U.S. Soccer will announce this week where the national team’s first home game in final round World Cup qualifying will be played, according to Grant Wahl.
The veteran soccer writer from Sports Illustrated, also working these days as part of the Fox Soccer Channel staff, said a “high-ranking U.S. Soccer source” revealed to him the venue for a March 22 contest against Costa Rica is down to three finalists.
The high-stakes match will be played in either Salt Lake City, Denver or Kansas City, according to Wahl.
That will be the United States’ first home match in final round qualifying, which begins Feb. 6 at Honduras. The contest against Costa Rica will be Match Day No. 2 in final stage CONCACAF qualifying.
The United States has enjoyed its time in Salt Lake City before, defeating Costa Rica (same country they face here in March) en route to World Cup 2006 in Germany. That was before a nice crowd of 40,586 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Four years later Bob Bradley’s team won an important match over El Salvador at a packed Rio Tinto Stadium (pictured).
In both cases, national team players and staff talked up their regard for Salt Lake City as a venue.
The team has not been to Colorado since a 2008 win over Guatemala in semifinal round World Cup qualifying. Attendance was hardly great that day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (9,303), but the United States had already booked passage into final round qualifying by that point, so that’s not exactly surprising.
Kansas City is a shoe-in to get at least one match, based on the big support there and the U.S. team success at Livestrong Sporting Park since it opened in suburban Kansas City about 20 months ago.
The intensity from Chelsea’s players in their 2-0 victory at Hull City was a sight for Antonio Conte‘s sore eyes.
Actually, that might be understating it.
“I like it when the team plays in this way,” Conte said after the win. “I like it so much.”
[ MORE: Hull City 0-2 Chelsea ]
The Blues controlled the match at the KC Stadium long before Willian and Diego Costa hit bullets past a helpless David Marshall to seal Chelsea’s 11th, 12th, and 13th points of the young Premier League season.
Conte loved the industry from his club in breaking a three-match losing streak.
From the BBC:
“We are working very hard and I am sure we can improve a lot if we continue to work in this way. I am pleased for all the players because in these situations because we have a clean sheet. In previous games we conceded too many goals. To finish with a clean sheet is very important. We also scored two and the performance is good. We must follow this with work, work, work!”
“We can improve and we must improve a lot and continue to work. After these two defeats it’s not easy to work because two defeats for Chelsea are heavy defeats. But this was a good answer.”
Yeah… he’s pretty intense.
To hear West Ham goalkeeper Adrian describe it, the Irons should start streaming their training sessions so we can see more magic from Dimitri Payet.
West Ham’s talisman rescued a point for his struggling club when he essentially worked six Middlesbrough players and delivered a terrific finish in a 1-1 draw at Olympic Stadium in London.
[ WATCH: Payet’s wondergoal ]
Adrian says they see that a lot.
“Payet is like that in training,” the goalkeeper said. “He scored like a Lionel Messi goal at Barcelona. It is a massive goal to us.”
[ MORE: West Ham 1-1 Middlesbrough ]
The goal truly was massive, as the Irons avoided losing five in-a-row. They are still in the relegation zone, but baby steps.
Here’s WHUFC head coach Slaven Bilic:
“It was an unbelievable goal, it was a pure magic. It was only a shame it wasn’t a winning goal. We needed that moment of class from our best player to lift the whole team up.”
One of the few bright spots for Sunderland last season was Jermain Defoe, and he has four goals this season through seven starts.
But the English striker missed a chance that could’ve given the Black Cats a much-needed lead in a match they wound up drawing 1-1 with West Brom at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
[ MORE: Sunderland 1-1 West Brom ]
Sunderland manager David Moyes is frustrated, obviously, with his club gained just two points from their first seven matches.
But pointing in the direction of the man who has four of your six PL goals on the season is a bit… odd, especially when Defoe is being mentioned as a possible England call-up.
From the BBC:
“We didn’t get the three points. We didn’t deserve to be 1-0 down. We had a great chance through Jermain Defoe – expected him to score. We’re pleased we got a point out of it.
…”There was bits of play that got us a chance. Jonny Evans made a good block from Jermain Defoe.
“We need Jermain to score more, although he has got us goals.”
Troubling times in the Northeast, where the Black Cats are again off to a downright horrible start to the season. Eventually, one of these is going to break them.
- Wilson, King twice gave Cherries lead
- Deeney, Success equalized
- Wilshere hit post twice, Stanislas hit bar
- Both teams on eight points
Watford and Bournemouth shared the points at Vicarage Road in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday.
Bournemouth twice took the lead through Callum Wilson and Josh King but Watford equalizes through Troy Deeney and Issac Success. The Cherries went agonizingly close to taking all three points as Jack Wilshere hit the post twice (his second attempt a contender for miss of the season) and Junior Stanislas hit the crossbar.
With the point both teams move to eight points for the season but there’s no doubting Walter Mazzarri will be happier than Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Watford started well with Odion Ighalo going close and Troy Deeney had a shot blocked with the home side looking to get back to winning ways. Bournemouth recovered and went close via Junior Stanislas’ free kick which forced Heurelho Gomes to tip over the bar.
Bournemouth took the lead as Stanislas whipped in a great cross from the right which Wilson nodded home and under Gomes. 1-0 to the Cherries.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
Watford went close to equalizing before half time but Artur Boruc saved twice from Nordin Amrabat from close range and then Wilson cut inside and teed up Andrew Surman but he fired over from a great position.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Watford were level within five minutes of the restart as Amrabat dribbled in from the right and teed up Deeney to make it 1-1.
Moments later Bournemouth almost went ahead as Jack Wilshere danced through the Watford defense but his low effort hit the post and came out. At the other end Amrabat again provided a great cross which found Deeney but his header was superbly clawed away by Boruc.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Substitute King then came onto the pitch, beat Amrabat and ran at Watford’s defense before seeing his shot from outside the box deflect in. 2-1 to Bournemouth.
The Cherries’ lead didn’t last for long as a free kick from the left flank found Success at the near post and he flicked home into the far corner. 2-2.
Wilshere missed a glorious chance to put Bournemouth ahead as Smith drilled a great cross in from the right and from six yards out he somehow hit the post. Bournemouth continued to push forward and came agonizingly close to grabbing all three points but Stanislas’ curling free kick bounced off the crossbar and out.