifinals in two days will see the side secure a place in the 2012 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan. It would be its first trip to the tournament since 2008. Lest we forget, the U.S. stumbled in the semifinal round of the 2010 CONCACAF Qualifying tournament. Canada edged the favorites in penalty kicks and dashed the team’s World Cup hopes.
Panama should pose less of a threat this time around, as the team reaches the semifinals by dint of a superior goal difference over Group A opponents Jamaica. Even if the stage springs another shock, the U.S. has a safety net to fall back on. Unlike previous years, three teams advance from the CONCACAF region.
You could say the U.S. are as good as in, but that’s what was said last time. Oh, who are we kidding.
While the expectations of a quick transition from life in Europe to MLS were surely massive, the 26-year-old midfielder has failed to live up to the billing of not only being one of the NYCFC’s highest-paid players but also as a potential U.S. Men’s National Team candidate.
Diskerud saw his playing time dwindle down from 23 starts in 2015 to nine this past season under new manager Patrick Vieira, and it doesn’t appear that the Norwegian-American will see an influx of opportunities during the upcoming 2017 season.
Rumors have surfaced throughout the offseason about NYCFC potentially buying out Diskerud’s contract, however, the midfielder’s cryptic post to social media on Sunday afternoon suggests that he may not be in New York for much longer.
It has been suggested that Diskerud would possibly consider a return to Europe in the event that his contract was in fact bought out, however, the difference in salaries would likely be drastic.
According to figures released by the MLS Players’ Union, Diskerud made $761,250 in 2016, which was the fourth-highest salary on NYCFC books behind only David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, each of whom were classified as Designated Players.
Gabriel Jesus was a revelation for Manchester City before suffering an injury, but even with a spot in the lineup for the time being Sergio Aguero may not be coming back to Manchester City next season.
According to the Sun, Spanish giants Real Madrid are eyeing up a move for Aguero in the hopes that the Argentine striker will join the club at the conclusion of the Premier League season.
Prior to joining City back in 2011, Aguero played five seasons in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 101 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblancos.
While Aguero is likely to hold his starting spot for some time due to Jesus’ injured metatarsal, manager Pep Guardiola had heavily favored the young forward over Aguero since officially joining the club in January.
While the back-and-forth final between Southampton and Manchester United presented a tremendous matchup, the Saints had every right to be furious with the officiating in the early going after Gabbiadini’s 11th minute finish was called off for offsides.
“I would like, of course, video in the future for these situations,” said Puel. “It’s very hard when we see this game to lose. It was cruel.”
Gabbiadini went on to score a pair of goals at the tail end of the first half and early in the second stanza, but Puel was pleased with his side’s resilience after going down 2-0 inside the opening 38 minutes.
“We kept the good attitude and spirit to stay in the game after going 2-0 down,” said the Southampton boss. “We played since the beginning of the season every two or three days. We played to a strong and fantastic level. It’s important now to continue this work, to put away this disappointment and come back in the Premier League with this strength and this quality.”
Video replay has been a common discussion for some time now, but more leagues are beginning to examine the possibility. FIFA is prepared to introduce new experimental trials over the coming months and could present a form of replay at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.