KO Thanksgiving

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What you need to know

USMNT to face Jamaica in Nations League semifinal

The US men's national team's path to potentially a third straight Concacaf Nations League title runs through Jamaica. Head coach Gregg Berhalter's team, victors of the past two editions of this regional competition, will meet the Reggae Boyz on March 21. To reach this point, the USMNT navigated past Trinidad & Tobago by a 4-2 aggregate scoreline in their quarterfinal series. Meanwhile, Jamaica benefited from the away-goals tiebreaker after a 4-4 aggregate deadlock with Canada in their quarterfinal series.

Conference Semifinals teams as Thanksgiving dishes

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. We’re at a point in the calendar where time barely exists. In the same way that nothing feels real when you’re stuck in an airport or living life in the week between Christmas and New Years, some of you are already probably floating around your home today wondering if anyone is going to judge you for eating cereal for every meal. They won’t. They’re in the same boat. As soon as you officially hit whatever break you’re allowed for this holiday, nothing is real for the next few days and it's unclear if there are consequences for your actions.

All that said, if you’ve come here for hard-hitting analysis on the Conference Semifinals, I’m already in the same sweatshirt and sweatpants combo I plan on being in for the next three days. It’s just not in me. Check back Saturday, when The Daily Kickoff will resume.

So, yeah, today, I dunno, I’m hungry. Here’s every Conference Semifinals team as a Thanksgiving food. Maybe we’ll learn something.

Orlando City SC: Stuffing

Is it the most exciting thing to have on your plate? No. Is it a necessary part of your plate? Yes. The fact of the matter is that it gets the job done. It’s not going to do that in style, but it is very good and the kind of food you keep coming back to. You probably aren’t going to use too much plate real estate on it, but, in the end, it’s got enough in it to be the best dish of the day.

Columbus Crew: Mac and cheese

A crowd pleaser. Maybe the first pick off the board in a Thanksgiving SuperDraft. There’s a definite chance it could end up being the best dish of the entire meal if some of the higher-ceiling dishes don’t have their A-game. The floor is so high here and no one is going to complain if you end up saying it was your favorite part of the meal.

FC Cincinnati: Mashed potatoes and gravy

Hearty. Stout. Wholly effective and a high-probability choice to be the most eaten food of the day. It’s not flashy, but if we’re talking plate percentage (a metric from American Soccer Analysis that determines how much of the plate a food is taking up per 90 plates (probably)), mashed potatoes and gravy is an odds-on favorite to be at the top of the list. They’re so good. They have an MVP in gravy. They’re just going to be tough to beat.

Philadelphia Union: Rolls

You’re not looking for anything outlandish, you’re just looking to see if you can break your own personal record for carbs in a single sitting. So you’re going to have a roll. And then maybe another roll. And you might even put some butter on the next one. And you’re just going to keep eating rolls over and over again until suddenly momentum has made it impossible to stop eating rolls. It’s now a meal where rolls have taken over and there isn’t room for anything else.

The Union pick up momentum in a way that no other team in the league does. If they get started early, they can suddenly be up multiple goals before you know it. You have to be careful.

Houston Dynamo FC: Corn casserole

I wouldn’t call it a meal-winner, but when it’s at its best it can quietly be one of the best of the bunch.

Sporting KC: Banana pudding

You had to wait all meal for it to finally come around. But now that it’s here, holy smokes. Maybe we should have made the entire meal out of banana pudding? It came on late but it might just be good enough to steal the entire day.

Seattle Sounders: Turkey

Some folks will argue with you about how good it actually is, but it’s a staple for a reason. It does what it needs to and, in the end, you’re going to eat a lot of it. This year’s version might be a little under-seasoned, but that won’t stop you from getting your fill.

LAFC: Sweet potato casserole

Yeah, the actual sweet potato part of this is totally fine. They’re even kind of healthy by themselves. But they aren’t outstanding on their own. That’s why we had to come in and add brown sugar and marshmallows. Let’s be honest, they’re not carrying the whole dish, but it certainly wouldn’t be elite without them.

LAFC need Dénis Bouanga here. He scored 20 times and delivered seven assists during the regular season. That means he contributed to half of LAFC’s 54 goals. That percentage is probably even higher if we start to count all other competitions. He’ll have to be at his best to get past Seattle.

Other Things

2024 Copa América to begin at Atlanta United's Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of Atlanta United, will host the 2024 Copa América opener when the tournament unfolds across the United States next summer. The kickoff match will be held June 20, building towards the final being held July 14 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

MLS NEXT Fest to host coaching development education sessions: MLS Coaching Education, in collaboration with U.S. Soccer Federation Coaching Education, will host eight continuous professional development (CPD) sessions on Dec. 3 & 4 at MLS NEXT Fest in Phoenix, AZ. Those interested can register on the U.S. Soccer Digital Learning Center (link HERE). If you do not have a Learning Center Profile, you will need to create one in order to register. The CPD course list can be found here.

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Good luck out there. Turn a bad situation around.