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.
We love a lot about actual wolves, but let’s take a look at the capital-W variety of Premier League title hunters.
Wolves no stranger to glory: Wolves have history. The club staged a memorable run to the inaugural UEFA Cup final in 1972 (now the Europa League). After beating Juventus in the semis, Wolves fell in a thrilling two-legged final with Spurs. Wolves returned to the tournament thrice more but only advance past the first round once. The club hunted well in the 1950s, claiming the only three top-flight crowns of its 143-year existence. The three runners-up? Maybe none will surprise given the 60-year gap, but joining Manchester United were West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End.
Wolves fell as far as the fourth-tier in the 1980s before rising back to the Premier League for its launch in the 90s, then dipping into League One for a season in 2013/14. Now Nuno Espirito Santo has the club contending in the modern equivalent of two competitions it once won: the Premier League and Europa League.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Portuguese powers: Wolves nearly breached 100 points in their Championship-winning season and Espirito Santo’s side almost immediately adapted to the top flight with stylish football and a seventh-place finish. The side has navigated their first super congested fixture list by staying alive deep into an active Europa League run; Espirito Santo has coaxed next level performances out of club without as much depth as expected out of a European contender, and it’s reasonable to speculate they’d be in the top four with one more year’s investment (and it’s not impossible they rebound after a few months off to recharge the batteries). There are no new contract talks yet, but there’s little reason to believe he’d leave for a substandard job. Wolves have invested in becoming the next big PL club, and Espirito Santo carries plenty of love from the supporters and hierarchy.
The best player in CONCACAF: There is no North or Central American player anywhere near the form of Raul Jimenez right now. Christian Pulisic will want to make a claim to this soon, but El Tri’s Wolves striker is on another level. He’s already the club’s all-time leading scorer in PL matches. Not only has the 28-year-old Jimenez carved up Premier League and Europa League back lines, he’s doing it while chewing up minutes at a rate which would have many star strikers raising a white flag. Only Conor Coady, Joao Moutinho, and Rui Patricio have played more minutes for Wolves than Jimenez’s 3,564 in all competitions. All he’s done is score 22 goals with 10 assists. He’s roasting CONCACAF, too. Jimenez has 10 goals and six assists since the start of 2018, including five and four in Mexico’s six-match run to the Gold Cup crown. There is zero debate of his class amongst Mexican players.
U.S. men’s national team prospect Richie Ledezma saw his stay with PSV Eindhoven extended by an additional two years when the Eredivisie club exercised an option in the 19-year-old midfielder’s contract on Monday.
Ledezma, who came through the Real Salt Lake academy before signing with PSV in December of 2018, has been a standout performer for the club’s second team, PSV Jong, this season and some believe he is closing in on graduating to the first team in the months ahead.
While he is eligible for both the United States and Mexico, Ledezma was set to join the U.S. Under-23s for Olympic qualifying later this month before the competition was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Representing the U.S. at an official competition, such as the Olympics, would remove Ledezma’s option for a one-time allegiance switch at a later date.
Liga MX announced on Saturday that the remaining games this weekend in Liga MX, Liga MX Femenil (Mexico’s top-flight women’s league) and in Ascenso MX (Mexico’s second-divison men’s league) are to be played behind closed doors amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In the announcement, which was released hours before four Liga MX matchups kicked off and during Liga MX’s Femenil’s clasico between Cruz Azul and Pumas, it also stated that academy tournaments will also be following the protocol.
The announcement comes after four games were played in front of fans throughout the aforementioned leagues on Friday. Morelia’s 4-0 thumping of Queretaro and Tijuana’s 3-2 win over Pachuca were the two Liga MX bouts that were played with fans on Friday.
Prior to the announcement sent out by Liga MX’s communications department, Mexico was one of a few countries around the world to not implement a behind-closed-doors policy or suspend it’s professional soccer leagues all together due to the pandemic.
The LIGA MX / ASCENSO MX reports that, as a prevention and prudence measure, the Ministry of Health of the Federal Government and the league agreed that the matches of Day 10 of the LIGA BBVA MX and LIGA BBVA MX Women, Day 8 of ASCENSO BBVA MX, as well as academy tournaments, will be played behind closed doors.
We will continue in constant communication with the Ministry of Health to attend to their recommendations and, of course, health and prevention measures will continue to be carried out in the stadiums for players, club staff and the media.