Wednesday’s soccer news starts with a press release that’s more of a teaser from the fine folks at CONCACAF. What they initially referred to as the League of Nations is now falling into line with Europe by using Nations League. On March 7 in Miami, we’ll learn the specifics of what CONCACAF has in mind.
The quick takeaway is a response to anybody extending the calendar on the next competitive game for the USMNT. Sure, it won’t be this summer like Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama. It also won’t stretch until the qualifying for 2022. Just like the European model, the point of the Nations League is to turn friendlies into games that count. We know they count because the teams involved are obligated to play them.
Now, we’re waiting for March 7 to see what that looks like in practice. Again, with Europe as the model the expectation is the top teams in the same league, playing a set schedule leading to some form of a playoff. Since they’re taking up most of the international windows, the assumption is first choice squads and the pressure of competitive games.
CONCACAF is asking a lot of the region, but they have to know that going in. They’ve thrown the future of the Gold Cup into question through their president’s comments. We already know that if CONCACAF had its way World Cup qualifying would’ve already changed. There’s an assumption it will change for 2022. We know it has to change for the expanded World Cup in 2026. There’s also the chance at another joint competition between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
Even without the specifics, the focus in the region is on change. We’ve already seen that with the CONCACAF Champions League, moving the bigger countries out of the group stage to revamp a tournament that felt like an obligation for Liga MX and MLS. How the Nations League plays out in theory is the first question. What it looks like in practice is the next.
Also in the soccer news, Aron Johannsson had to sub out of Werder Bremen’s 4-2 loss in extra time at Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB Pokal. With Werder Bremen up from a 4th minute penalty, Johannsson doubled the lead in the 7th minute. Leverkusen scored in the 31st and 55th minute to force extra time, scoring in the 11th and 118th to advance. Danny Williams missed Huddersfield Town’s 4-1 extra time win over Birmingham City in an FA Cup Fourth Round replay. Trailing from the 52nd minute, an own-goal leveled the score for Huddersfield Town in the 60th. With tthe game 1-1 in regulation, Steve Mounie put Huddersfield Town up for good in the 94th minute. Rajiv van La Parra added a goal in the 97th with Tom Ince scoring in the 106th minute.
Pro Soccer Talk’s Joe Prince-Wright talks to USMNT and Newcastle United player DeAndre Yedlin in a Facebook video. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff reports that DC United coach Ben Olsen will serve a touchline ban for the club’s MLS opener. The NASL announced a lawsuit against all but one member of the US Soccer Federation’s board of directors over the denial of second division sanctioning.
BBC Sport’s Tusdiq Dan explains what the transfer tax has done to the once free-spending Chinese Super League.
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