There were a couple important news items involving the U.S. women’s national team last week as midfielder Heather O’Reilly (46 goals, 54 assists) announced her retirement after an incredible 15-year international career (her final match will be on Sept.15 vs. Thailand) and former midfielder Lauren Holiday will need to have surgery for a benign tumor that was found on her brain (after she has a baby). O’Reilly is one of the more underrated players in U.S. women’s history as she won three gold medals and one World Cup. She will continue to play for her club team (FC Kansas City) but her leadership and calmness are sure to be missed with the USWNT for years to come. Best wishes to Holiday and her husband Jrue Holiday (who’s taking a leave of absence from the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans to be with her) as they navigate this difficult time.
USMNT Needs a Result vs. Trinidad & Tobago to Advance to the Hex
You might have missed the game, since it was broadcast on something called BeIN sport on Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend, but the U.S. men’s national team (3-1-1, 2nd in Group C) got back to work with a 6-0 win at good old Arnos Vale Stadium vs. St. Vincent & the Grenadines (0-0-5, 4th in Group C). It took them a little while to get going but they scored three goals in the first half and three in the second half (including a pair by 17-year-old substitute Christian Pulisic) to walk away with the easy victory as we all expected. Things will be much more difficult on Tuesday night (8, FS1) as they host Trinidad & Tobago (3-2-0, 1st in Group C) at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field. To those that think this will be a foregone conclusion, remember that the last time that the U.S. played Trinidad & Tobago, they settled for a 0-0 draw on Nov.17, 2015 at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.
Aguero’s Elbow Costs Him Three Premier League & FA Cup Games
Manchester City (3-0-0) striker Sergio Aguero’s short fuse was on full display last weekend as he elbowed West Ham’s (1-0-2) Winston Reid in the throat during City’s 3-1 win on August 28. It conveniently wasn’t seen by either the referee or his linesmen during the match but the FA (Football Association) rightfully suspended him for three games. He will miss Saturday’s (7:30 am, NBC Sports Network) marquee clash at Manchester United (3-0-0) along with a Sept.17 match vs. Bournemouth (0-1-2) and a Sept. 21 EFL Cup third-round match at Swansea (1-0-2). Aguero already has three goals in three BPL matches so far this season plus a hat trick in a Champions League qualifier against mighty Steaua Bucharest (Romania) that Manchester City won 5-0.
Messi’s Fake Retirement is Over but He’ll Miss a World Cup Qualifier
Iconic striker Lionel Messi is back with Argentina, sporting Eminem-esque bleached blonde hair, after a few months off following another heartbreaking shootout loss to Chile in the Copa America Final. Messi tearfully vowed after that game that he would never play again for Argentina but thankfully that was about as sincere as a Ryan Lochte apology. He returned to his national team with a flourish, scoring the game-winner in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Uruguay last Thursday in a World Cup qualifier. Messi played all 90 minutes in that one but apparently picked up a groin injury that means he’ll miss Argentina’s next qualifier at Venezuela on Tuesday (7:30, BeIN Sport).
Follow Metrosoccer writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate