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Which cities to host 2026 World Cup in USA, Mexico, Canada?

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With the U.S., Mexico and Canada to announce a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup on Monday at 2 p.m. ET, many people have many questions.

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The fact that all three of the countries involved could conceivably host the tournament on their own (especially the U.S.) has many questioning  why a trio of hosts is needed, yet the prospect of a tournament being hosted across an entire continent is an exciting idea and something UEFA is indeed doing for EURO 2020.

So, let’s take a look at how a 48-team World Cup could be hosted across the U.S., Mexico and Canada with a minimum of 16 host stadiums needed if you take into account that there are currently 12 host stadiums for 32-team World Cups to date.

UPDATE: With the announcement that the U.S. will host 60 of the 80 games in the tournament, I’m thinking 10 host cities in the U.S. and three each in Mexico and Canada. No doubt that number may changes in the months and years ahead, but for now it seems like just three venues in each of Mexico and Canada will be enough.

The most intriguing nature of this idea, for me at least, is the fact that cities close together on the US-Canadian border and the US-Mexican border can be linked together and group games can be played in two countries, giving a real international and unique vibe to proceedings.

Here’s a breakdown at the best options in each country to host World Cup games, with a few notable mentions as the U.S. has so many great cities and venues to choose from.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


USA

New York City – MetLife Stadium is the obvious choice here with NYC also an outsider to host any potential World Cup final.
Chicago – Solider Field hosted World Cup games in 1994 and should be the venue once again for America’s third city.
LA – Plenty of options here with new stadiums being built. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena has a rich soccer history, but the new NFL stadium for the Rams could be an option.
Houston – Mexico and the U.S. have always got huge crowds for international games in Houston and NRG Stadium would be the perfect venue, especially as it’s just a four-hour drive from the Mexican border.
Seattle – One of the strongest soccer fanbases in the U.S. is certainly deserving of World Cup matches at CenturyLink Field. Not the biggest city in the U.S. but with its proximity to Portland and the Canadian border with Vancouver the Pacific Northwest could become a hub for group games.
Orlando – This would complete a very even spread of stadiums and would give soccer fans in the Southeast a chance to watch the games. Hosting them at Camping World Stadium would be easy.
Atlanta – The new Mercedes Benz stadium was built for tournaments like this. Atlanta is a growing soccer city with a new MLS franchise and given its status as a huge transport hub, ATL seems nailed on to be a host city.
Washington D.C. – Having the U.S. capital on board will be key for many reasons and having FedEx Field available it’s a no-brainer.
San Francisco – The home of 49ers in Santa Clara has hosted plenty of big games in the Copa America Centeratio and the International Champions Cup and the Bay Area would be a brilliant host region for World Cup games.
Boston – Gillette Stadium (then known a Foxboro Stadium) hosted World Cup games in 1994 and with New England being a passionate soccer region this makes total sense.

Other notables: Philadelphia, Denver, San Diego, Michigan (The Big House), Miami, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Dallas


Mexico

Mexico City – Azteca Stadium would undoubtedly be a worthy venue to host the World Cup final given that it’s done so twice in the past.
Guadalajara – Estadio Chivas the obvious choice here and a city rich in soccer heritage would be a gem in Mexico’s bid. Surely nailed on.
Tijuana – Its close proximity to the U.S. border and San Diego would again give teams the chance to get a flavor of both the U.S. and Mexico perhaps during the same group.

Maybes…

Puebla – Puebla’s Estadio Cuauhtemoc home would be a fine World Cup venue and with it being close to Mexico City, Puebla is easily accessible.
Leon
– Estadio Leon would need an upgrade but Leon’s proximity to Mexico City means that it would once again be easy to travel to and from Mexico’s capital.
Monterrey – The sparkling Estadio BBVA Bancomer should be in line to be one of the host venues, plus Monterrey being a quick flight away from Texas could mean group games played in the U.S. and Mexico.

Other notables: Mexico City (Estadio Olimpico Universitario) Guadalajara (Jalisco Stadium), Toluca, Pachuca, Queretaro


Canada

Toronto – Capable of hosting huge sporting events, Canada’s largest city would almost certainly be a host of group games and knockout matches. BMO Field to be expanded?
Vancouver – After doing a wonderful job in hosting the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, BC Place is the front-runner and Vancouver makes tons of sense as it’s on the border with the U.S.
Montreal – A hub of culture and sport, Montreal makes plenty of sense and hosted the Olympic games and has a rich soccer culture.

Other notables: Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton

Everton 2-0 Hajduk Split: Toffees cruise in Europa League first leg

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  • Keane nabs first EFC goal
  • Baines, Rooney with classy assists
  • Gueye scores rare goal
  • Second leg Aug. 24 in Croatia

Michael Keane and Idrissa Gana Gueye scored as Everton took a 2-0 lead over HNK Hajduk Split in a UEFA Europa League playoff round first leg at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Leighton Baines and Wayne Rooney had assists for the Toffees, while Jordan Pickford, Ademola Lookman, and Davy Klaassen also posted lively performances for the hosts ahead of next week’s second leg.

The Toffees could’ve scored four or five if not for questionable offside calls alone, and the match was interrupted in the first half when the Hajduk support section got out of hand.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ademola Lookman won an early corner for Everton that led to nothing, and played a terrific ball into the center of the box that Davy Klaassen just missed with a sliding effort.

Hajduk had a moment in two in transition, but the Toffees handled it well. Baines in particular broke up the earliest sign of danger.

The breakthrough goal was splendid, with Baines scooping up a punched corner kick and darting past a defender to dink an aesthetically-pleasing ball into traffic for Keane to head home. 1-0, 30′.

The match was stalled for 5-10 minutes after riotous behavior from visiting Hajduk Split supporters, who tossed bottles onto the field and charged at the stewards (one appeared to punch a security guard).

The Toffees went up 2-0 off a classy assist from Rooney, who was moving away from the defense when he cut a ball to a darting Gueye. The Senegalese engine provided a rare goal in the 45th minute.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

The chances were at a premium for both sides in the second half, with Everton still having the better of play. But Jordan Pickford had to get horizontal to make an outstanding two-handed parry on a Hajduk rush in the 61st minute.

Hajduk really found its game late as Everton seemed to rest on its laurels. Pickford was livid, and called into duty to make some big stops and preserve an important home clean sheet.

America’s latest Bundesliga teenager eyes the future

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As recently as Wednesday, Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie joined his American teammate Nick Taitague and fellow Yank teenager Christian Pulisic for an afternoon of FIFA at Pulisic’s place in Gelsenkirchen.

How long those sort of friendly meetings will endure is up for discussion, because one of the world’s best rivalries has two young American friends on either side.

McKennie is a whopping 21 days older than Borussia Dortmund’s Pulisic, and will turn 19 on August 28. He’s also following in the footsteps of Pulisic as a teenage member of the Revierderby.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

“When we hang out it doesn’t come up, but we know in the back of our heads that when that game comes around we’ll have to hit pause on our friendship,” McKennie told ProSoccerTalk. “After that game we’ll see how it goes, but I’m sure it’ll be the same.”

The friendship of McKennie, Pulisic, Taitague, and Haji Wright — Wright has left Schalke for a loan stint at Sandhausen in 2.Bundesliga — has otherwise been a boon to the American quartet, and it isn’t wild to consider the unit’s formative days in Germany as a harbinger of what’s to come for the United States men’s national team.

McKennie, 18, could be a massive part of American soccer in the future. Rated the 13th best U-20 prospect in the Bundesliga, the Texas-born midfielder has drawn glowing reviews from new manager Dominic Tedesco, who lauded the player’s “super pressing game” in a senior debut earlier this week, and veterans Benedikt Howedes and Matija Nastasic only had good things to say in conversations with PST this week.

“In the defensive midfield he already operates very mature,” said Howedes, the longtime Schalke man who won the 2014 World Cup with Germany. “He works hard all the time and showed in pre-season that he can help us. If he develops like he has done until now, the team will be pleased with him. Also, he is clever in his head and a really funny guy.”

Nastasic, who won the Premier League with Manchester City in 2013-14, is very pleased with McKennie’s two-way game.

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

“He’s very very good player in the middle because he can go up front and finish actions but also in defense he’s very good,” Nastasic said. “For me, he’s a box-to-box player who can run and is strong. He can be very very good.”

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Both players stressed patience with McKennie and a Schalke squad that has youthful talent in bunches. In addition to the American teenager, there’s Swiss sensation Breel Embolo, Algerian midfielder Nabil Bentaleb, and German trio Max Meyer, Leon Goretzka, and Fabian Reese.

In Meyer and Goretzka, McKennie has teammates who boast more than 210 league appearances despite a combined age of 43. Both won silver medals at the 2016 Olympics and Goretkza won the Silver Boot and Bronze Ball as Germany won the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

The fact that these players surround McKennie, Schalke’s youngest First Teamer, and have done so much at their ages is not lost on the American midfielder.

“Being around guys who’ve accomplished so much at a young age, even with Christian being younger than me and achieving so much and setting the way over here, you’re surrounding yourself with people who are only going to make you better,” McKennie said.

“Knowing ‘This kid’s only one year older than me. This kid’s only two years older than me,’ and seeing the way they carry themselves and the amount of experience they’ve had, it rubs off on you.”

And it’s not just the young guys bringing the energy as Schalke prepares for its Bundesliga opener on Saturday against Red Bull Leipzig.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Brooks out 3 months for Wolfsburg ]

“The spirit, if you could be in the locker room, it’s amazing,” McKennie said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. The older guys like Naldo and Coke still joke around with young guys. Me being the youngest I get a little bit more than everyone else.”

As for his American hopes, McKennie has spoken of his hopes to get into Bruce Arena’s USMNT fold. He’s hopeful for a call into a friendly camp in the next year, and harbors long shot hopes for a spot on a potential World Cup roster.

Playing an important position in one of the world’s top leagues at age 18 won’t hurt that, though minutes will certainly be difficult to come by this season given Schalke has a rare campaign outside of both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

And it may not surprise then when asked to target his role as a potential international, he hopes to grow into a player who’d be described as a mix of two of the United States’ all-time best at that position (one who’s starred at Schalke).

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“I’d kinda say Jermaine Jones if you had to choose a national team player, for the stuff that he does and maybe Michael Bradley, one of those players who is calm on the ball and can play that long ball, the one that is there at the right moments.” McKennie said, though at his age he obviously hasn’t seen a wide variety of USMNT center mids.

“Jermaine in my eyes is one of those guys who gets stuck in no matter what. He goes with all he has, and does the dirty work. That’s kinda how I picture myself.”

All of that isn’t to put the cart before the horse. McKennie is very clear in answering any questions about his future with measured responses. He has a lot of work to do to continue his rise into Schalke’s set-up.

[ MORE: Costa — “I must return to Atletico Madrid” ]

For now, he’ll keep doing what he’s doing, working as hard as possible to maintain a spot in Tedesco’s mix and growing alongside Taitague and Wright, and across the pitch from Pulisic, even as his BVB buddy makes it a bit harder to go out on the town.

“In his area and even in Gelsenkirchen because we’re rivals, he’s noticeable, but he’s not a player who tries to be noticed,” McKennie said. “There are players who try to be noticed, but he’s not. He’s not gonna say no to taking a photo, but even if he’s having a bad day he finds a way to put on a smile. He’s younger than me and I can still look up to him.”

That is until they hopefully hit the same grass for one of the game’s best matches.

Clement says Sigurdsson fee could leave Swans better off

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Many have feared the worst for Swansea City following the sale of Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton, but fortunately the club’s boss isn’t too worried about the departure of his Icelandic star.

Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente were nearly all of Swansea’s attack last season as the Welsh side barely avoided relegation. The club’s third coach of the season, Paul Clement, was instrumental in that change of fate.

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

He’s not worried about the absence, though, because he feels the approximately $60 million coming into his transfer kitty can leave the squad better than it was before Sigurdsson was sold to Everton.

“We want to improve our playing squad, we want to improve our style we want to win more games we believe that with the funds we have available we can strengthen the squad and end up being a better team.”

And, Clement said, now agents and managers know Swansea has the money to do some business. He says they won’t panic because sometimes the deals improve right before the deadline.

“Yesterday various people who work here at this club, their phones were going, the texts were coming in, the emails were coming in from agents all over the world, because they know we’ve done the Gylfi deal and want to do business and bring players in.”

What do you think? Could Sigurdsson’s fee be the goodbye gift that keeps on giving for a Swans side which is considered a relegation candidate?

LIVE – Everton, AC Milan, Ajax in Europa League action

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Everton, AC Milan and Ajax, three of the bigger sides fighting for passage into the Europa League proper, find themselves 180 minutes from the group stage as the final round of qualifying kicks off on Thursday.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

Everton have Croatian side Hajduk Split at Goodison Park for the first leg (3:05 p.m. ET), while Milan host Macedonian side KF Shkendija (2:45 p.m. ET) and Ajax are home to Rosenborg of Norway (2:45 p.m. ET).

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

Thursday’s notable Europa League fixtures

Panathinaikos vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:30 p.m. ET
Domzale vs. Marseille — 2:45 p.m. ET
Maritimo vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:30 p.m. ET