Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Big result for USA U-23s, Guatemala shreds senior squad

Yesterday's Scores
World Cup Qualifiers- CONCACAF
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2-3 Trinidad and Tobago
(Samuel PK 45', 77')-(Jones 58', Garcia 71', 82')

Haiti 0-0 Panama

Jamaica 1-1 Costa Rica
(Watson 16')-(Acosta 67')

El Salvador 2-2 Honduras
(Punyed 45+2', Bonilla 90')-(Elis 19', Lozano 59')

Canada 0-3 Mexico
(Chicharito 31', Lozanoi 40', Corona 72')

Canada is lucky this result wasn't much worse for them and they can expect to get truly drilled on their trip to Estadio Azteca next week. They aren't in all that bad shape, though. Positive results against Honduras and El Salvador are within reach, so they can still move onto the hex to keep a slight chance at qualification for Russia alive.

Guatemala 2-0 United States
(Morales 7', Ruiz 15')

A draw for the USMNT would have been all that bad, but this loss raises plenty of concerns. Jurgen Klinsmann's... strange choice of back line call ups really showed itself early on here. The first goal, was the result of some awful defending on a corner, particularly by Mix Diskerud. The second came on a goal kick when the central defense allowed a 36 year old Carlos Ruiz to get behind them to go one on one with Tim Howard to double the lead within a quarter hour.

The rest of the match was marred by disconnected USA attacks and poor finishing on the rare occasions that things got put together. The loss does push the USA out of qualification for the Hex, for now. They are two points back of Guatemala with another game against them coming on Tuesday in Columbus. A win there can get things back on track as the remaining matches are against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the road and Trinidad and Tobago at home. Both are very, very winnable and should allow the USA to qualify for the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.

World Cup Qualifiers- CONMEBOL
Brazil 2-2 Uruguay
(Costa 1', Augusto 25')-(Cavani 31', Suarez 48')

Olympic Qualifying Playoff
Colombia 1-1 United States
(Quintero PK 68')-(Gil 5')

While the senior team travelled to Guatemala and got hammered, the U-23s fared far better in Colombia. The USA scored early thanks to Luis Gil, who was probably the USA's best player on the day. They had several other chances to double their lead, including one shot off the cross bar. Colombia's goal came off a very weakly conceded penalty by Kellyn Acosta. It was a foul, just one that Acosta didn't have to commit. Overall, a 1-1 draw in Barranquilla bodes well for Tuesday's return leg in Texas. The USA should be happy with this result, even though it probably should have turned out even better.

FC Montreal 0-1 Bethlehem Steel
(Herbers 43')

Sacramento Republic 1-0 Seattle Sounders II
(Stewart PK 63')

The USL season begins with a couple of Friday night matches.If there is one storyline to keep an eye on in the third division this year, it's how the independent clubs fare against clubs with MLS affiliations. All four clubs in action last night were affiliated, but tomorrow we get several chances for an early season comparison. Seven of USL's 29 clubs are independent, and one, Charleston Battery (which is my favorite American club name, by the way), is affiliated with Atlanta United, who don't technically exist yet. Every MLS club has an junior squad in the league, so it''s also a great way to look at the potential contributors of tomorrow.

Montreal Impact have been impressive in the open to this season despite only having their star player out there for less than half an hour through three games. Thanks to the sudden star power of players like Ignacio Piatti, the Impact are proving to be more than just the power of one Ivorian. Their back line may not get much praise, but it has been important, as well. Unfortunately, that defensive unit has taken a hit thanks to last year's defender of the year, Laurent Ciman, injuring his leg in training. Ciman was hurt while blocking a teammate's shot and left the training facility on crutches. It is unknown how long he will be out. Montreal is next in action next Saturday at Seattle.

Arsenal's supporters have begun to question the job status of Arsene Wenger thanks to the recent run of poor results that have seen their club fall out of the FA Cup, Champions League, and the Premier League title race. Their main complaint is that the board is content with nothing more than finishing in the top four each and every season. Comments from shareholder Alisher Usmanov, who owns 30% of the club, will not calm those fears. He is saying that Arsenal need to hang onto their main asset, Arsene Wenger, and that the club's consistent results are the primary reason why.

New England Revolution are one of a couple MLS clubs still playing in an oversized football stadium, but they are seeking to remedy that. Team owner Robert Kraft is in advanced talks to secure a stadium site within the city of Boston to house the Revs. The main complication for the effort lies behind Boston's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, which include plans for a 60,000 seat stadium near where Kraft wants to build. That facility would be far to large for an MLS club to play in, but could be scaled down after the event. Boston is not considered the favorite to win hosting privileges, so it's doubtful this will truly hang up Kraft's stadium plans. Which is good. For he does not want to wait for bidding to end to get started.

Today's Matches
New York City v. New England Revolution- 3pm
DC United v. FC Dallas- 5:30pm
Vancouver Whitecaps v. Houston Dynamo- 10pm

Liga MX
Morelia v. Chiapas- 10:30pm

Toronto FC II v. New York Red Bulls II- 3pm
Harrisburg City Islanders v. Richmond Kickers- 5pm
Louisville City v. Charlotte Independence- 7pm
FC Cincinnati v. Charleston Battery- 7:30pm
Wilmington Hammerheads v. Orlando City B- 7:30pm
Colorado Springs Switchbacks v. OKC Energy- 8pm
Rio Grande Valley v. Tulsa Roughnecks- 8pm
Portland Timbers 2 v. Swope Park Rangers- 8:30pm
St. Louis FC. Real Monarchs- 9pm
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 v. Orange County Blues- 10pm
Arizona United v. LA Galaxy II- 10:30pm

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