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England defeats Australia, Miami heads to Nashville in Leagues Cup final: Starting Lineup, August 16

by Jason Longshore

1- The defending European champions, the Lionesses of England, reached their first World Cup final this morning by eliminating the tournament hosts 3-1 in the semifinal in Sydney. It's the second straight final for Sarina Wiegman, who took the Netherlands to that stage in 2019. Lauren Hemp was fantastic, scoring the go-ahead and goal and assisting on the third. Ella Toone scored the opener, a rocket to the far side netting, and Alessia Russo put the match away with the third from Hemp's assist. Sam Kerr started for Australia and leveled the match with a long-range bomb over the head of Mary Earps early in the second half, but England gathered themselves and regained control of the match.


2- Two first-time finalists meet on Sunday in Sydney as England will face Spain. These teams met last in the quarterfinal of the Euros last year in Brighton. Spain took the lead in the 54th minute through Esther González and dominated the majority of the match, but England fought back to equalize in the 84th as Toone scored. Georgia Stanway's go-ahead goal in the 96th minute in extra time held up as the winner. Expect an epic rematch on Sunday as Spain has improved, but England has the experience now in these matches.


3- Philadelphia did not look like themselves in the first half against Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup semifinal, backing off instead of pressing high and they were slow to close players down in the attacking half. After conceding three goals in the first 45 minutes, the Union changed things up in the second half and looked better and pulled one back. The comeback attempt fizzled out though as Miami restored their three-goal lead 11 minutes later. The win puts the Herons into the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup and into their first final in club history on Saturday night.


4- Lionel Messi y amigos will head to the Music City for that final as Nashville SC got the job done in their semifinal, outplaying Monterrey at GEODIS Park and winning 2-0. Hany Mukhtar set up Sam Surridge for the opener in the 67th minute and Fafa Picault put it away in stoppage time. Rayados outshot Nashville 18-13 and had 60% of possession, but only 4 of those shots were on target. The Boys in Gold looked more threatening throughout and Elliot Panicco made a huge save on Rogelio Funes Mori when it mattered to preserve the lead.


5- So it's the two teams that came into the league together in 2020 meeting in the first ever Leagues Cup final on Saturday night as Nashville will host Miami. Lionel Messi has not lost with Miami yet and he's scored in every match he's played. Hany Mukhtar is the reigning MLS MVP and is probably the front-runner to repeat this season. But this one is more than the battle of #10's. Nashville will let Miami have the ball, which could hurt them. However, Nashville's counterattack can absolutely hurt Miami. Two teams with almost opposite approaches can make for a great match, and I think this one will live up to the hype of a final.


6- Neymar's move to Al Hilal is now complete, as he heads to Saudi Arabia after 6 seasons with PSG. The clubs reached an agreement on the transfer of the Brazilian forward for a reported $98 million. Neymar signed a new two-year contract that is expected to include a salary of around $100 million per season.


7- Kevin de Bruyne will miss up to four months after suffering a hamstring injury in the Premier League opener for Manchester City. It was a recurrence of the same injury that forced him off the field in the Champions League Final back in June. There is a possibility that he will need surgery, but that has not been determined yet. He will obviously miss today's UEFA Super Cup match against Sevilla.


8- According to reports, Harry Maguire will stay with Manchester United to fight for playing time rather than make a move to West Ham. Lisandro Martínez and Raphaël Varane have taken the starting center back spots for Erik ten Hag, but Maguire has been told that there is a place for him in the squad. (ESPN)


9- A group of investors led by Chicago Cubs co-owner and Chicago Sky minority owner Laura Ricketts has begun the process to buy the NWSL's Chicago Red Stars, the group announced on Tuesday. Reports have the price at just over $35M, less than recent expansion fees but still strong growth for a league that is still working to turn the corner to stability.


10- On this date in 1997, the Atlanta Ruckus defeated the Jacksonville Cyclones 2-1 on the road in an A-League match. Sylvan Bednar assisted the match-winning goal from Jacenir Silva after he tore his ACL earlier in the match. The Ruckus had already used all of their subs so the usual center back moved up top as Atlanta tried to hold on to get a result on the road. Bednar lunged for the ball on a corner kick and his deflection set up the goal for Silva. Up to that point, Bednar had played every minute of every match since earning a starting role late in the 1996 season.


11- On this day in 1958, Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan. She is the best-selling female recording artist of all-time with over 300 million records sold worldwide. She has more #1 singles than any other woman in history and is the highest-grossing touring female artist all-time. So many songs to choose from, but the last single from her debut single is one of my all-time favorites...


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