Cincinnati awaits on Decision Day for Atlanta, USWNT roster, and more: Starting Lineup, October 20
by Jason Longshore
1- It's off to Cincinnati today for Atlanta United as they get ready to face the Supporters' Shield winners on Decision Day. The team had everyone back in training yesterday from the international break. They also got Jamal Thiaré back from concussion protocol. Osvaldo Alonso also trained fully for the first time in a long while. Machop Chol (who will miss the rest of the season) and Tyler Wolff were the only two who were missing due to injury.
2- "We're as good as any team in this league," Cincinnati GM Chris Albright told ESPN. "Whether we're able to replicate what we've done over the last eight months in a short sort of burst ... could you have a bad night? Always, which is why I think Supporters' Shield is so difficult, but I just don't think we have any holes, frankly. I think we have the depth. I think we have the coaching. We have home field. The [playoff] format, you could argue its merits or not, I guess we'll see, but we have a confident group."
3- The University of Georgia women's soccer program launched in 1995, but had not won an Eastern Division championship in the SEC until this year. Keidane McAlpine has transformed the program into one to watch nationally since his arrival early in 2022. Summer Denigan, who is the current SEC Offensive Player of the Week, scored the only goal that was needed last night in Athens to defeat Kentucky.
"(Associate head coach) Jason (Lockhart) said it best in the huddle," Georgia head coach Keidane McAlpine said. "Anytime we do something for the first time, it's special. It's foundation-building for the program. When we came in, this is kind of what we started thinking about. It's a testament to the work that the women have put in, and it's not easy to do this in this league in the East. So, to have that kind of response and whatnot is special."
4- In other local college action last night, Georgia Southern's women won their fifth straight match over Marshall 4-1 in Statesboro while Georgia State drew 0-0 with James Madison in Atlanta. The Eastern Division of the Sun Belt has the top five teams separated by two points going into the last two matches of the season.
5- Tyler Adams had surgery to repair his hamstring and won't be back until at least February. The injury happened during his time for Bournemouth in a Carabao Cup match in late September.
6- Tata Martino fanned the flames of Luis Suarez potentially joining the Herons for 2024. "Within our analysis of the upcoming season, and the needs we may have, we have an analysis with Luis and an analysis without Luis," Martino said. Even though Miami has at least one eye looking towards 2024, they have one more opportunity to play spoiler in 2023 in Charlotte on Saturday. Will Lionel Messi join the team for that one?
7- Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali will be able to play Saturday despite the Italy international being involved in a betting investigation in his home country. He faces a potential lengthy ban, but has not been officially charges as of yet.
“He’s had a very, very difficult couple of weeks,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said. “From what I can see, he’s handling himself really well and he’s dealing with his emotions incredibly strongly, but underneath that I’m sure there’s a lot going on, so I’ll have to make a call.”
8- The top tiers of women's soccer in England should have stronger financial controls to stop the growing disparity between big clubs and smaller ones, Crystal Palace co-owner and chairman Steve Parish said on Thursday. The Women's Super League and second-tier Championship have a salary cap system where clubs can spend up to 40% of their revenue on salaries. However, as that revenue includes the parent club, the bigger men's teams often have an advantage for their women's sides. Chelsea have won the WSL title in five out of the last six seasons.
9- The NWSL quarterfinals start tonight as Megan Rapinoe tries to prolong her career with OL Reign, they host Angel City in Seattle for a 10pm kickoff on Paramount+. Angel City won 5-1 on Decision Day at home over #2 Portland while OL Reign went on the road to beat the Chicago Red Stars.
10- The USWNT roster for two upcoming friendlies against Colombia was named yesterday. Interim manager Twila Kilgore recalled Becky Sauerbrunn and Sophia Smith, they missed out on the September matches due to injury. Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave) and Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns) were called in and might earn their first caps. Mia Fishel (Chelsea) and Lindsey Horan (Lyon) were the only two non-NWSL callups for these friendlies.
11- On this day in 1950, Tom Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida. One of the greats in rock and roll, Petty released his first album with the Heartbreakers in 1976 and your Song of the Day is one of his best-known songs, but it wasn't a hit in the US. It took off first in the UK where it did chart before become a signature song for him throughout his long career.