Wednesday's soccer news starts with Concacaf pushing back the opening round of World Cup qualifying to the March international window. Officials from some of the Concacaf nations involved in the opening round of qualifying had questioned the schedule due to the pandemic.
"Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision," Concacaf said in a statement. "Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult."
SI.com's Brian Straus reports that this will push the start of the new Octagonal final round from June to September, 2020. In a statement, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said, "These are extraordinary times, and we all need to continue to adjust. We have established a strong foundation in our group and we will deal with whatever comes our way. We look forward to receiving the updated schedule so we can plan accordingly."
UEFA successfully playing the opening rounds of the Nations League during the September window only showed a way forward under specific circumstances. For other parts of the world, the situation isn't the same. That underlines the issues with expecting one way forward that will work worldwide. Instead, confederations and federations are left in a situation where they need to insist on what's best for them right now.
How that plays out over the coming months isn't a soccer problem. It's a societal problem as we all work to contain a pandemic. Scheduling World Cup qualifying along with pushing through a domestic schedule takes a backseat to safety. Concacaf deserves credit for recognizing that rather than trying to push forward with a schedule that may have proved unworkable.
Also in the soccer news, FC Dallas confirmed that USMNT player Reggie Cannon is now a member of Boavista in Portugal's Primeira Liga. USMNT player Lee Nguyen is back with the New England Revolution in a trade with Inter Miami. Nguyen left the Revs for LAFC midway through the 2018 season, joining Inter Miami through the expansion draft last November. A proven talent in MLS, Nguyen returns to the team where he scored 51 goals and recorded 49 assists over 191 games.
"New England is where I had some of the best and most memorable moments of my professional career, so having the opportunity to come back here is an incredible feeling," he said. "After speaking with Bruce Arena and his staff, I'm excited to be a part of this team, and I can't wait to put a Revolution shirt on again and play in front of The Fort."
The Portland Timbers announced that Sebastian Blanco is out for the rest of 2020 with a torn ACL. In a tweet, Timber's investor/operator Merritt Paulson wrote, "Blow for us and blow for all of MLS. We lose the most dynamic player in the league so far this year. Seba had taken his game to the next level in 2020. Timbers will pull together cause thats what we do and Seba will be back stronger than ever."
Thank you very much for the honor. I remember all my coaches and teammates along the way who were such a big part of my journey. I appreciate all the kinds words a messages from everyone today. https://t.co/vzG97Dslwd— Carlos Bocanegra (@BocaBoca3) September 9, 2020
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Graphic courtesy of Concacaf