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Major Link Soccer: MLS Preview SZN

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MLS kicks off soon, so it’s time for some previews.

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Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

The time of previews has come for MLS, as the start of the 2021 season is mere days away. NWSL has already started the Challenge Cup with everything from a scoreless draw to goal fests and a fight. That fight and the response to it, and the apparent racial profiling of Chicago Red Stars player Sarah Gorden are frustrating reminders to investigate our own internal biases and preconceived notions of who belongs where, who is innocent by nature, and to think extra hard about the words that we use to describe people and situations.

Seattle/Tacoma

Bardsley says her loan to OL Reign has “reinvigorated” her after a difficult time dealing with injury. England keeper Karen Bardsley: ‘Let’s just say it was dark, it wasn’t a very good time for me’ | The Telegraph

Seven suburbs that are cool, and Mercer Island? Best Suburbs Near Seattle: Towns You Should Absolutely Visit - Thrillist

The biggest takeaway might actually be that Josh Atencio seems to have the inside track on minutes among the current crop of youngsters on the roster. Also, he looks like he might be 6’3” at this point. Three Takeaways: Sounders FC picks up impressive 1-0 win in first of two scrimmages against San Diego Loyal SC | Seattle Sounders FC

Listen to people you know and love talk about the team you know and love. 2021 Sounder Season Preview – Miki Turner, Sounder at Heart and Ari Liljenwall, MLS – #125 – Nerd Farmer Podcast

Former FX McRory’s owner Mick McHugh said the restaurant he’s leading for the Seattle Kraken will have the FX McRory’s spirit. Former owner of FX McRory's returns to the restaurant scene leading Seattle Kraken's flagship eatery | king5.com

Previews are hard, especially when you can’t actually watch the team. ASA aren’t exactly bullish on the Sounders as they currently stand, though. 2021 MLS Season Previews: Austin FC, Houston Dynamo, and Seattle Sounders — American Soccer Analysis

MLS/USL

I love an alliteration more than most, but Wondo Way is a mouthful. NEWS: Earthquakes Announce Wondo Way Street Name | San Jose Earthquakes

The grading seems generous, with the Sounders getting a B on the strength of bringing back João Paulo and signing Kelyn Rowe and Fredy Montero. NYCFC still got a D, though. 2021 offseason transfer grades for all 27 MLS clubs | MLSSoccer.com

Not even a year into its existence and the USLBPA is already effecting real change in the league. USL, USL Black Players Alliance Launch United Against Racism Commitment

Fredy Montero leaves the Whitecaps, then they lose 2-0 to a USL side in preseason. Coincidence? Preseason Recap – Indy Eleven 2 : 0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Nico Lodeiro gets a shout in this look at the league’s top conductors. MLS maestros: The No. 10s lighting up MLS and bucking the global trend | MLSSoccer.com

The Galaxy dropped stacks of MLS money just for Cabral’s discovery rights, and he’s worth every cent if only for his hair. LA Galaxy acquire Kévin Cabral as Young Designated Player - LAG Confidential

Lletget has at least acknowledged his wrong-doing and the harm it can cause. It still shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Sebastian Lletget, USMNT, Galaxy player, used gay slur on Instagram - Outsports

NWSL/WoSo

Portland Thorns and Houston Dash will also participate in the Women’s International Champions Cup in August. Olympique Lyonnais, Barcelona to join NWSL teams in summer tournament - The Washington Post

If you want an expert on American women’s soccer’s progress over the years, look no further than the former Independence centerback. Gotham FC's Estelle Johnson ready for big 2021 NWSL season, Challenge Cup | Philadelphia Inquirer

There’s a new player in the American professional women’s soccer space, hopefully there’s more substance than the branding jargon in the announcement. INTRODUCING WISL – THE WOMEN’S INDEPENDENT SOCCER LEAGUE | Women's Independent Soccer League

Even for a placeholder, the kit’s pretty poring. The sponsor’s donation promise is cool, but complicated by the fact that the sponsors is the team owner’s company. It’s weird. KC NWSL reveals kit for the Challenge Cup and founding partner - The Blue Testament

Former Rayadas and Necaxa goalkeeper talks about the stark inequities between men’s and women’s teams. Former Rayadas and Necaxa goalkeeper Balbina Treviño outlines gender equity issues in Mexican soccer - FMF State Of Mind

NWSL is back, baby! The opening weekend of the Challenge Cup featured everything you could ask for. NWSL Challenge Cup week 1 recap: already hectic! - All For XI

The apparent racial profiling of Sarah Gorden served as the lowlight for the weekend of NWSL action. Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden alleges racial profiling following Challenge Cup opener - Chicago Sun-Times

USA

A late Megan Rapinoe penalty was just enough to earn a draw for the US. Match recap: USA escapes Sweden game with 1-1 result - Stars and Stripes FC

World

The ban is being justified as a means to empower women but it is the opposite, with girls excluded and in danger of dropping out of sport. France's hijab ban threatens to strip sport of its ability to empower

Months after contracting COVID-19, I still have fatigue, brain fog, heart palpitations and find it harder to breathe. Breathing lessons: A survivor’s guide to long COVID | Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera

Are long shots good, actually? Is Soccer Wrong About Long Shots? | FiveThirtyEight

Rangers players and staff are boycotting social media as a stand against what they see as a lack of accountability, particularly concerning the racial abuse that takes place on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Rangers Players And Management Boycott Social Media | Rangers Football Club

fuboTV has added exclusive streaming rights for CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, and will create their own pre- and post-game programming. fuboTV has acquired exclusive streaming rights for CONMEBOL 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

It may be an excuse or wishful thinking, but network execs are reportedly blaming Nielsen for at least part of TV’s ratings slide. Nets blaming Nielsen for COVID-era ratings slide - Sports Media Watch

What’s on TV today?

10:00 AM - West Bromwich Albion vs Southampton (EPL) - NBCSN

11:30 AM - Hoffenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga) - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Benevento vs Sassuolo (Serie A) - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Mouscron-Peruwelz vs Antwerp (First Division A) - ESPN+

12:15 PM - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Everton (EPL) - NBCSN