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Major Link Soccer: Panic! in the Playoffs

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Even the most boring playoffs games were totally bonkers this weekend.

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MLS: MLS Cup Playoffs-Round One-FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It was an up-and-down weekend for soccer in the Puget Sound. It wasn’t all good, but the playoffs continue regardless. NWSL is expanding, and the Thorns have signed an exciting new sponsor, while the rest of the world takes different steps to try to address the issue of racism in sport.

Seattle/Tacoma

Rapinoe didn’t spend a ton of time on the field for Reign FC this season, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been busy. Megan Rapinoe enjoys whirlwind, focuses on soccer pay fight
NEW YORK (AP) — Megan Rapinoe is enjoying the whirlwind of a two-time World Cup winner. She picked up the FIFA Player of the Year award in Milan rocking a deeper shade of lavender hair, sent...

Clear eyes, full hearts: the Reign might be the Dillon Panthers of NWSL - All For XI
Can Reign FC emulate the fictional Dillon Panthers with a championship win to end their season?

Raúl seemed all for the competition against Dallas. Raúl Ruidíaz: "The MLS every day is more competitive, the structure here is incredible" | AS
Ruidiaz admits games in Mexico are more intense, but still impressed with MLS.

Players like playing for Brian Schmetzer. Is that going to be enough as they continue their playoff run? Underrated and overlooked? Sounders sing "player's coach" Brian Schmetzer's praises | MLSsoccer.com
Players argue Schmetzer deserves more credit than he gets.

The Reign kept the surprises coming right to the very end this year. Planning for the unexpected has Reign FC defying the odds – Equalizer Soccer

Seattle took their knocks, but they certainly had their fill on Saturday. We’ll see if they’re still hungry come Wednesday. Sounders rely on pure survival instinct for exhausting playoff win over FC Dallas – The Athletic ($)
Seattle's frenzied win over FCD has foundations in the teams' past playoff classics

Tacoma ended their season with an impressive offensive performance and another win. They finished the season on a 5-game unbeaten run. Tacoma Defiance vs Austin Bold FC
The latest updates from the Week 33 match between Tacoma Defiance and Austin Bold FC on October 19, 2019, including lineups, recaps, stats and videos.

Enjoy a look at the game through the camera lens of LevyFilms. Sounders v Dallas Playoffs 2019 on Vimeo
Just some bits from pregame and a golazo by Ruidiaz.

Reign FC gave North Carolina about as much as they could handle for the first 90 minutes, but it just wasn’t enough to last through the full 120’. NC Courage advance to NWSL championship after defeating Reign 4-1 :: WRALSportsFan.com

You still have time to vote for Raúl and Stef! MLS Goal and Save of the Year voting update | MLSsoccer.com

I know that a good education is important to the Sounders organization, so see what Dallas learned against them. What we learned in the 4-3 loss to the Seattle Sounders

There’s no shortage of a Sounders Academy influence on the surging UW Men’s team. Huskies Run Win Streak to Eight With 4-0 Win Over Gonzaga - University of Washington Athletics

MLS/USL

Gone will be one of the greatest sources for MLS gossip and great FO stories. RIP. Sources: MLS to abolish combine, replace with College Cup weekend event - SoccerWire
Multiple sources confirmed to SoccerWire.com that the MLS Combine will not happen this winter, as the league reevaluates its approach to college soccer.

The games should all be interesting, to say the least. I’m pulling for a Philly win. Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs: A look at the Conference Semifinal matchups | MLSsoccer.com
An early preview of the Conference Semifinal round of the 2019 MLS Playoffs.

Cincinnati seem to be writing the “How Not to Launch an MLS Team” handbook. More change comes to their front office. Sources: Luke Sassano to step down as FC Cincinnati technical director – The Athletic
Sassano will stay on in an advisory role until the end of the year

The phrase “that’s so Metro,” was coined for the Red Bulls nee-MetroStars, and games like this one are the reason why. Union score three unanswered to down Red Bulls in extra time | SBI Soccer
CHESTER, Pa. -- The Philadelphia Union may not have started on a positive note, but ended the match flying high against their bitter rivals. Marco Fabian's 105th minute goal sealed a massive comeback for Jim Curtin's side, giving them a 4-3 extra time win over the New York Red Bulls.

More than 10% of this list played in MLS, and I think that’s really funny. The 100 greatest players of the 21st century featuring Messi, Ronaldo and more | The Independent
This week at The Independent we have been counting down through the 100 greatest players of the 21st century. We asked ten of our football writers to identify the 50 greatest players of the past two decades, with each player assigned a number of points determined by their rank, before an overall list was then worked out.

You might be surprised to learn, after reading this, that groups other than Timbers Army were involved, but this is a pretty good look at the Iron Front ban from their perspective. How the Timbers Army Took on MLS Over Political Speech in Stadiums - The Ringer
A ban on the display of an anti-fascist symbol sparked a standoff between the Portland Timbers fan group and the league’s front office

Red Bull made a good hire with an eye towards the future. Timing of Red Bulls’ Natasha Patel announcement encapsulates curious 2019 strategy

FC Dallas at least had one win in their organization over the weekend. North Texas SC Claims Inaugural League One Crown

NWSL

There’s maybe a little bit of shadiness going on here? I’m glad to see NWSL expanding, though. Sources: Louisville to get NWSL team for 2021 launch – The Athletic
A formal announcement is set to take place in the near future for the league's new addition

If Reign FC can’t win it, I’d like to see Kerr lift the trophy and then do donuts in the NWSL parking lot before peeling out for something new. A Bad Bitch, Noncommittal: Kerr’s only team right now is the Chicago Red Stars - Hot Time In Old Town
Rory Dames shares some thoughts surrounding the recent rumors flying around Kerr ahead of their semifinal

Remember when Las Vegas partnered with a dispensary? This is like that, but more Portland and less Vegas. Thorns partner with Social CBD, a first for the NWSL

USA

Maybe let’s just take one last look at how the USMNT drowned in maple syrup. Canada stuns stagnant USA | Spielverlagerung.com
CONCACAF's inaugural Nations League group stage pitted neighbors USA and Canada against each other in competition for just the second time this decade, with

Sargent wasn’t the only player who celebrated not being with the USMNT any more by scoring or assisting. He scored his fourth goal for the season in Germany. WATCH: Josh Sargent scores for Werder Bremen against Hertha Berlin - Stars and Stripes FC
He opened the scoring for Bremen.

World

Is it finally happening? It looks La Liga may finally be getting their wish with an official game in the US. La Liga lines up Miami to host Villarreal v Atlético in regular-season game | Football | The Guardian
Plans for Miami to host a La Liga game are being rekindled with the Spanish league trying again to take a regular-season game to Florida

It’s good to see someone taking a stand on under representation. It would be good to hear some other voices join that cause everywhere. Black football managers join forces in Maracanã to condemn racism in Brazil | Football | The Guardian
Marcão and Roger, the only black managers in Série A, stood together to oppose the prejudice they see in Bolsonaro’s Brazil

I wouldn’t want to find myself squaring up against Kolasinac, that’s for sure. Ozil: ‘I was scared about my wife,’ but Kolasinac ‘was really, really brave’ – ProSoccerTalk
"We were newly wed and I was scared about my wife. I was scared about Sead. I wasn’t thinking about myself."

Is this another example of the sport as a unifying force? Irish clubs set to meet to discuss a new cross-border league - Reuters
While the political focus has been on the Irish border as part of the Brexit negotiations, the island's soccer clubs are set to come together to discuss a plan to create a new 'All-Ireland' league.

Maybe we’ll get some interesting information on Harry Kane’s favorite chip shop, and what sort of crisps he likes. Tottenham Hotspur will be featured on Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ - Cartilage Free Captain
The show will feature the club’s 2019-20 season.

I’m sure no one will complain about VAR’s effectiveness or how it’s being used when they’re using it for this. It’s definitely going to go well. Italian FA President Confirms VAR Will Be Used To Tackle Racism In Stadiums - The AC Milan Offside
VAR will now be used to identify perpetrators of racist chants.

Not quite the hoped for outcome from the World Cup bump, but it’s something. WSL sets records at men’s stadiums but the negatives remain - All For XI
Numbers without the noise.

There’s been a lot of bad news coming out of LigaMX recently. This might have been the most bizarre thing all weekend, though. WATCH: Mexican team let two goals get scored on them in protest for unpaid wages - FMF State Of Mind
Here’s everything we know so far about what’s going on at Club Deportivo Veracruz, a first division club in shambles.

If you can’t catch La Liga on the field, you can at least challenge them for the tax evasion crown. Probe into Ukraine’s top soccer club alleges massive tax evasion scheme | KyivPost - Ukraine's Global Voice

What’s on today?

11:45 AM - Brescia vs. Fiorentina (Seria A) - ESPN+

12:00 PM - Sheffield United vs. Arsenal (Premier League) - NBCSN