By Tim Stannard
Swansea, Wales is the scene of what could see a golden generation for US soccer one day making history with a World Cup win
It's a week shy of an entire year since the full-fat version of the USMNT squad played in a Concacaf Nations League game against Cuba on November 19. The match in the Cayman Islands resulted in a 4-0 win with Jordan Morris and Josh Sargeant picking up a couple of braces.
Although there was a semi-skimmed encounter against Costa Rica in February - Ulysses Llanez Jr. with the winner - an awful lot has happened in the intervening 361 days between that Cuba clash and today's friendly against Wales. Aside from global catastrophe.
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen got his debut at Manchester City. Tyler Adams ended up in a Champions League semifinal with RB Leipzig. Gio Reyna broke through at Borussia Dortmund at the age of 17. And Sergino Dest became the first American to play for Barcelona after a move from Ajax.
These headline acts are just the lapping waves of a complete sea change in the way the once bleak future of the USMNT looks these days. Instead of Christian Pulisic (who has withdrawn from the current squad) and others scattered around the world from Toronto to Trabzonspor, the US now has big-name performers from big-name clubs.
Scratch the surface and there are a host of younger players coming through as well and should all see action today - Chris Richards at Bayern Munich, Yunus Musah from Valencia and Konrad de la Fuente, another player breaking through with Barcelona.
Today's match against Wales, followed by another friendly against Panama is the first chance for USMNT head coach, Gregg Berhalter, to try a meld a team together that is now expected to be challenging for the 2026 World Cup, being held in the US, Canada and Mexico.
Like Catherine Zeta-Jones, it is all going to start in the city of Swansea, Wales. Except this one could end up with the World Cup being lifted in the MetLife stadium, New Jersey in the summer of 2026.
The Sports Burst live show will probably be getting way too excited about the Champions-elect of the World. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page or XTRA channel at 12PM ET.
AFCON continues on beIN SPORTS with the champions
Over to South America and Argentina are in action in World Cup qualifying on Thursday and trying to make three wins from three with a home clash against Paraguay. All five games from Thursday and Friday can be enjoyed across the beIN SPORTS network over the weekend.
Day 2 of a busy week of AFCON 2021 qualifying continues live, live, live on beIN SPORTS. The Black Stars of Ghana are in action against Sudan at 11AM followed by the reigning champions of Algeria taking on Zimbabwe at 2PM ET.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah has made an appeal to players in the Egypt squad to all get along. The two biggest clubs in the country, Zamalek and Al Ahly, are facing off in the CAF Champions League final on Friday, November 27 - and it's live, live, live on beIN SPORTS.
"I do not want there to be any tension between the players before or during the national team camp," Salah told beIN SPORTS. Egypt plays Togo on Saturday live on beIN SPORTS at 2PM ET.
Celta Vigo appoint Eduardo Coudet as new coach
A quick piece of housekeeping before signing off. Celta Vigo have moved to replace Oscar Garcia who was the first coaching dismissal of this LaLiga season.
The struggling side from northwest of Spain have plumped for former Argentinean player and now former Internacional coach, Eduardo Coudet.
OFFICIAL 🚨 Eduardo Coudet is our new coach. The former RC Celta player signs until 2022. Welcome to Vigo! pic.twitter.com/HRBbtI4UyJ— RC Celta English (@RCCeltaEN) November 12, 2020