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Major Link Soccer: Still basking in CCL glory

Plus the games I want to watch this weekend.

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Fireworks, confetti, trophy
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Your weekend open thread strongly encourages you to watch the NWSL Challenge Cup Final. The second biggest trophy available to women’s pro teams in the US, the Challenge Cup is on CBS.

MLS

Austin FC fans protest Dominguez’s return after investigation | Pro Soccer Wire
An Austin FC fan group does not support Cecilio Domínguez returning to the team, despite his reinstatement after a MLS investigation.

D.C. United considering addition of MLS Next Pro team in Baltimore area, sources confirm - The Athletic
The new team would be in addition to Loudoun United in the USL.

NWSL

More than a debut: Angel City FC’s home opener felt like the start of a new NWSL era - The Athletic
From the crowd to the ownership to the pregame festivities, everything about Angel City's intro to the NWSL felt different.

Racing Louisville's Opens Regular Season in Disappointing Loss to the Chicago Red Stars - Beautiful Game Network
Racing Louisville starts their season with a disappointing loss, but still show signs of progress - including breaking two NWSL team records.

Red Stars 2 - Racing 1 Post Match Thoughts — Fleur-de-lis FC

Other women’s club soccer

Liga MX Femenil: Team-by-team preview of Clausura Liguilla sides – Equalizer Soccer
The Liga MX Femenil playoffs are set! The Liguilla kicked off Thursday with eight clubs taking part in the tournament.

National team soccer

“You need to have sex with Fifa officials” - Josimarfootball.com
For more than a decade, officials from Concacaf and Fifa created a system where female referees had to give sexual favours in order to get international assignments.

Russian soccer ponders UEFA switch to Asia | Bega District News | Bega, NSW
Russia's football federation (RFU) is considering switching to the Asian confederation (AFC) after being sanctioned by European ruling.

Chile Files Claim Seeking Ecuador’s Place in the World Cup - The New York Times
A dispute over a player’s eligibility could alter the qualifying results in South America. Chile has asked for forfeits, and Ecuador’s spot in Qatar.

US Soccer leaders return to the access question | US Soccer Players
USMNT coach and US Soccer Federation president Cindy Parlow Cone spoke at a panel on access at the Aspen Institute's Project Play Summit.

Could Stefan Frei be the answer to the USMNT goalkeeper question? | MLSSoccer.com
Slowly but steadily, the question has grown larger and larger with every step Seattle Sounders FC took on their march to Wednesday’s historic capture of the 2022 Concacaf Champions League title.

Berhalter addresses dual-national recruiting as Mexico eye Mendez | MLSSoccer.com
WASHINGTON – The recruiting battle for Mexican-American dual-national players continues to simmer, with Mexico calling in three of them for their recent friendly vs. Guatemala and now reportedly moving to lure playmaker Alex Mendez to switch his allegiance as he finds his form in Portugal.

SSFC Spotlight: Maurice Malone starts scoring with Heidenheim - Stars and Stripes FC
The dual-national is finding some form in Germany.

Concacaf Champions League victory reading

Seattle Sounders are fitting first CCL champion for MLS - Sports Illustrated
For all the jokes about what Seattle has invented as it relates to American soccer, the Sounders have been a model MLS franchise and are worthy trailblazers.

With Champions League breakthrough, Seattle Sounders stake their claim to title of best club in MLS history - The Athletic
Over the Sounders' 13 years in MLS, they've done it all, raising the standard for the league along the way

Seattle Sounders "hit on all levels", reach Concacaf Champions League mountaintop | MLSSoccer.com
Brian Schmetzer needed a minute.

Analysis: How big of a deal is CCL title for Seattle and MLS? And what’s next for Sounders? | The Seattle Times
The oddest part about the historic moment the Sounders FC crafted Wednesday is how misunderstood the CONCACAF Champions League title is when it comes to its place in the sports.

With CCL championship in hand, the Sounders join realm of world soccer elites | The Seattle Times
The Sounders separated themselves from their MLS brethren with a win that suddenly thrusts them into the realm of the world elites, writes columnist Larry Stone.

When Will the Seattle Sounders Play in the Club World Cup? - The New York Times
One prize for Seattle’s Concacaf Champions League title was a chance to face some of the world’s best clubs. When are those games? “No clue,” one FIFA official said.

Sounders beat Pumas, finally win CONCACAF Champions League for MLS
The Seattle Sounders beat Pumas 3-0 in the CONCACAF Champions League final second leg, becoming the first MLS team to win the competition

Seattle Sounders: NFL QB Russell Wilson celebrates CONCACAF title
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson celebrated the Seattle Sounders, a team he co-owns, winning the CONCACAF Champions League

Puget Sound culture

d20 Modern TTRPG reboot licenses Rambo, The Crow, Pacific Rim, and more - Polygon
d20 Modern reboot Everyday Heroes has licensed some A-list action movies. Play out your fantasies as Rambo, the Highlander, or The Crow. Pilot a Jaeger from Pacific Rim. Original co-creator Jeff Grubb is also involved.

Try inverting your D&D encounters’ difficulty | Full Moon Storytelling
When you start with a harder encounter and let your players know they'll get to use more of those features that they always hold in reserve.

Work the earth as a Farmer – a 5e D&D Background | Full Moon Storytelling
These rules a pre-publication example of a Farmer - a background for the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Included are an alternate background of Beekeeper and the rules for Farmer's Tools.

What to watch

Friday

10:15 AM PT — Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern München of the Frauen-Bundesliga is at NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Broadening access to women’s soccer is good. Reward networks that do that.

11:45 AM PT — Inverness CT vs Patrick Thistle over in the Scottish Premier League is on Paramount+. Adding this one because the first name makes me think of Shakespeare and the second name makes me think of Monty Python.

4:00 PM PT — Charleston Battery vs Memphis 901 in the USL Championship are on ESPN+/Sirius XM FC. That’s Ozzie’s first club and Tim Howard’s team he owns, or something.

Saturday

I don’t normally tell you to ignore a game, but don’t watch the TUDN match this week. You won’t like the soccer.

10:00 AM PT — North Carolina Courage vs Washington Spirit in the NWSL Challenge Cup Final on CBS/Paramount+. Huge game for the league.

5:30 PM PT — FC Dallas vs US in MLS play on FOX 13+/Prime Video/ESPN+(out of market only).

7:00 PM PT — Monterey Bay Union vs Las Vegas Lights in USL Championship action on ESPN+. MBU opens up their stadium as they bring soccer to my favorite American city outside of Cascadia.

Sunday

6:00 AM PT — Arsenal vs Leeds United in an EPL match that hits both top and bottom of the table. It’s on Peacock and is the most important match for the Premier League standings.

2:00 PM PT — North Texas SC vs US on MLSNextPro.com as the Future tries for the first road win.

3:00 PM PT — US vs Racing Louisville on Paramount+ or in Lumen Field. It’s the home opener.

4:00 PM PT — Austin FC vs LA Galaxy in MLS action on FS1. This should be a great match that deserves people’s attention.