Welcome to Pitch Points, wherein I round up interesting links about local, national, and international soccer. As always, if you see something out in the ether that you’d like me to include, you can always hit me up via Facebook or Twitter.
US Open Cup tonight! Inter Nashville FC takes on Charlotte Eagles (who, I must note every time, have never been sanctioned by USSF despite brazenly flouting Federation rules?) in Matthews, N.C. tonight. You can see the Open Cup match center here.
There’s no clear indication as to whether it will be streamed, but probably?
If you want to know more about Inter, check out my story with head coach Rich Askey last week. They’re a little too known as “Nashville’s other club,” when a rivalry status isn’t all that necessary – unless and until tonight’s win over Charlotte, at which time a one-week rivalry period leading into the second-round Open Cup derby is allowed.
Either way, there are plenty of reasons to pull for Inter Nashville tonight, so do it!
Men’s National Talk. The USMNT has turned down an invitation to the Copa America, and Stars and Stripes FC’s Donald Wine says it’s the right choice.
While many fans may be disappointed that the USMNT will be missing out on competing against some of the best teams in the world at Copa America, this is the right call. You want your best team, whatever that may be, ready to go to compete in the Gold Cup and win that to qualify for what could be the final Confederations Cup (if it actually happens).
I understand the spirit of that argument, but reject the premise. You can… still send your best team to the Gold Cup? Like, am I missing something here? Just send the B team to the Copa, and give young players competitive minutes against great opposition in South America. Here’s an example that took me like 30 seconds:
It’s not polished, but again, pretty much just thrown together (and yes, primarily based off the call-ups for the Paraguay friendly, plus a couple key players added for the Gold Cup roster).
That’s your Gold Cup side on the top: basically an A-team, but composed of guys who won’t age out out the pool by the time the 2022 World Cup rolls around. The bottom is your B-team with a similar concept: those who aren’t quite going to beat out the players for the Gold Cup team, but are pretty darn good for a B-team (and again, aren’t going to age out by 2022).
It’s hardly a polished breakdown, and you could flip-flop a player between the teams here and there, or make an argument for plenty of guys I didn’t include to be on one roster or the other… but that’s the point, yeah? You have two capable starting lineups, and you can have veterans (Bradley, Dempsey, Guzan, Altidore, et al) plus other younger guys who aren’t going to age out and could have an argument for being in one of these sides (Acosta, Delgado, Moore, Rubin) on the bench that you can distribute between the two teams in any fashion that fits the needs and goals for each squad.
Obviously, this is just a thought exercise, because Copa ain’t happening, but that’s a bit of a bummer, of course. And this was a fun thought exercise nonetheless.
In other national team news, DeAndre Yedlin is “proud” that Americans care enough to be upset about missing the World Cup. I know the word choice is going to rub some folks the wrong way, but I’m okay with it. I’ve been thinking about a post pushing back on the “missing the World Cup will set us back 10 years” concept. Yedlin’s statement is part of what I’ve been thinking of: while the layperson is less likely to get interested in soccer this Summer, a lot of those who are already engaged to various extents have or will step up their engagement as a result of that anger/frustration. It’s already played a role in a presidential ouster, even if that ended up being not quite as exciting as folks wanted.
Meanwhile, the MNT manager hiring pool is… fine? Still uninspiring though? Surprised not to see Greg Vanney on it, and it’s a little too focused on American candidates, but there are some decent options there.
Busy Saturday morning? Get out and join the Roadies Rally for Soccer for the Nations, a v. cool local charity. Doing well and doing good simultaneously is obviously something this blog gets behind, and causes like SFTN are right up my alley.
Etc.: USL out here launching an in-house podcast. … Ideas more cohesive (and certainly more interesting) than the mindless “let’s do pro-rel.” … Chicharito for MLS? … Nashville SC’s Liam Doyle is unavailable for the Isle of Man National Team in the World Football Cup the non-FIFA version of the World Cup). … Add another book to the ol’ “things to eventually read” list. Phoenix Rising building a development pathway.