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Major Link Soccer: The return of Rapinoe

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Rapinoe finally appears for Reign FC and other things happen in the soccer world.

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SOCCER: AUG 29 Women’s - Portugal v USA
Megan Rapinoe
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the first time this season, Megan Rapinoe stepped on the field for Reign FC in what was one of few bright moments for Puget Sound soccer fans this weekend. Elsewhere, the NWSL is dealing with racist abuse from a “fan” and Phoenix Rising just might never lose at this point.

Seattle/Tacoma

The Reign won 3-1 in a game that saw a lengthy weather delay and the return of Megan Rapinoe. Lightning-Fast Start Sees Reign FC Take Down Orlando — REIGN FC: THE BOLD

At only 25, Catley has already had an impressive 10 year career. Steph Catley on Being a Young Veteran — REIGN FC: THE BOLD

That wasn’t much fun to watch. Shorthanded Seattle Sounders fall 2-0 to Colorado Rapids on the road | Seattle Sounders FC
The Seattle Sounders fell 2-0 against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night. Despite holding possession for large swaths of the match, goals either side of halftime from Rapids striker Andre Shinyashiki doomed the Rave Green on the road.

MLS/USL

If you thought sports were ever separate from politics, think again
Many sportswriters have recently decided that they can't "stick to sports" in the current political climate. But for some, societal issues have been woven into the fabric of athletics all along.

It could almost always be more difficult to watch your favorite team. What’s going on with Altitude? - Burgundy Wave
TL;DR Don’t expect to see the Rapids on TV anytime soon.

The on-again-off-again courtship seems to be nearing consummation. Reports: MLS expansion into Sacramento nearing completion
Sacramento is reportedly close to landing their MLS expansion franchise.

The USL news you can use! Game Report: September 7, Week 27
Phoenix stretches their winning streak, Tacoma starts a 15 year old in their loss to Sacramento, and other games also happen.

How did other teams manage as they played during the international break? Armchair Analyst: The weekend in review | Week 27 analysis | MLSsoccer.com

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to a strike for players to get what they want. Doubts persist about MLS players’ ability to strike in upcoming CBA talks – The Athletic ($)
Much has changed since the last MLS CBA was agreed in 2015, but the power dynamics remain mostly the same between owners and players.

NWSL

What marketing power the league possesses is still greater than that of the NWSL, and ought to be put to use. Time for MLS to pay forward marketing muscle to promote women's pro soccer - StarTribune.com
The fans are there, as big crowds for the World Cup-winning U.S. women's national team's "Victory Tour'' show.

There was a special member of the press in attendance as Sky Blue and Reign FC made history. Guest report: experiencing Sky Blue’s big Red Bull Arena game as a 9-year-old - All For XI
A guest report from our 9-year-old intrepid field reporter.

Racist incident at Royals-Thorns match highlights need for clarity on NWSL conduct policies – The Athletic ($)
Reports of racial slurs used by a fan at Rio Tinto Stadium prompted the league to reference a policy that doesn't seem to exist

There is power in what narratives we choose to cover and emphasize. With so many interesting options available, why focus on attendance? The NWSL is so much more than attendance numbers and the fight for survival – The Athletic
The limited scope of storytelling about the NWSL is doing the league a disservice

USA

The game may have come and gone, but the fight against that chant continues. US Soccer faces do-or-die showdown with Mexico and gay ‘puto’ chant - Outsports

Good thing Roldan was with the US for that game. Christian Pulisic and four others to re-join club teams after Mexico friendly - Stars and Stripes FC
Yeah, but surely all 23 players were absolutely vital to have for Mexico...

I’m sure they’ve done an extensive search and will hire the most qualified person. No new CEO yet for U.S. Soccer, but hire likely coming in next few months
Jay Berhalter is the leading candidate to replace the retiring Dan Flynn despite being unpopular with much of the fan base.

Is Gregg Berhalter actually a good coach? Someone please tell me! USMNT v. Mexico: What we Learned - Stars and Stripes FC
Unfortunately, it seems Mexico learned a thing or two since July while the US did not, with the Americans falling 3-0. Here’s what we learned.

Tres a cero has a particularly bitter taste to it. Not in a nice amaro kind of way, unfortunately. 2019 September Friendly Recap - USA 0-3 Mexico: If Sisyphus was about a soccer team... - Stars and Stripes FC
If I may pose a question: What are we doing?

World

Do you have seven minutes to better understand tactics? VIDEO: Explaining 10 Tactical Concepts in Laypeople’s Terms - Managing Madrid
Tactics don’t need to be difficult to understand.

Counter-point: being an fan of both the US national team and an MLS team is pretty bad. International soccer breaks aren’t *that* bad - SBNation.com
The international break is the bane of the soccer world, but there’s plenty to appreciate in the reprieve from the ultra-serious club season.

Some blame probably lies with the manager, but challenging City and Liverpool seems like a big ask. Ole to blame if Utd don't compete for Prem - Matic
Nemanja Matic has said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to hold himself responsible if Manchester United don't challenge for the title.

Regardless of how things go for Maradona at Gimnasia, this is sure to be entertaining. Maradona hired at Argentine club Gimnasia
Argentina legend Diego Maradona has been hired to manage first division club Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, the club announced on Thursday.

Shakhtar Donetsk: The Ukrainian serial winners forced to flee from war - BBC Sport
Champions League regulars Shakhtar Donetsk abandoned their home ground in 2014 - because of the bitter conflict in east Ukraine.

The sport struggles with the same structural issues regarding equity and equality that the rest of the world does, it turns out. Real racism lies with football authorities - Vincent Kompany - BBC Sport
The lack of diversity in football organizations is part of the problem in tackling racism, says former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.

The newly promoted team could certainly do without a run-in with FFP as they try to stay in the Premier League. Aston Villa: Premier League to scrutinise Villa Park sale - BBC Sport
The Premier League will assess whether the sale of Villa Park to Aston Villa's owners breached financial fair play rules.

Can the WSL capitalize on the strength of England’s World Cup performance? High-profile games and signings give new WSL season a perfect platform | Eni Aluko | Football | The Guardian
Manchester United’s arrival will stir things up at the top, although Birmingham and Yeovil have their work cut out to stay up

Caster Semenya begins 'new journey' by joining soccer club - CNN
Embattled athlete Caster Semenya has traded her running shoes for football boots after joining JVW Football Club in the South African SASOL League.

12 questions with… WSL players - All For XI
What rock anthem would Lucy Graham’s entrance music be?

The once promising Sounders prospect is back and scoring goals in CONCACAF Nations League. Oalex Anderson Scores in St Vincent and the Grenadines draw with Nicaragua

Raheem Sterling's England transformation continues with goal and assist against Bulgaria | Football News | Sky Sports
Raheem Sterling has long been prolific for Manchester City but now he's delivering for England, too. Nick Wright looks at how he put his international struggles behind him to become Gareth Southgate's most potent attacker following his latest goal in Saturday's win over Bulgaria.

What’s on today?

9:00 AM - Azerbaijan v. Croatia - Euros Qualifying - ESPN3

11:45 AM - Northern Ireland v. Germany - Euros Qualifying - ESPN+

11:45 AM - 8 matches - Euros Qualifying - ESPN App

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM - 7 Matches - NCAA - ESPN+ and ESPN App