Opinion

5 USMNT Gold Cup Players Desperate To Make An Impact Before The World Cup

Bruce Arena has finalized his 23-man roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and it’s an interesting mix of veteran players that are desperate to impress and make one final World Cup squad while the next generation of talent aims to prove that their time has arrived.

While every player on the roster stands to either gain or lose a lot with regards to the ultimate goal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, here are five players that could use this tournament as a springboard to more important roles next summer.

The United States Men's National Team Ultimate World Cup Starting XI

The United States has appeared in 10 FIFA World Cups, including the last seven straight. Out of those 10 appearances, they've fallen at the first hurdle on five occasions. The most notable exceptions include the first-ever World Cup in 1930 when the side finished third in the 13-team tournament and their run to the 2002 quarterfinals in Japan and South Korea.

Christian Ramirez Scores Another Beauty, Gold Cup Omission Grows More Baffling

Approaching the halfway point of the 2017 Major League Soccer season, Minnesota United has already answered two questions that lingered around the expansion club throughout preseason: 1.) Is MNUFC the worst MLS side of all-time? No. Far from it. In fact, with five wins (which is what many predicted would be their grand total for the entire season), they’re only three points out of the playoff picture.

The Best (And Worst) Soccer Fans

With the Russia World Cup less than a year away, we here at The18 asked ourselves who are the best (and worst) fans in the world.

We’ve compiled a list below of superlatives to break down what makes each country’s fans unique, for better or worse.

Note: We limited results to nations that are or have been regular World Cup qualifiers. Scroll to the bottom for the best and worst fans.

10 Managers That Exceeded All Expectations During The 2016-17 Season

Now that the 2016-17 season has concluded, let’s take a look at 10 managers who exceeded expectations for their clubs.

With Schweinsteiger In The Midfield, The Chicago Fire Are, Ahem, On Fire

In 2016, the Chicago Fire were awful. They finished last in all of Major League Soccer with 31 points from 34 games. The foundations for that pathetic season had been laid in 2015, when they finished last in MLS with 30 points from 34 games.  

2017, however, has been a different story. The Fire have already matched their point total from last season, and surpassed their total from 2015, with 18 games still to play, and they're riding an eight-game unbeaten streak in league play.

Australia Look To Spring An Upset On The World's Traditional Powers

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Preview: Australia 

History and Background

Football hasn’t always been a major sport in Australia. Although the national team was formed in 1922, the country didn’t participate in the first seven World Cups. When they did decide to start participating, they failed to qualify in their first two tries — losing to North Korea in the playoffs for 1966 and Israel in ’70.

An Experimental German Squad Still Can't Be Underestimated

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Preview: Germany

History and Background

Like Gary Lineker once said, “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” It’s no surprise that Die Mannschaft are by far the most historically successful team at this tournament, having won four World Cups and three European Championships. 

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