U.S. men’s soccer team’s Olympic hopes rest on one match

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The U.S. men’s soccer team will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics if it wins a match next Sunday.

If it loses, it will miss a third consecutive Olympics for the first time in more than 50 years.

The American under-23 team won its first two matches in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico to clinch a spot in the semifinals in seven days.

CONCACAF gets two spots in the Olympic men’s soccer tournament. Each semifinal winner qualifies.

The U.S., after beating Costa Rica 1-0 on Thursday and the Dominican Republic 4-0 on Sunday, finishes its group schedule against Mexico on Wednesday. That match is purely for semifinal seeding purposes.

In the crucial semifinal, the U.S. will likely play Canada or Honduras for a place in Tokyo.

The Americans, who last played in the Olympics in 2008, lost to Canada in the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament. Then they lost to Honduras in the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament.

This team, coached by Jason Kreis, lacks the best players such as Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Juventus’ Weston McKennie and Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna, who all also happen to be young enough for the U-23 Olympic roster without using any of the three over-age exceptions.

Club teams are not required to release players for Olympic qualifying or the Olympics. Even if released, U.S. Soccer may prefer to put some or all of its best players in the Gold Cup rather than the Tokyo Games.

The last time the U.S. didn’t play in three consecutive Olympic men’s soccer tournaments was 1960, 1964 and 1968.

U.S. Olympic men’s soccer qualifying roster

Goalkeepers
Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union)
JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders
Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy)
Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake)
Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake)
Henry Kessler (New England Revolution)
Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire FC)
Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)

Midfielders
Johnny Cardoso (Internacional)
Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC)
Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal)
Andrés Perea (Orlando City SC)
Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas)
Tanner Tessmann (FC Dallas)
Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

Forwards

Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas)
Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids)
Benji Michel (Orlando City SC)
Sebastian Soto (Norwich City)

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2022 Ironman Kona World Championships results

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2022 Ironman Kona World Championship top-10 results and notables (full, searchable pro and age group results are here) …

Pro Women
1. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) — 8:33:46
2. Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) — 8:41:37
3. Anne Haug (GER) — 8:42:22
4. Laura Philipp (GER) — 8:50:31
5. Lisa Norden (SWE) — 8:54:43
6. Fenella Langridge (GBR) — 8:56:26
7. Sarah Crowley (AUS) — 9:01:58
8. Daniela Ryf (SUI) — 9:02:26
9. Skye Moench (USA) — 9:04:31
10. Laura Siddall (GBR) — 9:07:49
16. Heather Jackson (USA) — 9:22:17
DNF. Sarah True (USA)

Pro Men
Race is on Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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Chelsea Sodaro wins Ironman Kona World Championship, ends American drought

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Chelsea Sodaro was the surprise winner of the Ironman Kona World Championships women’s race, ending the longest American victory drought in the event’s 44-year history.

Sodaro, a 33-year-old mom to an 18-month-old, prevailed in an unofficial 8 hours, 33 minutes, 46 seconds on Hawaii’s Big Island.

“My mind is a little bit blown right now,” she said in a finish area interview 25 minutes later, standing next to her daughter, Skylar. “This is the culmination of things being right in my life and having perspective. … This is freakin’ incredible, but the greatest gift at the end of the finish line is my little 18-month-old.”

Sodaro was in fifth place after the 2.6-mile swim and 112-mile bike, then recorded one of the fastest 26.2-mile marathon runs in event history (2:51:45) to win by 7 minutes, 50 seconds over Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Swiss Daniela Ryf, who was eyeing her sixth Ironman world title, led after the bike but faded quickly on the run.

MORE: Ironman Kona Race Results

Sodaro, whose lone previous full Ironman was a second-place finish at June’s European Championships (reportedly in the second-fastest Ironman distance debut in history), became the first American to win in Kona since Tim DeBoom in 2002 and the first American to win the women’s race since Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser in 1996.

She is the first woman or man to win in their Kona debut since Brit Chrissie Wellington took the first of her four titles in 2007.

Sodaro (née Reilly) was an All-America runner at Cal, then placed 19th in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

She turned to triathlon in 2017, made podiums on the World Cup circuit (just below the top-level World Series for Olympic hopefuls) and moved up to long-distance racing in 2018.

At the half Ironman distance, she was fourth at the 2019 World Championships, her last major championship start before the pandemic, pregnancy, childbirth and a move up to the full Ironman this year.

“I’m pretty stoked that I think I maybe get to take the rest of the year off and be a mom for a month or so,” Sodaro said.

The pro men’s race is Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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