The U.S. national team have called up the big guns for the knockout stages of the 2017 Gold Cup. And they will play.
[ MORE: Latest 2017 Gold Cup news ]
Bruce Arena is expected to roll them out on Wednesday against El Salvador as the USMNT go all-out to win the Gold Cup and build some positive momentum ahead of the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers in September. Based on their group-stage performances El Salvador will put up a strong fight, but this turbo-charged U.S. side will look to have the game done and dusted by half time and rest up ahead of the semifinal.
With captain Michael Bradley, veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, playmaker Clint Dempsey and main striker Jozy Altidore all added to the roster, Arena will have a new spine to his team, while Darlington Nagbe will also play a key role.
In previous Gold Cups the main aim in adding these star names for the knockout rounds is key: bring them in fresh and have them play the final three games to lead the U.S. to glory. That didn’t work in 2015, at all, but it did in 2013, the last time the USMNT won the Gold Cup.
Many are annoyed that Dom Dwyer wasn’t kept around after providing a cutting edge, while Kelyn Rowe also impressed but both have returned to their respective MLS clubs in a deal which may have already been discussed before the Gold Cup given that other key members of Sporting Kansas City (Matt Besler, Graham Zusi) and the New England Revolution (Juan Agudelo) have remained with the U.S. ahead of MLS’ return this Wednesday.
Here’s a look at how Arena should line up the USMNT in Philadelphia for the last eight clash as they will face the winner of Panama vs. Costa Rica at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday.
How USMNT could line up vs. El Salvador
—– Howard —–
— Lichaj — Gonzalez — Besler — Villafana —
—– Acosta —– Bradley —– Nagbe ——
—– Dempsey —–
— Altidore — Morris —
The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.
While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.
[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]
The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.
The aesthetics are terrific.
Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.
The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.
Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.
[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]
Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.
Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.
Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).
Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).
Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.
Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.
[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]
While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.
Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:
The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.
“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”
Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.
We may see him on the field in August 2018.
ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.
FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.
[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]
The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.
FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.