PRO SOCCER TALKPST Select Team
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Looking back at the USMNT’s last seven WCQ campaigns

Leave a comment

Why is the number seven so relevant for the U.S. Men’s National Team?

It just happens to be the number of consecutive times that the Americans have reached the World Cup, which dates back to the U.S. reaching Italy in 1990.

[ MORE: USMNT faces must-win against Honduras in CONCACAF WCQ ]

While 1990 doesn’t seem like that long ago, it’s forever for the USMNT, who has taken significant strides forward since falling out of the 1990 competition with three straight defeats and only two goals to show for their entire stay.

Now, the U.S. has their backs against the wall in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for the first time since 2002, when the Americans needed a final day loss from Honduras to reach South Korea/Japan.

Bruce Arena and the American need a positive result on Tuesday, ironically enough against Honduras, in order to see their hopes of reaching Russia next summer lifted. As things stand, the USMNT sits in third place in WCQ on eight points and three matches left to play.

Here, we take a look at the USMNT’s last seven WCQ campaigns and how the Americans fared on their way to each World Cup.

1990

The CONCACAF Championship was used for the final time to determine the two teams that would reach the World Cup, and it was an overall strange year after Mexico was disqualified for fielding overage players.

Finish: 2nd on 11 points

1994

It was a pretty easy route to the World Cup for the United States. They’ll hope to have that same path in 2026…

Finish: Hosts of tournament, didn’t need to qualify

1998

It proved to be one of the more competitive qualifying campaigns, with no nation winning more than four matches in the lead up to France. The USMNT, led by Eric Wynalda’s goalscoring, helped the team finish just behind El Tri at the top of the Hex.

Finish: 2nd on 17 points

2002

Costa Rica was the dominant side during this qualifying campaign, losing just once along their way to South Korea & Japan. The Americans, however, started out hot with five straight positive results, before slowing down significantly and needing assistance from Mexico on the final matchday to take care of business against Honduras.

Finish: 3rd on 17 points

2006

The U.S. and Mexico were riding each other’s coat tails before Germany’s competition in ’06, with the two rivals finishing tied atop the Hex on 22 points. The Americans edged El Tri based on head-to-head results, but that didn’t much matter when the USMNT reached the World Cup the following year and bailed out in the group stage.

Finish: 1st on 22 points

2010

It was a heated race to finish atop the Hex ahead of South Africa’s World Cup, with the U.S., Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica all within four points of one another. The Americans were also riding in hot after their strong FIFA Confederations Cup campaign in 2009, which saw the team capture a historic 2-0 victory against Spain in the semifinals.

Finish: 1st on 20 points

2014

In the build up to Brazil, the U.S. managed to dominate CONCACAF, taking eight positive results out of its 10 Hexagonal fixtures. The Yanks even helped Mexico reach the World Cup with its final-day victory over Panama, who were on the verge of finishing ahead of El Tri.

Finish: 1st on 22 points

MLS preview: TFC, Seattle running out of time; Rooney vs. ATL

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Week 21 of the 2018 MLS season features 10 games on Saturday (nine) and Sunday (one). Here’s a few key storylines to keep an eye on…

[ MORE: Miami City Commission sends Beckham stadium to Nov. ballot ]

Jozy’s back, but is it too late?

It’s been nearly three months since Jozy Altidore last appeared for Toronto FC, and not much has changed with regard to the Reds’ place in the standings: they at south of the playoff line then (after going all-in on the CONCACAF Champions League), and they remain there ahead of Saturday’s trip to Chicago. Greg Vanney’s defending champions currently sit 11 points back of sixth place with 15 games left to play.

As for Altidore, he was hugely important in TFC’s run to the CCL final, but it would be a massive oversimplification to say his absence has been the only — or main, even — cause for struggles this season. In fact, it’s been injuries up and down the entire squad (every center back on the roster, multiple midfielders and playmakers, as well as Altidore). Finally, after months of walking wounded, nearly everyone is back and available for selection. TFC’s charge up the stands begins, presumably, soon.

Rooney makes DCU better, but by how much?

As I opined following his D.C. United debut last weekend, Wayne Rooney was quite good during the opening 32 minutes of his MLS career. That was against the Vancouver Whitecaps, one of the slowest playing teams in the entire league, though. On Saturday, Rooney and Co., will come up against something not so dissimilar to European quality and competition in Atlanta United.

There’s the level on competition to consider as Rooney continues on in his MLS journey, but also this: against Vancouver, there was very little flash or attempt at end product from Rooney, which was fine considering he quickly and smartly facilitated play and opened the field up for others to make and score the goals. The questions are: for how long is he happy to be a simple cog in the machine, and are United getting their money’s worth if that’s Rooney’s regular contribution?

What about Seattle?

Just like Toronto, the Seattle Sounders currently find themselves 11 points back of sixth place (though they do have one more game still to play). Just like Toronto, injuries have completely ruined the Sounders’ 2018 season. Just like Toronto, they have been to back-to-back MLS Cups, and won one. Just like Toronto, they can’t really miss the playoffs, can they?

Now, though, Raul Ruidiaz has been added for some much-needed firepower up top (the Peruvian is a back-to-back Golden Boot winner in Liga MX), Gustav Svensson is back from the World Cup, and Nicolas Lodeiro has shown signs of coming out of his slumber in recent weeks. Just like Toronto, Brian Schmetzer’s men have no choice but to begin their playoff chase on Saturday, when Vancouver comes to town.

Full weekend schedule

Atlanta United vs. D.C. United — 3:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 4 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC — 7 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Union vs. LA Galaxy — 7 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution — 7 p.m. ET
Columbus Crew SC vs. Orlando City SC — 7:30 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas — 9 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids — 10 p.m. ET
Portland Timbers vs. Montreal Impact — 11 p.m. ET
Minnesota United vs. Los Angeles FC — 7 p.m. ET (Sunday)

Leicester sign Ward from Liverpool; Boufal out on loan

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) — Leicester signed Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward from Liverpool on a four-year contract on Friday.

Ward dropped in the pecking order at Anfield following the arrival of Brazil goalie Alisson.

Leicester’s fourth signing of the offseason will offer competition to Kasper Schmeichel and Eldin Jakupovic.

Ward will join the team on Monday for a training camp in Austria.

“I’ve come here to develop my allround game and hopefully help deliver some more success,” he said.


Southampton winger Sofiane Boufal was sent to Spanish club Celta Vigo on a season-long loan.

Boufal came to Southampton in 2016 from Lille, and made 59 appearances, scoring four times.

The Moroccan fell out of favor with manager Mark Hughes at the end of last season.

Neymar says he’s staying at PSG; rumors “invented by the press”

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Neymar insists he is going nowhere this summer, that he’ll spend (at least) one more season at Paris Saint-Germain, and he intends to bring another handful of trophies back to the French capital in doing so.

[ MORE: PSG in “advanced negotiations” for N’Golo Kante, but must sell first ]

Speaking during a press conference on Friday, his first media availability session since Brazil were eliminated in the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals, the 26-year-old superstar went so far as to say that reports linking him with a move to other European mega-clubs (most notably, Real Madrid) were “invented by the press” — quotes from ESPN:

“Yes, I will stay in Paris. I have a contract with PSG. The speculation? The majority of it is invented by the press.

“I have a contract and people know the objective, the reason why I went to PSG. I want to win with this club and I hope this season will be wonderful.”

While it seems a no-brainer that PSG would want Neymar to stay, there’s unquestionably a case to be made that selling him would give them the financial flexibility needed to address needs elsewhere in the squad. N'Golo Kante, for instance, is reportedly transfer target no. 1 at the Parc des Princes, but sales will have to be made before a fee of that size can be paid, due to financial regulations.

Report: PSG in “advanced negotiations” for Kante, but must sell first

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

N'Golo Kante might just be the best midfielder in the world, and he might just be leaving Chelsea for Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days or weeks, as French newspaper Le Parisien has reported that the defending Ligue 1 champions are in “advanced negotiations” over a mega-bucks contract with the World Cup winner.

[ MORE: Neymar says he’s staying at PSG; rumors “invented by the press” ]

The report goes so far as to say that a “provisional contract” has already been agreed. “Provisional,” in this instance, means there has likely been little — if any — contact between the two clubs thus far.

One major sticking point remains: following last summer’s outlandish spending spree, in which they shelled out nearly $500 million to sign Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, PSG are in serious danger of failing to comply with financial regulations set forth by UEFA and could/would be banned from European competition should they fail to achieve compliance.

The likes of Angel Di Maria, Goncalo Guedes, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jese Rodriguez and Alphonse Areola have had their names floated as possible departures to recoup the necessary funds before paying another fee of (presumably) over $100 million.

[ MORE: Conte to sue Chelsea over how firing was handled ]

After helping the Blues to the Premier League title two seasons ago (and doing the same with Leicester City three campaigns gone by), Kante was powerless in saving Chelsea from themselves in 2017-18. They finished fifth in the PL and failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League.

Given his age — 27 — it’s wholly understandable that Kante would prioritize playing in club soccer’s top competition (while also making even more money) every season going forward. Throw in the fact that uncertainty is the only certainty at Stamford Bridge these days, and trading west London for Paris — where Kante was born — starts to sounds pretty good, pretty quickly.

Powered by WordPress.com VIP