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Major Link Soccer: That pre-playoffs feeling

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NWSL wraps up regular season play while MLS takes an international break

SOCCER: OCT 12 NWSL - Reign FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tacoma Defiance left their scoring until late in the game against the Switchbacks, while the Reign gave up a late equalizer in their final regular season game. It turns out that good things happen when Jordan Morris gets to run at defenses, so maybe that will continue when the USMNT faces the neighbors to the North. Lots of change is coming to MLS rosters as some teams start their off-season early, a couple people with soccer connections are heading to prison, and the international window keeps on chugging along.

Seattle/Tacoma

If you were confused when your light rail ride suddenly became the “Red Line,” there’s a reason for that. Link light rail debuts line colors | Sound Transit
New hues to help you find your way in an ever-expanding Sound Transit system

Don’t look now, but it seems like the attacking talent at Tacoma is starting to come good. Tacoma Defiance Offense Is Clicking Now
Three Tacoma Defiance players have four or more goals and a total of nine have scored from July 24 through Saturday night's win.

Dion Earl is a monster, and 12 years hardly feels like justice for the amount of harm he caused. Former Kent soccer owner Dion Earl sentenced to 12 years in Arizona sexual assault and abuse cases – The Seattle Times
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/former-kent-soccer-owner-dion-earl-sentenced-12-years-in-arizona-sexual-assault-cases/

I’m going to hope that this ends up looking like the lop-sided victory Seattle had against Dallas in the 2016 playoffs. Can FC Dallas overcome historical struggles at Sounders in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs? | MLSsoccer.com
FC Dallas qualified for the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs with an emphatic win over Sporting Kansas City on Decision Day presented by AT&T. Their reward? A trip to a venue that has been a house of horrors.

Late Equalizer Forces Reign to Settle for Draw in Orlando — REIGN FC: THE BOLD
In Reign FC's final regular season game a late piece of magic from Marta left both sides with a point. More notable were Orlando's final two subs: a player returning from a double-mastectomy and a player three months removed from giving birth.

A dramatic, late-game victory was the perfect way to send off Tacoma’s World Cup-bound players. Danny Robles made an early case for being the biggest snub from the roster. Tacoma Defiance v. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, recap
Robles and Atencio each scored late in Tacoma's second consecutive win; Defiance next travels to take on New Mexico United on Wednesday, October 16 (6:00 p.m. PT / ESPN+).

You can still vote for Raúl! How many other people nominated got a t-shirt made for their goal? VOTE NOW: Seattle Sounders forward Raúl Ruidíaz nominated for 2019 AT&T Goal of the Year | Seattle Sounders FC
On Wednesday, MLSsoccer.com announced the nominees for the 2019 AT&T Goal of the Year, with Seattle Sounders forward Raúl Ruidíaz earning a nomination for his incredible goal against Atlanta United in July.

MLS/USL

Big changes are coming this off-season for the Fire. The team’s moving to Chicago, and their star striker isn’t coming with them. Nemanja Nikolic pens personal letter saying goodbye to Chicago Fire | MLSsoccer.com
Nemanja Nikolic has bid farewell to the Chicago Fire, as he posted an official statement to his personal Facebook page on Saturday.

The roster changes aren’t limited to players leaving, as Chicago start bringing in players to retool for next season. Chicago Fire sign Spanish midfielder Álvaro Medrán | Pro Soccer USA
The Chicago Fire announced Álvaro Medrán's signing on Thursday. The Spanish midfielder has experience playing in La Liga.

Columbus is finally getting their new stadium, as shovels are actually going in the ground - presumably followed by more effective, motorized equipment. Columbus Crew SC downtown groundbreaking ceremony | MLSsoccer.com
The Crew will get one step closer to their new home with Thursday's official stadium ground breaking, set for 1:30 pm ET.

The team was bad, and significant changes are probably over due. Peter Vermes to return to Sporting KC, but changes coming | The Kansas City Star
Sporting Kansas City missed the MLS playoffs in 2019, breaking an eight-year streak of qualifying for the postseason. Here’s how the club plans to respond.

If you’re not sure, that’s a lot of money for a move within the league. A year ago Ike Opara moved to Minnesota for $900k in Allocation Money. Report: Colorado Rapids' move for Lalas Abubakar could exceed $1 million | MLSsoccer.com
The Colorado Rapids are pushing to acquire Columbus Crew SC center back Lalas Abubakar on a permanent basis in a move that could exceed $1 million in allocation money.

Yet another Whitecaps move that has failed to work out. Eye-to-Eye - Sports News
Whitecaps in talks with Turkish club to sell Anthony Blondell

It’s like people forget that Thierry Henry played in MLS. Who do you think is the best DP to play in MLS. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the best MLS Designated player of all time? We make the case
Since MLS began the DP rule with David Beckham in 2007, hundreds have come to the league and tried their hand. Few, if any, have done what Ibra has.

I’m sure that he’d be an improvement over any of Orlando’s recent coaches, but that’s really not saying that much. Report: Former Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari could be next Orlando City coach | MLSsoccer.com
It’s been five days since Orlando City SC parted ways with James O’Connor as head coach, and there already could be a replacement in the works.

Nasvhille SC firms formally linked in The Backline Supporters Collective | MLSsoccer.com
Supporters groups of the club have officially come together to formalize their status as a collaborative body, debuting in Nashville's USL match on Saturday night.

Austin Bold FC players remember Promise Isaac | kvue.com
Austin Bold FC is paying tribute to one of their own, after forward Promise Isaac passed away in early October.

NWSL

One of the top women’s teams in the world is looking to get in on the NWSL action. L'OL est en négociations pour racheter une franchise américaine de football féminin - Foot - L1 - L'Équipe
OL in negotiations to buy an American women's team

The World Cup may have had a negative effect on the Utah team’s on-field results, but it certainly helped in the stands. Royals FC won’t make the playoffs, but they won at the box office, averaging over 10,000 fans a game at Rio Tinto - The Salt Lake Tribune

They may have missed the playoffs, but Royals FC won’t be losing their coach to a national team job. That’s probably not a great sign for Vlatko Andonovski’s future in Tacoma, sadly. Laura Harvey says she won’t be the next USWNT coach – Equalizer Soccer

It’s about time. The league needs someone making the difficult decisions ahead of them. Sources: NWSL will soon begin formal search for a commissioner – The Athletic
The league's owners have retained a search firm to find a commissioner that will need to meet multiple challenges at once.

What lies ahead for some of the biggest names in NWSL?The Lowdown: Sydney Leroux, Carli Lloyd look forward – Equalizer Soccer

USA

We know at least one more player that definitely won’t play against Canada. Probably not great news for Atlanta, either. Miles Robinson leaves USMNT due to injury - Stars and Stripes FC
He picked up a hamstring strain in last night’s decisive victory.

Jordan Morris this. Jordan Morris that. USA v. Cuba CONCACAF Nations League: What we Learned - Stars and Stripes FC
A lot of goals were scored.

Weston McKennie’s club career is looking better of late, and it’s translating to his performances with the US. Weston McKennie is the USMNT player to get excited about right now - SBNation.com
Things aren’t going so hot for Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams or Tim Weah. But everything’s coming up McKennie.

The Bald One gives some insight on the USMNT’s next opponent from his time playing in their homeland. Bradley: “Young, motivated, dynamic” Canada will be “big test” for USMNT | MLSsoccer.com
Michael Bradley speaks about the USMNT's big clash against Canada in Nations League play, soccer culture in Canada and the possible reception he'll get.

Support unions. Working in the background, the USWNTPA looks to make an impact on players and fans – The Athletic
Sam Mewis and Kelley O'Hara talk about the challenges of running the players' association while also playing professionally.

World

It’s not enough to just let some women to attend a game. Even from an economics standpoint, there’s clearly demand after tickets sold out almost instantly. Don’t applaud Iran for letting some women watch football – it is not enough | The Guardian
Around 3,500 women will see the World Cup qualifier against Cambodia, but a complete end to the ban and other important steps are needed.

3500 women were almost the only fans in attendance as Iran ran up the score against a weak opponent. Iran football: Women attend first match in decades - BBC News
In a historic moment, female football fans attend a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia.

No mention of how the only team that matters, Gustav Svensson’s Sweden, can qualify. They’re currently in second behind Spain in their group. Euro 2020 qualifying: Who needs what in October fixtures? - BBC Sport
Who needs what in October's Euro 2020 qualifiers? We look at the home nations plus see who can qualify from the other groups.

Three players with MLS ties landed on the list, including Gio Reyna. Next Generation 2019: 60 of the best young talents in world football | Football | The Guardian
Eidur Gudjohnsen’s son, the new Paul Pogba and Barça’s Ansu Fati are among our 60 most talented players in the world born in 2002

The tragedy still isn’t over for those touched by the disaster. ‘There was an outpouring of emotion around the world, but the public interest passed and problems weren’t resolved’ – The Athletic
It has been nearly three years since the Chapecoense air disaster - and still the families of the deceased feel they have not found justice

I’m sure that more money will fix United’s problems. Sources: Manchester United expect to break world record shirt deal
Manchester United can expect to top their £450 million Chevrolet deal as they search for a new shirt sponsor, sources have told ESPN FC.

Ex-Colombia star Viafara extradited to U.S. on drug trafficking charge
Colombia have cleared ex-Real Sociedad midfielder Jhon Viafara to be extradited to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

I guess you could say that England were...Snake-bitten in their game against the Czech Republic. Czech Republic 2-1 England: A disturbing night for Southgate as cracks reappear - BBC Sport
England's 2-1 defeat in Czech Republic was a disturbing night for Gareth Southgate as old cracks reappeared, says chief football writer Phil McNulty.

Andorra 1-0 Moldova: Hosts end 21-year wait for a European Championship qualifying win - BBC Sport
Andorra's 21-year wait for a first ever European Championship qualifying comes to an end after they beat Moldova to move off the bottom of Group H.

What is it about the German national team that fosters this kind of drama? At least there’s not a tinge of racism this time around? Feuding goalkeepers hint at a deeper malaise in Germany’s squad | Jonathan Wilson | Football | The Guardian
Joachim Löw’s attempt to rebuild Germany’s squad has hit trouble as shown by spat between rivals for the No 1 shirt

All the money in the world doesn’t do any good if you don’t use it well. Moise Kean deserves better than this. Marco Silva shuffles towards the Everton abyss despite spending big | Football | The Guardian
Everton manager shows no sign of solving old problems and a team assembled at great expense lack spirit and commitment

Black players don’t owe anyone anything, nor do they need to prove anything. Racism needs to be met with serious consequences. If England walk off the pitch because of abuse, racism wins | Howard Gayle | Football | The Guardian
England’s players should stay on the field no matter what Bulgaria fans chant – it will set the game back if they walk off

Why China’s fevered dream of World Cup domination has no boundaries | Barney Ronay | Football | The Guardian
China’s upsurge in fortunes follows the decision to redefine what being a Chinese footballer actually means

An interesting look at what it can mean to be a parent. What if my child does not want to support my football team? | Football | The Guardian
There are more serious things to worry about as I await the birth of my first daughter but, right now, this one looms large

‘Keeper’s gonna keep. Petr Cech saves two penalties on ice hockey debut for Guildford Phoenix - BBC Sport
Petr Cech saves two penalties on his debut as Guildford Phoenix beat Swindon Wildcats 2 in a shoot-out.

The young Chelsea star could have been a part of Canada’s youth movement, but instead he’s part of England’s. Fikayo Tomori: How Canada helped set 'mystery' defender on path to stardom - BBC Sport
Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori could make his England debut on Monday night. BBC Sport take a look at how his international future was almost very different.

Possibly the best rightback the USMNT has ever had, Steve Cherundolo seems poised for his first manager’s job. Who is Steve Cherundolo? Daniel Stendel’s former Hannover teammate becomes the latest to be linked with Barnsley | The Sack Race
Who is Steve Cherundolo? Daniel Stendel’s former Hannover teammate becomes the latest to be linked with Barnsley

It’s probably not a bad idea to bring someone from Ajax in to help sort out a club’s technical side. Edwin van der Sar on Manchester United role: Of course, I'm interested
Edwin van der Sar has said that he would be interested in returning to Manchester United with the club in search of a football director.

Not the first time a Leicester player made news at a casino. This one’s not as bad as Jamie Vardy’s incident, though. England boss Southgate - Maddison learned lesson after casino visit
England manager Gareth Southgate has said that James Maddison has learned a lesson after the Leicester City player was photographed in a casino.

What’s on today?

7 different UEFA Euro Qualifying games kick off at 11:45 Am, with France vs. Turkey being the highlight, all available on the ESPN App.

10:00 AM - Czech Republic vs. Northern Ireland (Friendly) - ESPN App

4:00 PM - Maryland vs. Georgetown (NCAA) - FS1