The eyes of American soccer are turned toward Saturday's high-stakes CONCACAF Cup between the U.S. and Mexico. But just hours before the border rivals play for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup, the U.S. Under-23 squad and its band of future senior teamers will take on Honduras in the semifinals of CONCACAF's under-23 championship for a spot in next summer's Olympics.
The young Yanks cruised in the first round, winning Group A as a result of beating Canada, Cuba and Panama by a combined score of 13-2. And while Saturday's match isn't exactly a must-win --the two semifinal losers will face off with the victor facing South American runner-up Colombia for a ticket to the Games -- it represents their best chance to reach Rio de Janeiro (Mexico plays Canada in the other semifinal match).
As the results so far would suggest, there were plenty of impressive performances from the Americans in the group stage. But if the tournament hosts are to accomplish their ultimate goal in Sandy, Utah, on Saturday (kickoff is at 3 p.m. ET; the match will be broadcast on Spanish-language network Telemundo), they will do so largely on the strength of the following five blue-chippers who have excelled so far and are locks to start against the Catrachos.
South Sudan earned a draw in their World Cup qualifying debut, holding Mauritania 1-1 on Thursday, a day after the game began and was then abandoned because of heavy rain.
The score was unchanged from when it was stopped after 10 minutes of play on Wednesday at the National Stadium.
Boubacar Bagili had scored in the third minute for Mauritania. Dominic Abui Pretino equalised with South Sudan's first goal in World Cup qualifying, giving the world's newest nation hope ahead of the return leg in Mauritania...