Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

USMNT learns Gold Cup group stage opponents

Leave a comment

The United States men’s national team gets its a formal chance to take a measure of vengeance against the two teams which knocked it out of the last round of World Cup qualifying.

Trinidad and Tobago, of course, is the nation whose B-teamers beat the USMNT in Couva, allowing Panama to clinch a World Cup berth via a ghost goal.

[ MORE: UCL summations for each quarterfinalist ]

The Yanks will also meet Guyana in the first Group D match, which will be June 18 at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.

It’ll be T&T versus the U.S. in Cleveland four days later, before the Yanks wrap up group play with Panama in Kansas City on June 26.

That’s about the only good news, as the Yanks are in arguably the toughest group of the bunch (though they should surely advance to the knockout rounds as a top seed).

Group C is also tough, with El Salvador joining Jamaica, Honduras, and Curacao.

Group B sees Costa Rica drawn with Haiti, Nicaragua, and Bermuda.

Group A is a great draw for Mexico and Canada, who will have to get past Martinique and Cuba.

WATCH: Mexico’s Jimenez celebrates sensational goal with WWE mask

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Leave a comment

Mexican striker Raul Jimenez continued his outstanding debut Premier League season with a goal that may just ensure Wolves’ place in the FA Cup Final against Manchester City.

The celebration was pretty great as well, as Jimenez emphasized his 16th goal in all competitions with a lucha libre mask.

[ MORE: Everton 1-0 Arsenal ]

A Matt Doherty goal has Wolves up 1-0 on Sunday at Wembley Stadium when Jimenez found himself in a mass of humanity awaiting a cross.

That’s when Jimenez leapt and chested a cross into position for an airborne volley past Gomes.

It was magnificent, and the 27-year-old El Tri striker was ready with his mask.

Wolves officially completes record permanent signing of Jimenez

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wolverhampton Wanderers smashed the club transfer record to pieces by officially announcing the permanent capture of Benfica loanee Raul Jimenez, one of the breakout players of the Premier League season.

The club teased the signing on Wednesday with a tweet, and confirmed the deal Thursday morning. While the official release did not confirm a monetary figure on the deal – somewhat rare for record signings – reports suggest the figure is between $39 million and $42 million, blasting the old transfer record set last summer by signing Adama Traore for $23.6 million.

Jimenez has been a critical figure to Wolves’ surprisingly successful return to the Premier League. After joining in the summer on loan from Benfica following Wolves’ promotion via the Championship crown, Jimenez has been involved in 48% of the club’s Premier League goals this season – the highest in the league – scoring 12 and assisting seven more. He has appeared in every Premier League match for Wolves this season and has started all but two, earning a 2,594 minutes out of a possible 2,970 so far.

“The impact Raul has made during his short time at the club has been fantastic and we’re delighted that he’ll be part of the club’s long-term future,” said Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell in the official club release. “From the second he walked through the door, he settled straight into the group, and that reflects in his performance, with Raul providing assists and overall selfless performances, as well as obviously goals.”

After completing the deal, Jimenez has signed a four-year contract at Wolves which will keep him at Monlieux through the summer of 2023.

“It’s a great honour for me to now be a permanent member of the team. I’m very happy for this permanent deal as I feel that being at Wolves suits me,” Jimenez said in the official release. “I’ve enjoyed my time here, I enjoy playing in the pitch and, along with all my team-mates, we try our best in all the matches to win. Since I’ve arrived here it’s all been so good. We’ve had some good moments, some bad moments; but the best ones have been so good and I’m very happy for that.”

Jimenez has quickly emerged as a key member of the spine of Wolves this season. He has molded a devastating partnership with Diogo Jota up front, and along with 22-year-old midfielder Ruben Neves, the three have become the face of a dangerous Premier League club. While fellow promoted side Fulham spent big this summer to no avail, officially relegated this past weekend, Wolves has risen to seventh in the Premier League table with shrewd targeted spending. They have earned wins in league play over Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham this season, plus draws against Manchester City and Arsenal.

While Jimenez was not a key contributor during Mexico’s stay in the 2018 World Cup, he has earned a more significant role with his performance in the Premier League this season. He has started in four of the eight friendlies since the end of the World Cup, scoring three goals, including one this past international break in a 3-1 win over Chile.

Wolves confirmed that the transfer fee paid to Benfica was pre-set at the beginning of the season, an option to purchase in his loan deal triggered by the Premier League club. Considering Jimenez was not a regular for Benfica last season – appearing 33 times in league play but 28 of those off the bench – the financial haul for the Portuguese club is a significant one.

Report: Wolves set to announce $40m Jimenez purchase

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Leave a comment

You could argue no player has been more valuable to his Premier League club than Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Benfica loanee Raul Jimenez, and Wolves supporters would probably agree with that notion.

The Express and Star says Wolves will announce a $40 million purchase of the Mexican star on Wednesday.

[ MORE: LUNA Bar pledges to make up roster pay gap for USWNT ]

Jimenez has 15 goals in all competitions for Wolves, including 12 goals and adding eight assists in league play.

He had an assist in Tuesday’s defeat of Manchester United, and has 15 goals in 69 caps for the Mexican national team.

He turns 28 next month, helping to set the market for veteran center forwards. And with Wolves having two chances to qualify for the Europa League, either by winning the FA Cup or finishing 7th in the Premier League,

CONCACAF Nations League draw: USMNT in favorable group

Getty Images
2 Comments

The draw for the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League draw has been made, with the U.S. men’s national team getting a pretty good draw all things considered.

A new continental tournament for the 2019-20 campaign, teams from the CONCACAF region have been split into Leagues A, B and C and can be relegated or promoted depending on where they finish in their group.

In League A, Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT were drawn in Group A alongside Canada and Cuba as the draw was made in Las Vegas. Mexico were drawn with Panama and Bermuda in Group B, while Honduras, Trinidad & Tobago and Martinique are in Group C and Costa Rica are joined by Haiti and Curacao in Group D.

These group games will take place during the upcoming international dates in the fall. After the group stage is over, the four group winners will advance to the finals where a semifinal and final will be played in March 2020. The winners will be crowned 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League champions.

On top of that, the League A and B teams who finish last in their groups will get relegated to the lower league, while group winners from Leagues B and C will be promoted for the next season.

Promotion and relegation is coming to North American soccer after all…

Here is the full draw for the groups in League A, B and C.