CONCACAF Nations League

Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

CONCACAF postpones Nations League finals, Gold Cup qualification

Leave a comment

CONCACAF announced on Friday that the 2019-20 Nations League finals and the opening rounds of 2021 Gold Cup qualification have been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: UEFA threatens Belgian league with European expulsion ]

The Nations League finals — featuring the U.S. men’s national team, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras — were previously scheduled to take place in Houston and Dallas in early June. CONCACAF says the semifinals and final will be rescheduled for a later date.

The seconds round of Gold Cup qualifying was previously scheduled to be made up in June — following their postponement in March, with four two-leg ties featuring largely Caribbean and Central American nations. Those, too, will be rescheduled for a later date.

Given the ongoing public health situation, and following consultation with FIFA regarding the international football calendar, we have made the decision to suspend the CONCACAF Nations League finals, which was scheduled for June 4-7, 2020 in the Houston and Dallas areas.

The event, which includes the Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and USA men’s national teams, will be rescheduled to take place at a later date in venues to be determined. This will be confirmed following further discussions with FIFA regarding the remaining international windows in the football calendar, and will obviously be subject to public health authorities deeming it safe for professional sports events to resume.

USMNT cruises past Cuba to reach Nations League semis (video)

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The U.S. men’s national team ticked all the boxes — most notably, the one reading “win and advance” — in its 4-0 victory over Cuba to reach the semifinals of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League as the winners of Group A.

[ MORE: Miami and Nashville stock rosters in expansion draft + trades galore ]

Jordan Morris continued his scintillating late-season surge, carrying over his red-hot form for MLS Cup winners Seattle Sounders, and scored his second and third goals of the current international break to put the game out of reach before halftime. Josh Sargent also scored twice, once in each half.

The goals started extremely early and showed little sign of letting up from there. Josh Sargent put the Yanks ahead in the 36th… second. A mass scramble ensued after Paul Arriola crossed the ball into the six-yard box and Sargent got the final touch to tally his fourth senior goal.

Morris got the USMNT’s second in the 26th minute, when he tucked home a simple one-on-one chance set up by Jackson Yueill’s diagonal ball into the box, with a bit of help from Weston McKennie’s head.

Morris got his second of the game 13 minutes later, once again the result of a penalty-area scramble and a bit of pinball in the box. Aaron Long took two chances to get the ball across the face of goal, and once he finally did it looped over the goalkeeper’s head and found Morris crashing the back post. The ball appeared goal-bound without a touch from Morris, but better safe than sorry.

Sargent finished the scoring and bagged his second of the game, and the fifth of his international career, off a clever backheel by Tyler Boyd in the 66th minute. McKennie crossed the ball from right to left, overhitting it just a bit, but Boyd was able to touch it before crossing the endline and find Sargent in all kinds of space atop the six-yard box. He took the chance with his left foot and left very little to doubt.

The result sent the USMNT miles ahead of Canada in the final group standings. Despite finish tied on nine points, the Americans finished with a +12 goal differential compared to their northern neighbors’ +6.

LIVE — USMNT v. Cuba in must-win Nations League finale

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Leave a comment

Win and advance to the semifinals. It’s as simple as that for the U.S. men’s national team on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET), when they face Cuba in George Town, Cayman Islands, to wrap up the group stage of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League.

[ FOLLOW: USMNT on Twitter ]

Head coach Gregg Berhalter has made four changes to the team that beat Canada 4-1 on Friday. Most notably, Josh Sargent starts up top in place of Gyasi Zardes; DeAndre Yedlin will play right back after Sergiño Dest started there on Friday; Cristian Roldan replaces Sebastian Lletget in midfield; and Daniel Lovitz will play left back, where Tim Ream, who slides over to John Brooks’ center back spot, started against Canada.

Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras have already qualified for the semifinals. The USMNT or Canada are the last two teams with a chance to join them.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the game, and check back on PST for a recap, analysis and reaction after the final whistle.

Preview: USMNT’s must-win Nations League finale v. Cuba

Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The scenario is simple for the U.S. men’s national team ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Cuba (7:30 p.m.ET): Gregg Berhalter’s side will finish top of Group A with a victory, and only a victory. Period. It’s as simple as that.

[ MORE: Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video) ]

Friday’s victory over Canada righted the wrongs of last month’s defeat north of the border and laid the foundation for the Americans to reach the semifinals in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League, provided they take care of business in George Town, Cayman Islands, in what is set to be the final game of Berhalter’s first calendar year in charge. Despite trailing Canada (+6 goal differential)  by three points heading into Friday, the Yanks (+8) already have the tiebreaker in their favor.

Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes (twice) and Aaron Long scored to give the USMNT its 4-1 triumph over their northern neighbors. More importantly, it was a largely dominant display after going 1-0 up inside two minutes and carrying a 3-0 led into halftime.

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

The USMNT will once again be without Christian Pulisic (hip injury), leaving the attacking options on the roster quite thin. Morris, who got a goal and an assist against Canada, will likely start on the left again, with Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola playing centrally and on the right respectively. Zardes is the presumed starter up top, unless Berhalter opts for the youthful inexperience of Josh Sargent in a must-win game.

Berhalter appears to have settled on a pretty consistent backline, with Sergiño Dest and Aaron Long manning the right side and John Brooks and, at least on Friday, Tim Ream on the left. Weston McKennie’s place deep in midfield has been cemented for quite some time, but he’s partnered close to a half-dozen players alongside him this year alone. The 21-year-old Schalke midfielder was stellar against Canada, frequently starting counter-attacks and carrying the ball into the final third.

Projected USMNT lineup

I___________I
Guzan

Dest —— Long —— Brooks —— Ream

McKennie —— Roldan

Arriola —— Lletget —— Morris

Zardes

Player ratings from USMNT 4-1 Canada

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
2 Comments

The United States men’s national team picked up a very meaningful win for the Gregg Berhalter era, collecting a 4-1 win over Canada in Florida.

[ MORE: Match recap | Three things ]

Here’s how the men did in Orlando.

Starting XI

Brad Guzan — 6 — Moments of trouble, including a poor early pass that nearly gave Canada a chance at a 1-0 lead within 2 minutes.

Tim Ream — 7 — Didn’t have his best moment at the back post on Canada’s goal, but delivered the goods in a left back role.

John Brooks — 7 — One tricky tackle atop the 18 that went uncalled, but the Wolfsburg man showed why he’s the most complete package at center back. A terrific ball handler with vision and a monstrous physical presence.

Sergino Dest — 8 — We should all write this 19-year-old thank you cards. What a dribbler.

Jackson Yueill — 7 — He’s gonna need to get experience in order to become an every-match starter, but there was enough hardness to think he could be an answer to the “Who backs up Tyler Adams?” question.

Weston McKennie — 6 — One great pass on a counter, but otherwise a perfectly average performance for one of the U.S.’ most promising players.

Sebastian Lletget (Off 69′) — 7 — Good in tight spaces and the creative part of a midfield triumverate.

Jordan Morris (Off 86′)  — 9 — This kid. Aside from one horrific late cross, the Seattle Sounders man had another incredible game in the U.S. shirt. Goal, assist, sub off, win.

Paul Arriola — 7 — Just fine. Industrious as usual, but the focus was elsewhere.

Gyasi Zardes — 8 — A surprise starter, the big man delivered in a big way.

Substitutes

Alfredo Morales (On 69′) — 7 — If you don’t start him, he’s a great player to bring off the bench with a led.

DeAndre Yedlin (On 86′) — N/A —

Tyler Boyd (On 90’+1)– N/A —