Thursday, July 25, 2024

Gregg Berhalter replacement options for USMNT; USA basketball beats Canada; Soccer fight goes into stands

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⚽ Good morning to everyone, but especially to …

USMNT SUPPORTERS

Gregg Berhalter is out as the United States Men’s National Team coach after a brutally disappointing Copa America performance and two years ahead of the United States co-hosting the 2026 World Cup.

I loath to celebrate a firing — these are real people with real human emotions, after all — but I believe this was very much the right move, and most fellow USMNT supporters seem to agree. The United States has more talent than ever but rarely produced the results to match. During Berhalter’s two-part tenure that dated back to late 2018 (full timeline here), the Stars and Stripes managed just five victories over top-20 opponents, four of which came against Mexico.

The Copa America failure — the first time the USMNT failed to get out of a competition it hosted and the first time any host failed to get out of the tournament’s group stage — sealed his fate. Berhalter shouldered the blame in a statement following his firing.

He hardly deserves all the blame Tim Weah‘s foolish red card was a disaster — but the USMNT had become stagnant since the 2022 World Cup, and this was the correct choice, Pardeep Cattry writes.

  • Cattry: “The last 10 months of work essentially erased the undeniable strides the team made during his first three years in the job. The head coach’s second stint in charge, which began last September after his initial contract expired at the end of 2022, demonstrated the stark difference between starting from scratch and reaching the next level. There was little Berhalter could do to take his team to the next gear and long before they failed at the Copa America, the cracks began to show.”

The USMNT has two years to right the ship, and it’s a ship that can (and should) be righted.

  • Christian Pulisic is coming off his best season in one of the world’s best leagues.
  • Same for Weston McKennie. A midfield that includes McKennie, the uber-talented Gio Reyna and workhorses Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah is enticing.
  • Folarin Balogun is the most promising young striker the USMNT has had in recent memory.
  • There are questions on defense, but stalwart left back Antonee Robinson isn’t one of them.

Just how good those pieces are is up for debate, but too often under Berhalter, this “golden generation” produced dull results, and every step forward was accompanied by two steps back.

Now, the same group that re-hired Berhalter a year ago has a monumental process on its hands. Big, big names have been bandied about, and they’re all included in our long list of potential Berhalter replacements.

Don’t miss CBS Sports Golazo Network’s Morning Footy, now in podcast form! Our crew brings you all the news, views, highlights and laughs you need to follow the Beautiful Game in every corner of the globe, every Monday-Friday all year long.

😄 Honorable mentions

😲 And not such a good morning for …

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DARWIN NUÑEZ AND URUGUAY

Losing is never good, but losing and going into the crowd, Malice-at-the-Palace-style, is about as disgusting as it gets. After falling to 10-man Colombia, 1-0, in the Copa America semifinal, Uruguay players, including Liverpool star Darwin Nuñez (seen at bottom center of the photo) went into the stands and fought with fans, putting a shocking, ugly cap to a disappointing night in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Fans of both teams were already getting into it — Uruguay’s José Giménez says players’ “families are in danger” and there were no policemen to ward off rowdy Colombia supporters — when Nuñez and other players were hit by drinks. The video pretty much speaks for itself.

The game itself was plenty wild, too. Jefferson Lerma scored a header shortly before Daniel Muñoz was sent off for striking an opponent with an elbow. Despite the man advantage, Uruguay couldn’t find an equalizer.

Colombia will face Argentina in the final in Miami Sunday evening. Uruguay will face Canada in the third-place game in Charlotte Saturday night.

👎 Not so honorable mentions

  • Kawhi Leonard withdrew from Team USA and was replaced by Derrick White.
  • Jontay Porter pleaded guilty to wire fraud following his betting scandal and lifetime ban from the NBA.
  • The Dodgers demoted the struggling Bobby Miller.

🏀 Team USA beats Canada in pre-Olympic showcase

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After a slow start, Team USA cruised past a talented Canada squad, 86-72, in its first pre-Olympic showcase game.

Anthony Edwards created headlines when he said he’s the No. 1 option on a team full of them, but he looked the part. The Timberwolves star was key in turning the game around for the USA, and he finished with a team-high 13 points, providing a jolt to an otherwise sleepy start. Anthony Davis added 10 points and 11 rebounds and four blocks for good measure. Whenever you can bring those two off the bench, you know you’re absolutely stacked.

Sam Quinn says Edwards will play a crucial role in Paris.

  • Quinn: Jrue Holiday started next to Booker in this game, and his role-player skills might make more sense alongside those MVPs. But every time Kerr tries to turn Edwards into a role player, he winds up creating an even more dangerous star. Even if Holiday makes more sense stylistically in the starting five, Edwards might just be too talented to deny.”

⚽ England into Euro 2024 final after another late goal

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If not for a late goal nearly two weeks ago, England would have been out of the Euros much earlier than expected and facing massive, wide-ranging questions. Now, thanks to another late goal, they’re going further than they’ve ever been before. The Three Lions are into their first international final away from home after a 2-1 win over the Netherlands. Substitute Ollie Watkins scored the game winner on a pinpoint 91st-minute strike.

  • Xavi Simons — a breakout star of the tournament — opened the scoring with an absolute firecracker in the seventh minute.
  • But England answered back in controversial fashion shortly thereafter. Harry Kane missed a close chance but was contacted late by Denzel Dumfries. After a video review, England was awarded a penalty kick, and Kane made no mistake. Still, James Benge says England’s all-time leading scorer must be dropped from the lineup in the final.
  • Both teams generated big chances, but it was England’s subs who took advantage. Cole Palmer slid through Watkins, and the Aston Villa man turned expertly and fired to the opposite corner from a sharp angle, a wonderful finish by all accounts.

England will face Spain in the final Sunday afternoon.

⚾ MLB trade deadline: Who’s buying, who’s selling?

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With the MLB trade deadline looming at the end of the month, clear buyers and sellers have emerged. But a lot can change between now and then, too.

So Matt Snyder worked through all 30 teams, breaking them down into six categories:

  • Obvious sellers
  • Obvious buyers
  • Trending toward sellers
  • Trending toward buyers
  • Truly could go either way
  • Hold?

That penultimate category has just one team.

  • Snyder:Mets – With a new front office boss in David Stearns in addition to possible rental players like Pete Alonso, Jose Quintana, Sean Manaea, Luis Severino, J.D. Martinez, Harrison Bader and Adam Ottavino — not to mention players controlled through 2025 like Starling Marte — the Mets entered the season looking like the biggest seller out there. … They could completely take over the seller’s market if they lose enough to fall out of contention. They could also get hot again and decide to spend a ton of money in taking on tradeable contracts from other teams.”

This is an excellent look on what’s to come.

🏀 WNBA midseason award picks, ‘camp day’ takeaways

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As a kid, I loved summer camp. And as an adult, I love what the WNBA is doing with summer camps. On “camp day” Wednesday, the WNBA spread out five games across the day to give campers a chance to attend, and what a day it was. Jack Maloney has full takeaways, and among the highlights were …

  • The Liberty topped the Sun to take over first in the standings.
  • A’ja Wilson posted 24 points and 20 rebounds.
  • Caitlin Clark filled up the stat sheet in historic fashion while Angel Reese kept her record-setting double-double streak alive. While their rivalry dates back to college, Reese is excited to team up at the All-Star Game.

Those last two bullet points fit perfectly into Jack’s midseason award picks. Wilson is the runaway MVP favorite while Clark and Reese are battling for Rookie of the Year. For now, Jack is going with …

  • Maloney: “Clark, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, has been an offensive dynamo … She leads all rookies in scoring, assists (also second in the league in that category) and 3-pointers, is on pace to become the fourth player, and first rookie, with a 15/5/5 season and recently became the first rookie ever to record a triple-double.”

Jack’s in-depth look at Clark’s offensive excellence is a must-read.

📺 What we’re watching Thursday

🎾 Wimbledon, 8 a.m. on ESPN
Rockies at Reds, 1:10 a.m. on ESPN+
🏀 Sky at Liberty, 7 p.m. on Prime Video

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