With Altidore Out, Who Will Berhalter Turn To Against Cuba & Canada?

On Tuesday, U.S. Soccer announced that Jozy Altidore had withdrawn from the USMNT camp ahead of the Concacaf Nations League games against Cuba and Canada. The striker got injured on Sunday while playing in Toronto FC's final regular-season MLS game, and he'll now have a chance to recover before TFC's playoff game in two weeks.

Altidore presumably was going to start up top for Gregg Berhalter, if not against Cuba then certainly at BMO Field next week against Canada. When healthy, Altidore is still the best option at No. 9 for the Americans, possessing several qualities and skills that make him a good fit for Berhalter's system. 

Without Altidore in the picture, though, it seems that the choice for Berhalter will come down to two options: Gyasi Zardes and Josh Sargent. There was no replacement called in for Altidore, and while Jordan Morris has the ability to play as a striker, it seems that Berhalter prefers the Seattle Sounder out wide, where he also plays for his club.

Most USMNT fans will be clamoring for Sargent to start over the course of the two games. Sargent is young, promising, and getting his fair share of minutes with Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. Sargent has played in six of the seven league games for Bremen this year, starting four, with a goal and an assist to his name. 

Still just 19 years old, Sargent has plenty of room to grow but seems to have found favor at his club in getting minutes this year after being in and out of the squad last year during his debut Bundesliga season. The striker has just three goals in 16 overall appearances for Bremen, but that shouldn't necessarily exclude him from starting against the likes of Cuba and Canada over the next week.

However, Berhalter has shown to be quite fond of Zardes, whom he also coached at the Columbus Crew. During the summer's Gold Cup, Sargent was left off the squad while Zardes split time with Altidore, as Jozy was brought back slowly after an injury. 

Zardes didn't quite reach the same heights in 2019 as he did in 2018, when Berhalter brought him in from the LA Galaxy and turned him back into a deadly poacher with the Crew, as he netted a career-high 19 goals. This year for Caleb Porter, Zardes still found the back of the net 13 times in a season in which Columbus missed the playoffs. 

But there are times when Zardes has inexplicable misses and can't take advantage of certain situations, usually when a first touch lets him down. Of course, he can also then play like an international-caliber forward at other times, which can make his inconsistency all the more maddening. 

So with Altidore out of the picture for the next week, Berhalter has a decision to make. He could possibly decide to split the minutes, giving a start to one of Sargent or Zardes against Cuba, who likely won't put up much of a fight on Friday night at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. But who starts against Canada would indicate the current pecking order right now for the head coach, and whether or not he is willing to turn the spot over to the young Sargent.

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.