Concaclusions, Ep. 5: Raúl Jiménez Is On A Rampage For Wolves

The second international break of the year has arrived and the Concacaf Nations League is set to bring a healthy serving of drama on Matchdays 3 and 4. 

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Mexico, the U.S., and the other top seeds in League A are set to join the inaugural tournament, so there’s no excuse to not tune in if you missed the opening rounds. 

Before the tournament returns, the latest edition of Concaclusions brings you the top storylines involving Concacafers plying their trade across the pond.

Is there anything Raúl Jiménez can’t do?

Wolverhampton Wanderers continue to delight in the production of Mexican striker Raúl Jiménez. El Tri’s frontman made his name as a giant-slayer last year with goals against a collection of the Premier League’s top sides, and once again he played a key role in pulling off a massive upset — this time a 2-0 win against defending champions Manchester City.

If there’s only one moment you catch up on from the weekend’s Premier League action, make it Jimenez’s brilliant run and assist to play provider for Adama Traoré.

Christian Pulisic looking to climb the Chelsea ladder

If you haven’t heard the ruckus surrounding Christian Pulisic’s lack of playing time at Chelsea, then it’s probably past time to leave your rock and see the light of day. Coach Frank Lampard continues to attempt to lower the temperature amid his young team’s solid start to the season.

“If anyone is getting too excited about this, they should calm down”, the first-year tactician said concerning Pulisic. “He has started five games for us.”

The only thing to do for the 21-year-old at this point is to put his head down and work to earn an increased role for the Blues and shrug off the immense weight of a U.S. Soccer community desperate to see him take the Premier League by storm.

Sunday’s match against Southhampton saw Pulisic come on as a late substitute, and the result was just what you’d want to see from the American given his current situation. His precise ball into the box set up Michy Batshuayi for Chelsea’s fourth goal — good for his fourth assist of the campaign.

Keylor Navas shining for PSG

Neymar. Mbappe. Icardi. Cavani. Di Maria. We all know about PSG’s full stable of offensive weapons, but it’s been their defensive record that has really impressed so far in 2019. With an astounding nine clean sheets in 11 matches played and 0.36 goals per game average, the French giants are head and shoulders above the rest of Europe in terms of keeping their opponents at bay.

Much of that success at the back comes down to the efforts of Keylor Navas, who has registered four clean sheets in his five starts. After losing his grip on the starting role when Real Madrid went all in for Thibaut Courtois, the three-time Champions League winner has quickly found his way in the French capital and is demonstrating why he remains one of the best shot-stoppers in the world. 

Meanwhile, things aren’t so rosy for the ‘keeper in the Spanish capital…

Pressure building on Lozano to perform for Napoli

Napoli pulled off one of the acquisitions of the summer when they put pen to paper with Hirving “Chucky” Lozano. The Mexican winger lit up the Eredivisie and garnered the largest sum ($46 million) the Italian club has ever paid for a player, a clear statement of ambition to once again challenge Juventus all the way to the end.

The 24-year-old showed glimpses early on and got his scoring account off and running in a wild 4-3 loss to Juventus, but he has failed to build on that in weeks since. Following another game in which he failed to produce and Napoli drew Torino 0-0, the Italian press is already showing its teeth by criticizing his lack of production in light of the hefty transfer fee. 

Lozano will need to fully settle in and make a lasting impact in the final third sooner rather than later if the Partenopei are to ameliorate their scoring struggles and hang with Juve and Inter at the top of the league.

Roma Defender Chris Smalling Has Been Stellar In Italy

As if he’d not made enough of an impression since joining AS Roma on loan from Manchester United in the summer, defender Chris Smalling really stood out as an exceptional talent on the week of his 30th birthday. 

Hofstra Coach Simon Riddiough Doesn't Need The Power 5 To Define Success

By Jerry Beach

Simon Riddiough, the head coach of the Hofstra women’s soccer team, spent about two minutes of a 21-minute interview Tuesday afternoon discussing why he’s content at the Long Island school and not planning to see if he can replicate his success with a higher-profile Power Five school that would offer the resources and opportunities to make a deep NCAA Tournament run that are generally lacking in the mid-major arena.

Carlo Ancelotti, Aurelio De Laurentiis & Napoli Are In Complete Chaos

It’s hard to believe that only as far back as April 22, 2018, Napoli beat Juventus 1-0 in Turin to move top of the table with only four games remaining. Maurizio Sarri — himself now in charge at Juve — had broken the club record points total in each of the previous two campaigns, and would do so again in 2017-18, but the Naples men ultimately finished second, albeit with yet another unseen total of 91 points.

Canada Has An Opportunity To Prove Their Standing On Friday Against USMNT

This is the moment of truth for Canada's men's national team. 

Concacaf Nations League Returns For Final Group State In November

After nearly a month of waiting for the Concacaf Nations League to kick back into gear, the tournament is finally back this week with the final two matchdays in group play. 

Seattle Sounders & Toronto FC Clash With The MLS Cup On The Line

Just over a week after the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC went on the road and upset the favorites, MLS Cup 2019 is on the horizon as the 24th season in league history comes to a close. CenturyLink Field in Seattle will be the epicenter on Sunday at 3 PM when the two sides face off in the MLS Cup final for the third time in the past four years. 

Paulo Fonseca & The Unlikely Resurgence Of AS Roma In Serie A

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Potential USMNT Contributors From The Nations League Pre-Camp

November 15 could be a day of reckoning for Gregg Berhalter and the United States men's national team. After last month's 2-0 defeat to Canada — the first loss to their neighbors in 35 years — Berhalter needs a win in Orlando to help rectify the USA's position in the first-ever Concacaf Nations League. Anything other than a win would mean that Canada will advance to the semifinals, a shocking result for the U.S.

10 Things In Italy: Mario Balotelli, de Ligt Handballs & Conte's Inter

With the action in Italy heating up both on and off the field, it’s time to get you caught up with what’s been happening in the world of Serie A and, as always, “10 Things” is here to bring you right up to date.

Concaclusions, Ep. 9: Pulisic Strikes Again, Jiménez Haunts Arsenal

Another round of club play is in the books, and several of the region’s top players were in the headlines once again through clutch goals, quality performances, and even uncharacteristic errors.