Jamaica 1-0 El Salvador: McCleary, Reggae Boyz steal one from plucky Cuscatlecos

Leave a comment

TORONTO, Canada — Garath McCleary’s 73rd minute goal against the run of play lifted Jamaica to a 1-0 win over pesky El Salvador in Tuesday night’s Group B match.

The underdog Los Cuscatlecos controlled the second half against a lethargic and chippy Jamaica side which already knew it had advanced to the knockout rounds, but couldn’t find a goal.

Now El Salvador has to hope for a combination of results to go in its favor; Canada must lose to Costa Rica, and Group C’s match between Cuba and Guatemala must end in a draw.

Jamaica wins Group B and will face Haiti in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Baltimore.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Gold Cup coverage ]

Both Jamaica and the Houston Dynamo may’ve taken a big hit in the first 10 minutes, as Jermaine Taylor was stretchered off after a hard collision with a sliding Andres Flores. Taylor appeared to be favoring his upper left leg.

Jamaica hit a lightning counter from Je-Vaughn Watson to Garath McCleary before the latter’s attempted cross to a streaking Darren Mattocks was cleared for a throw in the 11th minute.

It was El Salvador’s turn to try its luck moments later, but Jaime Alas popped Flores’ cross harmlessly over the goal. At the other end, Jamaica captain Rodolph Austin worked his way to the top of the 18 before missing left with a hard shot in the 18th minute.

Jamaica had to use its second sub in the 23rd minute after its diving keeper, Dwayne Miller, met a charging Pablo Punyed’s ankle with his head. It was USL goalkeeper Ryan Thompson who got the call over former MLS No. 1 overall pick Andre Blake.

The Reggae Boyz nearly capitalized on a dangerous free kick when Derby Carrillo spilled a shot onto the path of Crystal Palace’s Adrian Mariappa, but the Jamaican could only cut a ball across the goal line from a tight angle.

Punyed, a St. John’s product who plays professionally in Iceland, was one of the stars of the show. The shifty El Salvador attacker missed on a few passes but his movement was very strong. Carrillo also played a smart match between the sticks.

Thompson made a pair of gorgeous stops on a curling 58th minute shot from Punyed and on Flores rebound attempt, as Jamaica found itself on the backfoot.

Substitute Arturo Alvarez came close to beating Thompson with a wandering dribble across and into the 18 with 20 minutes to play. His low shot had the keeper laid out, but missed the post.

And Jamaica found a goal moments later, much to the chagrin of a pro-El Salvador crowd. Mattocks laid the ball off to Joel McAnuff, whose shot was parried by Carrillo… right to McCleary for an easy tap-in.

But Mattocks needlessly took his second yellow minutes later. It was a bit soft, but the Akron product had to play smarter with a yellow. El Salvador had 10 minutes or more against 10 men.

El Salvador kept pushing, but was a step too gun shy until a pair of stoppage time corners, with Carrillo up in the mix.

First Leagues Cup will be an all-Liga MX affair

Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images
1 Comment

Given Major League Soccer’s record against Liga MX sides when both teams are bringing their best players to the party, it’s no surprise that the former has been left out of the Leagues Cup Final.

Instead, Cruz Azul and Tigres UANL will meet on Sept. 18 for the first ever crown in the history of the competition pitting teams from Mexico, Canada, and the United States top flights.

[ MORE: Predicting the USMNT September call-ups ]

Choosing not to play Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Jonathan Dos Santos, and Carlos Pavon amongst others, the LA Galaxy fell 2-1 to Cruz Azul in Carson, California, getting an Emil Cuello goal but allowing the below delightful winner from Orbelin Pineda just after halftime.

The Galaxy were in the midst of a nasty four-match fortnight, and opted for this match — a tournament semifinal against a league which has bossed its league — to rest their men. Not a choice we love, but a fair choice given the Galaxy’s mere 4-point advantage on 7th place in the West.

Tigres needed penalties to get past Club America in an absolutely bonkers semifinal.

The match was level at 2 after regulation, with two own goals, a penalty, and a 90th minute red card doled out to Tigres’ Roger Martinez.

The second Tigres own goal, which came before the club outlasted America 5-3 in penalties, came deep in stoppage.

USWNT lawsuit goes to trial May 5

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (AP) A judge has set a May 5 trial date for the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the women’s national team against U.S. Soccer.

District Judge R. Gary Klausner assigned the date at a hearing Monday in Los Angeles, which came less than a week after mediation between the two sides broke down.

[ MORE: Predicting the USMNT September call-ups ]

The players sued U.S. Soccer in March, alleging institutionalized gender discrimination that includes inequitable compensation when compared with their counterparts on the men’s national team.

The federation claims that compensation for each team is the result of separate collective bargaining agreements, and that the pay structures are different as a result.

The sides had agreed to mediate the dispute after this summer’s World Cup in France. The U.S. beat the Netherlands in July for its second straight title, and fourth overall.

The players and U.S. Soccer had requested a trial date after the Tokyo Olympics, which start July 25.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: Zappacosta off to Roma as Chelsea trusts youth

Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tuesday was a great day to be Reece James.

Not that it hasn’t been a good summer altogether with Frank Lampard in charge of Chelsea.

[ MORE: Predicting the USMNT September call-ups ]

Lampard sanctioned the loan of Zappacosta to AS Roma, which puts James firmly in line for first team reps at Stamford Bridge.

The 19-year-old James has earned his place after two seasons on loan at Wigan Athletic, and Cesar Azpilicueta will either need rest or time at center back at some point.

As for Zappacosta, he was a curiosity buy who was serviceable during his time at Stamford Bridge. At Roma, though, he’ll… also be second choice to club captain Alessandro Florenzi.

Lampard is definitely giving the Blues’ youth a chance to shine during this transfer ban, and this may well be the best opportunity of James’ career.

Predicting the USMNT September call-ups

Photo by TF-Images/ Getty Images
Leave a comment

The United States men’s national team has just a pair of friendlies remaining before its next CONCACAF competition, the Nations’ League.

Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT will meet Uruguay and Mexico in September, and the looming CNL — you know Berhalter wants some sort of crown given the Gold Cup Final loss to El Tri — certainly hints at a strong XI even with players like Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Tyler Boyd (Besitkas) and Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf, on loan from Man City) settling into new digs.

[ MORE: Klopp “couldn’t afford” Coutinho ]

Before we dare to name a 23-man outfit for these matches, we should note that there’s no guarantee every big team will want to release their players in September. But this projection will act under the assumption that his best healthy men will accept invitations or that, at least, Berhalter will invite his best healthy men.

The MLS playoff push may actually force his hand in that Berhalter may respect teams in said playoff race due (though MLS does not have every team playing over the break).

We’ll assume for this exercise that DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle) and Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig) don’t miraculously come fit.

Now for the Big Berhalter Questions (BBQs):

  1. Since Gyasi Zardes has scored three goals and an assist in his last six MLS games and there’s no chance Berhalter ignores him, who will not get a look: Tim Weah (Lille), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas) or … wait, it’s gonna be Boyd.
  2. Wil Trapp has been poor in a USMNT jersey, but has three assists in his last six MLS matches so will he…. book his place, too.

Finally, I’m not going to say that this 23-man roster will be correct, but it will be fun.

Goalkeepers (3)

Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
Kasey Keller (Millwall)
Pick the guy who you think I should pick here and pretend you like it better than:
David Bingham (LA Galaxy)

Defenders (8)

John Brooks (Wolfsburg)
Matt Miazga (Reading)
Aaron Long (West Ham New York Red Bulls)
Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
Tim Ream (Fulham)
Sergino Dest (Ajax)
Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas)

Midfielders (6)

Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
Weston McKennie (Schalke)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth)
Paxtom Pomykal (FC Dallas)
Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)

Forwards (6)

Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
Timothy Weah (Lille)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)
Paul Arriola (DC United)
Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)