Nations League Draw set, Pulisic update, Johannsson nears return, & more
March 27, 2019
Here is some news for your Thursday afternoon
USMNT gets its Nations League draw
The CONCACAF Nations League is a new tournament for the teams of the region which will begin with a group stage format with four groups taking part. That teams playing home and away format with the four group winners advancing to the semifinals and final to be played during the March 2020 window international window.
The U.S. team was drawn with Cuba and Canada. While Cuba and Canada will meet in the September window, the U.S will play two-leg series against Cuba and Canada during the October and November international windows this year (the order has yet to be determined).
It remains to be seen how important and seriously this tournament will become but it moves in the global trend of moving away from friendlies. But without friendlies and the demise of the Confederation’s Cup, the opportunities for the U.S. team to play games outside of its region are becoming more scarce.
This group stage shouldn’t be too challenging for the U.S. team but Canada has some impressive young players, led by Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich, who could see the team return to one that could qualify for the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying. It would be welcome news if Canada could improve its national team and the U.S. could restore its regional rivalry with its northern neighbors.
Meanwhile, the U.S. team has never had much of a rivalry with Cuba and past encounters have usually been dominated by news of Cuban defectors when the games are played in the United States. There is no reason to think it won't happen again this fall. A trip to Havana, however, is always interesting.
Johannsson nears return
Aron Johannsson is a name that American fans have not talked about for quite some time. The 28 year-old forward was extremely promising in 2013 when he joined the U.S. program after playing for Icelandic youth national teams, but injuries have limited his availability.
But Johannsson is making progress and could be back on the field for Werder Bremen soon.
Aron Johannsson nears a return for Werder Bremen https://t.co/HZGKgzZEMX— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) March 28, 2019
Regardless of whether or not he ever returns to the national team, it would be welcome news to see Johannsson return and salvage his career. He still has the talent to do well.
Ferreira pessimistic for U-20 chances
FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira wants to play for the U.S. team at the U-20 World Cup and performed well at the team's January camp. But the Colombian-born Ferreira is still not an American citizen. Although it was expected that his citizenship would be finalized n time before the event, Ferreira today said he no longer believes that to be possible.
FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira told me today he doesn't believe his paperwork will get sorted in time for him to be eligible to represent the United States at the U-20 World Cup.— Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) March 28, 2019
In addition citizenship, Ferreira also needs a waiver from the FIFA residency requirements for naturalized citizens. While he might not be eligible for the U-20 World Cup, Ferreira could be part of the U.S. U-23 team later this year.
The news is a potential blow for Tab Ramos as Ferreira is a quality player. In addition to Ferreira's eligibility problems, forward Justin Rennicks is also out with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the next 2-4 weeks. If he doesn't meet that timetable, the U-20 team could be thin at center forward.
Pulisic’s timetable revealed
Christian Pulisic left Tuesday’s friendly against Chile in the 36th minute with an injury. US Soccer did not have a timetable set for his return after the game.
ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reported on Friday that the Chelsea-bound winger will likely return in 3-4 weeks.
Source with knowledge of the situation tells me that the initial prognosis on Christian Pulisic’s quad injury is that he’ll be sidelined for 3-4 weeks. #usmnt— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 28, 2019
Jones vs. Donovan
Former U.S. national team World Cup starters Jermain Jones and Landon Donovan are now playing indoor soccer in the MASL (Major Arena Soccer League). Donovan for the San Diego Sockers and Jones for the Ontario Fury.
On April 4, the two will face each other and the event is being promoted in near comical terms. The poster is similar to professional wrestling posters of the 1970’s.
Amusing, and somewhat sad.
Chandler suffers setback
Former United States national team right back Timothy Chandler has reportedly suffered a setback in his return from a muscle injury.
On Thursday, the German-born Chandler admitted that he might not return to Eintracht Frankfurt this season – where he has not made an appearance for the club in 2018/19.