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Major Link Soccer: The USMNT is going to the World Cup

The USMNT lost but still advance, so did Mexico and Canada. Costa Rica will play New Zealand

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Costa Rica v United States - Concacaf 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

MLS/US Men’s Club Soccer

It’s both a virtue and a shame that the pinnacle of team sport comes just once every four years. The wait can be unbearable – an entire nation and diaspora’s mood hinging on every bounce of a ball – and doubly so for those who see their attempts to summit the soccer mountain top end in failure. World Cup-bound: MLS players from Ghana, Poland & more book ticket | MLSSoccer.com

Former Defiance and current Puerto Rico senior national team player joins Little Reds. Toronto FC II sign forward Alec Díaz

As he watched news footage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from his Chicago-area home, a heartbroken Dema Kovalenko knew it was imperative to get his family out of his native country. How ex-MLS midfielder Dema Kovalenko helped his family escape war-torn Ukraine | MLSSoccer.com

After recent scandals involving both clubs, the front office is announcing changes it hopes will lead to a more inclusive and safer future for players, staff and fans. Portland Timbers, Thorns front office announces accountability, engagement and equity initiatives - oregonlive.com

NWSL/USWNT

Moments after Savannah McCaskill was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Veronica Latsko in Fullerton, California, a fire sparked on the opposite coast, although it burned entirely online. The two incidents are completely unrelated but for the questions they beg about the fine margins in which every actor in the sport operates. Kassouf: On soccer’s fine margins – Equalizer Soccer ($)

The announcement officially brings an end to a months-long tug-of-war for control of the defending NWSL champions, which started last summer when Kang first called on then-co-owner Steve Baldwin to cede control of the team after the club had become embroiled in a series of allegations of abuse and mismanagement. Michele Kang officially becomes majority owner of NWSL's Washington Spirit - The Athletic

USWNT players and the USSF each maintain that they are on a path toward ratifying a new collective bargaining agreement, but it will not happen by their most recent deadline of Thursday. Still no deal: US Soccer, USWNTPA hopeful for new CBA in April – Equalizer Soccer

Fans around the world are telling leagues and sponsors they’re ready for more when it comes to women’s sports. Breaking the bias against women’s sport: the impact of equal opportunity for athletes, fans and sponsors – Nielsen

On the field, Natalia Kuikka adapted to the Portland Thorns and the National Women’s Soccer League pretty quickly as a newcomer in 2021. Pamplin Media Group - Natalia Kuikka more settled on Portland Thorns' roster

International Soccer

“Have I been asked too much about it? Waaayyy too much.” The reporter posing the question was wondering whether DeAndre Yedlin’s younger teammates had queried him about his experiences of the US men’s national team’s doomed 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. DeAndre Yedlin links past, present, future for USMNT | MLSSoccer.com

The US men’s national team have qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup following a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica in the final match of Concacaf qualifying Wednesday evening at Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica. United States qualify for Qatar 2022 World Cup | CRC 2, USA 0 | MLSSoccer.com

Mixed emotions, but let’s celebrate. 2022 World Cup Qualifiers: USA 0-2 Costa Rica - a tricky fixture results in the USA headed to Qatar - Stars and Stripes FC

The Canadian men’s national team couldn’t quite pull off a fairytale finish to their successful Concacaf World Cup Qualifying cycle, closing out the March window with a 1-0 defeat at Panama on Wednesday evening. Canada finish atop Concacaf Octagonal standings | PAN 1, CAN 0 | MLSSoccer.com

Watch the FIFA World Cup draw with U.S. Soccer and MLS great DaMarcus Beasely and the crew from Extratime on YouTube this Friday at Noon ET/9:00 AM PT. The crew will answer your questions in realtime as the matchups are set in Qatar. World Cup Draw Watchalong show on YouTube featuring DaMarcus Beasley on April 1 | MLSSoccer.com

The pots for Friday’s World Cup finals draw can be confirmed after Mexico and the United States booked the final two automatic places on Wednesday. World Cup finals draw pots and seedings confirmed for Friday’s ceremony

Mario Balotelli has said he could have been Italy’s matchwinner had he been selected for the shock World Cup playoff loss to North Macedonia. Mario Balotelli on Italy's World Cup playoff loss: I could have scored

Egypt lodge an official complaint against Senegal in which they claim their team was subjected to racism and “terrorised” by home fans in Dakar. Egypt claim players were subjected to racism before World Cup play-off against Senegal - BBC Sport

Iran has once again denied women entry to a football stadium to watch an international match, leaving hundreds of ticketed fans locked out, Iranian media said Wednesday. Iran again bans women from football stadium

Fifa has provoked criticism by allowing Russian officials to attend its annual congress in Qatar on Thursday despite the country’s ban from the World Cup. Fifa slammed for allowing banned Russia to attend congress | Sport | The Times

A chance to change perceptions of a country. A tournament to foster unity. Heard it before? Qatar is the next stop on the global tour of major sports events to nations led by autocratic governments who are often decried by human rights activists, but whose financial clout can prove irresistible to competition organizers. Qatar divides soccer, FIFA seeks unity ahead of WCup draw | AP News

FIFA’s strongly contested plans to hold the World Cup on a biennial basis are not on the agenda for this week’s congress but talks are instead set to focus on alternative proposals, sources have told Reuters. FIFA begins talks over alternatives to biennial World Cup plan | Reuters

Global Club Soccer

Just wow. Barcelona Femeni break women’s football attendance record - Barca Blaugranes

Bedlam, goals and enough noise to wake the dead. Barcelona 5-2 Real Madrid: A fever dream in Catalunya - All For XI

Ramona Bachmann scores in extra time to send PSG into the Women’s Champions League semi-finals with a 4-3 aggregate victory over Bayern Munich. Paris St-Germain Féminines 2-2 FC Bayern München Ladies (4-3 agg): Ramona Bachmann scores winner in extra time - BBC Sport

The Gunners face Wolfsburg as they bid to reach the semi-final stage. Jonas Eidevall expects Kim Little to inspire Arsenal in the Champions League | BT Sport

Scornicesti’s football team was fashioned by political favour - like the town itself. Romania’s bloody revolution of 1989 spelt its end. FC Olt Scornicesti: The dictator's hometown team disbanded after bloody revolution - BBC Sport

The fan-owned phoenix club are targeting a sustainable future and see their project as more than ‘trying to resurrect Bury’. ‘So proud’: Bury AFC’s promotion marks first big step on a different path | Soccer | The Guardian

The European Club Association has worked with Uefa on a set of competition reforms that would mean more matches, more security and – everyone hopes – more money. ECA helps clubs flex their muscles and increase their influence | European club football | The Guardian

Premier League clubs are likely to vote to allow five substitutions peer team within a match. Premier League clubs set to vote for five substitutions per match | Soccer | The Guardian

Non-league Staines Town have suspended all football operations after accusing landlord, Downing LLP, of a series of extraordinary claims, including breaches of the modern slavery act Staines Town accuse landlord of breaching the modern slavery act | Soccer | The Guardian

Syaiful Arifin loved football as a child but feared his playing days were over when he lost his left leg aged 12 after falling off a train. One-legged Indonesian keeps football dream alive

Ex-Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy will become PSV Eindhoven manager in the summer - his first senior managerial role. Ruud van Nistelrooy: PSV Eindhoven appoint former Manchester United striker as boss from the 2022-23 season - BBC Sport

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been told not to eat or drink when he is in attendance at peace meetings acting as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, according to reports. Report: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich told not to eat or drink during Russia-Ukraine peace meetings in Turkey following suspected poisoning - Sports Illustrated Chelsea FC News, Analysis and More

What’s on TV?

9:45 AM - Wolfsburg vs Arsenal - UEFA Women’s Champions League - DAZN, YouTube

12:30 PM - Olympique Lyonnais vs Juventus - UEFA Women’s Champions League - DAZN, YouTube

5:30 PM - Colón vs Aldosivi - Argentine Primera División - Paramount+