The USMNT’s defeat at the hands of Mexico was followed up by a (well-deserved) defeat against Costa Rica yesterday in the final friendly before World Cup 2018 qualification begins. If you are a USMNT supporter that last clause should strike fear into your heart. Some combination of the players you have seen in the last two matches are going to make up the squad when these matches commence and I don’t think Jurgen Klinsmann knows what to do with them. Worse yet, with every national team eligible player available to you, could you pick a back four you’d be confident in going into a competitive match? I couldn’t.
In happier news it appears that Scotland manager Gordon Strachan is going to sign on through the 2018 World Cup. This won’t “fix” anything, but it will at least keep the national team pointed in the right direction. Since Scotland’s failure to qualify for EURO 2016 the players on the Scotland team and numerous managers and pundits have urged Strachan to stay on. Some sources are reporting that it was the 12,000 (yes, you read that correctly) members of the Tartan Army who traveled to Portugal for the final (and meaningless) match of qualification against Gibraltar that convinced him to stay.
In the wake of Scotland’s failure to qualify for EURO 2016 former First Minister (and footballer) Henry McLeish has renewed calls for those in charge of the game in Scotland to continue to forge ahead with the changes he recommended some five years ago. Some have already taken place an appear to be working, but there is clearly still much work to be done. If you’d like a look at his original report there are links within this story. You can also search this site using his name for my own views on the subject.
In managerial news, Motherwell have signed Scotland assistant Mark McGhee for a second spell at the club, Dundee United have signed former Finnish international Mixu Paatelainen, Tommy Wright has signed a new contract at St. Johnstone, and there are as-of-yet unsubstantiated rumors that Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes might be given the boot soon despite having guided the club to first place in the league at the moment. Ladbroke’s has reportedly suspended betting on this possibility, leading one to wonder just what’s brewing at Pittodrie? I have an idea, but I’m going to keep it to myself.
The U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame being located at FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium might be the “most MLS thing” that has ever happened. Just off the top of my head, the St. Louis, Boston, NYC, or Philadelphia metro-areas all would have made more sense because, you know, HISTORY!! Even Chicago- home of U.S. Soccer- would have been better. But as usual, money.