Friday’s soccer news starts with the United States advancing to the 2022-23 Nations League final in an interesting 3-0 win over Mexico. The USMNT showed they could manage a rivalry game with advancing on the line, but it ended up a long 90 minutes with late red cards that now resonate for the final. Without Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest, the USA will face Canada needing to reconsider its defense.
Canada provided what is probably an unnecessary reminder of what their attack can do in the 2-0 win over Panama to open Thursday night’s semifinals. Already ahead, Alphonso Davies subbed on in the 62nd and showed just how difficult he can be. Eventually doubling the lead in the 69th, Davies had several runs that came close to connecting. The last time Davies was available for Canada against the US was the September 5, 2021 World Cup qualifier in Nashville, where it was Dest marking him.
“We are happy that we got the win and now we’re off to the final,” Davies said. “We need to keep the same mentality, the same energy, the same intensity and move into the next game.”
That game has an emboldened United States, sure of itself after handling Mexico in a latest proof of concept. This is a team that knows what it can do in a variety of scenarios with changing personnel. While there’s no downplaying what Dest provides for wide play and moving centrally as a point of attack or how McKennie can change a game from his roaming position in midfield, the United States has demonstrated how they can adjust against Concacaf opponents.
Figuring out the United States, especially with a trophy on the line, is already the biggest problem for the rest of Concacaf. Showing another version of that on Sunday against Canada is only going to underline that as another version of the USMNT prepares to show the same in the Gold Cup when that camp opens a few days later.
On Tuesday in MLS, Houston won 1-0 at LAFC with Micael scoring in the 23rd minute. The Dynamo played a man up from the 79th after LAFC’s Kwadwo Opoku saw red. Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark made one save to keep the clean sheet.
“It gives us a little bit more buy-in of what we’re doing here,” Houston coach Ben Olsen said. “That at least we’re moving in the right direction. We have to take a lot of this with a grain of salt, but not too much with a grain of salt, right? Also understand what we can do here, as a staff and organization, but also these players. Belief is a big deal in this league.”
Staying in MLS, the New England Revolution announced a buyout of Jozy Altidore’s contract. Altidore played in ten games for the Revs this season, scoring a goal. New England is in 4th-place in the Eastern Conference, tied with 3rd-place Philadelphia with 30 points from 17 games.
WEEKEND SOCCER TV
Saturday has Euro qualifiyng on FS1: Lithuania vs Bulgaria at 9am and Norway vs Scotland at 12pm. Fox Soccer Plus has Luxembourg vs Liechtenstein at 9am, Azerbaijan vs Estonia at 12pm, and Faroe Islands vs Czech Republic at 2:45pm. Iceland vs Slovakia is on FS2 at 2:45pm. Cup of Nations qualifying on beIN Sport: Equatorial Guinea vs Tunisia at 11am. Segunda Division on ESPN Deportes: LEvante vs Alaves at 3pm. Gold Cup qualifiers on Fox Soccer Plus: French Guiana vs Sint Maarten at 4:30pm and Suriname vs Puerto Rico at 7pm. FS2 has Guyana vs Grenada at 9pm. Univision has the Toluca vs Club America friendly at 9:30pm.
Sunday has the Concacaf Nations League 3rd-place game at 6pm and the final at 9pm on Paramount+ and Univision. Cup of Nations qualifying on beIN Sport: Uganda vs Algeria at 11am.
Monday has Euro qualifying on FS2: Armenia vs Latvia at 12pm. Fox Soccer Plus has Finland vs San Marino at 12pm and Turkey vs Wales at 2:45pm. France vs Greece is on FS1 at 2:45pm. All Times Eastern
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Photo by Concacaf.com