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Lion Links: 9/27/22

USMNT preps for Saudi Arabia, UEFA Nations League roundup, alternatives to Gareth Southgate, and more.

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Happy Tuesday, everyone. As usual, there’s a whole treasure trove of things to discuss today. Before we do though, if you’re in the path of Hurricane Ian, please make sure you’re making proper preparations, or evacuating if you’re like me and live in Tampa. This thing looks like it’ll be no joke, and we need all our loyal readers to stay safe and above water. Now, lets get into today’s links.

USMNT Braces for Saudi Arabia Match-Up

The United States Men’s National Team will take on Saudi Arabia today at 2 p.m. in its final tune-up game before the 2022 World Cup, and there’s plenty of content to help get you ready for the match. Our friends over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with lineup and score predictions, as well as a few things to watch for against unfamiliar opponents. Gregg Berhalter has also promised that fans will see a far different level of intensity than what was on display last Friday, which would certainly be welcome after the performance in a dismal 2-0 defeat to Japan in Dusseldorf. Finally, the man in charge of the Yanks confirmed yesterday that both Christian Pulisic and Ricardo Pepi will start today’s game.

UEFA Nations League Roundup

There was plenty of action in the UEFA Nations League Monday. Most noteworthy was Italy dispatching Hungary, 2-0, to book a spot in the final four of the competition, with goals coming from Giacomo Raspadori and Federico Dimarco. The wildest game of the day, however, took place between England and Germany, with the two sides playing to a thrilling 3-3 draw that saw five of the six goals scored in a frantic 20-minute period during the second half. The Three Lions erased a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead with just seven minutes remaining plus stoppage time, but a Kai Havertz strike in the 87th minute means that England now hasn’t won in its last six games. The nature of the English performance quieted some voices that were growing louder and louder in criticism of Gareth Southgate, but there’s still plenty of pressure ahead of November.

Slim Pickings After Gareth Southgate

Speaking of Southgate, while the masses haven’t been wholeheartedly calling for his head just yet, there have been plenty of doubts voiced about whether he’s the right man for the job, with critics mainly pointing to England’s difficulty scoring from open play, despite boasting an array of attacking talent. The problem with firing him though, is who do you bring in to replace him? Many had been looking towards Graham Potter, but he just took the reins at Chelsea and theoretically won’t be leaving anytime soon. The same can be said for Eddie Howe at Newcastle, and the English FA’s preference for hiring an English manager dilutes the talent pool quite a bit, which means that Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard may be two of the most likely names to be in the post whenever Southgate does leave it.

Watford Appoints Slaven Bilic

It seems like the only team that goes through managers faster than Chelsea is Watford, and Rob Edwards is the latest name to bite the dust at Vicarage Road. In his place comes Slaven Bilic, who has managed West Ham and West Brom in the past, and most recently spent time coaching in China. Bilic comes in on an 18-month contract but the odds of him being in charge for that long can’t be very high. Since Sean Dyche left in July 2012, only two managers have been in charge for more than 50 games — Gianfranco Zola and Javi Gracia. On the other hand, nine hires have been in charge for fewer than 30 games, and the revolving door has been more like a carousel that’s been injected with nitrous oxide.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City did some absolutely fantastic work as part of the Kicking Childhood Cancer campaign.
  • A familiar face celebrated in a familiar way after finishing the Berlin Marathon.

That does it for me today, y’all. Please, please stay safe out there this week.