Three countries will host the 2026 World Cup. Courtesy photo
The United States will not be playing in the 2018 World Cup, but the country still got some good news this week.
Early Wednesday morning, FIFA approved a bid for the U.S., Mexico and Canada to host the 2026 World Cup. It will be the first World Cup in America since 1994.
The plan is for the United States to host 60 of the 80 matches, with 10 each in Canada and Mexico. There will be 16 total host cities. Canada has three finalists (Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal) and Mexico three (Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City), so the U.S. has 17 remaining bid cities for 10 spots.
It will be the first World Cup for Canada, which is still emerging at international soccer (although the women's team has had some success) and the first since 1986 for Mexico.
Houston is one of the 16 U.S. cities bidding for the remaining spots, as is Dallas. The United bid group met in the Houston last November, which bodes well. At the very least, at least one of the two cities is a lock, so soccer fans in the state will have access to at least some games.
So while 2018 was a soccer disaster for the United States, thanks to Wednesday's vote, the future looks much brighter, and soccer fans in North America will finally be treated to the sport's biggest event once again.
With a new season on the horizon, the Astros have high hopes for 2024 after coming just one game shy of being in the World Series for three consecutive seasons.
If Houston wants to get back to the Fall Classic in 2024, they're going to have to rely on their pitching. Owner Jim Crane believes the club has 8 starting pitchers when Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. return mid-season.
Which allows several of the starters to move to the bullpen and provide even more depth. Add those guys to Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader and you have a recipe for success.
Check out the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham goes through the entire staff and makes his case for the Astros having the best pitching staff in baseball.
You can listen to The Killer B's with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank every weekday on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 from 3 pm - 6 pm!