by Jason Longshore
Welcome to the international break. I've said it for a while, I think there's too many of these breaks, but I don't have the hatred for them that some do. I love the international game. Growing up when I did in the US, the national team was the first thing that I got to watch on a regular basis. We didn't have a professional league to watch after I fell in love with the sport during the 1986 World Cup. I would occasionally get to see Serie A games on FSN/Score, but it was random. The Olympics and World Cup qualifiers from 1986-1989 really kept feeding my fandom. Things have changed now with the ability to watch live games at pretty much any time of the day, and with the number of club games in a given season. FIFA and the Confederations need to get their calendars sorted out for the next cycle after the 2026 World Cup, fewer international breaks and make the ones that you do have meaningful.
1- There is local soccer tonight as Georgia State's men host Wofford at the GSU Soccer Complex. The Terriers come in without a win, but they held #3 Duke to a 2-2 draw in their last match. The Panthers also drew on the road last time out, 1-1 in Memphis on Friday. Sophomore Dylan Williams from Canton had the opener in the 81st minute. Kickoff tonight is at 7pm and you can also watch on ESPN+, I'll be on the call.
2- The momentum from the media is now shifting to pushing Liverpool to accept a bid from the Saudi pro league for Mohamed Salah. It's always funny how the winds change in these sorts of things. If Liverpool was going to accept the bid, they should have done it when the window was still open and they could add a player to replace Salah. Accepting it now isn't fully punting on the first half of the season, but it does create a handicap for the squad. Rumors about Salah's departure have been going on for a while, remember the dalliances with going to La Liga in the recent past? Liverpool should have had a plan in general rather than saying no and stomping their feet about it. Selling now does not send a great message to the fanbase even if it's the right move (it is) in the long run. This should have been done before the window closed rather than the performance art from the club stressing that the answer was no.
3- Villarreal fired coach Quique Setién on Tuesday, the team lost three of its first four matches in the new La Liga season. Director of football Miguel Ángel Tena is taking over on an interim basis. Setién took charge of Villarreal in October after the departure of Unai Emery to English club Aston Villa, guiding the Yellow Submarine to a fifth-place finish and a spot in this season’s Europa League.
4- Brazil dropped Manchester United winger Antony from its roster for its first two World Cup qualifiers after Brazilian media on Monday reported details of alleged domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend. The Brazilian leadership said Antony will not be in the squad for games against Bolivia and Peru “due to the facts that became public on Monday.” Antony’s ex-girlfriend reported him to police on May 20 over alleged domestic violence, accusations that the player denied in June and again on Monday. A Sao Paulo police investigation is ongoing, but details have not been made public.
5- In Europe, qualifiers for next summer's Euros are being played. England will be without Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who both pulled out of the team due to injuries. Gareth Southgate will not be adding more players to the group that was announced. England will face Ukraine in Wroclaw, Poland, on Saturday before travelling to Glasgow to take on Scotland in a friendly three days later. The Three Lions lead Group C with 12 points from four games, six points ahead of second-placed Ukraine.
6- In this summer's transfer window, MLS was second in this hemisphere in sending players to Europe. The Brazilian first division led the hemisphere, followed by MLS and then the Argentine first division. Liga MX was next followed by the USL Championship. MLS sent more players to Europe than the first divisions of Uruguay, Colombia, and Ecuador combined.
7- More college games in the state today. The Nighthawks men of North Georgia are hosting Erskine College in Dahlonega for a 5pm kickoff, they're looking for their first win of 2023. After two draws at the Sonny Carter Invitational at Emory, Covenant's men host their home opener today at 4pm as Bob Jones University visits.
8- The draw for December's Club World Cup has been held by FIFA. Concacaf Champions League winner Club León will face Asian representatives Urawa Red Diamonds (the club that was trying to sign Giorgos Giakoumakis in January) in a quarterfinal. The winner will advance to face Manchester City in the semifinals.
9- The German tabloid Bild has started the conversation about Edin Terzic being in trouble at Borussia Dortmund. The Black & Yellow have won one and drawn two in Bundesliga play at the start of the season, currently sitting four points behind Bayern and Stuttgart who have each won their three matches so far. Seems a little premature from Bild, but with Julian Nagelsmann currently being paid to sit in his recliner and watch games, these sorts of stories will continue. Anyone who wants to hire Nagelsmann will have to come to a deal with Bayern who is still paying him. And they'd have to pay Nagelsmann top dollar to take the job. We'll see...
10- On this day in 1971, the Atlanta Chiefs advanced to the NASL finals after defeating the New York Cosmos 2-0 at Yankee Stadium. Henry Largie and Kaizer Motaung were the goal scorers for Atlanta. Alan Hamlyn made a key defensive header off the line that would have tied the match for New York. Manfred Kammerer earned the clean sheet for the Chiefs.
11- Freddie Mercury was born on this day in 1946. He's arguably the greatest singer in rock history, with a four-octave vocal range. He forever changed popular rock music with his work with Queen. In interviews, Freddie said that this was his favorite song from his career and it's today's Song of the Day.