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Major Link Soccer: A wild weekend in Utah

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The NWSL Challenge Cup has featured lots of goals, controversy, and an OL Reign loss.

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Day 4 Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

We’re over a week into the NWSL Challenge Cup and less than a week away from the start of MLS and USL’s returns to the field. Things on the MLS front are hardly going smoothly as positive coronavirus tests stack up, but NWSL’s Challenge Cup has been a roaring good time. Meanwhile, attention turns to player development as young players hit the European stage and new US-based academy leagues get rolling, but Minnesota United appear to be opting out.

Seattle/Tacoma

Bethany Balcer’s path to NWSL has been far from typical, but she’s looking to build on her strong rookie season. Reign's Bethany Balcer aims to build on rookie NWSL season

Spencer collaborated to design the T-shirts her team wore for their National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup opener. Jasmyne Spencer has Reign covered on field and with her clothing line | The Seattle Times

A look into the preparations for the MLS is Back Tournament for two players with Type-1 diabetes. Diabetics Jordan Morris, Andy Rose discuss decision to play in Orlando | MLSsoccer.com

I’m going to be honest, that was rough to watch. OL Reign Drops Match to Houston Dash — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

MLS/USL

Parents of academy players said ownership and upper management viewed the youth system as “a money suck and a waste of time.” Inside the decline of Minnesota United’s youth academy - E Pluribus Loonum

Tacoma Defiance will close out the opening weekend of USL Championship’s return to play as they take on Sacramento Republic FC. USL Championship Announces Opening Weekend Schedule

If things are going to go pear-shaped with this tournament, this seems like the beginning of it. FC Dallas’ game against Vancouver Whitecaps has been postponed - Big D Soccer

NWSL/WoSo

Shea Groom looks like Shea Groom, which is great, but it’s a shame that it had to happen against the Reign. 3 things we learned: Houston Dash vs OL Reign - Dynamo Theory

Chicago played well, but the Courage are an unstoppable force. North Carolina Courage 1, Chicago Red Stars 0: Quick Recap - Hot Time In Old Town

Amy Rodriguez looks rested and is absolutely cooking. Rodriguez leads Utah Royals to 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC - RSL Soapbox

USA

There are a lot of squats and lunges, among other things, between Pulisic and Hazard. Christian Pulisic delights with shades of Eden Hazard as Chelsea defeat Watford at home 3-0 - We Ain't Got No History

World

Rocco B. Commisso completed his purchase of an Italian team in record time. It was only after the closing that he learned an agent controlled the fate of some of the club’s top players. Secret Contracts Held a Surprise for Fiorentina’s New Owners - The New York Times

To the tune of ‘Me and Mrs Jones’

“Meeeee aaaaand Curtis, Curtis Joooones”

Klopp Commends Liverpool Starlet Goal In Villa Win: “He Wants To Be Decisive” - The Liverpool Offside

That will surely show them. FIFA fine Arsenal for Joel Campbell, Chuba Akpom transfers - The Short Fuse

Things are looking up for the Canadian men’s game amidst a flow of players to Europe. J.J. Adams: Forgotten Canada experiencing gold rush as foreign soccer leagues eye untapped talent | The Province

A tragedy amidst a multitude of other tragedies. Former Nottingham Forest footballer Derrick Otim drowns in the U.S

Leroy Sane is finally going to be free! Inside Leroy Sane’s transfer (and the bad blood between Bayern and Man City) – The Athletic

What’s on TV today?

9:00 AM - Oxford United vs Portsmouth (League One) - ESPN+

11:30 AM - Wycombe Wanderers vs Fleetwood Town (League One) - ESPN+

11:30 AM - Heidenheim vs Werder Bremen (Bundesliga Relegation Playoff Leg 2) - Fox Sports 2

12:00 PM - Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton (Premier League) - NBCSN