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Lion Links: 6/9/22

Scouting Report for Grenada, Nations League’s affect on players, Chris Armas to join Leeds United coaching staff, and more.

Soccer: Morocco at USA Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Hello again, Mane Landers. How is everyone holding up so far? I’m doing good and I’ve been keeping myself busy lately and looking forward to the weekend. First up, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando City midfielder Joey DeZart! With that said, let’s get to today’s links.

Scouting Report for Grenada

The U.S. Men’s National Team will look to defend its Concacaf Nations League title tomorrow when the Yanks take on Grenada at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX. The USMNT is undefeated in its previous three meetings against the Spice Boys. Grenada is ranked 170th in the latest FIFA rankings and comes into this match fresh off a 3-1 loss and a 2-2 draw against El Salvador in their opening match-ups in the competition. The Spice Boys tend to play the ball out of the back, while the defenders maintain a narrow formation. Players to look out for include Jamal Charles, who scored six goals to help Grenada get promoted to League A during the last Nations League campaign. The Charleston Battery’s A.J. Paterson can play anywhere on the back line, has an aerial presence, and can take up space. Indy Eleven’s Alexander McQueen has speed and has been Grenada’s main playmaker to set up his teammates when launching through balls. The USMNT should be able to capitalize on the counter-attack and exploit the wide spaces in this match-up and hopefully get off to a great start tomorrow night.

Nations League’s Affect on Players

Former USMNT defender Demarcus Beasley wrote an interesting piece on on his thoughts on the Nations League in Europe and in Concacaf and how it affects players. Beasley gave his perspective on how some players characterize the competition as glorified friendlies, how they may not have the same motivation and goals, and that he believes that players are exhausted with so many matches to play in a given year. With many players just wrapping up their club competitions in Europe, most would want to go on holiday and stay fit prior to reporting to preseason training. Now, players have to deal with an increase in matches, league competitions, and tournaments. It may be difficult for players to find motivation to compete in competitions like the Nations League, and Beasley said that it’s hard for the Concacaf Nations League to have a purpose right now when we have the 2022 FIFA World Cup just around the corner. It’s an interesting read that I recommend you check out.

Chris Armas to Join Leeds United Coaching Staff

Former Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas is reportedly set to join former colleague Jesse Marsch’s coaching staff at Leeds United. Armas was previously at Manchester United this past season for six months as an assistant coach under former manager Ralf Rangnick. Armas and Marsch where teammates at the Chicago Fire and he was also the assistant coach under Marsch from 2015-2018 with the New York Red Bulls. Armas took over the head coaching duties at the New York Red Bulls when Marsch left to take the head coaching job at Red Bull Salzburg in 2019. Marsch managed to keep Leeds up and avoid relegation after securing a 2-1 win against Brentford in the team’s final match last season and just recently signed American midfielder Brenden Aaronson to the club.

UEFA Nations League Drama

After coming up short on qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Ukraine bounced back in its UEFA Nations League opener, getting a 1-0 shutout against Ireland with a goal from Viktor Tsiganov. It was great to see Ukraine get a win after the side’s heartbreaking loss to Wales in the World Cup qualifying playoff earlier this week. Speaking of Wales, the Dragons lost 2-1 in dramatic fashion to the Netherlands at Cardiff City Stadium in a crazy match. Rhys Norrington-Davies scored the equalizer in stoppage time for Wales to tie the match at 1-1. However, Wout Weghorst had other ideas, as his late header at the death sealed the three points for the Dutch. Scotland won in its match, shutting out Armenia, 2-0. Belgium came from behind to crush Poland, 6-1, despite questions of players commitment after losing a UEFA Nations League opener to the Netherlands last Friday. Today’s notable match-ups will be in League A, where Portugal hosts the Czech Republic, while Switzerland takes on Spain.

Free Kicks

That will do it for me, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Thursday and I’ll see you next time.