Let’s start by stating the obvious: Cuba is not very good.That much was abundantly clear from the off on Friday night at Audi Field. The U.S. was up a goal within the game’s first 30 seconds and from then on it did not get much more difficult. The USMNT would win their Concacaf Nations League opener 7-0 and in truth, it’s not a game from which Gregg Berhalter’s side will learn much on the field. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career But while there won’t be a lot of tactical or personnel lessons to be drawn from Friday night’s game, the U.S. did manage to stop a three-game winless run and restore a bit of the feelgood factor ahead of a much tougher challenge at Canada on Tuesday.For a program that appears to have stagnated over the last few years, any win this lopsided will at least provide a platform upon which to build. And with a tricky-looking fixture in Toronto to come Friday’s result will be welcomed – no matter the opponent. “From the start of the game you see the focus in the players, the intensity in the players and it was good to see,” Berhalter said.”I think we maintained that focus and intensity for the entire first half. Overall I think it was a worthwhile game for us to continue to grow.”Weston McKennie and Jordan Morris were the stars of an overwhelmingly one-sided first half in which the USMNT put six past the Cubans.Morris had free rein down the right side of the U.S. attack and tied the program records for assists in a game within the game’s first 45 minutes, laying on three for his team-mates. “Something that’s been stressed is getting behind the opposing back line and trying to creating opportunities,” Morris said. “It’s a continued process and it’s part of the system we’re playing.”McKennie, meanwhile, cut through the center of the Cuban defense with consummate ease, scoring his first two goals in nearly identical fashion before completing his hat trick in just the 13th minute for the fastest treble in USMNT history. Though even more program records were in sight, both players were subbed off at halftime with one eye on Tuesday’s game at BMO Field in Toronto.But by then they had done more than enough during their time on the pitch, providing the USMNT with something to build on after another rough patch under Berhalter. The USMNT was outplayed in the Gold Cup final in July, losing 1-0 to Mexico before they were even more comprehensively beaten by El Tri in 3-0 result in a friendly last month. Friday was a step in the right direction, but the real test of the team’s progress under Berhalter will come in four days. “These are the games that are going to help our team grow,” Berhalter said of the game in Toronto. “We’re really looking forward to a game like this because we’re going to learn a lot about our group. It’s going to be a difficult environment to play in and it’s going to be a very motivated opponent. “Everything lines up for us to really test ourselves against Canada.”
Avoya Travel’s Wave Season Survey Reveals Positive Outlook for Next Year Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – December 19, 2018 – Avoya Travel®, one of the world’s most innovative travel brands, shares booking insights from its 2019 Wave Season Survey. Avoya asked top producing Independent Agencies in the Avoya Travel Network™ to forecast sales and booking trends for 2019 Wave, and the overall outlook is very positive. Avoya reports that 100 percent of survey respondents predicted 2019 Wave sales would be the same or better than Avoya’s record-breaking 2018 Wave and sales year. As a comparison, in last year’s survey over 80 percent predicted 2018 Wave would be the same or better. This 2018 Wave prediction was spot-on as the 2019 survey confirmed more than 80 percent of participants reported same or better results for Wave 2018. The survey data validates the forecast of continued sales growth for the Avoya Network. The most common reasons given by Independent Agencies for why 2019 Wave sales will be even better included:The trend of a great 2018 Wave season and strong sales throughout the year will continueIncreased inventory with new itineraries and innovative ships, such as AmaWaterways AmaMagna, Celebrity Edge, Carnival Panorama, and continued buzz for Norwegian Bliss and the Norwegian Joy refurbishmentA strong economy and low un-employment are driving consumer confidence and spendingRetirement of many Baby Boomers who want to and can afford to travelIndividual Independent Agencies feel more prepared and organized going into Wave “In 2019 I have a better plan in place to maximize my time and really make the most of the busy season,” said Maree Corrone of Oceans To Outback Travel when explaining why she predicts sales will increase. Abundant Journeys, LLC’s RaShonda Gibson adds, “With the help of Avoya’s Mastermind Program, I have better focus and the ability to handle more business during Wave and all of 2019.” Both Corrone and Gibson are members of the Avoya Mastermind program and their sentiment was a popular response among surveyed Independent Agencies. Many credited the Avoya Mastermind Academies and Avoya’s other optional professional development programs for their business’ improved sales. “I’m finding that a lot of people are retiring with disposable income and travel is on the top of the to-do list,” said Badonna Birdsong of Badonna’s Travel World, LLC. Alice Rivera with AVR Cruises and Tours LLC added, “There is a bigger interest in upscale cruises that I didn’t see last year. I think that more Baby Boomers are traveling, and the cruise lines are catering to these new and repeat guests with new experiences, itineraries, and ships.” Most Independent Agencies Avoya surveyed foresee growth along all product segments of the leisure travel industry. In particular, the upper premium and luxury cruise market and river cruises are projected to do exceedingly well, with over 70 percent of respondents expecting sales increases in those categories during Wave. Growth is also forecasted for ocean cruises and mass market and premium markets. The top three destinations Independent Agencies expect to be best sellers in Wave are Europe, which garnered 80 percent of responses, followed by Alaska and the Caribbean. Avoya’s new investment in expanding its resorts portfolio and partnership with The Mark Travel Corporation are projected to drive more sales in the Caribbean as well as Mexico for the Network. In addition, AmaWaterways’ innovative twice-as-wide AmaMagna is expected to be a game changer in Europe and new cruise capacity on the West Coast and in the Caribbean is driving anticipated growth. “Avoya Travel is looking forward to a great 2019 Wave season and supporting the growing number of Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network to increase sales, connect with more travelers, and plan more vacations at great values than ever before,” said Jeff Anderson, Executive Vice President, Avoya Travel. “There are many new advancements to be excited about for 2019 that we expect will benefit travel professionals and drive demand from customers in all travel segments, from Avoya Travel’s expansion into resorts and continued investment in growing its travel platform to more West Coast cruise capacity, the impressive recovery in the Caribbean, innovative new ships, and so much more.” Avoya provides Independent Agencies unique and exclusive resources designed to support business success and above average incomes year-round. When asked which resources contributed most to their Wave sales growth and success, over 80 percent of Independent Agencies said Avoya Live Leads™ (new customers offered exclusively to their business) were the most valuable. Avoya’s patented Agent Power™ technology and exclusive group space on hundreds of sailings were also among the top three resources credited for driving the Network’s sales success. Recently, Avoya shared Wave Sales Tips from Independent Agencies that participated in the 2019 Wave Season Survey. Travel professionals who want to learn more about Avoya and how to make 2019 their best sales year yet can visit: www.JoinAvoya.com.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The coroner’s report on Mr Birtwistle, issued to NHS England in order to prevent future deaths, urges health officials to check the safety of other schemes – and to set minimum safety standards, in order to reduce the risks.All such initiatives should at least include taking a “basic set of physiological measurements” to detect immediate threats to health, the report warns.The National Institute for Health Research has embarked on a £1m review of the safety of the measures – although it will not report until next summer, at least six months after every scheme gets underway. The research proposals, seen by this newspaper, warn that the current evidence base to support the schemes is “weak” and says it is “unclear” whether such measures are safe. Mr Birtwistle went to Bristol Royal Infimary’s A&E suffering from breathlessness last November, after being referred there by the NHS 111 helpline. David Birtwistle, 44, a father-of-one, died from a pulmonary embolism after being turned away by a pilot scheme in Bristol, just six days after its launch.Instead of being seen by A&E doctors, he was seen by the GP service – which failed to order basic tests which could have saved his life.A coroner has now written to health officials, calling for a national review of “serious incidents” and “near misses” as a matter of urgency, in order to prevent tragic blunders being made across the country. Dave Birtwistle at Liverpool Football Club A national review of schemes to divert patients away from Accident & Emergency departments is underway, amid fears that desperately-ill cases have been put at risk.Every NHS trust is under instructions to introduce “front-door streaming” by this autumn, with GPs stationed at casualty units to weed out the least sick patients.The initiative is part of attempts to relieve hospital overcrowding, and stave off pressures on units across the country.An investigation by The Telegraph reveals that a national review of such schemes is underway following the death of a man turned away by a pilot scheme.And researchers leading the investigation have said the evidence to back the initiatives – currently being introduced in every part of the country – is “weak,” while it is “unclear” whether the models being brought in are safe. From left, Trina, Tia and Dave Birtwistle He was discharged, only to return by ambulance six days later, when symptoms worsened. However, he was diverted to a new “streaming” system which had just been set up to relieve pressures on A&E, where staff failed to carry out basic tests such as blood pressure.The local scheme, run by BrisDoc Healthcare Services, was immediately halted.But every part of the country is under orders from NHS England to set up such measures by this autumn, in a bid to reduce pressures on hospitals and record waiting times. The documents, by Cardiff University, state: “The emergency care system is in crisis and evidence is needed urgently to understand how to manage workload and demand to safely achieve the highest standards of clinical and operational care, and whether the recommended addition of co-located GPs adds value.”“The evidence base to support service models of General Practitioners working within EDs (emergency departments) is weak,” it continues, saying it is “unclear” what impact different models may have on service quality and safety.The research will compare three models – having GPs working in A&E, next door to A&E, or operating a triage and screening scheme – with traditional methods of assessing patients in casualty units.The study will examine all patient safety incident reports for the most frequent and harmful incidents related to GPs and A&E clinicians, the proposals state, with further research tracking 12 study sites, to report by next June.An NHS England spokesman said: “Guidance to hospitals on making sure patients get the level of clinical care they need has been specifically updated in the light of this, so as to make sure that people who need GP care can get it, and people needing specialist assessment can quickly do so. “GPs successfully look after 300 million patient consultations every year, compared with 23 million A&E visits.”