2/4/22 Carmel Dad’s Field House Opens, USMNT Tres-Frio has US in 2nd place, African Cup Finals Sun, FA Cup Weekend 

Carmel Dad’s Club has opened the New Field House in the back of Badger Field off of 116th street near Hazelldell.  Carmel FC Director of Soccer Operations Juergen Sommer, the first American to play in the English Premier League and former Indy 11 Coach, says this new facility should really help take Carmel FC to the next level.  “Our kids will have a chance to train in a fantastic setting during the winter months which allows them to continue to advance their skills during the winter.  It should really be a big boon for Carmel FC and all of our players and coaches along with our other sports as well,”  Sommer said. Just a few pictures here from the new Field House at Carmel Dad’s Club at Badger Field.  The Field House features a full size professional soccer field and 4 Full court Basketball courts that double as Volleyball/futsal courts and baseball batting cages to come.

Carmel Dad’s Club President Jack Beery is thrilled about the new addition to Carmel Dad’s Club, “We’re very excited about this new chapter for the Carmel Dads’ Club and think [the fieldhouse] sets us up for the future and to continue to provide great experiences for our families and kids for some many of our sports.  We [CDC] cannot thank the moms and dads enough and the people from the community who volunteer in this organization.  I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank the Clay Township Board for their support of this project. They have been a huge part of the vision of this project, and they understand the importance of a youth sports experience in Carmel kids’ lives.”

4 full court basketball courts convertable to volleyball and futsal

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=====================RackZ BAR BBQ ==================================

US finally dominates at home in TRES- FRIO – 3-0 win in coldest US Game Ever Played (hi-lights)

It wasn’t Snow Classico – but it was Tres-Frio as the US dominated in every phase of the game in beating an eliminated Honduras 3-0 at a sold-out Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota in the coldest game ever played by the USA (3 degrees at kickoff and well below zero in the 2nd half windchill).  The win keeps them in 2nd place overall with 21 points – just 2 points back of Canada at the top.  The US needs just 4 maybe only 3 more points in 3 games – 2 on the road – to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. 

Pulisic Comes of Bench to Score 3rd Goal

Obviously the biggest storyline is coach Berhalter sat his talisman Christian Pulisic starting Jordan Morris on the left wing instead for the first time since his Knee surgery last year.  It was the right move as Westin McKinney – the US player that is playing the best overseas for Juventus – shined with an early goal.  McKinny’s combinations with Weah, Pepi, De La Torre and Morris were spot on all night long.  Overall it was a solid result – the US had to win – and honestly this is how they should have played vs El Salvador in Columbus last Thursday.  Three goals off of set pieces – with good service from Acosta, great battling by Zimmerman, and some nifty passing and combos by our mids and wingers.  It’s the first set piece goal in the 10 games of qualifications – and something that the US needs if they are going to score goals. 

I thought midfielder De La Torre – was fantastic – he was borderline the MOM on a night when plenty of players could make the claim.  Either way our midfield Is the strongest part of this team – McKinney was legendary with a huge first goal on the corner header, Adams is perhaps our most indespensible player – and Musah at 18 has been a wonder.  But tonight De La Torre showed he can boss the middle much the way Musah and McKinney can.  Of course Acosta is the undisputed backup d-mid #6 behind Adams.   Weah has proven he is THE STARTER at right wing now – or possibly at CF is no one steps up there.  I thought Pepi looked good at the #9  – much better than Ferreira or Zardes has this cycle.  Pepi sent the header across that landed at Pulisic’s foot for the 3rd goal and had a wonderful chance on a turn that went wide.  Bottom line – Pepi simply seems to occupy both center backs – which None of our other center forwards can do.  Defensively Zimmerman was a boss – his goal – just a MAN wanting it more than the boys he was playing.  The headers and 50/50 balls showed why he is a solid captain – no one gives more than he does on the field.  The back line was solid as Cannon started in place of Dest and had some good moments and the duo Robinson’s held down the left side leaving new Arsenal GK Matt Turner barely tested all night.   

Let’s Not Over-React Here-& Fox Coverage was solid

Listen this was a huge win because the US had to have the 3 points and we finally scored some goals, but let’s not go nuts.  We only scored on set pieces – which means we still are not scoring in the run of play against teams that flood the box and keep everyone behind the ball.  Our midfield was dominant but this was a horrible Honduras team  – THE WORST team in CONCACAF right now – and they did not want to be there.  We should have won this game 6-0.  Our #9 has not scored a goal in 5 games and only has 3 goals (Pepi) in 10 qualifying games.  And finally Christian Pulisic our best American player over the past 5 years is in a horrible, horrible funk.  Even after the game where he scored 2 goals (1 called back) he looked really depressed.  I don’t know if his girlfriend left him – or this is just him being so very frustrated at Chelsea where he is being screwed by “coach” Tuchell – who is an idiot by the way.  (another story).   The US still HAS to beat Panama at home in Orlando (where if form holds true ½ the fans will be wearing Panama red), we still might need to get a point at Mexico in Azteca in game 1 or Costa Rica in game 3 in March, a place where the US has never won a Qualification game.  Great show by Minnesota by the way – full house loud and I didn’t see ANY Honduras fans – well done Minn American Outlaws! Finally, Great coverage by Fox Sports 1 – unlike ESPN which plays the game on ESPN 2 and cuts away right after the game and doesn’t provide a legit pregame show – Fox Sports – gave us a full 30 minute pregame and almost a 45 minute post game with crazy fans right behind the set.  I am glad Fox are the ones showing our final home qualifier in March instead of ESPN – who does NOT CARE about soccer unless you buy ESPN+.

Still needed to qualify from Coach Mark Stumpf

In summary, without any other help, the US needs minimum for a 4th place finish-

2 pts so long as one of the draws is against Costa Rica

3 pts so long as the win is against either Costa Rica/Panama

4 pts guarantees them in.


1 – Canada1125+14
2 – USA1121+9
3 – Mexico1121+6
4 – Panama1117+1
5 – Costa Rica11161
6 – El Salvador119-7
7 – Jamaica117-7
8 – Honduras113-17
1-3 qualify; 4 into playoff

Shane Grades the Players

Morris 6.5  –        a good game back for Morris who was dangerous and battled hard in the box

Pepi 7  –                had 2 decent shots but couldn’t quite find the net. Still he had a good semi assist on his header off the corner goal by Pulisic 

Weah 8   –            may have been MOM – his movement behind the line – and his crosses and shots were dangerous all night – just barely didn’t score

McKinney 8.5    THE MOM – he is the BEST American player in the World today and his quality shined all night long

De La Torre 7.5 great game in his 1st start in qualifying – he bossed the midfield – and might push Musah for playing time now

Acosta 7  –           ok he wasn’t Adams – but he’s a solid #6 and his service on set pieces is why we won tonight

Cannon 5             not a bad night for the right sided defender – but he’s no Dest in the attack

Zimmerman 7.5 The Captain was THE MAN on the field tonight –no one fights and digs in like Zimmerman – his goal was classic – man amongst boys battling                                                                                                                                 

Miles Rob 6.5    good play – not much work needed on the D – had some good moments forward but not needed as much.  No one got behind him

Jedi Robin 6       solid not much work – didn’t do much going forward but didn’t allow Honduras to pass midfield very often

GK Turner 6        barely touched the ball all night – had some solid distribution with his feet when he did.  Glad he didn’t freeze his hands off back there.  Good luck at Arsenal Matt !!    

Pulisic 6.5            great to see Pulisic finally score – twice honestly.  But this guy still does not look happy to be on the soccer field – no doubt he is struggling

Berhalter 8         took huge balls to sit Pulisic but had to be done.  Nice to see Pulisic come on late and score.  All his changes played well – needs to always start Pepi from now on however !!

In other CONCACAF action – unfortunately Costa Rica scored late to keep the pressure on the US just 4 points back, and Mexico won 1-0 to keep them in 3rd while pushing Panama down the chart meaning the US merely needs to beat Panama at home in Orlando in March to keep them below the Americans.  

Earn your Degree While You Watch Your Kids Soccer Practice – ½ the time and cost of Traditional Schools

US CB Tim Ream show’s Heart

Last Saturday a Blackpool supporter had a heart attack in the stands leading to the death of a fan named Parish.  The game halted while they evacuated the fan.  Prior to Parish’s tragic passing, Fulham ace defender Tim Ream (an American National Team player) urged all those affected by the incident to reach out to their loved ones. The American tweeted: “To all those who witnessed and may be struggling with what they saw…don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. “Reach out to me, to your loved ones, to anyone. You are not alone and others will be or have felt what you are feeling.”  CLASS ACT!  Not 100% sure he shouldn’t be in the next set of games for the US.  He has played at Mexico and Costa Rica – and obviously this US team needs leadership and fight right now. 

Huge congrats to Carmel FC coach Carla Baker a former Assistant Coach at Notre Dame who had a huge influence on recently announced US Soccer Hall of Famer – Shannon Boxx  (L) here with GK Hope Solo   (R) . Also joining them in the Hall of Fame Induction is the leading scorer in USMNT history Clint Dempsey

FA Cup this weekend with American’s scheduled start vs lower level teams in the EPL Sat/Sun (see stories below)- including Man City with Steffan between the pipes vs Fulham and Jedi Robinson and Tim Ream on defense. Also the Milan Derby Inter vs Milan on CBSSN on Sat at 12 noon with Ibra missing for AC Milan. Bayern Munich vs RB Leipzig and Adams at 12:30 Sat on EPSN+. Sunday FA cup along with Dortmund and a returning American Gio Reyna off injury vs Bayer Leverkusen at 9:30 am on ESPN+/Des. At 10:15 am Barcelona hosts Atletico Madrid on ESPN+, and at 2 pm the African Cup Final on Fubo TV as the Liverpool wingers Mane (Senegal) and Egypt (Salah) face-off.


Sat, Feb 5

7:30 am ESPN+                   Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Plymouth Argyle  FA Cup

10 am ESPN+                     Man City (Steffan) vs Fulham (Robinson, Ream)  FA Cup

12 noon CBSSN/Para+      Inter vs Milan Milan Derby 

12:30 pm ESPN+                Bayern Munich vs RB Liepzig (Adams)

3 pm ESPN+                        Tottenham vs Brighton FA Cup

Sun, Feb 6

7 am ESPN+ Liverpool vs Cardiff FA Cup

9:30 am ESPN+/ESPND     Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen

10:15 am ESPN+                 Barcelona (Dest) vs Atletico Madrid 

11 am Fubu TV African Cup 3rd place

11 am ESPN+ Notingham Forest vs Leicester City FA Cup

2 pm Fubu TV  African Cup Final Senegal (Mane) vs Egypt (Salah)

2:45 pm Para+                    Juve (Mckinney) vs Hellas Verona

2:45 pm beIN Sport Lille (Weah) vs PSG

3 pm ESPN+                        Real Madrid vs Granada

Weds,  Feb 9

11:30 am Fox Sport 2       TBA vs Chelsea Fifa Club WC

2:45 USA                              Tottenham vs Southampton

Thurs,  Feb 10

2:45 USA                              Liverpool vs Leicester City  

Sat,  Feb 12

11:30 am Fox Sport 2       TBA vs Chelsea Fifa Club WC FINAL

12:30 pm NBC                     Norwich City (Stewart) vs Man City

2022 SheBelieves Cup schedule

Feb. 17 in Carson, Calif.
#16 Iceland vs #22 New Zealand, 8pm ET – ESPN
#1 USWNT vs #24 Czech Republic, 11pm ET

Feb. 20 in Carson, Calif.
USWNT vs New Zealand, 3pm ET – ABC
Czech Republic vs Iceland, 6pm ET

Feb. 23 in Frisco, Texas
New Zealand vs Czech Republic, 6pm ET
USWNT vs Iceland, 9pm ET – ESPN

USA beats Honduras  

USMNT inches closer to World Cup with 3-0 win

Congrats to the USMNT, but shame on U.S. Soccer Dan Wezel

USMNT midfield thrives in 3-0 win over Honduras in frigid St. Paul – ASN

USMNT can breathe sigh of relief after beating Honduras  Jeff Carlisle 

USMNT keeps World Cup hopes alive with shutout win over Honduras
USMNT player ratings: McKennie, Acosta, Weah superb in Honduras win

Pulisic benched among 7 qualifying changes in 3-degree chill

USMNT vs Honduras final score: Yanks bounce back with set-piece dominance

USMNT keeps World Cup hopes alive with shutout win over Honduras

USMNT vs Honduras: Analysis, reaction, highlights as Yanks cruise to big win

Lessons from Concacaf qualifying: US insecurity in the cold and Canada’s surge

USMNT player ratings: McKennie, Acosta, Weah superb in WCQ

 USA 3-0 Honduras – The USMNT back on track with a dominant win By Parker Cleveland S&S

US Players

Solo, Dempsey, Boxx into Soccer Hall of Fame

From Pepi to Paredes to Bello, ASN breaks down the January transfer window ASN

USMNT’s Yedlin back in MLS, joins Inter Miami  Jeff Carlisle
Beckham’s MLS Inter Miami signs USA fullback Yedlin

US defender George Bello joins Bundesliga club Bielefeld

USMNT prospect Kevin Paredes completes transfer to Wolfsburg

USWNT roster for SheBelieves Cup announced

USA women will bench some big names for February event

Rodman, 19, to become NWSL’s top-paid player
Caitlin Murray

Explainer: Where USWNT and USMNT contract talks stand, odds of a joint CBA, more  Caitlin Murray

USWNT’s Horan to Lyon on loan from Thorns  aitlin Murray

World Soccer

Mexico’s Lozano injured in win over Panama will miss US game
Mane and Senegal break Burkina Faso hearts to reach AFCON final

Salah, Mane set for Cup of Nations final showdown

Salah and Egypt beat Cameroon on penalties to reach Cup of Nations 

Ibrahimovic injury blow for AC Milan before derby

Olympic members unite against Infantino’s World Cup plan

‘I’m here!’ Aubameyang tells Barcelona fans after delayed signing


Lampard admits tough task as he prepares for Everton bow
Everton appoint Lampard to save Premier League status

Man Utd suffer shock FA Cup shoot-out exit against Middlesbrough

Eriksen could be in action ‘within weeks’, says Brentford boss

Congrats to the USMNT, but shame on US Soccer

Dan Wetzel·ColumnistWed, February 2, 2022, 10:10 PM·4 min read

Pulisic scores 2 minutes after coming onto the field

Weston McKennie scored the first of three USMNT goals in a shutout of Honduras on a frigid night at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The United States Men’s National Team hammered Honduras on Wednesday, 3-0, to move to the brink of qualifying for the World Cup held later this year.The result is of little surprise because Honduras is terrible, ranked 76th in the world and winless in its past 14 matches.It should have been a fun night for the Americans, who could have packed a big stadium somewhere, run up the score and gained valuable time together in conditions that might remotely be akin to November’s World Cup in Qatar.Instead US Soccer staged the game on a slick, frozen pitch in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was 2 degrees out. The stadium sat just 19,400.It was an example of a small-time mindset within US Soccer, which too often plays with fear rather than confidence, which looks to protective gimmicks rather than bold attacks.It’s the kind of strategy that — while successful — is cringeworthy and hard to defend for even the most passionate of fans.Really, the Americans needed to freeze out the Hondurans to win? Shouldn’t this have been light work no matter where the game was played?Historically, the American track record of success is poor. There is no debating that. In the past four World Cups, Team USA won a grand total of two games and never made it past the Round of 16. It didn’t even qualify last time.Still, this is a young and promising team. Lots of talent. Lots of potential. Let the Americans play with some flair and some fun. Let them use the time against weaker opponents to create something special.Let the Americans play like a program that has eyes on greatness, on making noise, on standing toe-to-toe with the best of the world, not slipping into qualifying by freezing out lousy opponents in a choppy, sloppy game.“It’s not normal,” Honduras manager Herman Gomez said before the game. “It’s inconceivable that a power in every sense would bring you here to play a game and get a result.“The game hasn’t started, but I can’t wait for it to end,” Gomez continued. “Because it’s not for enjoying, it’s for suffering.”Look, making an opponent suffer and possibly mentally check out before the game is never a bad thing. But is it a necessary thing? Is there any pride at US Soccer?Shouldn’t someone be a little ashamed that it thought it had to resort to this to win?The conditions were bad for both sides. The Americans may have been “more” used to the cold than the Hondurans, but that was relative. The field didn’t lend itself to quality play. This was a slog. Everyone looked miserable and trying to avoid injury.The US scored all three goals on set pieces, which is nice, but also indicative that this wasn’t the environment for run-of-play tallies. This was hardly soccer. At one point US coach Gregg Berhalter was taking pictures with fans.Nothing was gained other than a victory that could have — should have — been earned in Southern California or Florida or at least in front of a big crowd.Berhalter is said to want to limit travel. Since the Americans played Sunday against Canada in Hamilton, Ontario, this was deemed ideal.But that’s ridiculous. It takes about 2:45 to fly from Toronto to Minneapolis … and about 3 hours to get to Orlando.This is the US though. It wants bad conditions. It wants tiny stadiums so it can keep visiting fans out. It wants to play as far as possible from where immigrants of opposing teams reside, hence a disproportionate amount of games in the Midwest and few if any on the East Coast. Everything is about protecting and pampering, like the American players can’t take on even Honduras in 70-degree air or with a few opposing fans present and chanting for their side.Better to just play an ugly, mucked-up game before a small crowd in the freeze of Minnesota. Hey, it was a win. The US is one step closer to qualifying for Qatar. It just felt a little weak.

USMNT can breathe sigh of relief after getting World Cup qualifying campaign back on track

12:25 AM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The United States men’s national soccer team can breathe again. It can feel its fingers and toes again too, as a 3-0 win over Honduras in frigid conditions has the Americans’ World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.It’s a win that is most welcome for the players and manager Gregg Berhalter, because let’s face it, the current World Cup qualifying window had been a brutal slog. The 1-0 win against El Salvador was labored, the 2-0 loss against Canada deflating. Berhalter’s side looked to be regressing, rather than getting stronger. With the Honduras match scheduled for Minnesota in the dead of winter, it seemed an unnecessary complication for a more talented U.S. side.Yet the U.S. regrouped thanks to goals from Weston McKennieWalker Zimmerman and substitute Christian Pulisic.It was a game that was about survival. Honduras might have already been eliminated, but as the 2018 cycle showed, such opponents (read: Trinidad & Tobago) can spring a nasty surprise. The U.S. had to endure the elements, with temperatures at kickoff around 1 degree, and minus 14 with the wind chill. By game’s end, the wind chill had sunk to minus 16.The U.S. also had to cope with its own self-doubt. The American attack has struggled of late, and a single stumble at home would have not only sent their qualifying campaign off the rails, it would’ve increased the already rising pressure on the players and Berhalter.And yet the U.S. surmounted all of those obstacles, and it did it the old-fashioned way, with a trio of set piece goals. As recently as last summer, such tallies were a staple of U.S. victories; but prior to Wednesday, the U.S. hadn’t scored a single goal from dead ball situations in the entire Octagonal. McKennie’s eighth-minute header broke the streak. Then Zimmerman made it two in the 37th minute, firing home after corralling Kellyn Acosta‘s delivery in the box.The boost to the U.S. was gargantuan. The goals were just the third and fourth times the U.S. has broken through in the opening half in 11 World Cup qualifying matches in this cycle. The tallies settled nerves and warmed limbs, at least on the U.S. side.”To be honest, I don’t think they wanted any part of [the cold] tonight,” Zimmerman said of Honduras. “As soon as we got that first goal, and especially the second goal, we felt like we were in really good form and in control the game.”

How cold was it? The U.S. Soccer Federation released a laundry list of a dozen mitigation efforts prior to kickoff, ones that went from heated benches on the sideline to in-sole warmers provided by the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

On the field, and with play predominantly in the attacking half, U.S. keeper Matt Turner was left to engage in sprints around his own penalty area to keep warm, especially after referee Oshane Nation forced Turner to dispose of his hand warmer just minutes into the match.The USSF provided thermal head coverings to Honduras, but manager Hernan Dario Gomez railed against the conditions. Three players were subbed at halftime, and a later tweet from the Honduran Federation stated that two of them were due to “extreme climate conditions.””I’m not going to analyze my team, the game or my players performance. It’s not possible and I’m not capable of doing it under these circumstances,” Gomez said after the match. “Inside the locker room my players are receiving IV fluids and many of them are in pain.”But Berhalter made no apologies for his choice of venue. He recalled how in the past Honduras has had no qualms about scheduling games in difficult conditions.”When we go down to those countries, and it’s 90 degrees and 90% dew point and it’s unbearable humidity, and guys are getting dehydrated and cramping up and getting heat exhaustion, you know, that’s the nature of our competition,” he said.It would be overstating things to say that the U.S. looked fluid in attack, but it was also a game in which it adapted, controlled the tempo and shut down a pair of dangerous attackers in Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto. Once the U.S. got its nose in front, it never looked like giving up the lead.The U.S. extended its halftime lead with another set-piece goal. Pulisic had just come on as a substitute, and lashed a shot home in the 67th minute after Ricardo Pepi and Zimmerman got touches to Acosta’s corner.It was the kind of emphatic result that the U.S. has been craving — Berhalter even found time to take a photo with fans with roughly 10 minutes left — and the U.S. did it with the coach digging into his depth. Both Zimmerman and Acosta filled in for the injured Chris Richards and Tyler Adams, respectively. Jordan Morris started for Pulisic while Yunus Musah and Sergino Dest also made way for De la Torre and Reggie Cannon.But as it so often does, the focus returned to the team’s two stars: McKennie and Pulisic. The Juventus midfielder remains the USMNT’s emotional center, and has completely rehabilitated himself following his two-game suspension in September for violating the team’s COVID-19 protocols. His goal gave the U.S. confidence, as did his overall play. If he felt like he “let the team down” almost five months ago, as he stated prior to this game, he most certainly lifted it up this window.”He’s a guy that that leads by his performance,” Berhalter said of McKennie. “I thought he had an outstanding window. You could tell that he’s in big form at Juventus, the way he came into this window. He’s dominant.”


1 – Canada1125+14
2 – USA1121+9
3 – Mexico1121+6
4 – Panama1117+1
5 – Costa Rica11161
6 – El Salvador119-7
7 – Jamaica117-7
8 – Honduras113-17
1-3 qualify; 4 into playoff

Pulisic’s situation is less clear cut, even with his goal. The fact that he didn’t start wasn’t a complete surprise given his form of late, but it still amounted to a tough decision for Berhalter, leaving him open to second guessing. It also risked fraying the relationship between manager and star player. Ultimately it paid off.”I think the hardest thing to do as a coach is talk to a player and tell him that you support him and you’re behind him 100 percent, and then you don’t start them,” Berhalter said. “Because the players feel somehow that you’re not supporting him and for Christian it was a very difficult decision. But I felt it was a decision that was made to put him in the best possible position to make the impact that we know he can make. And that’s why when he’s in those positions on the field, he has the quality to make finishes like that, to score goals like that. And that’s the impact that he made for the group and really helped seal the victory for the team.”Will the goal act as a springboard for the U.S. No. 10? Club and country are two completely different environments. The managers are different as is the competition. Pulisic doesn’t give much away either. His celebration in this instance seemed muted, but the tally can only help, and with qualification in sight the U.S. still needs Pulisic to be rounding into form to get over the World Cup qualifying finish line.The final window now looms. The March 27 match against Panama will likely decide things, although there is an outside shot that a win in Mexico City at the Azteca might wrap things up for the U.S.At least now Berhalter’s team has a bit of momentum. A trip to Qatar is in sight.


2022 World Cup: How United States, Mexico and Canada can qualify

Feb 3, 2022  Dale JohnsonGeneral Editor, ESPN FC

The race to the 2022 World Cup finals is drawing to a close, with three rounds of games to be played in March to decide which nations from the CONCACAF region will head to Qatar in November.

– World Cup 2022 qualifying: How it works around the world

How many CONCACAF nations qualify for the World Cup?

The top three nations in CONCACAF qualify directly to the World Cup, which begins on Nov. 21 and runs through to the final on Dec. 18.The fourth-place nation in the region will face a playoff against the winner of the Oceania region, most likely New Zealand.The playoff will be one match only, and will be hosted by Qatar. The fixture is scheduled to be played in June.

Which nations are still in contention?

Of the eight teams in the final stage of qualifying, El Salvador, Honduras and Jamaica have been eliminated.That leaves Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and United States still with hopes of making the finals.

What are the remaining fixtures?

March 24
Costa Rica vs. Canada
Panama vs. Honduras
Jamaica vs. El Salvador
Mexico vs. United States

March 27
Canada vs. Jamaica
Honduras vs. Mexico
El Salvador vs. Costa Rica
United States vs. Panama

March 30
Panama vs. Canada
Jamaica vs. Honduras
Mexico vs. El Salvador
Costa Rica vs. United States

How each nation can qualify

1. Canada (25 points)

Coach John Herdman is all but certain to lead Canada to only its second men’s World Cup finals. The previous appearance came in 1986, when it lost all three matches to France, Hungary and Soviet Union without scoring a goal.Unbeaten throughout all 11 matches so far in this phase, Canada is guaranteed at least fourth and the place in the intercontinental playoff.Canada needs a maximum of two points to qualify automatically for the World Cup, but other results are likely to see it over the line even if it doesn’t achieve this.Additionally, if Panama fails to win at home to Honduras on March 24, Canada needs only a point at Costa Rica that day to qualify.

2. United States (21)

The 3-0 win over Honduras on Feb. 2 put the United States firmly in control of its own destiny, but with all three remaining matches against qualification rivals — including away fixtures to two of the strongest CONCACAF nations, Mexico and Costa Rica — it cannot start planning for Qatar yet.

If USMNT fails to win in Mexico, it will really open up the group. Panama plays a Honduras team that hasn’t won any of its 11 matches, so victory for Panama would place it only one or two points behind the U.S. (Costa Rica would move close, too, if it beats Canada.) United States and Panama then would meet at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando on March 27; defeat for USMNT could leave it facing, at best, the intercontinental playoff.However, the United States can allay most fears with victory at Mexico — that would leave coach Gregg Berhalter needing at most two points from the remaining two matches.

3. Mexico (21)

While it may seem as though Mexico’s task is the same as the United States’, with both on 21 points, El Tri coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino has the benefit of, on paper, at least, a more favorable fixture list. After hosting the United States, Mexico then plays at bottom-of-the-table Honduras before completing its campaign at home to another already-eliminated team, El Salvador.It means that failing to win on March 24 may not be so damaging to Mexico as it could be to USMNT.If Mexico beats United States, it would need a maximum of two points to qualify for the finals. If Mexico draws against the U.S., it would need four points from the remaining fixtures. After a defeat, it would need to win both games to be certain, though again, other results may mean fewer would send it to the finals.

4. Panama (17)

Panama’s hopes of a second successive World Cup appear slim, and it has to win at home to Honduras on March 24 to retain any realistic chance of being, automatically, at least, at its second successive World Cup.With a win at home to Honduras, Panama will be within touching distance of one, or both, of Mexico and the United States, depending on the result of that tie.Its final two qualifiers are then against the top two nations in the group, and it would need at least a point at the U.S. before hosting Canada on March 30.Its best hope would appear to be a USMNT defeat in Mexico, and then to avoid defeat in Orlando to take it to the final day. Victory at home to Canada could then send Panama to the World Cup if USMNT fails at Costa Rica.

5. Costa Rica (16)

Costa Rica, which has been at four of the past five World Cup finals, is up against it and must win all three games to have a realistic chance of qualifying automatically.Three victories and a tally of 25 points gives it a shot, but it will also need one of Mexico or the United States to have poor results in the three matches. The fixture list suggests that is more likely to be the United States, so Costa Rica can only win its matches against Canada and El Salvador and hope it is within striking distance of USMNT when the two nations meet in the final qualifier on March 30.Panama, of course, would also have a say in what Costa Rica may require should it go down to the final round of qualifiers.

USMNT midfield thrives in 3-0 win over Honduras in frigid St. Paul

There are three things that are at the core of the USMNT’s 3-0 win over Honduras in a World Cup qualifier in St. Paul: great midfield play, effective set piece deliveries, and frigid temperatures getting the most of a disinterested Honduras team. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta breaks it all down


HE UNITED STATES national team got both the performance and the result it needed in Wednesday night’s critical 3-0 win over Honduras in World Cup qualifying. The decision to play the game in St. Paul was controversial and the cold front that arrived on gameday to bring temperatures around 0 degrees Fahrenheit only added to that. But in the end, Honduras withered in the elements and the U.S. team excelled. This made for a comfortable win for Gregg Berhalter’s team.The starting lineup was also bold. Berhatler was already without Tyler Adams and Chris Richards, who were injured in the loss to Canada. The manager also elected not to start Christian Pulisic, Sergino Dest, Brenden Aaronson, and Yunus Musah. Instead, he started Reggie Cannon, Luca de la Torre, Jordan Morris, Kellyn Acosta.When all was said and done, the lineup worked very well.The U.S. team struck early in the 8th minute when Weston McKennie brilliantly headed home a free kick delivered by Acosta. That early goal seemed to take a lot of pressure off the U.S. team and the team was able to control the game. On the occasions where Honduras had the ball or won a corner, the U.S. easily defended. The U.S. team took a 2-0 lead in the 37th minute when Acosta’s free kick found captain Walker Zimmerman in the box. The Nashville SC central defender collected the ball and fired a low shot past goalkeeper Luis Lopez for a commanding advantage.In the second half, Honduras completely fell apart. The team made a trio of subs to start the final 45 minutes as players struggled with the cold and it only rarely was able to bring the ball into the attacking half. The U.S. team was always in control. Christian Pulisic came into the game in the 65th minute and scored two minutes later after a corner kick from Acosta was flicked on from Ricardo Pepi, grazing Zimmerman, and falling to Pulisic who hit an easy shot to the lower right of the goal for a 3-0 lead.From there, it was uneventful as the U.S. closed out a win. Pulisic had another goal called back because Brenden Aaronson was judged to have been offside ion the initial play.With the temperature continuing to drop and the result of the game not in doubt, no stoppage time was given, and the U.S. team celebrated a 3-0 win. It capped a six=point window that was good, but not great. The final March window has the toughest games for the U.S. team and the table remains tight. This night, however, offered both some momentum and a brief respite ahead of very challenging three games in seven weeks.Here are my thoughts on it all


 The biggest story of the game was the midfield. Weston McKennie, Kellyn Acosta, and Luca de la Torre were the difference makers and the three best players on the field in this game.Acosta delivered the best set pieces that the U.S. team had over the first 11 games of the Octagon. His deliveries resulted in all three goals and that was the difference in the game. But he also was strong in a lot of other areas – he was 55/64 with his passing including 3/5 in long balls and four key passes. He won 4/5 of his duels, was 1/1 in his tackling, drew two fouls and had an interception.McKennie, meanwhile, scored the opening goal on a wonderful header. He was also very effective with his dribbling (4/5), and won 7/8 of his duels. He was the most dominating player on the field from the run of play.Meawhile, Luca de la Torre had a breakout performance, and his highlights were his ability to quickly advance the ball up the field – both with his dribbling and his passing. He was always able to keep Honduras pinned back with his direct play.Most of this isn’t surprising. McKennie has played many good games for the U.S. team before and Acosta has had some very good games for the U.S. team – typically at times when Tyler Adams can’t go.But this then raises questions about Luca de la Torre and his role going forward. Perhaps it might turn out that right now, he could be a better fit for the U.S. team than Yunus Musah. You don’t want to read too much into a game against a bad Honduras team, but de la Torre plays more week-in, week-out and might compliment the attack more. Maybe not, but it wouldn’t surprise me. 


 The big story was the decision to host this game in St. Paul. Yes, it was cold even by Minnesota standards but U.S. Soccer flirted with frigid just by having this game in St. Paul on Groundhogs day and it got something that was unseasonably cold, but something that was always possible.Everything worked out for U.S. Soccer. Tough conditions have a way of acting as a talent neutralizer. Why wouldn’t U.S Soccer want to host this game in California, Florida, or Texas and just let their talent win it out? This level of cold also risked injuries. None of this happened. The U.S. team didn’t pick up any injures, the U.S. team scored early to take away the danger of an upset, Honduras couldn’t handle the elements and crumbled.

Was it fair? Yes. Honduras had starters who couldn’t continue but was this any different than when Bolivia plays a game in La Paz at 12,000 feet above sea level? Long-time American fans will remember when Guatemala decided to host a World Cup qualifier against the United States in 2000 in a jungle town of Mazatenango (120 miles from Guatemala City) in brutally hot conditions.Is this the right thing to do going forward? Probably not. The risk for injuries in these temperatures is always higher and it is debatable why it is necessary against a team where there is a massive talent edge. Fortunately, the one March home qualifier is in Orlando and the U.S. team won’t have another home World Cup qualifier for seven years after that so this game will be ancient history.  


 The United States now has a four-point gap on a qualifying spot on fourth place Panama and a five-point gap on Costa Rica. The issue for the U.S. team is that it has its toughest window ahead. At the time of the draw, it was known the U.S. team needed a healthy lead heading into the final window. Four points is decent, although it would have liked to have more.The U.S. has never won a competitive away game against Mexico or Costa Rica. Now it has both those games ahead. Plus, Panama is playing very well and outplayed Mexico on Wednesday for long stretches in a 1-0 loss at Azteca.If the U.S. team loses to Mexico in the first game, it would set the stage for a game against Panama it will almost certainly need to win (a draw would not be enough). What the U.S. team also desperately needs is for Canada to win or draw against Costa Rica in the first matchday.A Costa Rica win over Canada would be a nightmare to the U.S. team if it loses to Mexico. Then the U.S. team could beat Panama in the second matchday and still be in trouble because Costa Rica has a winnable game in its second matchday away at El Salvador. That would raise the stakes for the final matchday when the U.S. team travels to Costa Rica perhaps needed a result to qualify.The U.S. team can only hope to be healthy and to have most of its core fit for these games.



 Matt Turner: The New England goalkeeper didn’t have to make a single save and touched the ball eight times. Rating: 5.5

Antonee Robinson: The Fulham left back helped the US team keep the offensive pressure up and had passes which led to three shots. Rating: 6.5

Walker Zimmerman: A very good outing from the team captain who was active in his set piece attacks. He scored the team’s second goal and was involved in the final. Defensively, he handled whatever Honduras sent his way. He did everything that was asked of him. Rating: 7.5

Miles Robinson: The Atlanta United was rarely pressed into defensive action and whenever he was, passed the test. Rating: 6.0

Reggie Cannon: The Boavista right back wasn’t an offensive threat up flanks too often but he combined well with Weah in the second half. Rating: 6.0

Kellyn Acosta: The new LAFC midfielder had the biggest impact on the game with his set piece deliveries resulting in all three goals. While he didn’t have the dribbling impact McKennie or de la Torre had, Acosta strong performance wasn’t limited to his set piece deliveries. His passing was very effective, and his passing range opened the game up. He also won almost all of his duels. Rating: 8.0

Weston McKennie: Was a key part of a midfield that just worked. His dribbling put Honduras on their heels and his fantastic header opened up the scoring and quickly set the tone for the game. He won his duels and did everything that was asked of him. Rating: 7.5

Luca de la Torre: Making his first World Cup qualifying start, de la Torre fit into the midfield like a glove. He was very effective advancing the ball into dangerous positions in the final third. His decision making and passing really made the attack click. Rating: 7.5

Jordan Morris: The Seattle Sounder had less of an impact than other attackers (only 23 touches over 65 minutes) but still had some nice moments in the second half when he was combining in the penalty area for chances. Rating: 5.5

Tim Weah: The Lille winger came to life in the second half and his combinations with McKennie were the highlight. He became tough to contain for a Honduras team that grew disinterested as the game wore on. Rating: 6.5

Ricardo Pepi: His three shots all had a high degree of difficulty with his best chance coming off an Antonee Robinson cross in the first half. In the second half, Morris played him a good ball which set him up for a chance which he fired wide. His flick-on header off Acosta’s corner helped with the third goal. He needs to be more dangerous but it wasn’t needed on the night. Rating: 5.5


 Christian Pulisic: The Chelsea winger made an immediate impact, scoring the final goal two minutes after coming on to put the game out of reach. He was dangerous to close out the game and had a goal called back but Honduras gave up at that point. Rating: 7.0

Brenden Aaronson: The Salzburg helped the U.S. team continue to press and attack the final 15 minutes despite the game being out of reach. Rating: 6.0

Jesus Ferreira: Came on for the final 15 minutes but never really saw the ball. Rating: NR

Christian Roldan: A late cameo from the Sounder. Rating: NR

United States’ Clint Dempsey, the leading scorer in USMNT history will be inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame

Soccer on TV: The Milan derby and the Africa Cup of Nations final highlight the weekend

Plus big games in La Liga, the Bundesliga, and England’s men’s FA Cup and Women’s Super League.

Arsenal vs. Manchester United

Saturday, 7:30 a.m. (NBCSports.com, atafootball.com, Fanatiz)

It’s a big weekend in the FA Women’s Super League. Tobin Heath and first-place Arsenal, leading Chelsea by four points, start things off by hosting third-place Manchester United — which can move up to second with an upset win and a Chelsea loss.

Kidderminster Harriers vs. West Ham United

Saturday, 7:30 a.m. (ESPN+)

The most fun games in the FA Cup are when lower-league teams host Premier League giants. Unfortunately, almost all the fourth-round games involving Premier League teams have them at home: Manchester United vs. Middlesborough (Friday, 3 p.m.), Chelsea vs. Plymouth Argyle (Saturday, 7:30 a.m.), Crystal Palace vs. Hartlepool United (Saturday, 10 a.m.), Southampton vs. Coventry City (Saturday, 10 a.m.), Manchester City vs. Fulham (Saturday, 10 a.m.), and Liverpool vs. Cardiff City (Sunday, 7 a.m.)  Fortunately, there’s one game this weekend where the underdog gets to play at home, and it’s the lowest-ranked team of all. Kidderminster is a sixth-division team, and has never been higher than the third tier. If you don’t want to wake up early Saturday, check out third-division Cambridge United — which won at Newcastle United in the third round — hosting second-division Luton Town (12:30 p.m.). And you can surf around all 16 of the weekend’s games, because they’ll all be on ESPN+.

Burkina Faso vs. Cameroon

Saturday, 11 a.m. (beIN Sports Xtra)

Cameroon’s loss on penalty kicks to Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations semifinals meant that the Indomitable Lions became the eighth straight host country to fail to win the tournament. 76ers star Joel Embiid was one of many Cameroon fans around the world who was not pleased with the team’s poor shootout attempts.

Inter Milan vs. AC Milan

Saturday, noon (CBS Sports Network, Paramount+)

This is not just the game of the weekend in Europe, but one of the games of the season. AC Milan needs to win the latest Derby della Madonnina to close the gap on Inter, which leads Milan and Napoli by four points. CBS is sending its entire broadcast crew to the famed San Siro stadium for the occasion.

Chelsea vs. Manchester City

Sunday, 7:30 a.m. (CNBC)

Sam Kerr and Chelsea need this win to keep pace with Arsenal. Manchester City needs a win to get out of fifth, a shocking place for one of the FAWSL’s traditional powers.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. (ESPN+)

Second place in the Bundesliga hosts third place, and American viewers will hope to see Gio Reyna return to action for Dortmund.

Barcelona vs. Atlético Madrid

Sunday, 10:15 a.m. (ESPN+)

Barcelona got to start its overhaul during the winter transfer window, but couldn’t finish it. Ferran Torres, Adama Traoré, and — at the last minutePierre-Emerick Aubameyang came in, but big-salaried winger Ousmane Dembélé did not go out. Has enough been fixed to get Barcelona into the top four, and thus into next year’s Champions League? This game will be a big test.

Rangers vs. Hearts

Sunday, 11 a.m. (CBS Sports Network)

After holding on to first place in the Scottish Premiership since mid-September, Rangers were overtaken by Celtic when the Hoops won Wednesday’s Old Firm showdown in a 3-0 rout. A win over third-place Hearts is a must if Rangers are to have a chance of regaining the top spot this season.This game will be part of a Scottish doubleheader on CBS Sports Network Sunday morning. Celtic visits fourth-place Motherwell in the early game (8:30 a.m.).

Al-Hilal vs. Al Jazira

Sunday, 11:30 a.m. (FS2, Fox Deportes)

The other second-round game in the Club World Cup is an all-Middle Eastern matchup. Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia is the Asian Champions League holder, while Al Jazira of the host United Arab Emirates beat Tahiti’s AS Pirae 4-1 in the first round.

Senegal vs. Egypt

Sunday, 2 p.m. (beIN Sports Xtra)

The AFCON championship game will be full of stars: Sadio Mané, Idrissa Gueye and Kalidou Koulibaly lead Senegal against Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Mohamed Elneny and Mahmoud “Trézéguet” Hassan — nicknamed for former French star David Trezeguet, but not actually related.

Lille vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)

The spotlight will be on PSG as always, but the news in this game is that reigning French champion Lille is in 11th place in the Ligue 1 standings.

USMNT weekend viewing guide: returning to the pitch

Welcome back! By jcksnftsn  Feb 4, 2022, 10:15am PST  Stars and Stripes  Don’t flinch now: fresh off their most recent round of World Cup qualifying matches, players return to their clubs and straight into some significant matches (assuming they’ve thawed out enough to effectively play over the weekend). Unfortunately, the only match on Friday features Konrad de la Fuente’s Olympique Marseille, but Konrad hasn’t been included in the squad so we will start our guide with Saturday’s action.


Chelsea v Plymouth Argyle – 7:30a on ESPN+

Get your weekend started early Saturday morning when Christian Pulisic and Chelsea FC face League One side Plymouth Argyle in FA Cup action. Starting on Saturday morning would be a very quick turnaround for Pulisic, who came off the bench to pick up a goal in his 30 minutes Wednesday evening for the USMNT. However, Pulisic did get the start in Chelsea’s first FA Cup match against fifth tier side Chesterfield in early January, so Tuchel apparently doesn’t feel the need to go full rotation against these lower sides. Chelsea’s upcoming schedule has some irregularities, as they will play in the Club World Cup midweek and their next EPL match isn’t until mid-February, almost a month after their last league match. Pulisic has had a bit of a dry season with three goals and three assists across all competitions, but perhaps the USMNT goal and a couple matches against lower sides will be the kickstart he needs.

Other notes:

  • Matt Miazga and Deportivo Alavés visit Elche at 8a on ESPN+. Miazga has been in and out of the lineup this season, sitting the most recent match after having started the previous two.
  • Chris Richards has avoided serious injury, but will be unavailable to play when Hoffenheim face Mainz at 9:30a on ESPN+.
  • Ricardo Pepi has quickly moved into the starting lineup and will look to open his scoresheet as Augsburg face Union Berlin at 9:30a on ESPN+.
  • George Bello has been welcomed to Arminia Bielefeld and his club will face fellow American Joe Scally and his Borussia Mönchengladbach side at 9:30a on ESPN+.
  • A back injury kept Zack Steffen from participating with the USMNT over the international window, but he has reportedly returned to training and is expected to start Manchester City’s FA Cup match against Fulham FC and their duo of Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson. The match will be aired at 10a on ESPN+.
  • Josh Sargent and Norwich City will face Wolverhampton Wanderers at 10a on ESPN+ in FA Cup action.
  • Matthew Hoppe has just three league appearances for Mallorca this season. The club faces Cadiz at 10:15a on ESPN+ in a relegation battle. Mallorca currently sit two points ahead of Cadiz, who occupy the final relegation spot.
  • RB Leipzig face Bayern Munich this weekend in a match Leipzig was probably hoping would have title implications at the beginning of the season. However, at this point they’ve fallen well behind Bayern and instead need to focus on achieving a top four position, which they currently trail by three points. Tyler Adams will be unavailable for Leipzig this weekend as their match kicks off at 12:30p on ESPN+.


Borussia Dortmund v Bayer Leverkusen – 9:30a on ESPN+

Giovanni Reyna has finally returned from an injury layoff that definitely wasn’t extended by a couple of weeks to ensure he wouldn’t have to travel internationally and risk injury in freezing temperatures. Borussia Dortmund are dealing with some other injuries in the club and it sounds like Marco Rose is looking for Reyna to step right back in and help keep things on track in a matchup between the second and third place teams in the Bundesliga. Dortmund currently sit six points behind Bayern Munich which means they have no margin for error, even against the third place side.

Reyna has been off since being injured during the September international break so he has not seen the field in a competitive match since August when he started the clubs first three matches and scored in two of his three appearances. An extended appearance would be a fantastic first step back for a player who hasn’t played in five months.

Other notes:

  • Yunus Musah had started three straight league matches heading into the international window and now his club face Real Sociedad at 8a on ESPN+.
  • Gianluca Busio missed the international window due to COVID, and Tanner Tessmann was not called in either. Their Venezia side face Napoli at 9a on Paramount+, and any result against the second place side would be massive for avoiding relegation.
  • Sergiño Dest and FC Barcelona face Atletico Madrid at 10:15a on ESPN+ in a matchup of two sides underperforming but scrapping to get back into the chase for Champions League qualification. Currently, Atletico are in fourth place, one point ahead of Barcelona.
  • Coming off his stellar performance for the USMNT, Luca de la Torre will look to have a similar impact as his Heracles side face Ajax at 10:45a on ESPN+.
  • John Brooks and Wolfsburg face Greuther Fürth at 11:30a on ESPN+. If Florian Kohfeldt’s side continue their scoring woes against the porous Fürth defense, they’ll have some serious questions to ask. Kevin Paredes has recently joined Wolfsburg from DC United, but seems unlikely to appear soon.
  • Timothy Weah and Lille face league leading Paris Saint-Germain at 2:45p on beIN Sports. Weah continues to be a key contributor for club and country.
  • Weston McKennie and Juventus close out the weekend at 2:45p on Paramount+ as they face Hellas Verona. The top five spots in the table are pretty tight and Juventus have work to do in order to crack the top four.

Let us know in the comments which matches you will be watching this weekend!

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