England has five teams in the Champions League for the first time and amazingly all of them are still unbeaten through three matches in group play. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham all lead their groups with a combined 11 wins, four draws and no losses.
Tuesday was a nightmare for U.S. soccer, but soccer does not stop because the U.S. won’t be in the World Cup next summer in Russia. In fact, the U.S. is competing at a World Cup right now — the U-17 World Cup in India — and the team is doing quite well.
Tuesday sure was wild, huh? CONCACAF CONCACAF’d the sh*t out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers for two insane hours. There was a lot to take in. A lot. Wacky own goals, rampaging ball boys and hugging commentators. And USMNT World Cup dreams dashed. So like Hillary Clinton after her election loss, let’s revisit what the hell just happened.
For the first time since the 1998-99 season, no manager in Serie A has been fired after seven matches. All twenty teams have decided to stick with their coach, even the terrible ones. It’s a quirk of fate, remarkable only because of the trigger-happy tendencies of Serie A owners past. But there’s one Italian manager who should almost definitely be fired. Unfortunately, he’s the coach of the national team.
Heading into Tuesday’s final matchday in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, there are still a number of scenarios that could confront the United States when the dust eventually settles. Most importantly, the USMNT controls their own destiny. However, things could get a bit dicey in the event of a draw or catastrophic loss. Let’s check it out!
What happens if…
The United States beats Trinidad & Tobago
Is this the dumbest thing you’ve read today? IS IT?! Go ahead, say it. I don’t care.
Edin Dzeko is . . . pretty good, I guess? The Roma forward is a pretty good striker in a league filled with pretty good strikers. Dzeko shares Serie A with Gonzalo Higuain, Ciro Immobile, Mauro Icardi, Dries Mertens and Andrea Belotti. That would make it hard for anybody to stand out.
But let's look a little closer at the Bosnian international. Here's a fun stat:
Conditions conspired to give us a glimpse of a rarely used, outdated tactic on Saturday: an authentic and faithful use of man-marking during Girona’s hosting of Barcelona at the Estadi Montilivi. What this means is that Girona defender Pablo Maffeo was entirely sacrificed to negate the influence of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi — wherever Messi went, there was Maffeo. When Girona were in possession, Maffeo continued to mark Messi. In fact, Maffeo was substituted in the 78th minute after recording only 10 touches.
The National Football League returns to England on Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, a now biannual feature as the league is desperate to gain British NFL fans. Meanwhile, soccer leagues across Europe are considering bringing regular-season games to the U.S.