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Major Link Soccer: USMNT heads to Estadio Azteca

“This is probably the biggest week of their lives” - Gregg Bethalter

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FBL-WC-2022-USA-TRAINING Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images

Seattle

United States women’s international Megan Rapinoe said so few male footballers have come out because the environment is not “safe.” USWNT star Megan Rapinoe: Male players won’t come out until it’s safe

Through her words and actions as well as her ability, Megan Rapinoe has combined a career of achievements with inspirational athlete activism; accepting an invitation from Chelsea’s Pernille Harder and Magda Eriksson, she chats about her motivations, the conviction behind her message, and the comfort she finds within the LGBTQ+ community. The HangOut: Megan Rapinoe joins Chelsea's Pernille Harder and Magda Eriksson | Football News | Sky Sports

OL Reign is celebrating Women’s History Month by honoring the women that teach, inspire, make history and push us to greatness. The third woman we will be honoring this month is a former player and coach that helped shape the culture of OL Reign over the last decade, Steph Cox. Women’s History Month Spotlight: Steph Cox — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

MLS/USL

D.C. United have re-acquired midfielder Chris Durkin from Belgian Pro League club Sint-Truidense (STVV), via Houston Dynamo FC and the MLS Allocation Order, sources tell MLSsoccer.com. Sources: DC United re-acquire midfielder Chris Durkin (via Houston Dynamo) | MLSSoccer.com

The Colorado Rapids announced on Wednesday that they have signed head coach Robin Fraser to a four-year extension through the 2025 MLS season. Rapids ink head coach Robin Fraser to four-year extension - Burgundy Wave

Ray Serrano scored his first club goal for Lou City. LouCity continues perfect start with win over Red Bulls II - Louisville City FC

The inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season is kicking off this Friday with St. Louis CITY2 facing off against Rochester New York FC at Hermann Stadium (8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT) in St. Louis live on mlsnextpro.com. MLS NEXT Pro Inaugural Season Players to Watch | MLSSoccer.com

An executive of Peruvian club Universitario Deportes has stated that former Portland Timbers midfielder Andy Polo was paid in full by MLS. Andy Polo paid in full by MLS and Portland Timbers following allegations says Universitario executive

The legal and corporate manager for Universitario revealed the new information in a news conference Wednesday. Peruvian team executive: MLS paid Andy Polo in full, asked him not to sue - oregonlive.com

The inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season kicks off on Friday, March 25, in St. Louis, as St Louis CITY2 hosts RNY FC at Hermann Stadium (8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT). The first-ever class of head coaches features a diverse group of individuals, with 25 percent of the clubs being led by coaches of color. MLS NEXT Pro Head Coaches: Class of 2022 | MLSSoccer.com

Past champs punched their ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup and made bank, but a new format could change that. Champions League prize money for CONCACAF winners in 2022 - Hudson River Blue

NWSL/WoSo

The Orlando Pride apologized after a supporters’ group was told it could not display a banner that said “gay” at a match this weekend. Orlando Pride apologize for not allowing display of 'gay' banner

After the Orlando Pride took down a banner that simply said the word ‘gay,’ there has been more scrutiny on the NWSL fan code of conduct. Orlando Pride says removal of ‘gay’ banner was a mistake, but challenges remain on a clear NWSL fan code of conduct – The Athletic ($)

Lotte Wubben-Moy scored late on to rescue a 1-1 draw for Arsenal Women at home to Wolfsburg in their Champions League quarter-final first leg. Lotte Wubben-Moy strikes late to rescue draw for Arsenal against Wolfsburg | Women’s Champions League | The Guardian

USA

There is no substitution of emotion when playing in a rivalry match or un clásico. The sense of pride for the players, the passion of the fans, the buzz around the city and amplified attention from the media just hit different. US Soccer vs. Mexico, untold stories from a heated rivalry | MLSSoccer.com

The US men’s national team and staff have certainly played or coached in big games. Some have competed in, even won, UEFA Champions League; others have won (and lost) MLS Cups and vied for top honors in European leagues. Moment of WCQ truth looms for USMNT at Mexico: “This is probably the biggest week of our lives” | MLSSoccer.com

Obed Vargas isn’t the only young American player busy this week. USMNT Weekly Youth Update: U-20s in Argentina, Che debut, goals in MLS, USL - Stars and Stripes FC

A big showdown at the Azteca. USA vs. Mexico, 2022 World Cup qualifying: Predictions, starting lineup, what to watch for - Stars and Stripes FC

The backline has been strong so far, but will need to step up if the USA is going to qualify. Ahead of the final USMNT World Cup qualifiers, the center back pool faces an uncertain situation - Stars and Stripes FC

Despite likely clinching a World Cup spot, Mexico could have a new head coach if results don’t improve soon. Can Martino end Mexico’s slump vs. USA? His job might just depend on it - FMF State Of Mind

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky advised the U.S. leader to wait on sanctioning the Russia oligarch because he might prove important as a go-between with Russia in helping to negotiate peace. Ukrainian President Asked Biden Not to Sanction Abramovich, to Facilitate Peace Talks - WSJ

World

Both teams are expected to travel to the United States in the 2022 pre-season, according to MARCA. Real Madrid and Barcelona could play El Clasico in Las Vegas next summer -report - Managing Madrid

Chelsea are allowed to sell tickets to some games again after the UK government altered the club’s licence. Chelsea: Club allowed to sell tickets after government alters licence - BBC Sport

Chelsea can sell tickets to away matches after the government eased terms of the licence imposed following sanctioning of Roman Abramovich. Chelsea permitted to sell tickets to their supporters for away fixtures | Chelsea | The Guardian

England captain Harry Kane says he wants to “shine a light” on issues around Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup will be held. England captain Harry Kane wants to 'shine light' on Qatar issues - BBC Sport

Manchester United speak to Ajax’s highly rated coach Erik ten Hag about their vacant manager’s job. Erik ten Hag: Manchester United speak to Ajax coach about manager's job - BBC Sport

After the success of Aubameyang and three other new signings, Barça’s sporting adviser explains how the club are turning a corner. Jordi Cruyff: ‘Barcelona is still special, players will lose money to be here’ | Barcelona | The Guardian

Russia has been warned off bidding to host the men’s European Championship in 2028 after it submitted an unexpected declaration of interest. Russia warned by Uefa it could face more sanctions if it bids to host Euros | European Championship | The Guardian

Paul Pogba says he has experienced depression “several times” in his career and first had issues during José Mourinho’s time as Manchester United’s manager. Paul Pogba opens up on experiencing depression at Manchester United | Paul Pogba | The Guardian

This could be a record. Most Ever on a Shirt? Cascavel Futsal Shirts Feature 36 Sponsor Logos - Footy Headlines

What’s on TV?

4:00 AM (Go back in time?) - Korea Republic v. Iran - AFC World Cup Qualifying - Paramount+

5:00 AM - Lebanon v. Syria - AFC World Cup Qualifying - Paramount+

5:00 AM - Vietnam v. Oman - AFC World Cup Qualifying - Paramount+

8:00 AM - China v. Saudi Arabia - AFC World Cup Qualifying - Paramount+

9:00 AM - Armenia v. Montenegro - Men’s Friendly - ESPN+

10:00 AM - Iraq v. United Arab Emirates - AFC World Cup Qualifying - Paramount+

10:00 AM - Moldova v. Kazakhstan - UEFA Nations League - ESPN+

10:00 AM - Estonia v. Cyprus - UEFA Nations League - ESPN+

10:00 AM - Kosovo v. Burkina Faso - Men’s Friendly - ESPN+

11:30 AM - Hungary v. Serbia - Men’s Friendly - ESPN+

12:45 PM - Italy v. North Macedonia - UEFA World Cup Qualifying - ESPN+

12:45 PM - Portugal v. Turkey - UEFA World Cup Qualifying - ESPN2, TUDN, UniMas

12:45 PM - Wales v. Austria - UEFA World Cup Qualifying - ESPN+

12:45 PM - Sweden v. Czech Republic - UEFA World Cup Qualifying - ESPN+

4:00 PM - Jamaica v. El Salvador - CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying - Universo, Paramount+

4:30 PM - Colombia v. Bolivia - CONEMBOL World Cup Qualifying - FuboTV

4:30 PM - Paraguay v. Ecuador - CONEMBOL World Cup Qualifying - FuboTV

4:30 PM - Uruguay v. Peru - CONEMBOL World Cup Qualifying - FuboTV

4:30 PM - Brazil v. Chile - CONEMBOL World Cup Qualifying - FuboTV

6:00 PM - Panama v. Honduras - CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying - Paramount+

7:00 PM - Mexico v. USMNT - CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying - CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, TUDN, Univision

7:00 PM - Costa Rica v. Canada - CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying - Universo, Paramount+