League play returns worldwide, your Friday preview: Starting Lineup, September 15
by Jason Longshore
One more day until one of the biggest soccer events in Atlanta history takes place. Inter Miami is on their way to town in a huge MLS regular season match. We still don't know the level of Lionel Messi's involvement after he didn't play for Argentina in Bolivia on Tuesday. Gonzalo Pineda said yesterday that he is preparing his team for Messi starting and playing 90 minutes. Here is the latest update:
We'll be live with radio coverage starting at 4:30 on 92.9 The Game and the Audacy app. You'll be able to listen to our radio call on SiriusXM FC and on Apple TV's MLS Season Pass (choose the home team radio option).
Also, we'll have a SDH Matchday LIVE for your brunch needs at REVERB by Hard Rock, right across the street from the Benz, starting at 11am. Get downtown early, miss the traffic, and come get ready for the match with us thanks to our friends at REVERB and the Flood Project.
1- Caleb Wiley leads field players under the age of 20 in minutes this season in MLS by a wide margin. He's not far off of the overall lead (Chris Brady, Chicago GK), but he's 340 minutes ahead of the 2nd field player on the list (Owen Wolff, Austin). Wiley spoke to the media this week and his maturity and growth this season is a big part of the team's success. Picking his spots to get forward, conserving his energy and not wasting sprints forward, both a big part of his move back to fullback have been very helpful in keeping him on the field longer lately.
2- Everton is the latest historic English soccer club to be claimed by U.S. ownership after Miami-based private investment firm 777 Partners reached a deal to buy out majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri. Everton's finances have become a growing concern as the club has had to fight multiple relegation battles on the field and needs an overhaul off it. The purchase from 777 Partners will have them acquire 94.1% of the club and is due to be completed in the 4th quarter of 2023 once approved by the Premier League.
3- Big game in the Bundesliga today on ESPN+ as the only two undefeated teams this season square off in Munich. Bayern hosts Bayer Leverkusen at 2:30pm. Joshua Kimmich is a concern for Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel, he didn't play in Germany's second friendly of the window against France on Tuesday. Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen won the last match between these two teams, a loss that led Bayern to fire Julian Nagelsmann and hire Tuchel.
4- Spain's women's national team is continuing their boycott after some leadership changes have taken place at the federation. The roster is due for their UEFA Nations League contests this month today, but it's unknown how the players and new manager Montserrat Tomé will handle the situation.
5- Alan Pulido renewed his contract with Sporting Kansas City through the 2026 season. Some clubs in Liga MX were keeping an eye on his situation and hoping to bring him back to the league, but Peter Vermes and SKC will keep him in the fold. When healthy, he's been an outstanding striker for them.
6- #23 Georgia went to Tuscaloosa for their SEC opener and earned a 1-1 draw with #7 Alabama last night. The Crimson Tide took the lead, but Nicole Vernis equalized before halftime and UGA earned a second straight draw against a top 10 opponent. The Dawgs are back home on Sunday hosting San Francisco at 11am at the Turner Soccer Complex, the match will be televised on SEC Network+.
7- Alabama will head to Macon on Sunday in a tricky non-conference matchup against Mercer. The Bears won 4-0 last night at Gardner-Webb with Jada Moorman and Larkin Thomason each scoring twice to get to seven goals on the season for each of them. Mercer is still undefeated at 5-0-4. Sunday's match kicks off at 2pm from Betts Stadium in Macon.
8- Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Mason Mount and Raphael Varane will remain unavailable for their clash against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. The Red Devils are also still dealing with the issues with Jadon Sancho, who has had a very obvious falling out with the manager and will now train with the reserves.
9- Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci said he will take legal action against former club Juventus after a reported fallout with manager Massimiliano Allegri led to his recent exit from the club. In response, Allegri said he doesn't enjoy soap operas. Tell him not to get caught up on the latest from New England then please...
10- On this date in 1971, the Atlanta Chiefs lost game 2 of the NASL Championship Series on the road to the Dallas Tornado 4-1. Henry Largie scored the lone goal for Atlanta. Game 3 was set for Atlanta, it would be delayed two days due to storms, and Dallas ended up winning the championship.
11- For your Song of the Day, we'll pull from the #1 album in the US on this date in 1979. Led Zeppelin's "In Through the Out Door" started a 7-week run at the top of the charts on this date. It was the band's last album of new material.