USMNT tonight, CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, & more: Starting Lineup, November 16
by Jason Longshore
I had a chance to call the Atlanta United academy match last night in UPSL Georgia's Premier Division against KSA Pro-Profile for Atlantic Soccer Media Group. You can check out the replay here. Matthew Dejianne scored twice in the first ten minutes, but that vital third goal never came. KSA pulled two goals back early in the second half from Sanaan William and a spectacular volley from Junior Sandoval and the match finished 2-2. (Photo credit: vani.angel12sports)
The academy team from Atlanta United is mostly from the U19 age group, with quite a few players playing up in age. Soon-to-be 17-year old Matthew Dejianne took control of the Golden Boot lead for the division with both goals last night, he made three appearances in MLS Next Pro this season.
The USMNT opens their Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal tonight in Austin, TX against Trinidad and Tobago before playing the away leg on Monday. This is bigger than just reaching next March's Nations League final four, a win would also qualify the USMNT for next summer's Copa America.
No Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, or Tyler Adams in this match due to injuries. Trinidad & Tobago under manager Angus Eve definitely won't win style points, they will try to frustrate the USMNT with numbers behind the ball and hitting on the counter. It feels like a game where a big performance from a playmaker like Gio Reyna is essential.
CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying continues tonight with the three high profile matches tonight. Marcelo Bielsa returns to his native land with Uruguay to face the World Cup champions at La Bombonera. Lionel Messi is expected to start tonight in Buenos Aires, Luis Suarez could make his first appearance for Uruguay under Bielsa.
Cucho Hernandez could feature for Colombia tonight ast they host Brazil. Los Cafeteros haven't lost in this set of World Cup qualifiers while Brazil has uncharacteristically struggled a bit with a loss to Uruguay on the road and a home draw with Venezuela. Neymar is out for an extended period of time and we'll see if they have answers on how to replace him tonight.
A surprisingly high profile match will take place in Monagas, Venezuela as the Vinotinto hosts Ecuador. Venezuela can get to ten points in the table with a home win and give them a great cushion as they seek their first ever World Cup appearance. Ecuador is in an automatic qualification spot right now, even with the three point penalty for falsifying birth documents of Byron Castillo in the last qualification cycle. Lots of MLS players will play in this one.
Bolivia gets the day started at 3pm with a home match against Peru, both teams are currently on the outside looking in and could use three points to start making up ground. Chile, who is also out of the qualification spots, hosts Paraguay in the nightcap. The Paraguayans are currently sitting in the playoff spot of 7th place.
Local college teams start their NCAA Tournament journeys today. In D1 on the men's side, Mercer heads down to Miami to face hosts Florida International. Sekou Agard was named to the College Soccer News Team of the Week for his performances in the SoCon Tournament where the Bears won three straight on the road to win the title. They will be the underdogs once again on the road tonight. Watch the match starting at 7pm on ESPN+.
In D2, North Georgia's women face Wingate today at 3pm as the #3 seed in the regional pod. The Nighthawks lost in the Peach Belt final on Sunday to Columbus State, but nabbed an at-large bid to the tournament. You can watch the match on FloFC.
Peach Belt men's champions Clayton State play this evening at 6pm in Gaffney, SC against Lenoir-Rhyne. John Michael Torres was named the tournament MVP for his performances in the Lakers' wins over Flagler and Lander last weekend. Alexis Iturria, Wilfried Kamdem, and Andree Jimenez were named to the All-Tournament team. You can watch the match on FloFC.
Victor Rivas was named the MLS Referee of the Year for the first time today. Rivas made his debut in 2018 and has refereed over 80 matches in the league. He has become one of the top referees in the league quickly and will more than likely start getting even more high profile matches in Concacaf and FIFA competitions. (photo credit: Vincent Carchietta - USA Today Sports)
Ian McKay was named the MLS Assistant Referee of the Year.
On this day in 2022, Atlanta United lost an offseason friendly to Aberdeen at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground. Jack Collison managed the match, his last with the club. The roster was primarily made up of Atlanta United 2 and academy players. Jonny Villal was one of the stars for Atlanta on the afternoon.
For your Song of the Day, we'll go back to 1974. On this day that year, John Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" went to #1 on the US charts. Elton John sings and plays piano on the track. Enjoy!