Welcome back, Mane Landers. It’s been quite a week. Heck, it’s been quite a season, hasn’t it? Let’s see what’s been going on since we last chatted.
Clint Dempsey announced his retirement from both club and country yesterday. I don’t say this is a good thing because I think he retires, but because he has represented the beautiful game for the U.S. on the national team, in Major League Soccer, and in the English Premier League. It is my feeling he did all of that in a professional manner that all U.S. soccer fans can be proud of.
Dempsey scored 57 goals for the USMNT (tied for the most with Landon Donovan), 57 in the EPL, and 72 in MLS. His 141 appearances for the USMNT put him third behind Cobi Jones (164), and Donovan (157). He also had 186 appearances in MLS, and 218 in the EPL. He was an integral player for the USMNT for many years, and provided some great moments, including the goal against Costa Rica on a field of snow for 2014 World Cup qualification. He was also the first U.S. player to score a goal in three different World Cups, including the one against Ghana in 2014. If you’ve got the time, relive them all in the video below. Regardless, we thank the man known as “Captain America” for his service to U.S. Soccer. So for one last time...the Deuce is loose!
There couldn’t have been any doubt about this one. The Orlando Pride have missed the playoffs. A team with some of the biggest names in the game was unable to pull together as a team to accomplish which was, on paper, a foregone conclusion. Of course, this is sports, and matches are not played on paper, but on the field. There was something slightly off about the team this year, and you can’t chalk it up to time together. Last season, Marta didn’t sign until late, and Alex Morgan was playing with Lyon for the first part of the season. Yet, that team gelled and was able to make an incredible run to make the playoffs, despite ultimately losing to Portland Thorns FC.
All season I felt that this team would make that turn, figure out the chemistry, or pull it all together. Unfortunately, it did not. The disappointing thing is that no one can figure out why. Not Tom Sermanni, or Morgan, and certainly not I. Perhaps the Pride will play for pride in their last match against Sky Blue FC, but I’m not hopeful.
FIFA, or as John Oliver called it, “A comically grotesque organization,” is the basis of the “ugly” this week. Juan Angel Napout is the former president of South America’s football governing body, COMNEBOL, and he is heading to jail for nine years for his part in FIFA’s bribary scandal. While it’s good that he’s going to jail, the fact that any official in soccer’s international governing body is corrupt is not good. Yes, I know it’s naive to assume otherwise when you’re talking about that kind of power and money, but one would still hope it wasn’t the case.
Napout will have to forfeit $3.37 million and pay a fine of $1 million in addition to his jail sentence. It’s good that Napout, and some of the other former FIFA higher ups are getting what they deserve, but ask yourself one question. Do you think FIFA isn’t still corrupt? Yeah, me either.
That’s going to do it for this week. Don’t forget, the USWNT plays Chile at 11 p.m. on Friday, and the Lions take on the Philadelphia Union at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Check back with us for more coverage of of both matches.