Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hooligan's Daily: NASL's D2 application rejected

Yesterday's Scores
World Cup Qualifying- UEFA
Austria 1-1 Georgia
(Schaub 43')-(Gviliia 8')

Moldova 0-2 Wales
(Robson-Kanu 80', Ramsey 90+3')

Ireland 0-1 Serbia
(Kolarov 55')

Italy 1-0 Israel
(Immobile 53')

Liechtenstein 0-8 Spain
(Ramos 3', Morata 15', 54', Isco 16', Silva 39', Aspas 51', 63', Goppel OG 89')

Macedonia 1-1 Albania
(Trajkovski PK 78')-(Roshi 52')

Iceland 2-0 Ukraine
(Sigurdsson 47', 66')

Kosovo 0-1 Finland
(Pukki 83')

Turkey 1-0 Croatia
(Tosun 75')

World Cup Qualifying- CONCACAF
Honduras 1-1 United States
(Quioto 27')-(Wood 85')

Costa Rica 1-1 Mexico
(Urena 82')-(Gamboa OG 42')

Panama 3-0 Trinidad and Tobago
(Torres 39', Mitchell OG 63', Arroyo 86')

This set of results certainly puts the USA into a sticky situation. They still control their own destiny, but they have fallen out of the automatic qualification spots for the time being. They have a home match against Panama and an away tilt with last place Trinidad and Tobago remaining in the campaign, so things still look okay, but this international window has done nothing to give the team confidence heading into those final two matches.

World Cup Qualifying- CONMEBOL
Bolivia 1-0 Chile
(Arce PK 59')

Colombia 1-1 Brazil
(Falcao 56')-(Willian 45+2')

Ecuador 1-2 Peru
(Valencia PK 80')-(Flores 73', Hurtado 76')

Argentina 1-1 Venezuela
(Villanueva OG 54')-(Murillo 50')

Paraguay 1-2 Uruguay
(Romero 88')-(Valverde 76', Gomez OG 80')

World Cup Qualifying- AFC
Australia 2-1 Thailand
(Juric 69', Leckie 86')-(Anan 82')

Iraq 1-0 United Arab Emirates
(Hussein 29')

Iran 2-2 Syria
(Azmoun 45', 64')-(Haj Mohamad 13', Al Somah 90+3')

Qatar 1-2 China
(Afif 47')-(Zhi 74', Lei 83')

Uzbekistan 0-0 South Korea

Saudi Arabia 1-0 Japan
(Al Muwallad 63')

The main round of Asian qualifying ended with some fireworks. Australia, despite winning their match against Thailand, was dropped down to a playoff match with Syria, who also needed some last minute heroics to keep their hopes alive. The winner of that match will play the fourth place team in CONCACAF (currently the USMNT) in a two-legged playoff for qualification.

Saudi Arabia secured their spot in next summer's marquee event with their win over Japan, as did South Korea with their lackluster draw in Uzbekistan, who was eliminated thanks to the Syria result.

World Cup Qualifying- CAF
Congo 1-5 Ghana
(Illoi-Aiiet 43')-(Boakye 23', 85', Thomas 26', 45+2', 69')

South Africa 1-2 Cape Verde Islands
(Jali 89')-(Rodrigues 52', 67')

DR Congo 2-2 Tunisia
(Mbemba 9', Mpoku 47')-(Moke OG 77', Badri 79')

Ivory Coast 1-2 Gabon
(Cornet 58')-(Meye 19', Lemina 29')

Burkina Faso 2-2 Senegal
(Traore 9', Ndiaye OG 89')-(Sarr 27', Mane 75')

Egypt 1-0 Uganda
(Salah 6')

Mali 0-0 Morocco

Algeria 0-1 Zambia
(Saka 67')

We now know a quarter of the field for next summer's World Cup in Russia. The hosts are going to welcome Brazil, Mexico, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Belgium.

Headlines
The big news of the day surrounded lower tier American soccer as the NASL's attempt to maintain their second division status has been denied by the USSF. Their application was rejected by the federation ten days ahead of the September 15 deadline, giving them time to reapply after revising their plan. If the decision holds, the NASL will be forced into the third tier, where their partner league, the NISA, is debuting next season.

What this means for the current league is unclear, though there are reports indicating North Carolina FC and Indy Eleven are looking into bolting for the USL and the increasing possibility the FC Edmonton leaves for the Canadian Premier League, the new top tier league in Canada scheduled to begin next summer. Regardless of what happens with those clubs, it appears the NASL is in for another existential crisis this winter.

This is just another blow for a league that has seen its fair share of failures over the past year or so. They saw a total of five teams bolt the league for greener pastures or fold last offseason. Their one expansion team, San Francisco Deltas, aren't doing all that well on the business side. They have a pair of new teams signed on for next year, but their futures are unclear with the league being demoted. Two more teams could depart the league with, so far, only two new ones coming on.

A sensible plan might be merging what ends up left of the NASL with the debuting NISA for next year. That would leave us with one third larger tier league (until USL D3 comes along in 2019) instead of two somewhat weak and small leagues that are very heavily linked with each other occupying the same spot on the pyramid. Any club that wants to remain a second division team should jump ship to the USL and the rest need to accept their third tier fate and play with the NISA sides.

It's well beyond time for the NASL to take a step back and focus on its own survival rather than their continued efforts to upset the status quo with challenging expansion efforts and promotion/relegation lawsuits that haven't exactly worked out in their favor anyway.

Today's Matches
MLS
New York City FC v. Sporting Kansas City- 7:30pm

NASL
Miami FC v. New York Cosmos- 8pm- beIN

USL
Harrisburg City Islanders v. Tampa Bay Rowdies- 6:30pm- YouTube
Vancouver Whitecaps v. Tulsa Roughnecks- 10:30pm- YouTube
LA Galaxy v. Reno 1968- 10:30pm- YouTube
Phoenix RIsing v. Orange County SC- 10:30pm- ESPN3

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