Despite a weekend off for Orlando City, there was still plenty of soccer taking place so to make sure that our Mane Landers are prepared for Monday, make sure to peruse today's Lion Links!
After heading into the summer with high hopes for the USMNT, U.S. soccer fans can be forgiven for asking where it all went wrong. After a humbling semifinal exit in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, thanks to Jamaica, the U.S. had to play Mexico this weekend in a winner-takes-all, one-game playoff for the CONCACAF Cup and a place at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. This game had lots of hype and promise for the United States, however, just like the rest of the summer, the result was a damp squib and the U.S. lost 3-2 to Mexico in extra time.
The U.S. men don't have long to recover from the last-minute loss in extra time before their next game against Costa Rica on Tuesday, however, the loss means that Jurgen Klinsmann has wrung the changes to hope for a best result during the next USMNT outing. There have been five additions to the squad including our very own Brek Shea, who will be missing our next game against New York City FC, due to yellow card accumulation, and will be happy to increase his match fitness on the international stage.
But the CONCACAF Cup loss wasn't the only bad news for U.S. soccer on Saturday. The U.S. U-23's also suffered defeat, 2-0, at the hands of Honduras in the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. The failure to advance to the tournament final means that the Yanks' chances of qualifying are hanging by a thread. To qualify for Rio, they will now need to beat Canada tomorrow in the tournament's third-place game, and then they will have to defeat Colombia in a one-game playoff in March to advance. If the U.S. doesn't qualify, this will be the second straight tournament they miss after they failed to qualify for London 2012.
There are also a few more links that you need to know about Klinsmann, the state of U.S. soccer and what happens next:
- The LA Times gives us three things that we should take away from the loss
- NBC Sports highlights reasons why Klinsmann should be fired (but probably won't be)
- Jeff Carlisle of ESPN discusses why Klinsmann is a tactical one-trick pony and Taylor Twellman says for the U.S. to get better, the team needs to get younger.
- Grant Wahl tells us that the time to consider Klinsmann position is now, before it's too late
Montreal Impact Make a Dent in Orlando's Playoff Hopes
Montreal Impact used Orlando City's bye week to catch up on its missed games, and on Saturday dealt a big blow to Orlando City's playoff chances with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids, thanks to Didier Drogba's game-winning free kick in the 15th minute. With that goal, Drogba has now scored nine goals in nine games and it means that the Impact are four points ahead of Orlando with Orlando City still having six points available. Basically, the Lions need to win both remaining games and Montreal must lose twice or lose and draw in its last two (at New England and vs. Toronto FC).
There can be no doubt that if Montreal Impact make the playoffs it has been done on the back (and feet) of Didier Drogba, and that makes him probably the signing of the summer. That, however, really comes as no surprise with the 37-year-old still playing some of the best soccer of his career. But, there is a short supply of world-class talent and that is why people like Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo exist. Verdejo is the Billy Beane of soccer and he has uncovered some of the best current talent in Europe -- players like Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Ramos and Jesus Navas, to name just a few -- and gives us an insight into how a club goes about acquiring a new player and why a big name is not always best.
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That's all for today and just remember that we are now t-minus four days until New York City FC at the Citrus Bowl so make sure to bring everyone you know, so we can show them we are better than them in every respect.