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. 

Qualifying for the semifinal round of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League over the United States is well within reach ahead of Friday's tilt against the USMNT in Orlando, Florida. A win or a draw on Friday means that John Herdman's side will have taken the top spot in League A's Group A, achieving what Canada set out to do at the start of this tournament.

Topping Group A won't exactly erase all the pain associated with the men's national team. Recently, there was the second-half capitulation in the Gold Cup against Haiti, which saw Canada throw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 in the quarterfinals of this summer's Gold Cup. And the disappointment of not making it to the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying for the 2018 World Cup is still fresh enough, as is the humiliating 8-1 loss to Honduras in World Cup qualifying back in 2012. 

But this is a different group for Canada, one that has shown plenty of promise recently. Their last time out, Canada put themselves in this position by beating the U.S. 2-0 at BMO Field. Second-half goals from Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini provided the difference for the Canucks, who picked up their first win over the USA since 1985. Canada felt confident about their chances going into the game, and proved that they are close enough to belong in the conversation with the U.S., a big step forward for the men's team.

And their opponents on Friday come into the game wounded. Not only is head coach Greg Berhalter under plenty of scrutiny for his side's performances this year, but he's missing several critical players for the game. Christian Pulisic is out. As is the Toronto FC duo of Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. Zack Steffen has taken this international break as a chance to rest because of an injury, and Tyler Adams is still not available, having yet to play for RB Leipzig this season. That's five starters, experienced at the international and club level, that could make the difference for the U.S. against Canada, who won't be available on Friday. 

On the other hand, Canada come fully equipped, led by Bayern Munich's Davies. Davies has earned plenty of praise recently for his performances in Germany, where he has recently become a starter at left back. He'll play further forward for Herdman, complimenting either Jonathan David or Cavallini in the attack. The MLS duo of Mark-Anthony Kaye and Jonathan Osorio will help provide the beef in midfield, alongside captain Scott Arfield. And Junior Hoilett will likely provide the spark off the bench, if need be for Canada.

A win or a draw won't completely signify Canada's ascension to the elite in the Concacaf region. They'll have to prove their mettle on bigger stages, at the 2021 Gold Cup, and World Cup qualifying for Qatar 2022. But a positive result on Friday, earning the top spot in Group A, would go a long way in helping Canada achieve their goals, which was what Herdman was tasked to do when he took over the men's team, having helped the Canadian women's team become one of the top teams in the world. 

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.

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.

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.