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Good evening, paisans.  I tried to pm a few of you, but for some reason it wasnt working, so i just put it here.  I have to go away for 30 days, & it doesnt take a genius to figure out why.*  Sadl

That's pretty much what I came up with, too.

We're Going to Wem-be-ly.  Que Sera Sera

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Don't pick a team that wins all the time. It's a sign of low character.

I want to agree with this, but I'm not sure I can. The EPL is such a different animal from American sports. If you don't pick a team at, or near, the top, you're probably going to lose interest quick.

I don't think that's true at all. There are a ton of televised league and cup games. I rarely get to watch the European games anyway.

I can see why people would be fans of Arsenal, United, or Liverpool, but City or Chelsea... Ugh.

Supporters of old-money teams resent the fact that an undeserving new money club can join their ranks.

Supporters of have-nots resent the fact that an undeserving new money club can leave their ranks.

I love the petro dollars. I want more Chelseas and Man Cities. Not less.

Carlisle United: 'Billionaire' makes investment offer

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Real Madrid is sacking Carlo Ancelotti and replacing him with Rafa Benitez acc. to trusted Spanish reports (and now DiMarzio too)

DiMarzio (the most trusted man in football) says Milan making every effort to bring Carlo back home

Edited by Soulfly3
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Wait, when Citeh won the league last year he dragged a fairly hefty gal out onto the pitch with him. I also seem to remember kids in the picture and Christo made a joke.

:bs: Christo never jokes about hefty women

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Real Madrid is sacking Carlo Ancelotti and replacing him with Rafa Benitez acc. to trusted Spanish reports (and now DiMarzio too)

DiMarzio (the most trusted man in football) says Milan making every effort to bring Carlo back home

The fat waiter? No way.
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Here are the second round results for the US Open Cup. The last fully amateur team left, lost last night.

Also Sacramento set the all time round 2 attendance record last night.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2015/05/20/us-open-cup-usl-teams-enter-fray-second-round-continues-wednesday

The 3rd round will see the 9 NASL teams enter and round 4 the 17 MLS teams will enter.

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Luis Figo has pulled out of the FIFA presidency race, all but calling it a sham. Here is his statement.

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Statement sent by Luis Figo to The Associated Press on Thursday:

---

Running for president of FIFA resulted from a personal decision, taken after listening to many pertinent people in the realm of international soccer.

I sought out the support needed for me to stand, I formally presented my candidacy, and the reactions in the soccer world were so overwhelming - both in public and in private - that I was reassured that I had made the right decision.

The realm of a sport which gave me everything to become what I am, and to which I now offered to give something back, is hungry for change. FIFA needs change and I feel that the change is urgent.

Guided by that wish, by the formal support I collected, and by the incredible wave of support from soccer players, former players, coaches, referees and administrators, I imagined and presented a plan of action - my election manifesto for the FIFA presidency.

I traveled and met extraordinary people who, though they recognized the value of much that had been done, also concurred with the need for change, one that cleans up FIFA's reputation as an obscure organization that is so often viewed as a place of corruption.

But over the past few months I have not only witnessed that desire (for change), I have witnessed consecutive incidents, all over the world, that should shame anyone who desires soccer to be free, clean and democratic.

I have seen with my own eyes federation presidents who, after one day comparing FIFA leaders to the devil, then go on stage and compare those same people with Jesus Christ. Nobody told me about this. I saw it with my own eyes.

The candidates were prevented from addressing federations at congresses while one of the candidates always gave speeches on his own from the rostrum. There has not been a single public debate about each candidate's proposals.

Does anyone think it's normal that an election for one of the most relevant organizations on the planet can go ahead without a public debate? Does anyone think it's normal that one of the candidates doesn't even bother to present an election manifesto that can be voted on May 29? Shouldn't it be mandatory to present such a manifesto so that federation presidents know what they're voting for?

That would be normal, but this electoral process is anything but an election.

This (election) process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man - something I refuse to go along with.

That is why, after a personal reflection and sharing views with two other candidates in this process, I believe that what is going to happen on May 29 in Zurich is not a normal electoral act.

And because it is not, don't count on me.

I want it to be clear that I have deep respect for all world soccer, from Africa, where I got so much motivation, to Asia, where I have and will keep excellent relationships, through South America, where a new generation is emerging, and Central and North America, where so many who wanted to speak were silenced, and to Oceania, whose development we should all look at differently. And finally to Europe, where I felt there was space for normal and democratic debate, thanks to the endeavors of President (Michel) Platini.

I give my warmest thanks to everyone, because I want it to be clear that they are not the election committee and it is not they who want FIFA to become weaker and weaker.

For my part, I will abide by the ideas I leave written and have circulated, I am firm in my desire to take an active part in the regeneration of FIFA and I will be available for it whenever it is proven to me that we are not living under a dictatorship.

I do not fear the ballot box, but I will not go along with nor will I give my consent to a process which will end on May 29 and from which soccer will not emerge the winner.

My decision is made, I will not stand in what is being called an election for the FIFA presidency.

I offer my deepest thanks to all those who have supported me and I ask them to keep alive their desire for a regeneration which, though it may take some time, will come.

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Heres my soccer story:

Never watched soccer much growing up though I went to a Cosmos game as a kid in the early 80's. Huge crowd but I have little recollection of the match itself. My first real exposure to Soccer was the 1994 World Cup in the US. I remember being cognizant of players like Kobi Jones and Alexi Lalas but also being disappointed that their skill didnt match their flair. What I do remember is some guy named Stoichkov from Bulgaria scoring on a free kick to defeat the defending champion Germans. It boggled my mind that a player could kick a ball over a wall and into the net.

Living overseas in the 90's I became friends with many Europeans - English, German, French, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch etc. Slowly I became intrigued. My first truly memorable soccer moment came in the '98 World Cup when I went to an English pub and watched the England-Argentina Quarterfinal. I witnessed Michael Owen's wonder goal, Beckham's red card on Simeone, the penalty shootout, and the drunk English fans in the bar singing "Its Coming Home". It was incredible. I watched the remainder of the tournament intensely - Bergkamp scoring to beat Argentina, Kluivert tying the Brazillians late only for Holland to lose on penalties, and ultimately Zidane and the French winning the tournament.

The next year, I started paying closer attention to the Champions League. However without a team to obsess about, my dedication was fleeting at best. I went to sleep at halftime of the Bayern-Machester United CL Final and missed Sherringham and Solskjaer's stoppage time goals :bag: At the end of the 1999 season, I decided to choose an English team and support them unequivolally in order to commit to the game.

Like many of you, I didnt want to pick a front runner so I excluded United and Arsenal who finished 1-2 for several years running. I ultimately chose Chelsea because they were up-and-coming contenders who hadnt yet won anything (they finished 6th, 4th and 3rd in the three previous years). They didnt have the financial strength of the top teams but they were committed to bring in top international players to stay compettive. In addition to guys like Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli, I was excited that they signed George Weah on loan from Milan. I vaguely remember them losing to Barcalona in the Champions League Quarterfinal in their first ever CL appearance.

I was now emotionally invested. I distinctly remember my excitement when Chelsea signed Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink from Atletico Madrid in 2000 (gosh we've been poaching their players for years!). The team made great buys like Gudjohnson and Lampard as well as flops like Jesper Gronkjaer and Mario Stanic. Claudio Ranieri drove me mad. For a few years, Chelsea regressed in the League and floundered in the FA Cup, but the club's fortunes changed when Bates sold the club to Roman Abromovich. I was initialy suspicious of the sale but the results speak from themselves.

People can hate on Chelsea but the truth is their model has proven wildly succesful. After years of whirwind spending to increase their success/brand, they have now morphed intp one of the more calculated clubs in European soccer. They remain 100% ambitious but dont spend like Real/Barca or even the Manchester Clubs. They are not afraid to sell high to fund their transfers or invest in young, unproven talent. And Jose Mourinho may be a conservative jackass but he's a very good manager and knows how to win trophies.

So overall, after 15 years, I have to say that choosing to support Chelsea was a pretty darn good decision in the scheme of things.

:thumbup:

Edited by Native
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might be old news, but Miami FC will play in NASL.

gotta say, given the USL, I continue to not get the end-game for NASL.

I assume in the end the best USL/NASL teams will end up as MLS expansion teams and the USL/NASL will merge into the second tier of the MLS. Hopefully that will allow promotion/relegation in the MLS. Which would be awesome!!!

In fact, I think the USL/NASL should merge now and then the next time the MLS want to expand it should be a promotion battle w/ no relegation in the MLS that year. I love promotion/relegation battles.

promotion/relegation will never work in the states.

Charleston Battery play in a great stadium, but Blackbaud's max is 5100. That would not fly as a first division club.

I think another factor is the size of the US and the cost of travel.

Germany is around 140,000 square miles and has 36 teams in the first two divisions.

That's the same size as South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. If you took all of the MLS and USL teams and put them in those three states, travel expenses would not be a problem. I just think the size of the country and the size of some of the lower level clubs would keep this from happening.

Here are the second round results for the US Open Cup. The last fully amateur team left, lost last night.

Also Sacramento set the all time round 2 attendance record last night.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2015/05/20/us-open-cup-usl-teams-enter-fray-second-round-continues-wednesday

The 3rd round will see the 9 NASL teams enter and round 4 the 17 MLS teams will enter.

Charleston Battery (USL) 1, Miami United (NPSL) 0 :clap:

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might be old news, but Miami FC will play in NASL.

gotta say, given the USL, I continue to not get the end-game for NASL.

I assume in the end the best USL/NASL teams will end up as MLS expansion teams and the USL/NASL will merge into the second tier of the MLS. Hopefully that will allow promotion/relegation in the MLS. Which would be awesome!!!

In fact, I think the USL/NASL should merge now and then the next time the MLS want to expand it should be a promotion battle w/ no relegation in the MLS that year. I love promotion/relegation battles.

promotion/relegation will never work in the states.

Charleston Battery play in a great stadium, but Blackbaud's max is 5100. That would not fly as a first division club.

I think another factor is the size of the US and the cost of travel.

Germany is around 140,000 square miles and has 36 teams in the first two divisions.

That's the same size as South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. If you took all of the MLS and USL teams and put them in those three states, travel expenses would not be a problem. I just think the size of the country and the size of some of the lower level clubs would keep this from happening.

Here are the second round results for the US Open Cup. The last fully amateur team left, lost last night.

Also Sacramento set the all time round 2 attendance record last night.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2015/05/20/us-open-cup-usl-teams-enter-fray-second-round-continues-wednesday

The 3rd round will see the 9 NASL teams enter and round 4 the 17 MLS teams will enter.

Charleston Battery (USL) 1, Miami United (NPSL) 0 :clap:

Size of the country is never the issue. The pyramid could be shaped in a way that recognizes that scaled down travel becomes increasingly necessary as you travel down it. This already happens even in smaller countries, where maybe eight leagues funnel their best teams into the next higher level that might only contain four leagues.

The true obstacles are the closed franchise systems ingrained in this nation's sports consciousness and the hostility they breed towards pro/rel in non-critical-thinking sports fans. We can't do it because we've never done it.

It's never been more true in our history that we have to kill the owners. All of them.

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Like many of you, I didnt want to pick a front runner so I excluded United and Arsenal who finished 1-2 for several years running.

I've lived in Atlanta my entire life - I picked United because God screwed me with ####ty teams......and then Moyes happened and I asked for forgiveness.

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might be old news, but Miami FC will play in NASL.

gotta say, given the USL, I continue to not get the end-game for NASL.

I assume in the end the best USL/NASL teams will end up as MLS expansion teams and the USL/NASL will merge into the second tier of the MLS. Hopefully that will allow promotion/relegation in the MLS. Which would be awesome!!!

In fact, I think the USL/NASL should merge now and then the next time the MLS want to expand it should be a promotion battle w/ no relegation in the MLS that year. I love promotion/relegation battles.

promotion/relegation will never work in the states.

Charleston Battery play in a great stadium, but Blackbaud's max is 5100. That would not fly as a first division club.

I think another factor is the size of the US and the cost of travel.

Germany is around 140,000 square miles and has 36 teams in the first two divisions.

That's the same size as South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. If you took all of the MLS and USL teams and put them in those three states, travel expenses would not be a problem. I just think the size of the country and the size of some of the lower level clubs would keep this from happening.

Here are the second round results for the US Open Cup. The last fully amateur team left, lost last night.

Also Sacramento set the all time round 2 attendance record last night.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2015/05/20/us-open-cup-usl-teams-enter-fray-second-round-continues-wednesday

The 3rd round will see the 9 NASL teams enter and round 4 the 17 MLS teams will enter.

Charleston Battery (USL) 1, Miami United (NPSL) 0 :clap:

Looks like Wilmington lacked the needed ####### passion.

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Like many of you, I didnt want to pick a front runner so I excluded United and Arsenal who finished 1-2 for several years running.

I've lived in Atlanta my entire life - I picked United because God screwed me with ####ty teams......and then Moyes happened and I asked for forgiveness.

Are you going to give the new MLS team a try down there? I have to say I am completely shocked at their solid ticket sales this far out from starting.

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Charleston Battery (USL) 1, Miami United (NPSL) 0 :clap:The 3rd round will see the 9 NASL teams enter and round 4 the 17 MLS teams will enter.

Looks like Wilmington lacked the needed ####### passion.

:lmao: Indeed. We host the Hammerheads next Saturday.

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Like many of you, I didnt want to pick a front runner so I excluded United and Arsenal who finished 1-2 for several years running.

I've lived in Atlanta my entire life - I picked United because God screwed me with ####ty teams......and then Moyes happened and I asked for forgiveness.

Are you going to give the new MLS team a try down there? I have to say I am completely shocked at their solid ticket sales this far out from starting.

Absolutely! But I'll be honest that this is what it will take for me to finally follow MLS closely. I've got two boys that play (one that is obsessed) an we'll be heading to the games as much as possible. I need to check in to season tickets.

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Like many of you, I didnt want to pick a front runner so I excluded United and Arsenal who finished 1-2 for several years running.

I've lived in Atlanta my entire life - I picked United because God screwed me with ####ty teams......and then Moyes happened and I asked for forgiveness.

Are you going to give the new MLS team a try down there? I have to say I am completely shocked at their solid ticket sales this far out from starting.

Absolutely! But I'll be honest that this is what it will take for me to finally follow MLS closely. I've got two boys that play (one that is obsessed) an we'll be heading to the games as much as possible. I need to check in to season tickets.

If I understand it, they are currently taking season ticket deposits. These are not the full blown tickets but basically hold your place in line when they are ready to be released. The deposit cost goes towards the season ticket price.

They passed the 19k mark back in February.

Here is more info.

https://mlsatlanta2017.com/

I think they are naming the team this summer.

Edited by NewlyRetired
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They passed the 19k mark back in February.

Here is more info.

https://mlsatlanta2017.com/

I think they are naming the team this summer.

If I understand it, they are currently taking season ticket deposits. These are not the full blown tickets but basically hold your place in line when they are ready to be released. The deposit cost goes towards the season ticket price.

I'm skeptical that the 19K number turns into 19K season tickets sold. From brief googling that looks like it'd be more than every team except Seattle

EDIT - I see now that 19K is the number of people paying $50 to join the "Founders Club" which gives the right to buy season tickets and some other benefits. So really nothing at all like season tickets sold. Oh well.

Edited by randall146
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They passed the 19k mark back in February.

Here is more info.https://mlsatlanta2017.com/

I think they are naming the team this summer.

If I understand it, they are currently taking season ticket deposits. These are not the full blown tickets but basically hold your place in line when they are ready to be released. The deposit cost goes towards the season ticket price.

I'm skeptical that the 19K number turns into 19K season tickets sold. From brief googling that looks like it'd be more than every team except Seattle

I don't think they will all turn into holders either but the last few expansion teams have had a high percentage of deposits turn into full packages.

If they have 19k deposits now, they are probably some where in the 15kish range.

The real news is that this is still 1.75 years away from starting. They should be able to generate interest with name, coach, first DP etc as the time goes by.

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They passed the 19k mark back in February.

Here is more info.

https://mlsatlanta2017.com/

I think they are naming the team this summer.

If I understand it, they are currently taking season ticket deposits. These are not the full blown tickets but basically hold your place in line when they are ready to be released. The deposit cost goes towards the season ticket price.

I'm skeptical that the 19K number turns into 19K season tickets sold. From brief googling that looks like it'd be more than every team except Seattle

EDIT - I see now that 19K is the number of people paying $50 to join the "Founders Club" which gives the right to buy season tickets and some other benefits. So really nothing at all like season tickets sold. Oh well.

$50 reserves you the right to purchase. The $50 is refundable if you don't purchase. I plan to purchase.

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EDIT - I see now that 19K is the number of people paying $50 to join the "Founders Club" which gives the right to buy season tickets and some other benefits. So really nothing at all like season tickets sold. Oh well.

Exactly. You can't sell season tickets packs this far in advance so this is how many expansion teams deal with it.

Orlando and NYCFC both had similar programs that translated into great season ticket sales for both teams.

There is no way to predict how many deposits turn into real packages but I know most are pretty impressed by the number so far, especially in an area not known as either a soccer town nor a sports crazy town.

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Like many of you, I didnt want to pick a front runner so I excluded United and Arsenal who finished 1-2 for several years running.

I've lived in Atlanta my entire life - I picked United because God screwed me with ####ty teams......and then Moyes happened and I asked for forgiveness.

Are you going to give the new MLS team a try down there? I have to say I am completely shocked at their solid ticket sales this far out from starting.

Absolutely! But I'll be honest that this is what it will take for me to finally follow MLS closely. I've got two boys that play (one that is obsessed) an we'll be heading to the games as much as possible. I need to check in to season tickets.

If I understand it, they are currently taking season ticket deposits. These are not the full blown tickets but basically hold your place in line when they are ready to be released. The deposit cost goes towards the season ticket price.

They passed the 19k mark back in February.

Here is more info. https://mlsatlanta2017.com/

I think they are naming the team this summer.

Thanks for the info Andy!

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There is something extra-gross and unseemly about him going to play for Qatar.

Extra-gross? Sure. Unseemly...not so sure...unfortunately; given the current state/trending of football.
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There is something extra-gross and unseemly about him going to play for Qatar.

Extra-gross? Sure. Unseemly...not so sure...unfortunately; given the current state/trending of football.

It's Sadd really. Al of this is very very Sadd.

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In the few years I've been watching, I always thought Iniesta was an absolute magician. When I started to understand the subtle differences in ball skills, I saw him do some amazing things to maintain possession. Yeah, he was a big part of why lots of people thought tiki-taka was boring but I was just entranced at some of the stuff I watched him pull.

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He was determined to take the penalty. There was no way I could refuse him."

-- France coach Jean-Claude Giuntini on goalkeeper Luca Zidane, son of legendary French star Zinedine Zidane, asking to take a penalty kick in the shootout to decide the semifinals of the UEFA U-17 Championship against Belgium. Luca Zidane missed his Panenka, hitting the crossbar, but saved three penalty kicks to lead the Bleuets into Friday's final against Germany

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He was determined to take the penalty. There was no way I could refuse him."

-- France coach Jean-Claude Giuntini on goalkeeper Luca Zidane, son of legendary French star Zinedine Zidane, asking to take a penalty kick in the shootout to decide the semifinals of the UEFA U-17 Championship against Belgium. Luca Zidane missed his Panenka, hitting the crossbar, but saved three penalty kicks to lead the Bleuets into Friday's final against Germany

as much as I :wub: Zizou, I want to make sure- was that my love-child?

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In the few years I've been watching, I always thought Iniesta was an absolute magician. When I started to understand the subtle differences in ball skills, I saw him do some amazing things to maintain possession. Yeah, he was a big part of why lots of people thought tiki-taka was boring but I was just entranced at some of the stuff I watched him pull.

I was a possession MF in my playing days- I could watch Iniesta, Xavi and Messi play their hyper kinetic triangles for the rest of my life without any goals and be completely happy.

and yeah- Iniesta had some crazy skills on the ball. only downside to me- and I noticed it much less in recent years- was his propensity to go down cheaply (not really dives, but damn he'd go down if the wind blew wrong). I should've posted it here- there was some youtube compilation of superstars assisting other superstars... lots of those three (along with Ronaldinho) and lots of Zidane.

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NYCFC could face NY Cosmos in the 4th round of the US Open Cup. :)

One other funny draw

Seattle Sounders 2 vs Portland Timbers 2 in 3rd round

Seattle Sounders (MLS) vs Portland Timbers MLS in 4th round.

Here are all the 4th round possible matchups.

U.S. Open Cup, Schedule:

FOURTH ROUND

June 16 in Hempstead, N.Y.

New York Cosmos vs. New York City FC (MLS)

OR

June 16 in Queens, N.Y.

New York City FC (MLS) vs. Jersey Express

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 16 in Chester, Pa.

Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs. Rochester Rhinos/Harrisburg City Islanders winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 16 in Harrison, N.J.

New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. Atlanta Silverbacks/Chattanooga FC

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 16 in Kansas City, Kan.

Sporting KC (MLS) vs. Minnesota United FC/Saint Louis FC winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 16 in Bridgeview, Ill.

Chicago Fire (MLS) vs. Louisville FC/Indy Eleven winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 16 in Ft. Worth, Texas

FC Dallas (MLS) vs. OKC Energy FC/Tulsa Roughnecks winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

Date TBD in Houston

Houston Dynamo (MLS) vs. Austin Aztex/San Antonio Scorpions winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 16 in Commerce City, Colo.

Colorado Rapids (MLS) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks/Real Monarchs SLC winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 16 in San Jose, Calif.

San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) vs. Chula Vista FC/Sacramento Republic FC winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 16 in Tukwila, Wash.

Seattle Sounders (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers (MLS)

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 17 in Charleston, S.C.

Charleston Battery vs. Orlando City (MLS)

OR

June 17 in Orlando, Fla.

Orlando City (MLS) vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 17 in Boston, Mass.

New England Revolution (MLS) vs. Charlotte Independence/Carolina RailHawks winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 17 in Richmond, Va.

Richmond Kickers vs. Columbus Crew SC (MLS)

OR

June 17 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Jacksonville Armada vs. Columbus Crew SC (MLS)

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 17 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. D.C. United (MLS)

OR

June 17 in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) vs. D.C. United (MLS)

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 17 in Sandy, Utah

Real Salt Lake (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers 2/Seattle Sounders 2 winner

-----------------------------------------------------------

June 17 in Carson, Calif.

LA Galaxy (MLS) vs. PSA Elite/Ventura County Fusion winner

After that ...

Fifth Round: June 30-July 1

Quarterfinals: July 21-22

Semifinals: Aug. 11-12

Final: Sept. 29 or 30

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if the Cosmos lose to "jersey city fc"... tsk-tsk-tsk

I did not realize until you said this. The draw is not an open process. It looks to be regional based. And I also read US Soccer will not allow a parent club to play against a child club until the final.

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Still some USASA and PDL teams kicking around in the US Open Cup. Winner of PSA Elite/Ventura County Fusion gets LA Galaxy in the next round.

love that some of these teams' home field is the local HS.

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In the few years I've been watching, I always thought Iniesta was an absolute magician. When I started to understand the subtle differences in ball skills, I saw him do some amazing things to maintain possession. Yeah, he was a big part of why lots of people thought tiki-taka was boring but I was just entranced at some of the stuff I watched him pull.

I was a possession MF in my playing days- I could watch Iniesta, Xavi and Messi play their hyper kinetic triangles for the rest of my life without any goals and be completely happy.

and yeah- Iniesta had some crazy skills on the ball. only downside to me- and I noticed it much less in recent years- was his propensity to go down cheaply (not really dives, but damn he'd go down if the wind blew wrong). I should've posted it here- there was some youtube compilation of superstars assisting other superstars... lots of those three (along with Ronaldinho) and lots of Zidane.

C'mon, you...surely he's just "riding the tackle"...
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He was determined to take the penalty. There was no way I could refuse him."

-- France coach Jean-Claude Giuntini on goalkeeper Luca Zidane, son of legendary French star Zinedine Zidane, asking to take a penalty kick in the shootout to decide the semifinals of the UEFA U-17 Championship against Belgium. Luca Zidane missed his Panenka, hitting the crossbar, but saved three penalty kicks to lead the Bleuets into Friday's final against Germany

Is the final being televised in the US?

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He was determined to take the penalty. There was no way I could refuse him."

-- France coach Jean-Claude Giuntini on goalkeeper Luca Zidane, son of legendary French star Zinedine Zidane, asking to take a penalty kick in the shootout to decide the semifinals of the UEFA U-17 Championship against Belgium. Luca Zidane missed his Panenka, hitting the crossbar, but saved three penalty kicks to lead the Bleuets into Friday's final against Germany

Is the final being televised in the US?

I don't think so (at least I have not seen it listed anywhere). I am sure you could find a stream though. Try either the French or the German Fed sites. They might list out a streaming site.

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With regards to choosing an EPL side, I just don't think I can watch a sport for any length of time without having rooting interests. I ended up choosing Swansea as my #1 team mostly because the first Premier League game I saw was them beating United last August. The whole David vs. Goliath thing appeals to me, and also I thought Garry Monk exuded the type of look and attitude that I guess I wanted from a European soccer manager.

There are other things about Swansea that appealed to me - the fact that they seem to be a team on the upswing after many hard years, and the fact the fans really do have a voice in how the team is run. Also I have basically zero connection to England itself so the idea of rooting for a Welsh side in an English league appeals to the contrarian in me. I guess I just like the way Swansea do things, although I have voiced here how I've already found it frustrating to root for a "selling" club. Losing Bony stung hard and still does a bit, despite the team setting a record for points in a PL campaign.

The other side for me is that while I am not naive about the role money plays in pro sports now, I just have an instinctual aversion to franchises that start out on third base money wise and act like they hit a triple. The fact that some oil baron can swoop in and buy titles makes my stomach turn just a bit, as I've seen what a negative impact the likes of Dan Snyder and other new-money rich boys have had on the NFL. And honestly, I stopped being a Yankees fan because I got tired of feeling more like a customer than a fan. But yeah, I know that means I'm probably never going to root for a team that wins a championship.

That said, as a still-new soccer fan I'm hedging my bets somewhat in terms of who I root for. So while I pull for Swansea above all others, I'm not rooting for them at the complete exclusion of other squads. I would say that I pull for Liverpool out of the Big Clubs, and I'm very much hoping to see Norwich City get promoted this year as I feel drawn to them as well. I think I'm at a point in my life where I don't care about all these unwritten rules of sports fandom, such as that you can only pick one team and you're locked in for life. That's how I ended up shackled to a flaming dumpster fire of a team like the Oakland Raiders, who I finally ditched last year.

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There is something extra-gross and unseemly about him going to play for Qatar.

Extra-gross? Sure. Unseemly...not so sure...unfortunately; given the current state/trending of football.

Qatar is a slave state.

I know this to be grossly true, but what has football done to address this, aside from following the money trail? ...Not unseemly in the global context of modern football; I should have been more clear.
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