Wednesday's soccer news starts with the never-ending 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League. With the semifinal and final moved from June to March 2021, Concacaf has now pushed those games to June 2021. The USMNT plays Honduras with the confederation centralizing the semifinals, finals, and 3rd-place game in one location. That location, along with the dates in June, will wait for a later announcement.
Not lost on anybody is that the 2021 Gold Cup begins on July 10. Concacaf has yet to announce the game dates or venues for that competition. Originally, Concacaf planned to run the start of the final round of World Cup qualifying during the June international window. The first Octagonal will now begin in September 2021.
This underlines one of the problems with the push for games during the global restart and rescheduling. Spurs is the latest example of the real concerns with fixture congestion in the midst of the pandemic. Scheduled to play at Leyton Orient in the League Cup, that game ended up postponed due to positive tests from the home side. Spurs' calendar doesn't have space to reschedule that game in a reasonable amount of time.
It's easy to feel for the underdog, but Spurs has five games in ten days, the kind of calendar churn that's becoming ok if not exactly normal these days. With FIFPro pushing the fixture congestion problem before the pandemic, soccer authorities seem to be responding by not letting anything go. England wants to run both of its domestic cup competitions on top of the Premier League. UEFA wants to run the Champions League and Europa League as close to normal as possible. International obligations slot in accordingly, all the better if they can push games further out when it might be allowable to fill stadiums. The result is a glut of games in what some might argue is the worst possible time.
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho referered to his club's situation as "a joke, this is a total joke, but here we go." That's increasingly becoming the feeling across world soccer these days.
Also in the soccer news, Jesse Marsch's Red Bull Salzburg took a first-leg lead in their Champions League playoff series with a 2-1 win at Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Trailing from the 9th minute, Dominik Szoboszlai equalized from the penalty spot in the 49th. Masaya Okugawa scored for Salzburg in the 57th minute. The series concludes at Salzburg on September 30.
"It was a tough battle!," Marsch said. "We knew in advance that it definitely wouldn't be easy. Managing to get a win here after going behind is extremely important for us. It was a good performance in the heat against these opponents who were unbeaten in the league last season. It is a big advantage, but it is only half-time in the tie. We go into the second leg ahead, but we still have more to do. It isn't over yet!"
The Washington Post's Steven Goff talks to USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter about the emerging generation of American players. SI.com's Avi Creditor on what rumors suggest will be a big club move for USMNT and Ajax defender Sergino Dest. American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta interviews USMNT and Hammarby forward Aron Johannsson. The Athletic's James Horncastle looks at what's happening with AC Milan as the club tries to keep pace in Serie A.
All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at email@example.com
Graphic courtesy of Concacaf