Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada vs USMNT due to heart inflammation

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Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies could miss Canada’s three upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers, including their top-of-the-table clash with the USMNT on Jan. 30, after signs of mild myocarditis were discovered during a routine medical check.

[ TRANSFER CHAT: USMNT players potentially (or already) on the move in January ]

Davies, alongside eight other Bayern Munich players, tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from the Bundesliga’s winter break at the start of the new year. An ultrasound taken as part of the club’s post-COVID-19, return-to-action protocols uncovered Alphonso Davies’ heart inflammation, which Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann said would keep the 21-year-old out of training for “weeks,” at minimum.

Bayern Munich are comfortably sat atop the Bundesliga table with six points separating themselves and 2nd-place Borussia Dortmund. Canada (16 points), on the other hand, have a much smaller advantage, and therefore a much greater need for Davies’ services. With the USMNT (15), Mexico (14) and Panama (14) all within one game’s striking distance, Canada could fall from 1st to 4th (and into the inter-confederation playoff place) with a defeat to Honduras in their next game (Jan. 27).

[ MORE: USMNT strikers Ricardo Pepi, Daryl Dike set for European transfers ]

Nagelsmann said the following about Davies’ diagnosis and potential timeline for returning to training:

“Yesterday, during our follow-up examination that we do with every player that has had COVID-19, we detected signs of mild myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.

“He has stopped training for now, so he won’t be available to us for the next weeks.

“This myocarditis isn’t too dramatic based on the ultrasound, but more simply signs of an inflammation. Nevertheless, it needs to heal and that will no doubt take some time.”

Alphonso Davies has been sensational once again this season, racking up five assists in 21 appearances between the Bundesliga and Champions League, while also steadily improving the defensive side of his game.

For Canada, he has been the star of the show. The Canucks were involved in two previous rounds of World Cup qualifying to reach the current (final) round, with Davies scoring four goals and assisting eight more. Davies’ creativity and service from the left wing has helped center forward Cyle Larin score his CONCACAF-leading 11 goals in qualifying.

Top 25 players in the USMNT player pool right now

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In the almost three months since we last ranked the top 25 players in the USMNT player pool, most of what we’ve seen or not seen from players has come via club rather than country.

While some have either adjusted or are adjusting to new homes in world football, others are just now changing employers.

Ricardo Pepi, James Sands, and Daryl Dike have all sealed moves to Europe in the last few days, and it seems like other moves are on the horizon this January transfer window.

[ MORE: Liverpool women sign American striker ]

Let’s stay with one of the names on that list: James Sands.

Love has been understandably heaped on the developmental work being done at FC Dallas, where Pepi joins Chris Richards, Reggie Cannon, and Bryan Reynolds as players to get their start with the Texas-based MLS outfit before exploding into USMNT.

But how about the work done at NYCFC, where Sands (21) was on the same youth team as two other players in our top 25: Giovanni Reyna and Joe Scally?

This is absurd stuff, and honestly a far bigger hat to hang on the wall that most of the things we rightfully flaunt about the rapid rise of Major League Soccer. We now have a realistic debate about which MLS academy — yes, multiple — is the more fertile ground for Champions League talent. Bonkers.

Consider that should Reyna improve in health, he may play for Dortmund against Sands (Europa League) and Scally (Bundesliga) in a 4-day span next month.

The window won’t end before the USMNT assembles for another round of World Cup qualifying, so let’s take a look at our status report for the best players in the pool right now.

Before we go any further with this list, here’s a reminder of how we sort the talent with some ground rules:

  • The ranking is meant to illustrate who would be most likely to positively affect a USMNT match, regardless of manager or teammates, right now.
  • Health doesn’t matter to our rankings if a current injury isn’t one that could drastically alter the player’s skill set moving forward.
  • Age/potential/experience doesn’t matter either, at least not much; It’s how likely you are to contribute to the team if put on the field right now. Obviously Konrad de la Fuente is a better long-term prospect than Gyasi Zardes, but the Columbus Crew forward is currently better prepared for the stage than the Marseille youngster.
  • Finally, if you’re breaking a tie between players… ask which you’d be more upset to hear was unavailable for a USMNT camp.

Top 25 USMNT players – Happy New Year 2022 edition (last ranking in parentheses)

  1. Christian Pulisic, Chelsea (2)
  2. Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig (1)
  3. Weston McKennie. Juventus (3)
  4. Timothy Weah, Lille (10)
  5. Walker Zimmerman, Nashville SC (8) — With John Brooks seemingly down Gregg Berhalter’s pecking order and Chris Richards still learning, Zimmerman has become incredibly important to the 2022 World Cup hopes
  6. Sergino Dest, Barcelona* (5) Injured
  7. Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund*  Injured
  8. Zack Steffen, Manchester City (14)
  9. Yunus Musah, Valencia (9) — Still just 19, Musah is harvesting minutes as he grows in La Liga
  10. Joe Scally, Borussia Monchengladbach (NR)
  11. Jordan Pefok, Young Boys (18)
  12. Chris Richards, Hoffenheim (22)
  13. Brenden Aaronson, Red Bull Salzburg (6) — Club form has dipped a little but there’s reason to believe the winter break came at a perfect time for the ex-Philadelphia star
  14. Antonee Robinson, Fulham (7)
  15. Miles Robinson, Atlanta United (12)
  16. Ricardo Pepi, Augsburg (13)
  17. John Brooks, Wolfsburg (11) — Only this low because the coach clearly isn’t a fan.
  18. Gianluca Busio, Venezia (25)
  19. Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders (16) — Exciting to see him back and scoring goals.
  20. Josh Sargent, Norwich City (17)
  21. Matt Turner, New England Revolution (15)
  22. Kellyn Acosta, Colorado Rapids (24)
  23. DeAndre Yedlin, Galatasaray (NR)
  24. James Sands, Rangers (NR)
  25. Julian Green, Greuther Furth (20) — No one’s looking good at Furth right now, and unfortunately we’re not sure he’s being watched.

Last five out

Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic); Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Daryl Dike (Orlando City), Matthew Hoppe (Mallorca), Reggie Cannon (Boavista),

Dropped out from last ranking

Gyasi Zardes, Columbus Crew; Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders; Matt Miazga, Alaves

Ranking the finalists: Who should win USMNT player of year award?

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The six finalists for the USMNT player of the year award for 2021 have been announced, and we thought it would be fun to pick a winner.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Based on their displays for club and country in 2021, which American star deserves to be crowned the top USMNT player over the calendar year?

This really is a very close call, and there is no right answer here. Well, until we find out who wins the award when it is announced later in December.

For the first time ever a fan vote will count for 15 percent of the overall tally, with U.S. Soccer saying the rest of the vote will come from “national team players, coaches, media and other related constituencies.”

You can vote here via U.S. Soccer from Dec. 6 at 11am ET until Dec. 12 at 11:59pm ET, while below is our ranking and analysis on the USMNT players in the running.


Ranking the contenders for USMNT player of the year – 2021

6. Kellyn Acosta 

A solid, consistent performer who played a huge role in the Gold Cup success. He’s an experienced player (still just 26 years old) in an inexperienced team and Berhalter enjoys how he can help control a game with his clever positioning in central midfield. Along with Sebastian Lletget, their game management is very helpful off the bench.

5. Matt Turner

The 2021 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year beat Zack Steffen to the number one jersey in the fall, then lost it for the key November qualifiers. Turner was superb for the Supporters’ Shield winning New England Revolution and made a huge step forward this year. The next step is getting better with the ball at his feet and pushing Steffen all the way for a starting spot in 2022.

4. Brenden Aaronson

What a year for Aaronson, who was the top goalscorer for the USMNT and he also moved to RB Salzburg and became a starter and made his mark in the UEFA Champions League. The Philadelphia Union product, 21, has a big future ahead of him and he became the USMNT’s chief creator when Pulisic missed several games and carried them early in qualifying. That said, Aaronson did fade a little in recent World Cup qualifiers and the winter break in Austria will do him good.

3. Weston McKennie

The Juventus midfielder, 23, has become the main man in central midfield for the USMNT and his goal against Mexico in the 2-0 World Cup qualifying win in Cincinnati was huge. At Juve he’s become a regular too, which is no mean feat after Max Allegri arrived as the new boss, and the USMNT really miss his presence, quality and character when he isn’t in midfield. His suspension from the team due to an off-field incident in Nashville is the only reason he’s down in third place.

2. Miles Robinson

What an incredible year for the Atlanta United center back. Robinson, 24, grabbed his chance with both hands in the Gold Cup, as he played in every single minute and scored the winning goal in extra time in the final against Mexico to cap off a fine tournament. Add to that his assured displays in World Cup qualifying and Robinson is now the USMNT’s first-choice center back. Who saw that coming? A move to Europe next?

1. Christian Pulisic

It has to be him. It just has to. Yes, Pulisic, 23, has missed significant minutes for the USMNT through injury. But he’s been there when it mattered most. From his epic penalty kick winner to win the CONCACAF Nations League final against Mexico to his clutch finish to seal the Dos A Cero win in World Cup qualifying, Pulisic is by far the USA’s most gifted player and he pops up when it matters most. The reason he wins it, for us, is this: he played a key role in Chelsea winning the UEFA Champions League (remember that goal away at Real Madrid in the semifinal in his man of the match display and the way he ran Porto ragged in the quarterfinal?) as he became the first USMNT player to play in the final and win it. It really is that simple.

Jamaica vs USMNT: Analysis, videos, reaction

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Jamaica vs USMNT: Halfway through the 2022 World Cup qualifying cycle in CONCACAF, the USMNT is sitting pretty with next winter’s tournament coming into clearer and clearer focus with every point won.

[ MORE: Makeshift USMNT lucky to grab point ]

Tuesday’s trip to Kingston, Jamaica (Watch live, 5 pm ET on NBC’s Telemundo Deportes and Universo) — the final competitive fixture on the calendar for 2021 — offered an unfamiliar test for the USMNT: after thoroughly dominating rivals Mexico on Friday, could they go a step further and control (and win) a game in similar fashion away from home?

They didn’t, but a point was a solid return as the USMNT youngsters dug deep and luck was on their side in the second half.

Gregg Berhalter’s side have 15 points from eight games, as the official countdown and simultaneous tracking of results which could send the USMNT to the 2022 World Cup with plenty of time to spare has begun.

[ MORE: USMNT player ratings: 2022 World Cup in sight after beating Mexico ]

Below is analysis, reaction, videos and more as the USMNT push on with their quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.


How to watch, stream Jamaica vs USMNT

TV/stream: NBC’s Telemundo Deportes and Universo, Paramount+
Time: 5 pm ET


Analysis, reaction, videos on Jamaica vs USMNT – By Joe Prince-Wright

FULL TIME: Jamaica 1-1 USMNT – The U.S. hold on for a point in Jamaica, but boy was that tough. The second half was rough for the USMNT, as Jamaica missed a glorious chance and had what looked like a perfectly good goal disallowed. More reaction and analysis from the action in Kingston to come. Stay tuned!

DISALLOWED GOAL! Another huge let-off for USMNT. Damion Lowe climbs above Walker Zimmerman to head home a corner, but a foul is given. Lowe did have a hold of Zimmerman. Tight and tense late on in Kingston.

10 minutes to go. Jamaica with a couple of corners. Pushing hard for a late goal.

Michail Antonio almost gets free on the break, but his effort past Zack Steffen lacks the strength and direction after he surged forward onto a long ball.

20 minutes to go. Tight and tense. Pulisic has won a foul in a dangerous area but his free kick comes to nothing. Jamaica make plenty of subs and look a threat on the break, with Ravel Morrison causing problems.

First substitutes of the game for USMNT, as Christian Pulisic and Kellyn Acosta come on for Weah and Musah.

HUGE MISSOh no, Bobby Decordova Reid. How!? Jamaica should be 2-1 up. The Fulham striker somehow misses from 5 yards out with the goal gaping as he leans back and gets his finish all wrong. Huge chance wasted by the hosts. 

CLOSE! After a strong start to the half by Jamaica, Gianluca Busio whips a shot inches over. So close to the USMNT retaking the lead.

Second half is underway in Kingston! Big 45 minutes coming up for both teams here…

HALF TIME: Jamaica 1-1 USMNT in Kingston. Weah’s lovely finish put the USA up early but Michail Antonio’s sensational long-range goal equalized for the hosts. Gregg Berhalter’s side have played well and should have plenty of chances on the break in the second half.

Some hefty challenges continue to come in from Jamaica. Pepi, Aaronson and Busio all getting special ‘treatment’ from the hosts. This is getting very edgy now.

A dodgy pass out of the back from Zack Steffen puts the USMNT under pressure at one end, while Tim Weah gets clear and crosses at the other but Jamaica clear.

1-1 in Kingston, and the horns are blowing with more hope now from the home fans. That was a simply amazing strike from Antonio, but did the USMNT defense back off too much? Could Tyler Adams have got closer.

After the USMNT dominated play, Jamaica equalized with a stunner!

GOALLLL! Tim Weah puts the USMNT 1-0 up with a fine individual strike. Great one-two with Pepi and he runs into the box and dinks it off the far post and in. Superb from Weah, as he continues to go from strength to strength after finally finding his fitness. 

KICK OFF: Plenty of hefty challenges coming in early on from Jamaica to try and unsettle this young USMNT side.

The national anthems are complete. It is go time!

Atmosphere is building among the small crowd allowed into the stadium in Kingston, and remember, there are huge qualifying games across the CONCACAF region tonight. You can watch them all across Telemundo Deportes.

Canada host Mexico in freezing conditions, and amid plenty of snow, in Edmonton. Let’s see how El Tri cope with that…

Welcome to our live analysis of Jamaica vs USMNT, as a key World Cup qualifying clash takes place in “The Office” in Kingston!

Remember: the game is live on TV on NBC Universo, while you can click on this link to stream it live on Telemundo Deportes

Here’s a look at the USMNT lineup, as the two changes from the win against Mexico are enforced. With Miles Robinson and Weston McKennie missing due to suspension for a red card and yellow card accumulation respectively, Gregg Berhalter has put his faith in youth.

Chris Richards, on loan at Hoffenheim from Bayern Munich, comes in to start at center back in place of Robinson, while Venezia’s Gianluca Busio starts in place of McKennie. The latter is a big surprise but showcases Busio’s rapid rise after a superb Gold Cup this summer. Christian Pulisic is once again on the bench and ready to be unleashed.

As for Jamaica, well, their attack is stacked with Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey and Bobby Decordova-Reid all starting. Philadelphia Union star Andre Blake is Jamaica’s goalkeeper and captain.


Jamaica vs USMNT odds (full odds by PointsBet)

Jamaica (+525) | USMNT (-167) | Draw (+255)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Jamaica vs USMNT roster news

Berhalter announced on Saturday that midfielder Weston McKennie and defender Miles Robinson have departed USMNT camp to return to Juventus and Atlanta United, respectively, after each player was suspended for the trip to Jamaica. Center back/defensive midfielder James Sands has been subsequently added to the roster.

Versatile New York City FC youngster James Sands has been called up as the lone replacement for McKennie and Robinson.

Berhalter confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Zack Steffen will start in goal once again, while Christian Pulisic may start but isn’t fit to play a full 90.

Premier League stars Michail Antonio (West Ham United) and Leon Bailey (Aston Villa) were each called into the squad for the current window, though Antonio played just 15 minutes (and scored a goal) against El Salvador on Friday.

[ MORE: USMNT vs Mexico final score? Dos a Cero, via super-sub Pulisic ]


Jamaica vs USMNT prediction

To some degree, a let-down is inevitable for the USMNT. Even if it’s just coming out completely flat and wide-eyed for the first 15 or 20 minutes, the emotional and physical toll of playing (and beating) Mexico will linger. This is particularly common for young teams still coming into their own. A true test, and one they’ll pass to impress. Jamaica 0-1 USMNT.


Jamaica vs USMNT preview

The biggest takeaway from USMNT vs Mexico? The USMNT is good. That’s the end of the sentence — no “if they do this” or “if this lucky thing goes right” hypotheticals about it, because they have displayed such growth and development in a matter of six months that expectations must be reconsidered and elevated.

That will be tough for some USMNT fans to accept, for the simple fact that Berhalter had a clearly stated plan from the day he was hired, and much of it has come to fruition — to the delight of many, and frustratingly so for others. But this fact is undeniable: almost exactly one year from the 2022 World Cup, the USMNT is in the midst of perhaps its best-ever run of competitive performances, and it appears entirely sustainable with rooms for lots more growth — exactly what you want to see when your first-choice lineup has an average age of 22.5.

As for Jamaica, the Reggae Boyz sit 6th in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table as they prepare for the second (and hopefully better) half of the campaign. Early results were very poor (just one point from their first four games), but things are beginning to turn around in recent weeks with a home draw against Canada and four points from trips to Honduras and El Salvador.

USMNT vs Jamaica: 3 things we learned in World Cup qualifying

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USA vs Jamaica: 18-year-old Ricardo Pepi bagged a second-half brace to lead the USMNT to a 2-0 victory in 2022 World Cup qualifying at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.

[ MORE: USMNT World Cup qualifying schedule ]

Pepi made his USMNT debut last month and scored the game-winning goal against Honduras, just when Gregg Berhalter’s side was under pressure after drawing its first two games of World Cup qualifying.


USMNT vs Jamaica final score, stats, results

Final score: USA 2, Jamaica 0

Goal scorers: USA (Pepi 49′, 62′), Jamaica (None)

Shots: USA 17, Jamaica 5

Shots on target: USA 7, Jamaica 1

Possession: USA 61%, Jamaica 39%


3 things we learned, USMNT vs Jamaica

1. Adams, Aaronson set the table; guests a little late to arrive: For two-thirds of the field, the USMNT did whatever they wanted. Slow, short passing to build out of the back? No problem. Go a little quicker with vertical balls across more than one line? All good. Carry or one-two the ball through the middle third with little or no pressure? Right this way. But, ask them to do any of the above once inside the final third? A blank stare. Sure, Jamaica were sitting in deep and clogging any spaces in which the USMNT might have looked to combine, but the Yanks had absolutely no idea how to break them down for 45 minutes. In fairness, the USMNT should have been a man up for all 90 minutes and two men up for nearly 60, so they did their part to create dangerous situations which were simply not rewarded (wrongly so).

2. Patience pays off: If you’re at all familiar with Berhalter’s time as Columbus Crew head coach, you’ll understand just how pleasing the manner in which the USMNT scored its opening goal was for him (see below). Going 1-0 up with just 10 games standing between yourself and the World Cup, but have you ever watched your full back overlap all the way to the end line and clip a deftly crossed ball into the penalty area for a headed finish? It’s why the fit with Berhalter in charge — clunky as it may have been at his worst points — was so enticing: virtually every player in the current wave of European talent fits the free-flowing, wide, counter-attacking style that lifted Berhalter into the job in the first place. And the second goal? Same story.

3. Suddenly, sun shines down: With eight points from their first four games (half played at home, half away), the USMNT is suddenly miles clear of the bottom half of the CONCACAF 2022 World Cup qualifying standings. 20 points should see any and all sides through to next summer’s winter’s tournament in Qatar. At the risk of looking too far ahead and getting too excited, things are looking good.

Man of the match: Ricardo Pepi – The USMNT has — gasp — found its no. 9.


USMNT vs Jamaica recap, highlights

Arriola dragged down after 18 seconds; no red card given

If you believe Kemar Lawrence committed a foul — the referee blew his whistle, and that’s all that matters — the only logical result would be that he’s shown a red card and sent off. It doesn’t matter that it happened in the 1st minute, and it’s not the referee’s job to not “change the game” by making the call. Doing so is his job.

[ VIDEO: 5 key questions for USMNT in World Cup qualifiers ] 

Aaronson wiped out from behind; no red card given

We shudder to think what level of violence would be required for referee Reon Radix to give a red card in this game.

Sergiño Dest crosses, Ricardo Pepi heads home; USMNT leads 1-0 (goal video)

The ideal Gregg Berhalter goal (see above).

Brenden Aaronson crosses, Ricardo Pepi heads home for 2-0 (goal video)

The other ideal Gregg Berhalter goal (also, see above).