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Fuel Soccer Talk: Berhalter talks Gold Cup; Rodgers revenge?; Jimmy Banks passes away

Kicking off the weekend with gold, conspiracies and sad news!

Gold Cup: U.S. faces strong tests in opening matches

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s path towards a potential record-tying seventh Concacaf Gold Cup championship became clearer this month as the groups for this summer’s tournament were unveiled at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

Set for its first competitive matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup cycle, the USA will have a challenging slate against two fellow teams that took part in the final round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying in Trinidad & Tobago (June 22 in Cleveland) and Panama (June 26 in Kansas City).

The MNT will open the tournament against Gold Cup debutantes Guyana at the already sold-out Allianz Field on June 18 in Saint Paul, Minn.

“I think we have a great and challenging group,” U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “When you prepare yourself to get through a difficult group like this, it sets you up for good things to come. We’re excited to get into camp at the end of May, then develop the team and be able compete in the Gold Cup, which is a fantastic tournament.”

FULL STORY

Which of the three games will be the toughest test for the U.S.?

Will Brendan Rodgers take revenge against Liverpool?

Another reason why we love the Premier League!

Here’s an interesting factor in the Premier League run-in. City faces Leicester City on May 6 in one of their final three games. Leicester City is now managed by former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who came to Leicester from everyone’s beloved Celtic a little more than a month ago.

Rodgers was fired by Liverpool before hiring current coach Jurgen Klopp. So there sits Rodgers – unfairly axed from Liverpool IMO – taking on City, a team Liverpool needs to lose in order to have a shot at the Premier League title. Will he go all out and try to knock off City or lay back and take a nap and let Pep’s boys coast?

Well, he probably won’t take a nap but he also won’t lose any sleep over seeing City win the title over Liverpool. The Northern Irishman is a top class manager and was screwed over almost as much as Pete Best in Liverpool. He nearly won the League and the next season the club sold their best player, Suarez, to Barcelona.

Was Rodgers unfairly fired from Liverpool? 

World Cup veteran Jimmy Banks passes away at 54

CHICAGO (April 26, 2019) – Jimmy Banks, a veteran of the USA’s 1990 FIFA World Cup squad, passed away on Friday, April 26 at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisc., after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 54.

Banks dedicated his life to the game in a career which spanned more than 30 years, as a player, coach and mentor in the youth soccer community.

“The entire U.S. Soccer family is deeply saddened by the passing of Jimmy Banks,” U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro said. “At a time when few African American players were reaching the elite level of the sport, Jimmy’s rise to play for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 1990 World Cup inspired a new generation to reach the same level. His time as a player, coach and mentor will leave a lasting impact on the sport in this country, particularly his tireless efforts to grow the game through his inner city soccer programs. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and teammates as we reflect on his pioneering legacy.”

Banks and teammate Desmond Armstrong became the first two African-American players named to a U.S. World Cup squad when they made the 22-man roster for Italia ’90. Able to play as a defender as well as a left winger, Banks made two appearances, playing in the narrow 1-0 defeat to the host Italians and a 2-1 loss to Austria to close the USA’s participation in the tournament.

FULL STORY

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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