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Major Link Soccer: Prepare yourself for Naomi Girma’s breakout season, World Cup, year

There are six free matches on MLS Season Pass this week, plus we’re also watching Liga MX Femenil on broadcast TV.

NWSL: North Carolina Courage at San Diego Wave FC
San Diego Wave FC defender Naomi Girma (4) walks on the field before the game against the North Carolina Courage at Snapdragon Stadium.
Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

MLS

RSL's Löffelsend suspended for two games following apparent spitting incident | Wasatch Soccer Sentinel
Löffelsend will miss Saturday's match against Seattle and will likely also miss the home opener a week later.

The Unlikely British Superfans of Major League Soccer
As Major League Soccer kicks off its 28th season this weekend, it has attained some worldwide respect while minting plenty of fans. What’s surprising is that some of the most passionate ones are English.

The MLS seasons keep intensifying | US Soccer Players
Charles Boehm asks what expanded competitions mean for Major League Soccer's clubs operating under budget rules that can make depth an issue.

St. Louis soccer comes full circle as CITY SC make MLS home debut | MLSSoccer.com
St. Louis can rightly boast of being into soccer before soccer was considered cool by the North American mainstream – way, way, way before.

2023 MLS power rankings averages: Week 1 | Wasatch Soccer Sentinel
Sounders get “votes” as high as first and as low as 20.

LA Galaxy caution Javier Hernandez for sharing injury update | ESPN
LA Galaxy coach Greg Vanney reprimanded Javier Hernandez on Wednesday after the star striker revealed his injury status ahead of their opener.

Giannis Antetokounmpo joins star-studded Nashville SC ownership group | Yahoo Sports
Giannis, his brothers and hockey star Filip Forsberg are the latest to invest in the popular MLS team.

other men’s club soccer

All USL Championship & League One Matches Available Live on ESPN Platforms in 2023

Lionel Messi: Gunmen Threaten Argentina Star, Shoot at Supermarket - Sports Illustrated
The threat was left at a supermarket in Rosario, Argentina, owned by the family of Messi’s wife, Antonella Roccuzzo.

Premier League 'must re-examine' takeover of Newcastle United after chairman described as Saudi minister - BBC Sport
The Premier League "must re-examine the assurances" it was given about potential Saudi state control of Newcastle, says human rights group Amnesty International.

Ronaldinho's teenage son joins Barcelona's academy - BBC Sport
Joao Mendes, the son of Brazil legend Ronaldinho, has signed a contract with Barcelona's academy.

Premier League clubs angry over Newcastle ownership twist in US court documents | The Guardian
Premier League clubs have reacted with anger to the description in a US court document of the Newcastle chairman as ‘a sitting minister of the Saudi government’.

Premier League CEO says Brexit contributed to record January spending | The Guardian
Richard Masters said post-Brexit visas contributed to the league’s record spend and the system was designed to increase England-qualified players.

Barcelona, Goldman Sachs restructuring €1.5bn debt for Camp Nou remodel | ESPN
Barcelona are renegotiating the terms of a €1.5 billion financial plan with Goldman Sachs to revamp Camp Nou.

FA backed Ceferin for UEFA re-election weeks after final chaos in Paris | The Guardian
The FA gave official support for Aleksander Ceferin to be re-elected UEFA president three weeks after UEFA's catastrophic organization of the Champions League final.

NWSL

Her name is Majesty: The rise of Naomi Girma - All For XI
Despite the rising clamour around her, Naomi Girma remains poised and collected through it all.

Why Naomi Girma could be the USWNT’s most important player at the World Cup – Equalizer Soccer ($)
Girma is everywhere she needs to be at exactly the right time. Will this summer’s World Cup be her breakout moment?

other women’s club soccer

Chelsea’s Lauren James shows how giving promising young players time can pay off | The Guardian
Emma Hayes said she needed to ‘build her to last’ despite a record fee – now club and country are reaping the rewards.

United States national teams

USWNT's Christen Press reveals 'unique' knee injury journey
The U.S. women's national team and Angel City FC forward has had three knee surgeries in eight months, she revealed Wednesday via Instagram.

other international soccer

David Squires on … players in revolt ahead of the Women’s World Cup | Women's World Cup 2023 | The Guardian
Our cartoonist looks at the problems that have beset France, Spain and Canada. Vive la révolution!

Women's World Cup teams, ranked - The Gaming Society
We’re just four months out from the biggest stage in football. Let’s take a look at how competitive each team is looking.

World Cup 2026: Fifa set to make decision on four-team group format this month - BBC Sport
A decision to switch the expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026 back to four-team groups is set to be made later this month.

Puget Sound soccer

Sound Transit will run the Sounder on many Sounders events now
This schedule is better, but could really use the double header added to it.

Megan Rapinoe on Her Last World Cup and Equal Pay | TIME
The most visible and outspoken member of the back-to-back World Cup–winning team, Rapinoe has inspired women across fields to demand equal pay.

Tacoma Defiance Announces Full Preseason Schedule | Tacoma Defiance
Former captain Jesse Daley is coming back to face Defiance in a preseason match

Open Flavor Friday

Chris Pine on 'Dungeons & Dragons,' Harry Styles, 'Don't Worry Darling,' 'Star Trek,' and His Career
At his home, high up in the hills of Los Angeles, the actor considers the first twenty years of his surprising career—including a very viral 2022—and the next twenty. But first, a shvitz.

Coffee Gear – a 5e D&D Tool | Full Moon Storytelling
The best part of waking up, is the coffee in your dragonborn paladin's cup.

What to Watch

As a reminder, MLS Season Pass is a premium service on Apple TV. But ever week they have matches available without charging. You do not need Apple TV+ to view MLS matches. For more information about the new TV deal read the Sounder at Heart storystream.

Friday

11:30 am PT — Borussia Dortmund men vs RB Leipzig on ESPN+.

5:30 pm PT — Dallas Sidekicks vs Tacoma Stars on Twitch. You can watch Roman Torres on a tiny pitch.

7:15 pm PT — Tijuana men vs Atlas on FS2 and FOX Deportes.

Saturday

7:00 am PT — Chelsea men vs Leeds United on USA Network and Universo.

10:00 am PT — Cruz Azul women vs Querétaro on ViX and ViX+.

1:30 pm PT — Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers on FOX, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (free!).

4:30 pm PT — Columbus Crew vs DC United on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (free!).

4:30 pm PT — Inter Miami vs Philadelphia Union on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (free!).

4:30 pm PT — New York Red Bulls vs Nashville SC on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (free!).

5:30 pm PT — Chicago Fire vs New York City on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (free!).

7:30 pm PT — SJ Earthquakes vs Vancouver Whitecaps on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (free!).

7:30 pm PT — Seattle Sounders FC vs Real Salt Lake at Lumen Field and on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

Sunday

8:30 am PT — Liverpool men vs Manchester United on USA Network and Universo.

11:45 am PT — Roma men vs Juventus on Paramount+.

3:00 pm PT — Guadalajara women vs Atlas on Universo.

The Friday Major Link Soccer serves as your open thread for the weekend — talk about soccer games you’re watching, the new restaurant opening down the way, what

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