With a 2-0 victory Friday over Cuba, the United States’ men advanced to the final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. They will face Mexico on Sunday for the a chance at their first full regional title.
Kaiserslautern attacker Mario Rodríguez got the States on the scoresheet early, beating Cuban goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez near post on an eighth minute roller from just inside the area.
Three minutes later, a deflected shot from Santos Laguna forward Daniel Cuevas went into the upper-right part of the net, providing an early finish to the night’s scoring.
Cuba would finish with only one shot on goal to the U.S.’s six, their defeat relegating them to Sunday’s third place match against El Salvador. Both teams, along with the U.S. and Mexico, have already qualified for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Mexico advanced to the final with a 2-0 victory over the Salvadorians, with Atlas’s Antonio Briseño scoring both Tri goals.
Mexico have outscored their opponents 12-0 while posting a perfect record over their tournament’s five games. The United States also reaches the final perfect, having scored nine while conceding three times en route to Sunday’s final.
It will be the first time the U.S. and Mexico have met in a CONCACAF U-20 final since 1980 when the Mexicans won 2-0 at Giants Stadium.
From 1986 through 2007, CONCACAF did not hold singular tournament finals. The region used a final group stage from 1986 through 1996 before switching to a split-tournament World Cup qualifying format in 2007.
The U.S. had reached one previous final since CONCACAF went back to a full tournament in 2009, losing that year’s final to Costa Rica.
Should the U.S. win in Puebla on Sunday, it will be their first full CONCACAF U-20 title.
Suspended FIFA executives Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have both officially appealed their 90-day bans through various means in attempts to clear their names.
The pair have been forced to temporarily vacate their office due to an investigation by Swiss authorities into corruption charges based on a “disloyal payment” of around $2 million from Blatter to Platini in 2011.
Blatter’s appeal was lodged within FIFA on Friday, with the president’s lawyer confirming he has “requested additional proceedings before the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee and filed an appeal with the Appeal Committee.”
Blatter’s American lawyer Richard Cullen said he is “very hopeful” the suspension will be lifted on appeal, while his lawyer team back on Thursday argued in a statement that the FIFA Ethics Committee “based its decision [to suspend Blatter] on a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the president.”
The New York Times obtained a copy of the appeal, in which Blatter’s lawyers demand to see the case file which the Ethics Committee reviewed upon its decision to suspend the 79-year-old. It also asks that he receive a full opportunity to argue his innocence in front of the committee; previously, he was only afforded a short interview with Swiss investigators.
Meanwhile, Platini’s appeal came through Saturday morning and is filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. His case has received official, legal backing from the French FA as his home nominating association for the upcoming presidential election. Using the French FA’s support, Platini can bypass the FIFA appeals system which he individually must exhaust before moving to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
CONMEBOL has also publicly supported Platini, issuing a statement that says it “does not agree” with the decision to suspend him, calling it “untimely and disproportionate” while stating, “The presumption of innocence is a fundamental right that has to be considered. Mr. Platini has not been found guilty of any charge, therefore the provisional ban jeopardizes the integrity of the electoral process to the FIFA presidency, of which Mr. Platini is a candidate.”
The FIFA Executive Committee has announced it will hold an emergency meeting on October 20 to discuss the situation. Among the topics that will be considered will be a decision on whether to postpone the February 26 presidential election.
Emerson Hyndman is stuck in an endless circle at his home club Fulham, and the only way out he sees would be to leave.
With his contract set to expire in the upcoming summer, Fulham has been pushing hard for the 19-year-old to lock down a long-term deal as many of his teammates have done in the recent months. Unfortunately, due to reported interest from abroad from teams like Borussia Dortmund, plus others in La Liga and the Dutch Eredivisie, Hyndman has been unwilling to do so thus far.
As a result, the USMNT prospect has seen little playing time, with manager Kit Symons understandably unwilling to let him see the field while he refuses to commit his future to the club. Hyndman has just eight minutes of League Cup play to his name so far this campaign.
Hyndman blames the lack of action as the main reason why he wants to depart, telling American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta that he would like to move on.
“It’s a little difficult right now,” he said. “I’ve told them in the past that I think it’s time for me to move on. There are clubs out there that are interested and that I am excited about, so it’s difficult for me right now, and I can’t see myself getting too many first-team minutes. I feel that I had a good preseason, and I thought I might get a chance, but I am really looking forward to the future more than anything.
Unfortunately, that seems a bit unfair to his club. Why would a Championship club looking to build from within give significant minutes to a player who refuses to sign a long-term deal and looks set to leave in the summer? Then he tags the lack of playing time as the reason he wants to leave. It all seems to be a never-ending cycle.
Hyndman joined the Fulham youth setup at age 15 and flourished last season, making both his club first-team debut and earning a cap with the senior national team. He is currently with the U-23 Olympic team leading the charge for Rio 2016 qualification.
There is no doubting Hyndman’s abilities on the field, but for his sake, he needs to sort out his club situation as quickly as possible to further his growth as a midfielder.