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Major Link Soccer: Canada’s closing the gap

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The USWNT aren’t as far ahead as they once were, and Canada’s coming up behind.

Canada v Sweden: Gold Medal Match Women’s Football - Olympics: Day 14 Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Canada is among the teams around the world who have closed the gap between the USWNT and everyone else, and their gold medals are proof. The Premier League is back and full of fun, but with that has come more than a couple incidences of problematic fan behavior including homophobic chants. The professional teams of the Puget Sound were on the road this weekend, and while OL Reign had a frustrating night in Kansas City, the Tacoma Defiance and Seattle Sounders put on impressive away performances as they secured important wins.

Seattle/Tacoma

Transition is the operative word for OL Reign this season. The team’s results have been up and down. One of the few constants has been Sofia Huerta. Sofia Huerta’s consistency is quietly driving OL Reign’s recent success – Equalizer Soccer

The loss was frustrating enough, but the fact that it came with injuries to two key players is even worse as the second Laura Harvey era gets under way. OL Reign Win Streak Snapped in Kansas City — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

A come from behind win stretched Tacoma’s unbeaten run to a team record seven games, and put them within reach of 2nd place in their division. MATCH RECAP: TACOMA DEFIANCE DEFEATS SAN DIEGO 2-1 FOR FIRST ROAD VICTORY OF THE SEASON - Tacoma Defiance

The Sounders brought the smackdown to Portland on Sunday. Seattle Sounders score six in historic rivalry win over Portland Timbers | Seattle Sounders

MLS/USL

With his future likely set on the other side of the Atlantic, Tajon Buchanan made the most of his latest trip home. Tajon Buchanan hailed after homecoming goal at Toronto FC: "He has a huge upside" | MLSSoccer.com

Gonzalo Pineda may not be running things just yet, but Atlanta seem to be doing their best to make his welcome a warm one. Recap: Atlanta United 1, LAFC 0 | MLSSoccer.com

Bobby Wood seems to be enjoying himself in Salt Lake. Player of the Match: Bobby Wood needs more minutes, Damir Kreilach deserves all of his minutes - RSL Soapbox

“With all due respect to the Revs and Sporting, Seattle’s the best team in the league. They are finally just about healthy and whole, and they have a habit of owning the second half of the season.” LA Galaxy are back, Sporting's MVP duo & more from MLS Week 19 | MLSSoccer.com

Three Whitecaps Academy players were attacked in what is believed to have been a racist assault. Whitecaps FC statement | Vancouver Whitecaps

NWSL/WoSo

As the NWSLPA enters the ugliest part of its CBA negotiation, it’s become even more obvious just how necessary unions are for women athletes. Unions Are Imperative For Professional Women Athletes To Get More Respect (And Bigger Paychecks)

Seven minutes into the Washington Spirit’s match against the Houston Dash on Friday, there was joy. Relief, even. Paige Nielsen struck what she accurately described as “a banger” of a goal which appeared to offer fleeting respite from a challenging week. Spirit players leaning on each other after controversial week for club – Equalizer Soccer ($)

With Olympic gold in the trophy case, the sky’s the limit for Canada. After Olympic soccer gold, Canadian women turn sights on succeeding at the World Cup | CBC Sports

USA

While the USWNT were the undisputed best in the world for a significant stretch, the gap between them and the rest isn’t as big as it once was. Opinion: The USWNT may no longer be on top of the women’s game - All For XI

World

Diego Simeone is just like us, in that he’s not really sure what a handball is anymore. Simeone: "I still believe that the VAR is very good" - AS.com

Whether Harry Kane stays or not, Tottenham are in good hands with Nuno Espirito Santo in control. Harry Kane: Tottenham can thrive under Nuno Espirito Santo with or without striker - BBC Sport

Liverpool marked their return to action, and the return from injury for some of their most important players, with a statement victory. Digging Deeper Into Liverpool’s Premier League Victory Over Norwich - The Liverpool Offside

Homophobia has no place in sport, or any other part of life. Liverpool Condemn Homophobic Chants Directed At Billy Gilmour - The Liverpool Offside

It seems incredibly silly that players are having to take pay cuts on previously signed deals because Barcelona is so irresponsible, but that’s just me. Gerard Pique says Busquets, Alba and Roberto will also reduce salaries - Barca Blaugranes

I think Lukaku deserves to be happy, and if going back to Chelsea is how he gets there then I’m all for it. Lukaku hopes Inter fans understand his decision to leave for ‘chance of lifetime’ at Chelsea - We Ain't Got No History

It was a pretty good goal for the home town guy. Trevoh Chalobah set out to impress Thomas Tuchel. Job done; now what? - We Ain't Got No History

Culture

Play one of the peoples who makes a city more welcoming at dawn and dusk, the lighter of lamps and lanterns. In darkness there is light — the Lamplighter is a new 5th edition D&D Background | Full Moon Storytelling

What’s on TV today?

11:00 AM - Villareal vs Granada (La Liga) - ESPN+

1:00 PM - Elche vs Athletic Bilbao (La Liga) - ESPN+

4:00 PM - Chapecoense vs America Mineiro (Brasileirão) - Paramount+

4:15 PM - Defensa y Justicia vs Sarmiento (Primera División) - Paramount+

5:00 PM - Tigres UANL vs Atlético San Luis (Liga MX Femenil) - TUDN