Atlanta prepares for Inter Miami, international break winding down, & more: Starting Lineup, Sept 13
by Jason Longshore
Great to be back out at Atlanta United training yesterday and to meet Jamal Thiaré as he joined the full group for practice for the first time since arriving in Atlanta on Sunday. We're into matchweek now with Inter Miami coming to town and there will be plenty of storylines to dig into throughout the next few days. Don't forget, we'll be live at REVERB by Hard Rock on Saturday for Matchday LIVE getting you ready for the game. With kickoff moved up to 5pm, our show will start at 11am. Come grab some brunch, beat the traffic getting downtown, and enjoy a live SDH show.
1- The international window has closed for the USMNT and they finish with two wins, seven goals, zero goals conceded, and a decent workout in Gregg Berhalter's first two games back with the team since his re-hiring. Last night, it was a 4-0 win over Oman in Minnesota. Neither of the opponents were world class (although Mexico will have some opinions about Uzbekistan's level) and the USMNT did what they were supposed to do. Last night was just solid all the way around. A good point was made recently about these kinds of games. There's a very good chance the USMNT has a team like this in their group in 2026 with the tournament expanding to 48 teams. We always measure the team's progress in how they handle the big boys around the world. We need to measure it in how they take care of business against teams like Uzbekistan and Oman as well. You don't want stress in these games, and the USMNT avoided that for the most part. Next window, the US hosts Germany in Hartford, Connecticut in October. Bigger test, even if we don't know who will be managing Germany in that one.
2- Mexico's wild roller coaster of a night in Atlanta didn't end the way El Tri wanted. They were losing 2-1 at halftime to Uzbekistan, came back with two goals in the last 10 minutes of the match to go ahead 3-2, and then conceded on a spectacular free kick to draw 3-3. I can only imagine the narratives floating around for Jaime Lozano and the El Tri program right now. Relive the match from the Benz with the highlights below:
3- Lionel Messi made the trip to La Paz, Bolivia but did not dress to play as he was feeling a slight discomfort according manager Lionel Scaloni, but Argentina routed Bolivia anyway 3-0. Enzo Fernandez was outstanding in the win that saw Dibu Martinez earn Argentina's first clean sheet in Bolivia since 1973. According to TyC, Messi was set to fly straight back to Miami and rejoin the Herons as they prepare for Saturday's match here in Atlanta.
4- After two goals were ruled out due to offside calls, Marquinhos headed home the winner for Brazil in Peru in the 90th minute. With the 1-0 win, Brazil joined Argentina as the only two teams perfect through the first two rounds of South American World Cup qualifying. Colombia joins them as unbeaten teams, although they were only able to manage a draw yesterday with Chile. One thing to remember, Ecuador's win yesterday over Uruguay only gets them back to 0 points because they were deducted 3 points for the Byron Castillo documentation issue in the last cycle.
5- Deco has been named the new sporting director at Barcelona. Another former midfielder comes home to the club as he'll work with Xavi on everything as part of the new sporting structure at the club that is trying to get its finances right and avoid having to create new levers to register players.
6- Perhaps we'll get more clarification on the soap opera emanating from Foxborough, Massachusetts today at New England Revolution president Brian Biello and interim sporting director Curt Onalfo are set to speak to the media. The team refused to train yesterday in the wake of Bruce Arena's resignation and the stories from The Athletic that Richie Williams had a role in how everything played out. Two assistant coaches, Shalrie Joseph and Dave van den Bergh, who were publicly loyal to Arena have parted ways with the club and Clint Peay has been bumped up from the Revs' MLS Next Pro club to be the new interim manager while the previous interim manager Williams is still with the club but no longer with the first team. It's very confusing and maybe we'll learn more today.
7- Three very young new superstars made national team debuts over the last week. Lamine Yamal at 16 became Spain's youngest ever player and goal scorer. Kendry Paez, who at 16 has already committed his European future to Chelsea, made his Ecuador debut in their win over Uruguay. Amara Diouf did them both one better, debuting for Senegal at 15 years old to set their new record for youngest ever player.
8- Emory's men's and women's teams earned spots in the new United Soccer Coaches' NCAA D3 Top 25 as they prepare for conference play starting up shortly. North Georgia's women earned a spot in the D2 Top 25, while UGA was named to the D1 Top 25. There's a big game in Athens tomorrow as the Dawgs host #7 Alabama in the SEC opener for both teams.
9- Atlanta United 2 was named the MLS Next Pro Team of the Matchday for their comeback win Sunday in Huntsville. We'll have the radio call of Sunday's home finale against Inter Miami II starting at 7:15 with pregame coverage from Fifth Third Bank Stadium. (photo credit: @liz.calls.it.soccer)
10- On this day in 1968, Kaizer Motaung was named the North American Soccer League Rookie of the Year for his performances with the Atlanta Chiefs.
11- Born on this day in 1944, Peter Cetera started his career in 1967 with Chicago before leaving in the mid-80's to embark on a successful solo career. His incredible voice drove nearly 30 albums with the group and on his own. Your Song of the Day was his first solo #1 on the Billboard charts, Cetera said it was written for Rocky IV but it ended up as the theme for The Karate Kid Part II: