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Major Link Soccer: Soccer Night in America

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Six professional soccer games in US leagues all in one busy day.

OL Reign v Utah Royals FC

We have a lot to get to, so let’s skip the preamble. Buckle in, and read up.

Seattle/Tacoma

New OL Reign defender Madison Hammond has taken a complicated journey through her life, but soccer has been one constant. An ‘unbelievable feeling’: Multicultural soccer player signs pro contract - Navajo Times

Former Brisbane Roar midfielder Jesse Daley has opened up about his turbulent time in the United States as the country is ravaged by the coronavirus, protests and civil unrest. Ex-Roar youngster Daley reveals 'crazy' American ordeal

Betos is playing for the first time without her father able to watch. Reign’s Michelle Betos made her return from injury at NWSL Challenge Cup — if only her father could have seen it | The Seattle Times

As rough as the game may have been, it was still nice to have the Sounders back. Three Takeaways: Back line stands tall as Seattle Sounders open MLS is Back Tournament with a draw | Seattle Sounders FC

It’s been an especially difficult year for Betos, so her return to the field is a feel-good story anyone can appreciate. Betos’ Return a Personal and Professional Triumph — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

Pride is a deeply personal and important topic for a number of OL Reign players like Jess Fishlock. OL Reign Players Reflect Ahead of Pride Match — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

Everything you need to know ahead of the game from Sacramento’s perspective. Match Preview: Republic FC v Tacoma Defiance

Taking the temperature of Tacoma Defiance’s opponents for their return to action. Pregame Quotes Prior to Tacoma Clash

MLS/USL

In place of their own last names, the Philadelphia Union players wore the names of victims on their jerseys for their first game in the MLS is Back Tournament. Union players wear names of victims of police brutality on their jerseys - Brotherly Game

The food? Meh. The arcade games? Fun. The ultimate fate of the tournament? That's up to the players themselves — and the coronavirus. Life inside the MLS bubble, where COVID-19 and comfort clash

The Union won their opening game of Major League Soccer’s season-resuming tournament Thursday morning, 1-0, over New York City FC. But the game’s true highlight was a globally televised protest by the Union against police killings of Black people across the United States. New York City vs. Philadelphia: Alejandro Bedoya goal, Union's police brutality victims names on jerseys in win over NYCFC

Zito Madu speaks with Black Players for Change executive director Justin Morrow to help break down the impact of BPCMLS’s demonstration at the beginning of the MLS is Back Tournament. Black Players for Change demonstration marks deep shift, but there's more to be done | Zito Madu | MLSsoccer.com

Forward Rashawn Dally, a 2019 MLS SuperDraft pick, will join the USL Championship club on loan. LIGHTS FC BOLSTER ROSTER WITH LOAN FROM MLS FC CINCINNATI

After graduating from West Point in the spring, center back Zac McGraw is eager for minutes at the MLS is Back tournament. Here’s how his time at the Service Academy prepared him for pro soccer. How Army prepared McGraw for the pros | College Soccer

Major League Soccer may soon allow private equity firms to buy minority stakes in teams. That would give owns another avenue to access cash. MLS Said Close to Allowing Private Equity Investors – Sportico.com

Orlando City extended striker Tesho Akindele’s contract, adding at least one year to his deal with the Lions. Orlando City extends striker Tesho Akindele’s contract - Orlando Sentinel

It’s probably a brand you’re familiar with. Sacramento Republic FC announce new jersey sleeve sponsor - Indomitable City Soccer

More new stadiums are soon to follow, as Louisville debuts their new digs. USL’s Edwards: LouCity’s Grand Opening a Sign of USL’s Future

2.5 are Defiance players, but Mueller didn’t make the Washington nomination. MURRAY: Who’s the Best Championship Player from Every State?

Fans will be required to wear face masks. Wauwatosa's Hart Park will host Forward Madison FC's home soccer games

Is that Zakuani & Friends regular Ash Apollon’s music? Sacramento Republic have close to a full squad for season restart - Indomitable City Soccer

USL Championship welcomed teams back to their home stadiums, and some unwisely welcomed fans back as well. USL Championship heralds return of sports competition in local US markets | SportBusiness

Two stoppage-time goals after a goalkeeper red card lead to a Minnesota win. Recap: Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC 07/13/2020 | Matchcenter

Sam Rogers gets a shout in this rundown of USL players to watch. The players to watch as the USL Championship returns – The Athletic

He used to be known as “Hot Boy,” but now he’s a Hot Man, and he just drove Minnesota United to an opening win in the MLS is Back Tournament. Recap: Kevin Molino leads the Loons to a tournament opening win over SKC in Orlando - E Pluribus Loonum

Whatever you think of Zardes, from start to finish this goal is a thing of beauty. Anatomy of a Goal: Zardes completes a dissection of FC Cincinnati - Massive Report

San Diego Loyal may be the real deal. Real Monarchs SLC drop home opener in 1-0 loss to San Diego Loyal - RSL Soapbox

NWSL

Sky Blue FC’s best performer on Wednesday night was a DII and WPSL product who was virtually unknown this time last year. Jennifer Cudjoe has her breakout star performance - All For XI

Working at Zions Bank Stadium is nothing special for the cleaning team, but the context around the event is unprecedented. The MVP of the NWSL Challenge Cup? A family cleaning business hit hard by the pandemic – Equalizer Soccer ($)

If there’s a bright side to this tournament, it’s seeing players healthy again. Challenge Cup highlights multiple players returning from ACL injuries - All For XI

The Challenge Cup has proved the perfect platform for Sanchez to show her sauce. You have no idea what Ashley Sanchez will do next, because neither does she - Black And Red United

Gorden and her Chicago Red Stars teammates are raising funds for non-profit in the final opening round match Sarah Gorden opens up about her desire to form a coalition for Black NWSL players and more - CBSSports.com

A look at how OL Reign’s rivals might stack up in the last round of the NWSL Challenge group stage. Thorns vs. OL Reign - Stumptown Footy

USA

The swift processing of COVID-19 test results for the NBA may be problematic for those outside the bubble mired in a public health crisis, writes Tom Haberstroh. NBA facing major ethical issues over COVID testing in Orlando bubble | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Zack Steffen spent the 2019-20 season with Fortuna Dusseldorf but missed the second half of the season with an injury problem. USMNT goalkeeper Steffen set for Man City spot - sources

There will not be a loan away from Manchester City for American goalkeeper Zack Steffen this season, according to a report. Report: USMNT keeper Steffen to be Man City No. 2 next season

An internal planning document obtained by Morning Consult outlines four scheduling scenarios the league is considering for next season, including one in which it would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule. NBA Documents Show It’s Considering Delaying 2020-21 Season to March if COVID-19 Solution Seems Close

How Black Players for Change came to exist in MLS. Soccer world is speaking up in America: ‘We are ready to make change’

The first team sport back from lockdown wins new sponsors and record TV viewers US women’s football scores open goal in virus-hit calendar | Financial Times

World

CSI: UEFA CBS take over Champions League broadcast rights in USA - We Ain't Got No History

The pandemic-enforced changes to the Champions League presented the perfect format for CBS to find to broadcast European soccer’s showpiece competition earlier than planned. New Euro soccer format a platform for CBS to build audience

Soccer-mad Argentines in the country’s farm belt city of Pergamino have devised a clever way to keep playing while avoiding risk of spreading COVID-19: a human foosball pitch with zones for each player to avoid physical contact. Argentines get soccer kicks at social distance with 'human foosball' - Reuters

Breaking news: parody accounts are bad, actually. The Ballad of @The_BigSam: A history of parody football Twitter accounts – The Athletic

European clubs may have a lot less money to play with as a result of COVID-19. Soccer-Europe's top-flight clubs face 4 bln euros in lost revenue due to COVID-19 - Reuters

Drawing against Burnley isn’t exactly what anyone with Liverpool would describe as a success, but they could still make history. Match Recap: Liverpool 1, Burnley 1 - The Liverpool Offside

They’re not dead yet. Aston Villa 2, Crystal Palace 0: Trézéguet double keeps survival hopes alive - 7500 To Holte

A conspiracy so intricate, Pepe Silvia has to be involved. The Chippy: We have a VAR conspiracy theory - The Busby Babe

Chelsea are going to need a strong finish to the season if they’re going to make their Bundesliga purchases a trio. If they get the third, they get a free sub. Kai Havertz won’t join Chelsea without Champions League football - We Ain't Got No History

Jay Z may play a not-insignificant role in elevating AC Milan to the lofty heights that they used to occupy. AC Milan Sign Industry Leading Partnership Deal With Jay-Z’s Roc Nation - The AC Milan Offside

Culture

Dungeons & Dragons use of race is problematic. One game designer has found a new way forward. This new zine, titled Ancestry & Culture, is required reading for playing RPGs in 2020. Here’s our review. Creating characters for your next D&D campaign? Use Ancestry & Culture instead of race - Polygon

What’s on TV today?

9:30 AM - OL Reign vs Portland Thorns (NWSL Challenge Cup) - CBS All Access

11:30 AM - Oxford United vs Wycombe Wanderers (League One) - ESPN+

12:00 PM - Manchester United vs Southampton (English Premier League) - NBCSN

12:45 PM - Internazionale vs Torino (Serie A) - ESPN+

4:00 PM - OKC Energy vs FC Tulsa (USL Championship) - ESPN 2, ESPN App

5:00 PM - Los Angeles FC vs Houston Dynamo (MLS is Back) - Fox Sports 1

7:00 PM - Sky Blue FC vs North Carolina Courage (NWSL Challenge Cup) - CBS All Access

7:00 PM - Sacramento Republic FC vs Tacoma Defiance (USL Championship) ESPN Deportes, ESPN App

7:30 PM - LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers (MSL is Back) - Fox Sports 1