Given the ridiculous, and ridiculously distracting, situation with Richie Incognito and the NFL’s suddenly reeling Miami Dolphins – a towering inferno of comeuppance that is absolutely dominating social media today, don’t you know – it seems like a splendid time to remind everyone the merits of a great locker room.
Locker room chemistry is the perennially underrated element of sports. Show me a team willing to work hard for one another – check that … actually scared to death of ever letting down teammates – and I will show you a team that will be habitually competitive at very least, and one that will probably win more than it loses.
At some point, talent takes over. But locker room accord can elevate a team of “good-not-great” talent into one that is potentially championship material, the Houston Dynamo of the last two years is a brilliant example.
Now let’s circle back on a story that says Jay DeMerit wants to finish his career in Vancouver.
There may be MLS men who don’t respect Jay DeMerit – but I have yet to meet any of them. Even having missed almost an entire season due to that Achilles tendon tear back in March (the ‘Caps’ captain did play a few minutes at either end of the just-complete MLS campaign), there is no reason to believe DeMerit, 33, cannot get the job done on the field.
Assuming he can, the Whitecaps, about to land on their fourth manager after just three MLS seasons, need the stability and leadership he offers. (Not to mention his experience on the field; don’t forget, he was a World Cup starter just three years ago.)
DeMerit’s contract is up. He says he wants to sign up again, assuming management wants him. Word to “management:” You guys want him.
The United States looks to finish the international break in an automatic qualifier spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it faces Panama in Panama City at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday.
A lot of the faces are the same from the 6-0 demolition of Honduras in California on Friday, though John Brooks and Sebastian Lletget are out with injury.
Jermaine Jones replaces Lletget while Tim Ream moves into the fray for Brooks. Geoff Cameron played Friday’s match with a minor injury, and moves out of the XI for Graham Zusi.
USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Ream, Zusi; Bradley, Jones, Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore
Subs: Bingham, Rimando; Beasley, Besler, Camron, Zimmerman; Acosta, Arriola, Bedoya, Kljestan, McCarty, Pulisic; Wondolowski
Diego Reyes’ 58th minute header off a corner kick gave Mexico a lead it wouldn’t give up in a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at Hasely Crawford Stadium in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
The win gives Mexico a table-topping 10 points, seven ahead of last-place T&T.
[ MORE: Honduras 1-1 Costa Rica ]
The Soca Warriors were in fine, stingy form early, and looked to have gone ahead on the counterattack when Joevin Jones belted a left-footer into the Mexico goal.
The linesman, however, ruled that Jones was offside. He almost certainly was not, as Mexico’s supreme luck in CONCACAF play continued for at least one night.
Hector Herrera hammered a shot off the far goal post early in the second half as Mexico attempted to grab control.
T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams jammed Miguel Layun’s shot over the bar moments before the breakthrough from Reyes.
Williams then saved Javier Hernandez’s 64th minute offering as Mexico looked to put three points to bed.
Joevin Jones won a free kick in the 76th minute that gave a brief moment of light to T&T’s hopes, but Jones hit the wall and Mexico cleared the ball.
Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.
Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.
[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]
Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.
With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.
Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.
France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.
Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.
[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]
Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):
At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.
When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.
What do you think?