Sports Digest: U.S. held to 1-1 draw by Canada in World Cup qualifying

Sports Digest: U.S. held to 1-1 draw by Canada in World Cup qualifying

SOCCER

The remade U.S. soccer team quickly got itself into trouble in World Cup qualifying, wasting Brenden Aaronson’s second-half goal when Cyle Larin scored to lift Canada into a 1-1 draw Sunday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

U.S. star Christian Pulisic returned after missing Thursday’s opening 0-0 draw at El Salvador while regaining fitness following a positive COVID-19 test. Pulisic was dynamic and injected some creativity the Americans lacked on the road, contributing to the buildup that led to Aaronson’s goal in the 55th minute.

But defenders DeAndre Yedlin and John Brooks were at fault for Larin’s goal in the 62nd, and the U.S. emerged from its opening two matches of the 14-game qualifying tournament with just two points heading into Wednesday’s game at Honduras.

Mexico (2-0) leads the North and Central American region with six points after a 1-0 win at Costa Rica, followed by Panama (1-0-1) with four. Canada, the U.S., El Salvador and Honduras all have two points.

The top three nations qualify for next year’s tournament in Qatar, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff.

The U.S. played without Gio Reyna, who strained his right hamstring and also won’t play at Honduras, the U.S. Soccer Federation said.

U.S. Coach Gregg Berhalter made six changes to the starting lineup, inserting Pulisic into the attack. Defender John Brooks, left back Antonee Robinson, midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Sebastian Lletget and forward Jordan Pefok were the other new starters.

Matt Turner stayed in goal. Zack Steffen tested positive for COVID-19 and is out for the first three qualifying matches.

• A South American qualifier between the region’s best teams – Brazil and Argentina – was suspended when Argentina walked off the field after only seven minutes when Brazilian health officials came onto the pitch because of coronavirus concerns about three Argentina players.

Antonio Barra Torres, the president of Brazil’s health agency, said four Argentina players will be fined and deported for allegedly not following the country’s COVID-19 protocols.

Aston Villa players Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia, and Tottenham’s duo of Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero came to play for Argentina despite England’s Premier League not wanting players to be released for international duty due to the need to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel on their return. Martinez, Romero and Lo Celso started the match. Buendia was not included in the squad.

• Guinea’s World Cup qualifier against Morocco was postponed after a Guinean army colonel seized control of state television and said the government had been dissolved.

The West African nation was due to host Morocco in the capital of Conakry on Monday. No new date has been set for the fixture.

The Confederation of African Football said the postponement was “to ensure the safety and security of all players and to protect all match officials.”

• Italy set an international record by extending its unbeaten run to 36 games in a 0-0 draw at Switzerland.

The European champions have not lost under Coach Robert Mancini for three years now, passing the 35-game world record shared with Spain (2007-09) and Brazil (1993-96).

Italy leads its qualifying group by four points over Switzerland, which has played two fewer matches.

• Romelu Lukaku celebrated his 100th international match with a goal as Belgium opened up a six-point lead in its qualifying group by winning 3-0 against the Czech Republic in Brussels.

FOOTBALL

NFL: A lingering COVID-19 issue with the Dallas Cowboys is likely to keep one of their best players out of the opener at Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.

Four-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin is among the latest Dallas players to test positive. Asked if he would miss Thursday’s matchup with seven-time champion quarterback Tom Brady, Coach Mike McCarthy said, “I would say so, yes.”

Four other potential starters were in the health and safety protocols late in the preseason but have since returned: receiver CeeDee Lamb, left guard Connor Williams, safety Damontae Kazee and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins.

Backup tackle Brandon Knight was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list along with Martin. Receiver Noah Brown was already on it.

COLLEGES

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Rebecca Cooke scored three goals to lead Quinnipiac (3-0) to a 4-1 win over Maine (2-1-1) in Orono.

Emma Donovan scored in the final minute for Maine.

FOOTBALL: Jonathan Doerer made a 41-yard field goal in overtime and No. 9 Notre Dame escaped with a 41-38 victory in Tallahassee, Florida, after Florida State overcame an 18-point deficit.

Ryan Fitzgerald’s 37-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left to begin overtime, allowing Notre Dame to run a few plays and set up Doerer’s kick.

Jack Coan completed 26 of 35 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns in his Notre Dame debut.

• UConn Coach Randy Edsall, whose teams have won just six games since he returned to the Huskies for a second stint as coach in 2017, has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

CYCLING

SPANISH VUELTA: Primoz Roglic sealed his third straight title, adding to his already comfortable lead by winning the final stage’s time trial.

Roglic increased his advantage to 4 minutes, 42 seconds over runner-up Enric Mas during the 21 miles from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela.

It was the fourth stage win for Roglic at this edition of the Vuelta, including the first time trial on the opening stage. He took over the red jersey for good with a stellar performance in the high mountains over the final week.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: Max Verstappen thrilled his home crowd by winning the Netherlands Grand Prix in style to reclaim the championship lead from Lewis Hamilton.

The Red Bull driver’s leading seventh win of the season and 17th of his career moved him three points ahead of the defending champion, who finished second but softened the blow with a bonus point for fastest lap.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was third.

TRUCKS: Sheldon Creed led the final 80 laps to take his second straight NASCAR Truck Series win in the playoffs and second in a row at Darlington Raceway.

Creed, the defending series champ, moved in front on the 68th lap and stayed there the rest of the way. John Hunter Nemechek clawed to about a half-second back of Creed on the final lap but could not gain any more ground.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: Allie Quigley scored 22 points, Diamond DeShields added 17 points and the Chicago Sky clinched a playoff berth with a 92-84 win at home against the Las Vegas Aces.

• Tiffany Hayes had 22 points, eight rebounds and three steals, Monique Billings got her second consecutive double-double and the Atlanta Dream snapped an 11-game winless streak with a 69-64 victory over the Dallas Wings in Arlington, Texas.

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