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

Raul Jiménez, Mexico, Wolves

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. 

Concaclusions Episode 9 brings you three of the top storylines involving Concacafers in Europe over the weekend.

Pulisic delivers again for Chelsea

Confidence is everything.

That statement is true no matter the walk of life, and you can perhaps see it best in the football world in the body language and attitude of an attacking player.

Christian Pulisic has been desperate for a performance or even a single moment to help regain his swagger after a frustrating first few months in London. There simply couldn’t have been a better way to do so than the Man of the Match performance by way of a hat trick in the Blues’ 4-2 win over Burnley at the end of October.

With his lack of playing time dominating headlines in the American soccer community, the immediate question after his breakout performance was whether or not it would lead to a consecutive start and a chance to capitalize on the momentum. Pulisic indeed trotted out in Chelsea’s starting XI against Watford and produced a fine 82-minute stint, capped off by what proved to be the match-deciding goal in the 55th minute.

He finished with three shots on goal and broke through with a tap-in from close range. On this occasion, it was all about his movement and intelligent run to get on the end of Tammy Abraham’s ball across the box.

Next up for Chelsea is a Champions League fixture against Ajax, and a win can see them take sole possession of top spot in the group. Let the good times roll.

Raúl Jiménez haunts Arsenal once again

With goals against several of England’s top clubs in his breakout season, we learned last year that there is no stage too big for Mexican striker Raúl Jiménez. The 28-year-old has the backing of El Tri manager Tata Martino as the team’s best striker, and he often looks the part by way of his performances in the Premier League.

Jiménez was at it once against at the weekend, this time with a splendid finish to compound Arsenal’s recent woes. The Gunners may have got on the board first on Saturday through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 21st minute, but as the match wore on it was Wolves who were able to produce the majority of quality scoring chances despite enjoying less of the ball. Their efforts paid off with just over 14 minutes to play when Jiménez rose at the back post and beat his marker to nod home past a helpless Bernd Leno.

With his fine headed goal at the Emirates, Jiménez now has nine goals to his name in all competitions. They are nowhere near where they aimed to be at the beginning of the season, but the 11 teams above them should be wary should they start stringing together results. Next up is a Europa League tilt against Slovakian outfit Slovan Bratislava.

Keylor Navas has rare off night in PSG defeat

When Kylian Mbappé ripped through the back line and cleverly flicked over the keeper in the 19th minute, it appeared PSG were well on their way to another comfortable win and potentially their sixth league shutout since Keylor Navas arrived.

Let’s just say Dijon had other ideas.

Rather than roll over to the Parisian giants, bottom of the table Dijon put their heads down and kept their shape while enjoying merely a third of possession. Their forays forward were both intelligent and efficient, resulting in two more shots on target than PSG at the end of the match.

The timing of their first goal was crucial, as a goal at the stroke of halftime can do wonders for an underdog’s mentality and simultaneously bring a favored side plummeting back down to earth. A low cross into the six-yard box should have been gathered by Navas or at least pushed away from danger, but his spill fell right to the feet of Mounir Chouiar to slam home.

At 1-1 there was everything to play for in the second stanza, and Dijon came storming out of the game to take the lead two minutes in and were ultimately able to hold on for the 2-1 result – their first-ever win over PSG. Navas once again had a moment to forget, as Jhonder Cadiz wiggled his way through the box and beat the ‘keeper through the legs from an incredibly tight angle. You can watch the highlights here.

Navas will look to get back to his normal self when PSG host Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Roma Defender Chris Smalling Has Been Stellar In Italy

Chris Smalling, AS Roma

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

Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli

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

Gerardo Martino, Mexico

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

Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC

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

AS Roma

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Potential USMNT Contributors From The Nations League Pre-Camp

Sebastian Lletget, USMNT

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

Mario Balotelli, Brescia

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.