by Jason Longshore
1- Huge match tonight at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Atlanta United hosts Nashville. We will be live at 1pm at REVERB by Hard Rock, across the street from the stadium, for our Matchday LIVE show to get your matchday started right. Deep dive into the match, a look around the rest of the league focusing on the crowded Eastern Conference, and more. Come join myself, Jon Nelson, Scott Flood, and more this afternoon.
2- The injury reports for the match came out yesterday and Osvaldo Alonso is listed as out with a leg injury. This would have been something that happened in training this week as he was participating fully on Tuesday (the session that was open to the media in full) and in the first portion of Thursday's session (the part that was open to the media). Hopefully it's a short term thing, it is not related to his ACL tear from last year. Jamal Thiaré is also out as he has not arrived in Atlanta yet, the expectation is that he will be able to join training next week and then it's a question of where his fitness and sharpness is. On the Nashville side, they will be missing Fafa Picault and Taylor Washington due to red cards earned in their last league match all the way back on July 15 against Cincinnati. Walker Zimmerman is listed as questionable by Nashville with a lower leg injury. He played the entire 90+ minutes in the Leagues Cup final last Saturday against Miami and I haven't seen any further reports from training this week about an injury. We'll see if the Lawrenceville native can go tonight in front of his friends and family.
3- Will Lionel Messi play tonight for Inter Miami in New Jersey against the Red Bulls? Will Sergio Busquets or Jordi Alba? Miami has played eight matches since July 21 and looked tired at times in Wednesday's Open Cup semifinal that went 120+ minutes. It would be a normal expectation that there's rotation in the Herons' lineup tonight, but how Tata Martino will handle it is a question. He's played coy in the media, as he should, but how the minutes get divided up tonight will be a very interesting watch.
4- Another important watch in the Eastern Conference is Cincinnati hosting NYCFC at TQL Stadium. The Orange and Blue have to pick themselves up after a slugfest with Miami and losing on penalties after extra time Wednesday night. Cincinnati had a 2-0 lead before Messi had two assists to Leo Campana to send it to extra time. They fell behind in extra time, before Yuya Kubo's goal sent them to penalties. How fatigued is Cincinnati and where are they emotionally? After tonight's match with the Pigeons, they head to Atlanta on Wednesday night.
5- Jude Bellingham continues the hot run to his time with Real Madrid, scoring the only goal in Madrid's 1-0 win at Celta yesterday. Three wins to open the season for Madrid, and Bellingham has scored four goals so far. Vinicius Jr left the match in the first half with a muscle injury, adding to a pretty long injury list for Madrid this season.
6- Mauricio Pochettino got his first win in charge of Chelsea, powered by two goals from Raheem Sterling, as the Blues defeated newly promoted Luton Town 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. Nicolas Jackson added the other goal, on an assist from Sterling. It was Jackson's first goal since his move to London from Villarreal. Sterling has looked rejuvenated under Pochettino, Chelsea fans hope that continues as they work together more.
7- For now, the Spanish football federation is still run by Luis Rubiales and they have made threats against FUTPRO and Jenni Hermoso, accusing them of lies. The government's Consejero Superior de Deporte president Victor Francos said yesterday after Rubiales refused to step down that they would step in to suspend Rubiales from his duties. Players in the NWSL last night and around the world on social media are standing in support of Hermoso after her statement yesterday. So many different things in this situation are happening simultaneously and it needs to get resolved quickly by either/both the Spanish government (the Consejero Superior de Deporte) and/or FIFA. There is no confusion about what happened during the medal ceremony, it was broadcast for the world to see and Hermoso has been clear in saying from the beginning that Rubiales' actions were unwanted. It is an embarrassment for Spanish soccer and it takes away from the accomplishments of the players. UPDATE (8:24am): FIFA's Disciplinary Committee has provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days.
8- The international break is coming up soon on the men's side and Cameron Carter-Vickers will miss the next two windows for the USMNT due to a hamstring injury picked up with Celtic. They have ruled him out for two months. He will miss friendlies against Uzbekistan and Oman at home in a three-day span in September, then Germany on Oct. 14 and Ghana on Oct. 17.
9- The Romelu Lukaku transfer saga could reach its conclusion this weekend with the Belgian striker heading to negotiate with Roma. If it ends up happening, can Jose Mourinho get the best out of him and how awkward will the matches with Inter be this season?
10- On this date in 1967, the first youth soccer championship game of any sort took place between the Williamsburg Chiefs and the Henderson Mill Phantoms. The teams were part of the YMCA league that was started in conjunction with the Atlanta Chiefs in their first season. In fact, legendary coach and Hall of Famer Ron Newman coached the Williamsburg team while Brian Bedford coached the Phantoms. Each boy who played paid $1 and the league started initially at an apartment complex where many of the players lived.
11- Your Song of the Day celebrates today's birthday of Shirley Manson of Garbage. One of my favorite bands from the later 90's alternative era, Manson is an incredible frontwoman, performer, and vocalist. This was the first song that got me hooked on the band, from their debut album.