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Major Link Soccer: A run on the Banc

Angel City opened things up with a bang!

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North Carolina Courage v Angel City FC Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

This weekend was headlined by excitement in the women’s game. Crowds packed stadiums to watch Champions League matches, NWSL regular season home openers, and even a 4th division game. It’s a good sign, and a reminder of what every game could look like. Go to games, be a part of it. We’ve got some of the best players in the world suiting up for OL Reign right here in Seattle, don’t miss out. The Reign and Tacoma Defiance played in overlapping time slots, with the Reign falling to the Washington Spirit among the host’s 2021 championship celebration. Defiance on the other hand got to flex a little bit as they won 4-1 against an impressive Houston Dynamo 2 side.

Seattle/Puget Sound

If you’ve been sleeping on Phallon Tullis-Joyce, don’t worry. She’s already haunting the nightmares of NWSL attackers. Young star goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce hoping to make a splash for OL Reign in 2022 | The Seattle Times

Friend of the blog Ari Liljenwall got the help of a couple of good samaritans after a scary incident on I-5. One of those good samaritans happened to be a starter for UW football. ‘This is just a stand-up guy’: UW’s Henry Bainivalu witnessed a hit-and-run — and decided to help | The Seattle Times

OL Reign opened a two-game week against the 2021 NWSL Champion Washington Spirit on Sunday, and fell by the finest of margins. Match Recap: OL Reign Fall 2-1 to Washington in Season Opener — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

Tacoma Defiance faced a team that was the best in the league coming into the match, and Wade Webber’s side dominated. If you had predicted an Abdoulaye Cissoko brace, stop lying. MATCH RECAP: Tacoma Defiance Wins 4-1 Over Houston Dynamo 2 at Starfire Stadium | Tacoma Defiance

MLS/US lower div. men’s soccer

The FIFA video game series has long played a major role in growing soccer’s fan base, and MLS is trying to harness that. Bright lights, big crowds and Cristiano Ronaldo on the Columbus Crew: How eMLS is helping the league - The Athletic

With the creation of MLS Next Pro, Monarchs broadcasts have suffered. The team is hoping to change that. Real Monarchs push to produce their own broadcast for home games - RSL Soapbox

A former Sounder helping out a Puget Sounder. Count that in “things we love to see.” Loons fullback Oniel Fisher’s recovery from knee injury can aid Hassani Dostson – Twin Cities

Former Sounder Justin Dhillon scored his second of the year. SAN ANTONIO FC BEATS MONTEREY BAY F.C. 6-0 BEHIND CLUB RECORD SCORING OUTPUT - San Antonio FC

NWSL/Global women's soccer

Los Angeles’ new NWSL team won its first-ever home game on Friday in front of 22,000 fans, and the impact the club can have on the league is readily apparent. Soccer: Angel City home opener a big win for NWSL

Orlando Pride are a team with problems and no clear solutions in sight. Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC: Final Score 3-0 as Pride Drop NWSL Regular Season Opener - The Mane Land

Talk of Kansas City Current’s newfound competence may have been premature. Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Thorns 3-0 Kansas City Current - Stumptown Footy

As it opens its 10th regular season, the women’s soccer league no longer faces questions about survival. But its aspirations and operations are still a work in progress. Angel City F.C. and the N.W.S.L.’s Ongoing Search for Itself - The New York Times

Angel City has gotten plenty of criticism - lots of it earned - for being a brand that happens to have a soon-to-be soccer team attached, but what they’ve already accomplished deserves to be recognized. Branding, staffing, and data: How Angel City sold 15,000 season tickets before first kick – Equalizer Soccer

One of a number of interviews with the league’s new commissioner as she starts her role and the league starts the season. NWSL: An exclusive with commissioner Jessica Berman | The GIST

Angel City FC got their proper home debut and showed that they’re going to be far from pushovers. Open for business: Angel City FC 2, North Carolina Courage 1 - Angels on Parade

ACFC weren’t the only expansion team to get a strong start to the NWSL regular season, as San Diego Wave claimed a win over the Houston Dash. Held it down: Houston Dash 0, San Diego Wave FC 1 - LAG Confidential

Newcastle’s women’s team plays in the 4th tier of football, but they pulled a crowd over the weekend that would have even made Angel City feel proud. Newcastle’s Katie Barker breaks new ground to fulfil St James’ Park dream | Women's football | The Guardian

Following a walloping in the first leg, Wolfsburg made a legit run at the tie but fell a couple of goals short to Barcelona in the end. UEFA Women’s Champions League: Wolfsburg 2 (3) - 0 (5) Barcelona - All For XI

Lyon continued to get the job done in the second leg as they topped their French rivals to head to the final. UEFA Women’s Champions League: PSG 1 (3) - 2 (5) Lyon - All For XI

If you caught a game or two over the weekend, or you’re intrigued by what you’ve seen above and want to dig into NWSL, American Soccer Analysis put together some great previews of all the teams ahead of the regular season. Check out the final two here: 2022 NWSL Season Previews: Kansas City Current, OL Reign, North Carolina Courage — American Soccer Analysis

2022 NWSL Season Previews: Chicago Red Stars, Portland Thorns FC, Washington Spirit — American Soccer Analysis

USA

Until the next transfer window opens, Tobin Heath’s only team is officially the USWNT. Tobin Heath leaves Arsenal Women - The Short Fuse

Global men’s soccer

The introduction of Juan Dinenno - he of two goals against the Sounders in the CCL Final first leg - changed the game for Pumas in their win over Pachuca. Hopefully the team ran themselves ragged in the process. Liga MX 2022 Clausura match recap: Pumas qualify to the Repechaje with 2-0 home win over Pachuca - FMF State Of Mind

Jurgen Klopp has been a great addition for the present and future of Liverpool, and there’s probably no one with a better understanding of just what that means than James Milner. James Milner on Jurgen Klopp’s Extension: “Fantastic News For the Club” - The Liverpool Offside

Arsenal and all the chaos they bring with them are back in Europe. Premier League Champions League, Europa League qualification scenarios: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United - The Short Fuse

Everybody but defenders loves Sonny. Son Heung-min leads Tottenham past Leicester to bolster top-four bid | Premier League | The Guardian

Real Madrid are champions of Spain, and Carlo Ancelotti has hit for the cycle. Three standout performers from a title-clinching win over Espanyol - Managing Madrid

Culture

Some marriages don’t last 40 years. Neither of the top-tier soccer leagues in the US - MLS and NWSL - don’t have a combined 40 years between them. But this D&D campaign has stood the test of time. This D&D campaign has been running for 40 years | PC Gamer

What’s on TV today?

11:30 AM - Bayer Leverkusen vs. Entracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga) - ESPN+

11:30 AM - Borussia Monchengladbach vs. RB Leipzig (Bundesliga) - ESPN+

11:45 AM - Atalanta vs. Salernitana (Serie A) - Paramount+

12:00 PM - Manchester United (EPL) - USA Network

12:00 PM - Getafe vs. Real Betis (La Liga) - ESPN+

4:00 PM - São Paulo vs. Santos (Brasileirão) - Paramount+