And after aaaaall, you’re my wonderwall.

Minnesota United played San Jose Earthquakes in the quarterfinals of MLS is Back

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And the Loons burst the Quakes bubble 4-1

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Cue Wonderwall! The Loons are still undefeated on the season and they’re marching into the MLS is Back semi-finals. They will play Orlando City for a spot in the tournament finals Thursday night on ESPN2. 😀⚽️❤️

Combine this win with Arsenal’s FA Cup win earlier in the day, and that’s what I call a very good sports day.

Taco Tuesday!

It was a very pretty Tuesday morning…

Good morning from Northside…

Today was a silly busy workday. We had Taco Tuesday tacos for dinner tonight…

I promise there were actually hard shell tacos under that massive pile of delicious shredded taco cheese. And then we took the dogs on their evening walk…

There were pretty clouds this evening…

If you look really close in the center just above the lower group of clouds, there was a plane flying on a really low trajectory that planes don’t usually fly on…

And here’s another one with the plane just to the left of the branch extending into the middle of the frame…

It’s weird how when you live someplace for a bit, you notice odd things like planes flying at weird altitudes and in strange directions.

Good evening from Northside…

It was a pretty low-key Tuesday. But the tacos were delicious! 😀🌮❤️

Later in the evening, my Minnesota United knocked Columbus Crew out of the MLS is Back tournament with what was probably the most clinical penalty shoot-out I’ve ever seen. MNUFC didn’t miss a single spot-kick. It was a thing of beauty. And then FC Cincinnati took Portland Timbers to a penalty shootout as well. But FC|C was not nearly as clinical as the Loons, and were knocked out the tournament with their heads held high after their tenacious performance. This tournament has been so much fun.

Cheers! It’s finally Friday.

Good morning from Northside…

This has felt like a really long week. But made it to Friday. And to celebrate this morning, we walked to Sidewinder to get coffee…

Cheers to Friday!

Our drinks were so good.

Genifer went with her sister to get pedicures. I cranked all day to get my work done.

And then we walked the dogs…

Good evening from Northside…

I stayed up to watch my Minnesota United play the 10:30pm late match to a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake. I’m probably going to be tired tomorrow. It’s a good thing we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and there really isn’t much of anything to do. 😀🌄☕️❤️

And here’s what actually happened.

I had this really epic soccer Sunday planned. And as you know, very rarely does anything ever go as planned. This is what actually happened with my epic soccer Sunday. I watched all the matches. But the results weren’t as I would have liked them.

Last night, the start of the FC Cincinnati versus Columbus Crew match didn’t start until well after 11pm because the match before theirs had a weather delay. I stayed up to watch the entire match. I don’t know why. It was bad. Really bad. It was the first match in charge for FC Cincinnati’s new manager, Jaap Stam. And it looked every bit of it.

News flash… FC Cincinnati is still terrible and lost 4-0

This morning we watched the second half of Wolves clinical 3-0 thumping of Everton. With the win, Wolves became the first English side to win competitive games in two different Julys in the same season. I was all set for the start of Toronto versus DC United. But the match was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. I mentioned we might watch yesterday’s Doosan Bears-Lotte Giants KBO game but we actually watched it yesterday. My Bears lost 5-4. Jose Fernandez hit a two-run homer with two out in the ninth to pull the Bears within one. But then the next batter flew out to center and that was the ballgame. I was also going to touch-up my quarantine haircut but I did that yesterday too. I got new clippers when we were running around yesterday. And I wanted to give them a try. They worked really well.

So with that, we had to endure Aston Villa versus Crystal Palace in its entirety. I don’t know how Crystal Palace don’t get relegated every season. Every time I see them play, they play the most uninspired, uninterested, and just plain boring soccer. Even when we saw them play FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium, they were pretty boring. Palace beat FC|C 2-0. But today, Palace lost 2-0 to Villa. Again.

The North London derby started well for Arsenal with Lacazette’s absolute screamer. The Gunners took a 1-0 but then the defense. Sigh. Arsenal. After the match, I changed from one of my Arsenal polos to my Leicester t-shirt. I switched the channel to ESPN to watch a bit of Parma-Bologna so I didn’t have to watch the Jose Mourinho post-match interview on NBCSN. I’ve never liked him. I can’t envision a scenario that would cause that to change.

Leicester looked to be rolling right along after Jamie Vardy scored his league-leading 26th goal. But then the wheels came off the Leicester wagon after the referee awarded Bournemouth a penalty. Leicester was reduced to ten men after a red card and Bournemouth would go on to score three more times to win 4-1. What. The. Heck?

Lousiville City started their USL season hosting Pittsburgh Rverhounds as they opened their new soccer-specific stadium. Speedy Williams scored the first goal for City in their new home. But then they gave up three unanswered goals to lose 3-1.

Are you seeing a trend here? All of my teams took a 1-0 lead and then lost.

Minnesota was trailing 1-0 as the clock approached the 90th minute. And then United scored two goals in stoppage time to win 2-1. The first was a penalty kick at 90+2 and then the winner at 90+7. And with that, Epic Soccer Sunday was salvaged!

It would have been a real bummer if all my teams lost. Thankfully, Minnesota United saved the day. 😀⚽️❤️

It’s finally happening!

I can’t remember the last time we had an epic sports day. One of those days where there are so many good games on TV, you don’t how you’re going to watch them all. It’s been soooo long since we’ve had a really epic sports day. It’s been so long since we had sports. But today is truly an epic sports day! I’m calling it, EPIC SOCCER SUNDAY! This is what I’ll be watching during today’s massive football feast with the teams I’ll be cheering for highlighted in blue…

I’m not entirely sold on watching Toronto-DC United. I guess it depends on if I managed to stay awake until the end of last night’s FC Cincinnati versus Columbus match.  The 10:30pm starts during the MLS is Back tournament are just a little late for me. I might also watch my Doosan Bears versus Lotte Giants KBO game that was on ESPN very early yesterday morning. We’ll see how it goes. I might also touch up my quarantine haircut first thing this morning.

Of the four matches I’m really interested in watching today, Arsenal seems to finally be finding their form after the restart. The Gunners are undefeated in their last five with four wins and a draw against Leicester. Spuds are doing their best Totteringham over their last five with two wins, draws at both Everton and Bournemouth, and a whopping 3-1 loss away to Sheffield United. Leceister City are currently sitting fourth in the league and hope to regain their pre-COVID-19 form against Bournemouth, who have lost four of their last five. My Foxes have just one win in their last five with two losses and two draws. But with Chelsea also losing to Sheffield United yesterday, a win could put Leicester back in third.

Leading up to Sunday’s USL Championship restart, two-time USL Champion Louisville City will be christening their brand new, $65 million state-of-the-art, Lynn Family Stadium at approximately 30% of the new facility’s regular 15,304-person capacity.

And finally, there’s my Minnesota United. Before the season was suspended, the Loons won both of their matches, 3-1 away to Portland and 5-2 away to San Jose. So I’m super excited to have them start playing again. I stocked up on MNUFC gear in the off-season, and I’ve been waiting all year to finally have the opportunity to wear it.

There are other matches on Sunday too. There are two early Premier League matches on Sunday. Wolves face Everton at 7am. Wolves have been in great form since the restart and hadn’t given up a goal until they play Arsenal last weekend. The second match is Aston Villa versus Crystal Palace. And it just sounds like it’s going to be a boring, lifeless draw. But watch it end up being the most exciting match of the day. AC Milan plays Napoli in Italian Serie A at 3:45pm on ESPN+. The Rossoneri stunned Juventus 4-2 midweek. And there’s also the late MLS tournament match between Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids at 10:30pm on ESPN. I don’t know that we’ll make it all the way through the late MLS match. But I’m pretty sure it’ll be on our TV as we’re heading to bed.

It’s going to be an Epic Soccer Sunday. And I couldn’t be more excited. 😃📺⚽️🤗💯❤️

MLS is back!

While I’m working, I really like listening to sports on Pluto TV. I usually bounce back and forth between four main channels: Surf TV, Red Bull TV, Bein Sports Extra, and the MLS channel. This afternoon on the MLS channel, we stumbled across the selection show for the upcoming MLS IS BACK tournament which will be held in Orlando…

They drew the groups for the east first. FC Cincinnati drew Group E…

Hilariously, Columbus Crew drew Group E as well…

So there will be a matchup of the Hell is Real derby in Orlando…

In the west, my very favorite MLS club, Minnesota United drew Group D…

Also hilariously, Group F contains both teams from Los Angeles…

And the best part is all the matches will be televised…

The best summers are always the World Cup summers, followed closely by the Euro Championship summers. More than likely, this tournament won’t have the same talent level or probably the same drama as national team tournaments but it should still be a lot of fun to watch. Especially after four months without any sports at all.

And I can’t wait! Come on you Loons! 😀⚽️🏆❤️

USOC18: FC Cincinnati versus Minnesota United FC.

IT’S US OPEN CUP MATCH DAY ROUND 4! But first a little diatribe…

With much fanfare and back-patting, it was announced last Tuesday that FC Cincinnati is officially MLS expansion bound. They will finish the rest of this season in USL. And next season, FC|C will make their highly anticipated jump to the “big league.”

Let it be known, I’m not a fan of MLS. Not one bit. I think it’s a mediocre product with too many teams. It all has a very corporate, manufactured feel. Yet it’s next to impossible to find an MLS match on TV, making it really difficult to follow any team. So I’m not super excited about this FC|C to MLS news at all. I remember when it was first announced that Cincinnati was getting a USL soccer team. I was beyond excited. I loved the fact that they were in USL even though I didn’t know much about what the USL was, how many teams there were or really much of anything. I knew it was the second or third division and that was awesome. I was excited. For me, the fact that they were a lower division team sweetened the pot. There’s something about cheering for the little guy. And then we went to the first FC Cincinnati match at Nippert Stadium and they had me, hook, line, and sinker. It was all so magical. Not far into the inaugural season, talk of jumping to MLS kept getting louder and louder. Talks of soccer-specific stadiums. And I could feel my enthusiasm starting to waver little by little. In my opinion, it would be really hard to improve on any great number of things in regards to the club. I think it would be pretty easy for the experience to take a nose-dive. FC|C had a really good thing going in USL. They’re the big fish in a relatively small pond. More than likely by moving to MLS, they’ll just be another midmarket team in a vast ocean of competitiveness. Their impressive USL attendance numbers will put them near the bottom of the top ten in MLS. It’s doubtful they’ll even rank in the top ten once they move into their new 21,000 seat soccer-specific-stadium in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati.

To me, the only good news that came out of MLS expansion announcement was that the team will play its first two seasons of MLS soccer at Nippert Stadium while their new soccer-specific stadium is being built. My biggest concern is right off the bat with the move to MLS is ticket prices. Are we still going to be able to afford our season tickets next year?  USL Season ticket prices are relatively affordable. Are MLS season ticket prices going to affordable as well? Probably not with the seats we’ve had the last three seasons. But perhaps if we moved to cheaper seats. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Tonight, we paid $30 a seat to watch a US Open Cup match that was one the most lackluster soccer games I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Remember last season’s US Open Cup run when FC|C played Columbus Crew and there was so much excitement? Or when they played Chicago Fire and the ecstasy of winning that shootout? I still get goosebumps thinking about the electricity that crackled through Nippert Stadium leading up to the match against New York Red Bulls. There was none of that tonight. Just a future MLS expansion team against a former MLS expansion team who currently sit in ninth place out of twelve teams in their conference. All I could think the whole match was, is this a precursor to what we have to look forward to next season?

At the half, it was nil-nil…

Sprinkles didn’t even bother coming to this match. Second half…

And at the end of 90 minutes, it was still 0-0…

At the end of the first 15 minute extra time, you guessed it 0-0…

And at the end of the second 15 extra time, still 0-0…

On to the penalty kick shootout…

I recorded the entire shootout in case something awesome happened…

And it did not. FC Cincinnati lost the shootout 3-1. I hope I’m wrong about MLS2Cincy. But this is what I imagine all the matches to be like next season when FC Cincinnati jump to MLS. Boooooooring. Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised. All I know is that I’m going to enjoy the final season of USL soccer in Cincinnati and deal with MLS and all the nonsense it brings with it later. 😐⚽️❤️

UPDATE: I just discovered that for $5/month you can watch all the USL and MLS matches live through ESPN+ on the ESPN app. Done and done.

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