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Major Link Soccer: The USMNT prepares for Panama

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Can Clint Dempsey be the difference-maker again? Will the World Cup 2022 really be in Qatar? Also, Raleigh’s stadium plans take a hit.

Honduras v United States - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Seattle

At the espnW Women + Sports summit, Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird both addressed attendees, with Rapinoe wondering why the NWSL and the Reign in particular struggle to attract large numbers when the WNT has such a strong following.

Major League Soccer

The Carolina Challenge Cup will be back in the next preseason, with Charleston Battery hosting Minnesota United, Atlanta United, and the Columbus Crew in February.

Raleigh’s plans for a $150 million downtown stadium project for the North Carolina Football Club were dealt a blow after the funding for further exploration of the plan was pulled out of an upcoming funding bill.

RSL Soapbox’s Power Ranking Averages are back, and things are getting rather set in stone as the season comes to a close.

United States

The USMNT has not been filling their fans with confidence in their abilities to qualify for the next World Cup, so let’s consider everything that would happen if they fail, from money to coaches to leadership.

Some of the team’s recent struggles can be attributed to unfortunate gaps in time where the US has produced a lower quality of players than had been normal. The birth years 1990-1994 and 1996 are singled out as a ‘black hole’ in US-raised male soccer talent.

Will an aging Clint Dempsey write a new chapter in his long USMNT career tonight by being the team’s savior once again?

The Yanks Are Coming has an in-depth preview of tonight’s critical qualifier against Panama to prepare the USA fans among you for the nail-biting and fear.

World

A “risk report” released by management consultant company Cornerstone Global says that the risk is increasing that the 2022 World Cup will not end up being hosted in Qatar. Qatar says, ‘Nothing to see here, move along.’