The 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup is coming! Not quickly, but more so in the way that time inevitably passes and eventually reaches a certain date, this date being over 600 days away. Barring an invitation to the 2019 Copa America, the Gold Cup will serve as the USMNT’s first competitive match after the Trinidad and Tobago disaster. What will the USMNT roster look like come then?
Before Pep Guardiola came down from the mountaintop proclaiming the new age of the 4-3-3 with attacking width providing by the wide defenders, nobody knew what a full back was. Sure, Roberto Carlos once struck a football so hard that we all admitted their existence, but that was all anyone knew about the position. What did they do? Why were they there? It was hard to know and even harder to explain.
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.
Meet a team with an average age of just 26 and enough talent to batter almost any team on the planet. Their common link? They were all chewed up and spat out by Chelsea FC.
Catalonia, the autonomous community located in the eastern extremity of Spain with Barcelona serving as the capital and largest city, has advocated for its independence since the Spanish Civil War. With some political and cultural autonomy, as well as prevalent use of the Catalan language, it's followed suite that the region has its own national football team.
However, Catalonia is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA, disqualifying them from participating in the World Cup or European Championship.
The UEFA Team of the Year shortlist has been released. Most of the usual suspects are there (Manuel Neuer is a rather glaring omission). Lionel Messi is there. Neymar is there. Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale are there.
And, um, so is Joe Allen.
Yes that Joe Allen.
Give me hope Joe Allen pic.twitter.com/8HumWPwaNg
There have been a litany of awesome players in the UEFA Champions League down the years, so much so that creating an Ultimate XI is a task that could, in theory, drive one to madness.
Having represented Spain 100 times and having appeared for Barcelona in almost 600 matches, center back Carles Puyol squared off against some of the world’s greatest players in a senior career that ran from 1999 to 2014.
The three-time UEFA Champions League winner and 2010 FIFA World Cup champion was himself on UEFA’s Team of the Year on six different occasions, so there’s probably no better judge of talent than Puyol himself.