Tuesday's soccer news starts with the USMNT drawn into group B at the 2021 Gold Cup. Concacaf conducted the first ever Gold Cup draw, with the USMNT playing Canada, Martinique, and preliminary round winner 7. The tournament begins on July 10 with Concacaf eventually releasing the cities and schedules.
"We're looking forward to competing in our confederation's premier event," USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said in a press statement. "We have a good group. The three opponents will challenge us in different ways. Our goal is to progress through the group and ultimately compete for a trophy."
Given the uncertainty in the schedule across the board, the generic tone to Berhalter's statement is understandable. Berhalter hasn't had his squad together during an international window since last November. The last time the USMNT played was the January camp friendly against Costa Rica on February 1.
As for the rest of the groups, Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and the preliminary round winner 9 are in group A. Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, and preliminary round winner 8 make up group C. Meanwhile, group D is already complete with Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and guest team Qatar.
With the USMNT sitting out the October window due to release issues and quarantine concerns, Mexico plans to travel to the Netherlands for games against the Dutch and Algeria. The Netherlands announced stricter pandemic controls on Tuesday, including no longer allowing fans into sporting events. Limited numbers of fans had been allowed back in the Eredivisie since the start of the season. Mexico plays Guatemala at the Estadio Azteca on Wednesday, an out of window game that has drawn criticism from Liga MX clubs over player releases.
Though the USMNT is out of action next month, releases for other international teams is also causing issues in Major League Soccer. FIFA's policy on player releases is clear in normal times but doesn't account for quarantine restrictions. With growing concern over losing players for extended periods beyond the window itself, FIFA has yet to address the situation formally.
At this point, it's a common sense issue should clubs be required to have returning players quarantine. The international window and the club schedule leaves no place for that, increasing the pressure on the idea that all games must continue. For the most part, UEFA successfully conducted the September international window because it was European-only. Stretching that to worldwide a month later raises serious concerns. The common sense response would be to postpone World Cup qualifiers and make attendance voluntary. It's simply too soon to try to create the latest pandemic new normal for international soccer.
Moving to the soccer scores, Tim Ream started and Antonee Robinson was on the bench for Fulham's 3-0 home loss to Aston Villa. The goals came in the 4th, 15th, and 48th minutes.
"You can't give up goals the way we did in this division and expect to win football matches," Fulham head coach Scott Parker said. "We put in numerous crosses tonight and got up to their goal pretty well, but their two center-halves defended it.... "We need to work out if we want to compete this year, otherwise it's going to be a tough year," he said. "This team needs to evolve, this team needs to get better and get stronger. And to do that, we need players in."
Bobby Wood was on the bench for Hamburg's 4-3 win at Paderborn in the 2.Bundesliga. Manuel Wintzheimer scored for Hamburg in the 14th with Simon Terodde doubling the lead in the 24th minute. Paderborn answered back with a 34th minute penalty and took the lead with goals in the 36th and 38th minutes. Terodde equalized for Hamburg in the 56th with Aaron Hunt converting an 82nd minute penalty.
Also in the soccer news, Inter Miami announced that they've traded Roman Torres to Seattle for a 2021 SuperDraft pick. Torres left Seattle for Inter in December. Getting CONCACAFed's Jon Arnold works through the Gold Cup draw. SI.com's Brian Straus focuses on the changes to the tournament. The Denver Post's Jake Shapiro reports on the Colorado Rapids' growing number of coronavirus positives.
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Graphic courtesy of Concacaf