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Major Link Soccer: Pigeons in Portland for MLS Cup Final

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Timbers to host NYCFC in MLS Cup Final.

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SOCCER: DEC 05 MLS Cup Playoffs - New York City FC at Philadelphia Union 43_ celebrates scoring a goal during the second half of the Major League Soccer Cup Playoffs match between New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union on December 5, 2021, at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While the MLS Cup Final seems like it’s going to be a real bummer for viewers in Seattle, we’ve still got plenty to be excited about in the NCAA College Cup. Dylan Teves and the Huskies are in the semifinals, where three of the four teams all have Sounders connections of various strength. In the UK the Women’s FA Cup Final was a delight of a game from Chelsea, but their 3-0 victory was marred a bit by fan behavior. The NWSL’s chaos has no limits as the league heads towards two drafts, and Jude Bellingham made remarks about a referee that have him in potential legal trouble.

Seattle/Tacoma

Nikki Stanton graduated from Mt Si High School, but now she’s back home to play with OL Reign. Valley athlete coming home to play for the hometown pro team – Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal

Another former Sounders Academy player propelled the Huskies to victory, sending the team to its first ever College Cup appearance. UW will face another potential Sounders HomeGrown Player in the semifinal, playing Christ Hegardt and Georgetown. Washington Advances To First College Cup In Program History - University of Washington Athletics

MLS/USL

Renovations to the Oklahoma City Public Schools-owned stadium that Energy FC use will directly conflict with the 2022 season, which has resulted in the decision to suspend play for a year. Energy FC to suspend play in 2022, resume in 2023

Philadelphia paid for the players’ lack of caution with COVID protocols, but no one wants to see a City Group team in a final. I guess at least they’re maybe capable of ruining the Timbers’ day at Providence Park. Three Takeaways from NYCFC's historic win to reach their first-ever MLS Cup | MLSSoccer.com

A Cascadia team is in the MLS Cup Final for the 7th straight year, which is cool. It’s Portland, though, which is less cool. Have we not all suffered? Three Takeaways from Portland Timbers beating RSL to reach MLS Cup 2021 | MLSSoccer.com

NWSL/WoSo

The format of European qualification for the Women’s World Cup and Women’s Euros will change from 2023, Uefa’s head of women’s football, Nadine Kessler, has said. ‘It’s not good’: Uefa confirms women’s qualifying to change after mismatches | Women's football | The Guardian

Orlando Pride have got a new manager, but the hire adds a new dimension to conversations about the possible abuse of power when coaches have romantic relationships with their players (past or present). Amanda Cromwell Departs UCLA for Other Opportunities - UCLA

The flurry of trades ahead of the NWSL expansion draft highlight why players are fighting for their first CBA, better pay, and free agency rights. NWSL trades expose need for CBA, free agency - On Her Turf

After the Washington Spirit’s Trinity Rodman had a rookie season to remember, we asked NWSL players to explain what makes her game next-level. What makes Trinity Rodman so good? Let NWSL players explain – JWS

Sam Kerr scored a beautiful brace in an auspicious FA Cup final. Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea, Women’s FA Cup Final: Post-match reaction - We Ain't Got No History

USA

I can personally remember the same people who made jokes about soccer in the early 2000s wanting to wake up early and watch the World Cup by 2010. How Soccer Lost America (Then Got It Back) - The Ringer

Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle are both nominees for “Female U.S. Soccer Player of the Year” because, well, they’re famous white women, and maybe some other less clear reasons. Nominees Set For 2021 U.S. Soccer Player Of The Year Awards

World

Amid a new variant and a surge in covid cases, the Bavarian government has taken steps to contain the spread of the virus. Empty stadium for Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona and remaining home games this year - Bavarian Football Works

“...Divock Origi, the legend, came and finished it off for us.” Klopp On Origi Heroics: “He Is Great In These Moments” - The Liverpool Offside

“This was more than football, it was my personal life, something I achieved.” 'I got really good at lying. I'm trying to undo that. It's hard to live a double life' - Josh Cavallo on being an LGBT footballer – The Athletic

A former Premier League striker is apparently coming for Alex Roldan’s goalkeeping crown. Mame Biram Diouf: The striker who went in goal twice in a match, didn’t touch the ball with his hands but won a penalty shootout – The Athletic

Questioning the professionalism of a referee who’s previously dabbled in match fixing is maybe not a great idea in a post-game interview, but it’s apparently a potential criminal act in Germany. DFB Investigating Jude Bellingham’s Controversial Comments About Felix Zwayer - Fear The Wall

What’s on TV today?

9:30 AM - Empoli vs. Udinese (Serie A) - Paramount+

11:45 AM - Cagliari vs. Torino (Serie A) - Paramount+

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

12:00 PM - Getafe vs. Athletic Bilbao (La Liga) - ESPN+

3:00 PM - Flamengo vs. Santos (Brasileirão) - Paramount+

4:30 PM - Newell’s Old Boys vs. Banfield (Primera División) - Paramount+