Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. US LEAVE IT LATE, BUT STILL GET WIN
With 90 minutes gone, a makeshift US national team was looking at a defeat in their final game of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Tuesday night in Panama City. Enter Graham Zusi and Aron Jóhannsson, who each scored in stoppage time, leaving the final score 3-2 (watch highlights here) and ending Panama’s hopes of qualifying for their first World Cup. So, how did the players trying to impress perform on their big night and what three things did Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle take away from the game?
2. MEXICO ADVANCE DESPITE DEFEAT
The USA’s late comeback meant that Mexico finished in fourth place in the Hex, despite being beaten 2-1 by Costa Rica on a late winner by RSL striker Alvaro Saborio. El Tri now move on to an intercontinental playoff, where they will face New Zealand, with the first leg scheduled for either Nov 13 or Nov 14 at Estadio Azteca. Should the Mexican federation send Graham Zusi a thank-you card for keeping them alive?
3. ALTIDORE DOESN’T WORRY KLINSMANN
Jozy Altidore captained the US side on Tuesday night for the first time and played 75 minutes before being replaced by Terrence Boyd. The US striker now returns to Sunderland and a new manager, but Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t worried about Altidore’s current club situation, calling it “no concern at all” and noting that, despite not scoring, the forward has been playing well. In an interview with Roger Bennett at ESPNFC.com, Klinsmann also said, before the match, despite the team's success in the Hex, no one is yet guaranteed a place in the squad.
4. WE MUST GO … HOME
The Egyptian dream of going to the World Cup was all but destroyed on Tuesday following a crushing 6-1 defeat in the first leg of their playoff against Ghana. Barring some form of miracle in the return leg it’s game over for Egypt, who were perhaps unlucky to draw Ghana in the playoffs, and the defeat has led to conflicting reports over whether or not Bob Bradley will even still be in charge for the second leg.
5. QUALIFIER ROUNDUP
Bosnia-Herzegovina have qualified for their first ever World Cup, thanks, in part, to a graduate from St. Louis University. Bosnia’s qualification now means they are confirmed for their friendly against Argentina in St Louis meaning the Gateway City might be looking at another sell-out. Elsewhere, Steven Beitashour earned his first cap for Iran in an Asian Cup qualifying victory over Thailand.
6. CANADA GAIN VITAL EXPERIENCE
When you concede a goal in less than a minute, you probably know what type of night it’s going to be and, true enough, Canada fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Australia on Tuesday in England. However, despite failing to score a goal in their last eight games and not earning a win in more than a year, Canada had plenty of good opportunities in the first half. Switching to a young lineup in the second half, new manager Benito Floro hailed Tuesday's match as a fantastic opportunity for the young players, while Dwayne De Rosario got straight to the root of the problem: “We lacked in the [physicality] department because a lot of those guys aren’t getting minutes [with their club teams].”
7. BACK TO REALITY
With World Cup qualifying over for most of us we can now turn our attention back to the playoff race with a crucial midweek game Wednesday as the LA Galaxy get set to take on the Montreal Impact (10.30 pm ET, MLS Live). Both teams are currently fourth in their conferences and will be looking for a win tonight to move them closer to securing a playoff spot. The Galaxy may or may not be without Landon Donovan, who says his ankle Injury “took a wrong turn,” while Montreal will no doubt by buoyed by the news that Marco Di Vaio will be staying an extra season.
8. LAST OF THE ’96ERS
The news broke on Tuesday that San Jose Earthquakes veteran Ramiro Corrales is set to retire at the end of the 2013 season. Corrales is the last active player to have taken part in games during MLS’ inaugural season. However, he is hoping to stay with the Quakes in a new role and general manager John Doyle was full of praise for both Corrales and interim manager Mark Watson.
9. ANGER MANAGEMENT
The Seattle Sounders have been punished for their behavior during Sunday's Cascadia clash with the Portland Timbers, which saw ugly scenes as players surrounded the referee. The Sounders have been fined $5,000 and Sigi Schmid personally fined $1,000 for the incident. However, such a fine will seemingly cause little financial harm to the Sounders or majority owner Joe Roth, who spoke about the team's worth in a Bloomberg TV feature examining the club as a business, which ran on Tuesday night.
10. BLISS WANTS TO STAY
Even if he doesn’t get the manager’s job, Brian Bliss does not want to leave the Columbus Crew. Bliss told media on Tuesday that, “I still feel I have a lot to offer on the technical director side,” which is the role he held before becoming interim manager and still maintains.
11. TARGET ACQUIRED FOR TFC?
If multiple sources are to be believed, then it seems Toronto FC have settled on one of their high-priority targets for a new DP. Could Italian striker Alberto Gilardino be just what the ailing club needs?
12. KEEPING IT REAL
The buzz surrounding Kekuta Manneh has gone into overdrive ever since the 18-year-old scored his hat trick against the Sounders last week. Not only was it the first hat trick in Vancouver’s MLS history but Manneh became the youngest player to achieve the feat in MLS. Yet, as The Vancouver Sun reports, the real challenge for Manneh will be remaining grounded amid the increased hype.
13. YOU ASK, VERMES ANSWERS
It's fan appreciation week for Sporting Kansas City and so, as part of that, the club arranged an AMA (ask me anything) session with current manager, former player and recent U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame entrant Peter Vermes. The SKC manager spoke about a number of important topics such as formations and Designated Players, but check the full transcript for little gems such as Vermes making Tony Meola buy him a DVD player.
14. INTERNAZIONALE UNITED
It’s been rumored for a long time, but on Tuesday it finally became official as Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti announced that he had sold 70 percent of the club to International Sports Capitol, a group led by D.C. United majority owner Erick Thohir.
15. WE LOVE YOU FOREVER AND EVER
Ever wondered how it would feel to have Mexico be grateful to America? Here’s the priceless Mexican commentary from the final moments of last night’s games. Meanwhile, in London, Tim Cahill was part of the victorious Australia squad and set the new standard for selfies.