CUP RUNNETH OVER

Combined bid from United States, Mexico and Canada lands 2026 World Cup

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.

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Correa could be on his way out. Composite image by Jack Brame.

It has not been the best of times to be a star athlete in Houston. In the last year, Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins were solid off for a warm bucket of spit. George Springer won't be back. James Harden and Russell Westbrook rumors are rampant. J.J. Watt might be moving on as well.

Now, reports are the Astros are listening to offers for Carlos Correa.

Predictably, Astros fans are livid. And if it's true, they should be concerned about the bigger picture.

Trading Correa makes sense - if you have no plans on keeping him after next season, as was clearly the case with Springer. If the Astros can get a haul and replenish the farm system, it would be the right move, especially considering Correa's injury history.

But in the long run, it does not bode well for the direction of the team. All recent indications are that the Astros are going cheap.

They would still be a competitive team without Correa, but it would be yet another indication their World Series window has closed. Alex Bregman could slide over to shortstop, but who would play third? And they only have one starting outfielder on the roster as it is. Putting together a competitive lineup around Bregman, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez would still be possible, but if the Astros aren't going to spend money, that could be problematic.

The writing was probably on the wall when the team hired James Click as GM from the notoriously frugal Tampa Bay organization. The good news is the Rays have been successful. But this is a new direction for a team that was not afraid to spend big money to make runs at the World Series.

If they lose Correa, they lose a team leader, one of the few players who embraced the villain role in the wake of the cheating controversy and was not afraid to speak out. But he has never lived up to his MVP potential, has battled injuries and will command big dollars on the open market. He is still young enough to become that kind of player, and someone will gamble big money that he will.

Sadly, if this rumor is true, it won't be the Astros.

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