In the lead up to Friday night’s clash at Avaya Stadium, the U.S. Men’s National Team was faced with a must-win scenario. What came next though was a bit more shocking than most U.S. Soccer supporters could have possibly imagined. An emphatic 6-0 scoreline was how it finished in San Jose, California as the USMNT took down Honduras to lift itself out of the cellar of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, but it’s how Bruce Arena’s side picked up the result that was so impressive. After an extended layoff that began in the final months of the 2016 Major League Soccer season, Clint Dempsey has returned to both club and country with a vengeance following Friday’s performance. The artist formerly known as
Atlanta United is sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings three weeks into its inaugural Major League Soccer season, and the bite appears to be every bit as fearsome as the bark for the newcomers. Now, the club must contend with its first bit of truly scary news. In-form striker Josef Martinez was injured on international duty with Venezuela and is heading back to the United States for evaluation. The report says he tweaked his left thigh, and after the match head coach Rafael Dudamel said he would release Martinez back to Atlanta, saying, “I do not think it’s good for Josef to travel. This muscle tightness can take 10 days of recovery.” Martinez was subbed off of Venezuela’s match with
Wilfried Zaha combined balance, deft touch, and breakneck speed to score his first international goal for the Ivory Coast. With his side leading Russia 1-0 on Friday, the Crystal Palace winger worked his way through four defenders before burying his shot. Zaha especially fooled with Ilya Kutepov, a harsh cut nearly tipping both to the field. He’s just 24, and it seems much longer ago that he made his failed move to Manchester United in 2013. Failed may be a rough verb considering it all contributed to making him the player he is for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast today.