As you have probably heard, the U.S. Men’s National Team takes on Panama in what can only be described as a crucial World Cup qualifier, today at 4 pm PT. The U.S. trails Panama by one point in the table for the third guaranteed qualification spot, which means the U.S. is currently in a playoff spot, where they would take on Syria or Australia in a two-legged set. The United States are also tied on points with Honduras, but lead by goal differential. If the U.S. wins against Panama, they will be in the best position to qualify, with 12 points going into their match against Trinidad and Tobago, while Panama has to play Costa Rica. Mathematically, this is not a must-win game, but as many have said, for all intents and purposes, the U.S. has to win this game. ESPNFC’s Jeff Carlisle takes a look at what the U.S. needs to do in tonight’s big match.
If I told you that Lionel Messi is close to missing the World Cup, how would you feel? Because with their scoreless draw against Peru last night, Argentina needs a win on the road against Ecuador to secure a playoff spot against New Zealand. They also need Colombia to beat Peru in Peru, or they need to beat Ecuador by more than Peru would beat Colombia. CONMEBOL qualifying is such a roller coaster that none of the teams outside of Brazil have secured qualification. As of right now, Argentina is NOT headed to Russia for the World Cup. If they lose to Ecuador, they miss the World Cup. If they draw, and Peru draws or wins, they are out. It’s absolutely shocking, and then you add in that Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal will be in a UEFA Playoff and therefore could possibly miss the World Cup, we’re in for a wild last day of World Cup Qualifiers on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Major League Soccer continues to roll on through the international break, and as baffling as that is, there are three matches over the weekend, that, believe it or not, are pretty important for those involved. New York Red Bulls take on the Vancouver Whitecaps, and a win would secure a postseason spot for New York. The Whitecaps, meanwhile, are looking to take another step to lock up the top spot in the West. Minnesota United plays Sporting Kansas City, and the Colorado Rapids clash with FC Dallas, who just dodged a bullet in not getting points docked for fielding an ineligible player against Orlando City.
Even though we are months away from any sort of transfer window, we still have some players renewing contracts and others with rumors of leaving to other clubs. That is no different for Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta, who just signed a renewed contract with the Catalan giants that will run until he retires. He was linked to clubs such as Inter and Juventus, but the Spanish and Barca legend will now be a one-club man and stay with the Blaugrana until he hangs up the boots.
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