Decision Day looms, clasico in West Virginia, and flashbacks: Starting Lineup, October 19
by Jason Longshore
1- Gonzalo Pineda and Matheus Rossetto are speaking to the media today after Atlanta United's training session in Marietta. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the mindset from both going into Decision Day on Saturday and what that game will mean to the group as they head into the postseason.
5th through 7th place finishes are all possible for Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando, Philadelphia, or Columbus are the potential playoff opponents.
2- Tuesday's news off the field was the signing through 2026 of Nick Firmino from Atlanta United 2. Nick joined the 2's before the 2022 season and he's played 61 games for them in two seasons. This year in MLS Next Pro, he was a member of the Best XI and a Golden Boot contender, finishing with 16 goals and 6 assists in 27 games. What was so impressive about his season to me was that he often played deeper in the midfield than many of the other top scorers in the league. He would play often where the team needed him. Of course, he also scored a goal in MLS on a short term call-up to rescue a point against NYCFC at home. It's been a whirlwind year for Nick.
3- In case you missed it, I had a chance to talk to Nick for yesterday's Stoppage Time at 92.9 The Game. Check it out here:
4- Last night, Charlotte FC had the lead twice but failed to hold onto it in Ft. Lauderdale as they finished 2-2 with Inter Miami to lose control of their playoff destiny. They are still in it, but the draw keeps NYCFC in the mix as well going into Decision Day as the Eastern Conference wild card spots are up for grabs.
5- The USMNT will face Trinidad & Tobago in the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals that double as play-in games for the 2024 Copa America. The first game will be in Austin, TX on November 16 before the road match in the series four days later. The quarterfinal losers will still have an opportunity to play one another for the last two Concacaf spots in the Copa America.
6- Jenni Hermoso was called up by Spain for UEFA Nations League matches since the fallout from former Luis Rubiales' unwanted kiss after Spain's World Cup win at the medal ceremony. New manager Montse Tomé did not call up Hermoso for the last round of games, in my opinion this was done to let the whole situation die down for Hermoso and for the team. The decision was overblown and turned into things that it wasn't in my opinion, this was always the obvious next step for the following window.
7- Huge college match in Morgantown, WV last night as the #5 Mountaineers hosted their in-state rivals Marshall in a Sun Belt Conference men's match. The two teams combined for five goals in the first eighteen minutes, but West Virginia ended up running away with it for a 5-2 win in front of a sold out, raucous crowd.
8- Tonight, Georgia State's women will be back in action in downtown Atlanta as they host Sun Belt rivals James Madison, who are undefeated in conference play at 3-0-4. The Panthers come into the match 8-3-4 overall and 4-2-1 in the conference. Alondra Nieves is up to seven goals for the season after her brace on the road at Marshall over the weekend, Nieves was named the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week for her three goal week last week.
9- It was confirmed yesterday that Neymar suffered an ACL and meniscus tear in Brazil's loss in Uruguay and will possibly miss next summer's Copa America. That is in eight months, which would push the envelope on Neymar's recovery. It's possible, but more likely that we see Neymar next back for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia next fall.
10- On this date in 2011, Cuauhtémoc Blanco played for the only time as a professional at Silverbacks Park as Irapuato came to play the Silverbacks in an offseason friendly. I remember it was very cold and windy, there wasn't much quality in the match, and Irapuato got the 1-0 win. Check out the video from Mundo Hispánico from the day before the match.
11- On this date in 1985, the power of MTV and its impact on the Billboard charts was evident as Norwegian pop group a-ha went to #1 in the US with "Take on Me". The video was groundbreaking then and still holds up for its creativity today. Check out your Song of the Day: