USMNT opens CONCACAF Gold Cup play vs. Honduras


USMNT opens CONCACAF Gold Cup play vs. Honduras

With Jill Ellis and the U.S. women's national team answering their critics and fulfilling expectations in an unforgettable World Cup triumph over Japan on Sunday, the onus is now on Jurgen Klinsmann and the men's national team to safeguard their regional supremacy.

The U.S. launches the defense of its 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup crown Tuesday night against Honduras, a match denoting the team's first competitive outing since falling at the hands of Belgium in last summer's World Cup Round of 16. 

The Americans trumped Guatemala in their final tune-up with a 4-0 victory in a friendly Friday night. After an own goal, Timmy Chandler, Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski chipped in to complete the scoring onslaught.

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Klinsmann's side, with a 1-0 dispatch of Panama on July 28, 2013 at Soldier Field to capture the 2013 title, could clinch a berth to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia by defending the cup in Philadelphia later this month, without the need for a playoff.

The 2015 23-man roster boasts the return of 16 players that were a part of last year's World Cup squad, and six that lifted the Gold Cup trophy two years ago, with Michael Bradley captaining the team and set to make his 100th appearance for the Red, White and Blue.

U.S.-Honduras spotlights the Group A pool, which also features Panama and Haiti. The U.S. has advanced to five straight Gold Cup finals leading in to the 2015 edition, and is seeking its first back-to-back laurels since winning in 2005 and 2007. 

[MORE: Chicago soccer fans go wild over USWNT World Cup title

Following the conclusion of Tuesday's Group A fixtures, Costa Rica and Jamaica lead off Group B Wednesday night in Los Angeles (7 p.m. CT), followed by Canada vs. El Salvador (9:30 p.m. CT). Group C follows Thursday with Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guatemala (6 p.m. CT) and Mexico vs. Cuba (8:30 p.m. CT) at Soldier Field in Chicago.  

Viewing information:

United States vs. Honduras

Kickoff time: 8:30 p.m. CT

Where: Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas

TV information: FOX Sports 1, Univision Deportes
Live stream: FOX Soccer 2Go

The United States faces Haiti at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass on Friday, which is slated for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff on FOX Sports 1.

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?


Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.