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Major Link Soccer: The end of the road

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Still I can’t let go. Thanks Jill.

Korea Republic v United States - USWNT Victory Tour Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Seattle and Tacoma both grabbed solid wins over the weekend, but there was so much more action than that. San Jose came up just short of a playoff spot, and now they might be losing the manager that got them there. Christian Pulisic finally got back on the field in a Premier League game and had as much of an impact as Azriel Gonzalez did as he returned from injury for Tacoma. Jill Ellis coached her final two games for the USWNT as they played to a win and a draw in a couple of friendlies with South Korea.

Seattle/Tacoma

Susie Rantz joined Jen from the Mixxed Zone podcast to discuss the Reign! The Reign's Rough Season and Canada's Empty Calendar - BGN - Beautiful Game Network

It’s always great to learn a little more about Jess Fishlock, but it’s too bad they didn’t make the headline “How to train your dragon.” Being Jess Fishlock, the woman who overcame the cruelty of ignorance to become a Welsh icon - Wales Online
Jess Fishlock is Wales' most decorated football player. But she is also much more than that

If Román Torres needed a bit of redemption after serving his suspension, scoring his first MLS goal was a pretty good way to get it. Seattle Sounders clinch No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, will host FC Dallas in the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs | Seattle Sounders FC
With the 1-0 win over Minnesota United at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, the Seattle Sounders have clinched the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference for the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. As a result, the Rave Green will host FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field on October 19 at 12:30 p.m. PT (time subject to change due to national TV).

Tacoma went to the Western Conference 2 seed’s house and threw a party of their own. The win was capped off with Danny Leyva’s first official professional goal. Tacoma Defiance Earns 4-1 Road Win at Fresno FC - Tacoma Defiance
Justin Dhillon recorded two goals and one assist in the victory; Defiance next returns home to take on Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday, October 12 (7:00 PM PT / ESPN+).

MLS/USL

Toe Poke Daily: Happy Birthday Zlatan - 38 of his best quotes
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the most entertaining footballers in the world and we celebrate his 38th birthday with some of his best quotes.

The Sounders are in Group B and will start their qualification against Chicago on October 11. You can expect to see Austin Brummett and Oscar Rincon on the score sheet as the U-17s seek to repeat GA Cup glory. 2019-20 Generation adidas Cup: Qualifying | MLSsoccer.com
The Generation adidas Cup, one of the premier competitive youth soccer tournaments in North America, returns with 25 MLS Under-17 teams in action (players born on or after Jan. 1, 2003).

Isaac Promise: Former Nigeria striker dies aged 31 - BBC Sport
American club Austin Bold confirm that former Nigeria striker Isaac Promise has died at the age of 31.

The Whitecaps are bad and they’re poorly constructed, but Fredy is trying to keep that from getting to him. J.J. Adams: Caps’ super-sub Montero having devil of a time ignoring he’s a striker – Sudbury Star

Pablo Maurer dove deep into the realities of the Union’s relationship with the neighborhood that they live in. It turns out there have been a lot of unfulfilled promises. ‘F*** that soccer team’: A decade after its opening, many Chester locals aren’t feeling the benefits of Philadelphia Union’s stadium – The Athletic ($)
The Union are, maybe for the first time ever, playing exciting soccer and drawing near-capacity crowds to Talen Energy Stadium. Yet at the same time, rumblings have grown louder that the Union’s long-term vision may not even include Chester.

Tifo: A behind the scenes look at the creation of the 2019 Pride Tifo - E Pluribus Loonum
Last May, I went to the warehouse where the design and creation team was creating the tifo. After complications involving material, its debut was delayed. Sunday, we saw it and it was incredible.

Atlanta United hits stride, and more MLS Decision Day takeaways
The 2019 MLS regular season came to a close with a goal-filled Decision Day which saw some teams earn their way into the playoffs, and some others stumble their way in.

No playoffs, now maybe no coach? There’s been a lot of speculation and rumor about Almeyda’s future in SJ. San Jose Earthquakes face questionable future after loss at Portland
The San Jose Earthquakes once-promising future hangs in the balance after Sunday's loss and recent rumors regarding its head coach.

DMB, so hot back then. DaMarcus Beasley reveals Barcelona was once interested in him
This weekend marks the end of the MLS regular season, and with that will come the conclusion of the storied and legendary career of a player that has competed in four World Cups and in some of the globe's top leagues. That career almost had a stop in Spain, too.

34 goals is a lot of goals. Carlos Vela shatters MLS single-season goals record
Major League Soccer has a new leader for goals scored in a single season. Los Angeles FC's Carlos Vela continued his MVP-worthy campaign on Decision Day, scoring a hat-trick in LAFC's match against the Colorado Rapids.

On the bright side, it would be pretty hard for Cincinnati to be worse next year. Player turnover looms as Nijkamp, Jans work on their ideal FC Cincinnati roster – The Athletic
New GM and head coach have a plan and are deciding which current players are the best fits for it as the season wraps up.

The Sounders are in “The Pack” according to Doyle. It’s kind of hard to argue that they’re actually a front-runner, but you could certainly try. Armchair Analyst: Playoff teams by tier as the regular season ends | Week 31 | MLSsoccer.com
And so with the conclusion of Decision Day presented by AT&T, the 24th regular season of Major League Soccer is in the books. Since there were 12 games going on at the same time I can't pretend I'm going to give you a full blow-by-blow analysis and breakdown.

Orlando City SC Parts Ways With James O’Connor | Orlando City Soccer Club
Orlando City SC has agreed to part ways with Head Coach James O’Connor, effective immediately. “On behalf of Orlando City we want to thank James for all of his efforts during his coaching tenure at Orlando,” Orlando City SC EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said.

I’m glad they saved the Crew, but we should really stop giving public money to build sports stadiums. New Crew stadium's costs to city of Columbus nearly double what officials publicly said - News - The Columbus Dispatch - Columbus, OH
Columbus pledged $50 million toward a Downtown stadium for the Crew SC and renovation of Mapfre stadium for team practice and community use, but the city's total cost is really much higher — close to double, according records obtained by The Dispatch.

Josef Martinez celebration pays tribute to retiring Atlanta captain Michael Parkhurst | MLSsoccer.com
When Michael Parkhurst announced last month his decision to retire at the end of the 2019 season, his Atlanta United teammate Josef Martinez reacted with a brief but powerful tribute to the Five Stripes' highly-respected captain:

Watch every goal from Week 31 of the 2019 MLS season | All Goals | MLSsoccer.com
From record setters to playoff clinchers, there were plenty of dramatic goals on Decision Day presented by AT&T — check out all of them above.

NWSL

NWSL, MLS, U.S. Soccer fighting sport's concussion problem | Yahoo Sports
The NWSL, along with U.S. Soccer and MLS, are willing to give a trial run to new rules on head injuries. But first, FIFA must realize the current protocols are asinine.

Why is women's soccer staying away from America's biggest cities?
The two biggest population centers and media markets in the US aren’t found on the women’s soccer map and no one seems to be able to answer why, when, or even if things will change

It’s the end of an era as Jill Ellis steps away with two World Cup winners medals. “I’ve Got A Trunk Full Of Memories”: Jill Ellis signs off as USWNT head coach - All For XI
Notes and quotes from Ellis’ last press conference.

“This group will probably never be together again”: Mixed Zone Quotes From USWNT 1-1 South Korea - All For XI
USWNT players share their thoughts on the end of an era.

Seems weird to include a guy playing in the Spanish third division, but not USL players. That’s just my opinion, though. USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Dallas makes Decision Day delightful - Stars and Stripes FC
The young squad full of homegrowns stepped it up on the last day of the season.

Let’s all light a prayer candle that this group can gel and make it to the Olympics. USMNT U-23 roster announced for upcoming friendly against El Salvador - Stars and Stripes FC
The future is nigh

Hey, Pulisic got on the field! Pulisic registers assist in Chelsea’s lopsided win over Southampton | SBI Soccer
Christian Pulisic returned to the field for Chelsea on Sunday and made the most of his time against Southampton. Pulisic recorded his second league assist of the season in Chelsea's 4-1 win at St. Mary's Stadium.

Jill Ellis – Farewell to the Winningest Coach in U.S. Soccer History
Ellis leaves the USWNT not just with back-to-back World Cup titles but as the all-time leader in wins with 106, surpassing the late great Tony DiCicco (105).

Counterpoint: has the golden age been over for a while now? As Tim Howard and Nick Rimando retire, is the golden age of US goalkeepers over? | MLSsoccer.com
With MLS and US legends Tim Howard and Nick Rimando calling it a career in 2019, questions remain as to the future of American goalkeeping.

World

Neither Joel Soñora nor Matko Miljevic saw the field in what would have been a historic game. Liga Argentina: Histórico duelo de yanquis en el fútbol argentino | MARCA Claro Usa
Cuando el Arsenal de Sarandí y Argentinos Juniors pisen el campo este sábado en el Estadio Diego Armando Maradona, hay una buena posibilidad de que se convierta en un día histórico para el fútbol estadounidense.

Manchester City charged by Uefa after Dinamo Zagreb game - BBC Sport
Manchester City are charged by Uefa for the "throwing of objects" by their fans in the 2-0 Champions League group game win over Dinamo Zagreb.

The Kompany-as-player-manager experiment is over. Vincent Kompany: Anderlecht appoint former manager Frank Vercauteren as head coach - BBC Sport
Anderlecht appoint Vincent Kompany's former manager Frank Vercauteren as head coach in an attempt to curb the club's poor start to the season.

What a weird accusation to make in the modern world of soccer. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Striker rejects claim he only joined Arsenal for money - BBC Sport
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has reacted on Twitter to comments made by Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke in a newspaper interview.

Former Juventus and Italy star Marchisio announces retirement
The midfielder terminated his contract with Zenit over the summer and has now decided to hang up his boots at a relatively early age

I hope that stories like this one don’t place Salah in an untenable position where his every action is even more highly-scrutinized than it already is as a high-profile professional athlete. How Mohamed Salah inspired me to become a Muslim | Football | The Guardian
A Nottingham Forest fan tells how he has gone from hating Islam to becoming a Muslim – and the Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is the principal reason for that.

Gareth Ainsworth: ‘I’m more of a thinker now than I’ve ever been’ | Ben Fisher | Football | The Guardian
Second-longest serving manager in the country is changing perceptions of Wycombe who are flying high in League One.

Dudelange vs Qarabag suspended after drone carrying flag flies over pitch | The Independent
FK Qarabag’s Europa League group stage match against F91 Dudelange was suspended on Thursday night after a drone carrying the flag of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh was flown over the stadium.

Maybe Solskjaer just isn’t a good manager? Solskjaer 'pleased' as Manchester United's away winless streak reaches 10
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described himself as "very pleased" despite watching Manchester United play to a drab draw against AZ Alkmaar.

Angel Di Maria: Lionel Messi made Argentina team cry with Copa America speech
Angel Di Maria has revealed what Lionel Messi told his teammates after Argentina's loss to Brazil in the Copa America that left "everyone in tears."

France boss gets Kante back wants deal with Chelsea's Lampard
Didier Deschamps wants Frank Lampard to play Olivier Giroud more often in exchange for the France boss leaving N'Golo Kante in London last month.

I’m sure the punishment for this will be really serious, and will carry actual consequences, which will also be applied if a bigger team’s fans do racist stuff. UEFA to investigate Olympiakos Manchester City Real Madrid
Olympiakos were charged after their fans unfurled a banner that UEFA deemed to be racist in their 3-1 loss at Red Star Belgrade.

It might be because they’re not very good. Why can't Man United win away from Old Trafford? Why can't they score? Questions of Solskjaer mounting
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said before Man United's tie with AZ that he hoped to be asked "different" questions after the game. Instead, they're mounting.

Paging MLS teams. Exequiel Palacios and Pedrinho hope to be the next South American starlets making the move to Europe
At 23, Brazil's Everton is seen as too old to move to Europe. So which South American starlets are young and talented enough to cross the Atlantic?

Still Two Teams One Club: A Liverpool Dialogue - The Liverpool Offside
What does it mean to be a single unified entity, the men's side and the women's side? No really, someone please tell me and also tell Liverpool Football Club.

Get a look inside the Wolverhampton locker room. This is what happens to players after a football match – The Athletic
Wolves open their doors to The Athletic to show how they prepare their players for the next match...

Culture

Incline Cider Leans into Tacoma - We R Tacoma
Incline Cider House is the company's new home

WATCH: Clips from Cirque du Soleil’s show, “Messi 10” - Barca Blaugranes
The world famous spectacle group has made a full show based on Messi.

High-speed trains would make Cascadia games even more exciting. Microsoft donates $223,000 to finish high-speed rail feasibility study by 2020 | GeekWire | king5.com
Microsoft is giving another $223,667 to study the possibility of building a high-speed rail line connecting Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, and Portland, GeekWire reports.

What’s on today?

12:00 PM - Bolton Wanderers vs. Blackpool (League One) - ESPN+

4:00 PM - Howard vs. Pittsburgh (NCAA) - ESPN App