Alright. We’ve had our palate cleansers. The U-17s had some nice showings in India and the USWNT provided us with some smackdowns of South Korea followed by a couple close-ish games against Canada. We are, I think, ready to return to the USMNT. Cautiously, like returning to the site of a bombing in full radiation gear, to see what, if anything, survived.
And boy howdy are we ready for some discontentment and dissension amongst the ranks? Because here it comes!
Do you not like the sound of Captain Alejandro Bedoya playing in central midfield as a primary creator against Portugal a month after the U.S. officially missed out on the World Cup for the first time in two decades? Perfect! You’re officially a USMNT fan. Welcome to the brave new world of the next U.S. youth movement, sponsored by the collective ritual sacrifice of all 89.73 U.S. Soccer Saviors™ that came before this one. And also Nike.
Excited about the young players getting chances to really make a difference for their clubs, both at home and abroad, that finally have been called in to see if they can crack the first team lineup? Awesome! Here’s Tim Ream and Jorge Villafaña instead!
Oh, and that young kid. No, not that young kid.
It's NFL Sunday, but take a moment to be sad about not seeing Christian Pulisic in the World Cup. This meg ... pic.twitter.com/ZkfvKVyHWx— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) November 5, 2017
The even yoooounger kid. The one that’s the next next next big thing.
Yeah that one. He played in both the U-17 and U-20 World Cups this year, AND he scored 7 goals between the two of them. That’s nuts! We could very feasibly see him on the 2022 World Cup squad, so why not throw him out there now? Give him a taste of what it takes to compete at this level?
The #usmnt warms up for its fifth day of training here in Portugal. Josh Sargent is included in the main group. An unspecified lower body injury has limited his training. https://t.co/Om81iPrPjN pic.twitter.com/fdr6E90cpV— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) November 12, 2017
Nope! You’ll get another dose of The Juan Agudelo Experience instead. Pretty much the only thing missing from my USMNT Bingo card is John Brooks leaving the match with an injury that keeps him out another 1-3 months. Welcome to the new cycle. Everything is meaningless.
- This Christine Sinclair pass is stuuuupid -
Not to be outdone, Megan Rapinoe decided to end the game shortly afterwards.
look at Rapinoe taking lives with no regard man pic.twitter.com/XrLFfci6as— amadinho gaúcho (@amadoit__) November 13, 2017
It wasn’t perfect, but it was an overall improvement from the USWNT, who followed their 1-1 draw with Canada last week with a 3-1 victory.
- People getting upset about players doing this -
Really? That’s what you’re going to be mad about? Literally every player in the World does this for any call a ref does or does not make. The Northern Ireland players did this in this game. Be less mad that the ref made a dodgy call and more mad that Northern Ireland couldn’t score against Switzerland.
- Sadio Mane, Senegal, and their wonderful, wonderful kits are going to the World Cup -
Egypt hadn't qualified for a World Cup in 28 years until Mo Salah turned up; Senegal hadn't qualified for 16 years until Sadio Mane showed up. pic.twitter.com/bhWPRViVWQ— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) November 10, 2017
Hat-tip to Egypt for qualifying again after the long absence as well.
- NASL against the World -
The San Francisco Deltas are NASL Champions, a moniker that might soon once again not mean anything if the league folds this offseason, as many have speculated it might. I can’t possibly get into all the issues and accusations leveled by NASL and others at USSF’s handling of the second-division league, but here’s a spicy tidbit from Eric Wynalda on the Total Soccer Show podcast:
.@EricWynalda on the @TotalSoccerShow RE #NASL:— ⚽️ (@howsyatouch) November 11, 2017
“They (USSF/MLS interests) essentially infiltrated the league—tried to break it apart, to make it go away. That’s what happened. That was orchestrated completely by Sunil Gulati.” pic.twitter.com/rTEpz5p9CD
I'll be doing some digging this week as I am sure some other writers will be to corroborate the claims made by @EricWynalda related to Sunil Gulati's efforts to undermine NASL from within. Very serious charges that could damage Gulati perhaps irreparably if proven true.— Kartik Krishnaiyer (@kkfla737) November 12, 2017
- Happy Trails, Robbie Rodgers -
Rodgers announced his second retirement from soccer this week. The phrase “first openly gay male pro athlete in the U.S.” is both cumbersome to say and to have hanging over your head coming back into the game, but Rodgers took it in stride and managed some of the best soccer of his life with the Galaxy as well. Injuries may have cut his time short, the World looks a lot different now than it did when he came out and came back to the game, and he was no small part of that.
- Brad Friedel apparently coaches the New England Revolution now -
Like Boston needed another confusing accent to throw into the mix.
- Hope Solo lays everything out -
Blatter gets the headline in the Hope Solo story, but she doesn't pull any punches farther down in the story. pic.twitter.com/FpP4t2wnyx— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) November 10, 2017
Solo went further on her accusation that Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted her by inappropriately grabbing her at a FIFA Awards ceremony, criticizing the nature of coach-player relationships in women’s soccer. And I get the fact that not everyone implicitly trusts Hope Solo. But if you’re not taking this seriously, it’s time to wake up. You don’t have to trust one person. Hell, you don’t even need to trust a bunch of people at this point. You already know it’s happening. It’s just math. And maybe if we start recognizing that, we can start changing it.