Short takes

• It’s been quite a few years since people have been this down on the U.S. men’s national soccer team. An ugly home loss to Costa Rica and a desperate draw at Honduras have put the U.S. in the unenviable position of needing to win its final two games to qualify for the World Cup. The Americans should not have trouble beating Panama at home, or Trinidad and Tobago on the road — but then again, they shouldn’t be in this position to begin with.


• Alex Morgan won’t be spending another year in France this winter. The Orlando Pride striker announced that she was forgoing a chance to rejoin European powerhouse Lyon this winter, after helping the club win the Champions League, French league title and French cup last season.


• The North American Soccer League’s future is again uncertain, after U.S. Soccer declined to sanction it as a second-division league for 2018. Presumably, the NASL would have to drop to third-division status, while the USL stays as the second division — something that would trouble NASL owners, some of whom might fold their clubs or try to jump to the USL instead.