Tuesday’s soccer news starts with the USMNT closing out the June international window at El Salvador in the Concacaf Nations League (10pm ET – FS1). El Salvador leads group D with four points from two games. The United States is in 2nd-place with three points from one game. A win or a draw would see the United States move into the top spot with a +5 goal difference to El Salvador’s +2.
With the USMNT coming off of a 5-0 shutout of Grenada at Austin’s Q2 Stadium, the expectations are high for another version of the USMNT’s attack. With that in mind, here are three things we’re looking for later tonight at Estadio Cuscutlan.
Another version of the USMNT offense
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter already told media that Haji Wright will get the start as he continues to work through his forward options. Wright subbed on against Morocco and showed why he belongs with the group following a strong season with Antalyaspor. While Jesus Ferreira set a high bar with his four goals against Grenada, he was quick to point to the team effort in generating chances. Wright should get the opportunity to show that he can also close out opportunities for the United States.
As for the attack as a whole, the USMNT is in position to continue to press and overwhelm opponents. Some pundits pointed to that against Grenada, expecting earlier goals and even more production. There’s only so much necessary to provide proof of concept for the USMNT offense, and they showed that at home in the Nations League. Things change on the road, a necessary caveat when assessing another version of the USMNT starting lineup.
Horvath in goal
We also know that Ethan Horvath will play against El Salvador, the third US starting goalkeeper in as many games. That’s another opportunity in a contested position, giving Matt Turner, Sean Johnson, and Horvath game time in advance of roster decisions. Along with Zack Steffen, unavailable in this window, Berhalter has options that could also shape the defensive strategy in front of his eventual pick for starting goalkeeper.
Turner didn’t need to make a save to keep the clean sheet against Grenada, a team that drew 2-2 at home with El Salvador. While it’s a good test for the USMNT defense to face serious chances, that’s not a given at this point in Nations League play.
Raining in the Nations League
The USMNT practiced in the rain at Estadio Cuscutlan on Monday and should expect more of the same tonight. With the weather not cooperating, the complexion of the game could change. That requires game management specific to the conditions, even if those conditions may have little relevance for a World Cup with only a slight chance for rain.
Fellow Concacaf World Cup team Canada lost 2-1 in the rain at Honduras on Monday night. Honduras held a 2-0 lead with goals from Kevin Lopez in the 13th and Kervin Arriaga in the 78th. Canada pulled a goal back through Jonathan David in the 86th with Alistair Johnston seeing red in stoppage time. The loss has Canada in 2nd-place in group C with a game in hand, trailing 1st-place Honduras by three points and ahead of 3rd-place Curacao on goal difference.
Moving to World Cup qualifying, Australia advanced past Peru 5-4 on penalties. Both teams had difficulty turning chances into shots on goal, with Australia credited with two from 11 and Peru one from 10. Australia joins group D playing France, Tunisia, and Denmark.
In Major League Soccer, NYCFC announced that head coach Ronny Delia is leaving for the coaching job at Standard Liege in Belgium’s Pro League. Assistant Nick Cushing is now NYCFC’s interim coach.
“We know this was not a decision Ronny took lightly, but we understand his desire to return to Europe and be closer to home,” NYCFC sporting director David Lee said in the press statement announcing the move. “He has been a true leader since joining the Club and we wish him well for the next challenge in his career.”
MLSsoccer’s Charles Boehm looks at the USMNT on the road in the Nations League. SI’s Brian Straus on the USMNT’s goalkeeping situation. American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta with the USMNT looking to move into 1st-place in their Nations League group.
WEDNESDAY’S SOCCER TV
ESPN Deportes has the Santos Laguna vs Chivas friendly at 9:30pm ET.
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