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USA, Mexico, Canada announce joint bid for 2026 World Cup

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Three nations coming together sharing one dream: to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

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On Tuesday the heads of the national soccer federations of the U.S., Mexico and Canada came together to announce they’ve launched a joint bid to host the 2026 tournament across all three nations.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, Canadian Soccer Association President Victor Montagliani and Mexican Football Federation President Decio de Maria gathered on the 102nd floor of One World Trade Center to make the announcement which hopes to see the tournament return to the CONCACAF region for the first time since the U.S. hosted its first-ever World Cup in 1994.

The U.S. previously bid to host the 2018 World Cup, but failed, and Mexico has hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986. Canada has never hosted the men’s edition but successfully hosted the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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Gulati announced that the three federations have signed a “memorandum of understanding” and they planned to unveil more details to FIFA as the bidding process becomes clearer.

FIFA will host an expanded 48-team tournament, up from 32 teams, from 2026 onwards but how that all works will be discussed further in Bahrain in the next FIFA congress on May 11.

The U.S. will take the bulk of the tournament, with 60 of the 80 games in the United States of America, and discussions have taken place to schedule group games in similar time zones which run through all three countries to minimize travel.

“There will be 80 games, three quarters of which would be played in the United States and 10 games in each of Canada and Mexico,” Gulati confirmed.

It was also confirmed by Gulati that any potential tournament would be hosted in the U.S. from the quarterfinal stage onwards, thus meaning the World Cup final would take place in the United States of America. It is still unclear as to whether all three nations would qualify automatically for the tournament as the FIFA council would have to discuss that factor and so to would CONCACAF as qualifying would be heavily impacted in the region.

In terms of economics the bid makes a lot of sense as between the three nations there are dozens of stadiums ready to use for the tournament, plus the infrastructure is mostly in place to host an event the size of the World Cup. This continental style hosting approach is on the rise. For example, EURO 2020 will be hosted in cities across Europe instead of in one host country to stop a single nation from having to handle the economic burden alone.

Gulati also allayed fears about potential immigration problems between the U.S. government and teams traveling to the USA for the tournament.

“We have the full support of this project from the U.S. government,” Gulati said. “The president of the United States encouraged us to make this bid and is especially pleased that Mexico is involved in this bid. We have a strong encouragement from President Trump.”

More details will be released by the three governing bodies in due course as they will discuss their bid at the FIFA congress in May in Bahrain.

The overriding emotion from this announcement was one of togetherness as Gulati acknowledged the U.S. could have easily bid to host this tournament on its own but cited the desire to grow the game across the CONCACAF region as well as bringing the three nations together.

Miguel Almiron knew nothing about MLS, everything about Tata

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Miguel Almiron’s future is going to be a big part of the story for as long as he’s in Atlanta United, but his past is in focus following another cool post in The Players’ Tribune.

It’s a cool read, for sure, to examine Almiron’s rise from “too skinny” kid without a club to one of the top prospects this side of the Atlantic Ocean, but the story of why he came to Atlanta is an argument for the “big name” manager (Tata Martino in this case).

[ MORE: Liverpool fan trouble in Sevilla ]

Before the Paraguayan youngster was the talk of the transfer market, MLS Newcomer of the Year, and the No. 1 jersey sale in the league, he was being recruited to the Georgian expansion outlet.

“I didn’t know much about MLS. I didn’t know where Atlanta was. I didn’t know anything. But Tata was manager, and that was all I needed to know.”

Given that Martino arrived not too long before Almiron, the following Tweet makes the point I’ve been trying to make as well as anyone:

Sevilla manager reportedly told team of cancer diagnosis at half

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When it comes to locker room tales, few compare to this one.

Any big comeback, especially one as high profile as Sevilla’s stunning second half against Liverpool, inspires the question, “What was said in the team room at halftime?!?”

Down 3-0 at halftime and in danger of bowing out of the UEFA Champions League, Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo gave his team some very serious news.

[ MORE: Liverpool fan trouble in Sevilla ]

According to Spanish reports relayed by The Telegraph, Berizzo informed his players of his prostate cancer diagnosis.

Sevilla confirmed that Berizzo is battling adenocarcinoma, saying, “Future medical tests will determine a course of treatment. Sevilla FC wants to show maximum support to its manager in these moments and wishes him a prompt recovery.”

It adds extra weight to Ever Banega’s postgame comments:

“We have to go out there with that attitude, for the fans that always back us and for the coach who has turned this around. He is the most important of all of us, he has us on the right path and we are with him to the hilt.”

Our best to Berizzo, and — sorry Reds supporters — it’s pretty cool Sevilla was able to rally after such stunning news.

Liverpool releases statement after Sevilla stadium supporter outcry

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Liverpool has proffered a strong and cautionary statement regarding its supporters’ treatment at Sevilla on Tuesday.

Claims of police punching a woman in the back and throwing her “political” flag at her, a Liverbird with the word “Defiance” on it, are just the tip of the iceberg.

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Fans claim that many were either delayed or denied in entry to the stadium, with “police in riot gear not letting you get to your seat” in some cases.

The Reds have released a statement, from LiverpoolFC.com:

Following detailed and troubling accounts given by Liverpool supporters attending the match against Sevilla last night, the club is seeking to establish the facts regarding their treatment at the hands of the host stewards and local police force.
The safety and security of our supporters is our paramount concern and we intend to gather all the relevant information before responding further.

Supporter treatment away from home is deservedly a hot button issue, and especially at Liverpool given the horrible Hillsborough disaster that killed 96 and wounded almost 800 more in 1989.

As for the match, the Reds squandered a 3-0 lead at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, drawing 3-3.

Sounders in firm control after Leg 1

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Seattle Sounders took full control of the Western Conference finals with a resounding 2-0 win over ten-man Houston. The Sounders already had hit first in the 11th minute through Gustav Svensson but the red card to Jalil Anibaba changed the game. Houston had some chances later but fatigue meant the focus and control was off. Former Dynamo striker Will Bruin’s goal may have put the tie to bed.

Three moments that mattered

11′ — Gustav Svensson Goal — The Sounders wanted to set the tone early and they picked up an early goal off a corner kick, as Svensson redirected a header past Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis. The goal changed the complexion of the game to that point, until our next big moment.

28′ — Jalil Anibaba red card — Joevin Jones was a menace to deal with tonight and after getting past Anibaba, the latter pulled Jones down and as it appeared to be denial of a goal-scoring opportunity, Anibaba was given his marching orders. Suddenly, Houston, down a goal and down a man, had a lot more to do to stay in the tie. Nicolas Lodeiro missed the subsequent penalty kick but Will Bruin picked Lodeiro up later.

42′ — Will Bruin goal — The former Dynamo man scored a massive goal against his former club on a great cross from Jones on the left wing. While the tie isn’t over, the Sounders are in firm control and look set to repeat as Western Conference playoffs champions.

Man of the Match: Joevin Jones