Oglethorpe in conference final, Dallas stays alive, Cincy moves on: Starting Lineup, November 5
by Jason Longshore
1- The Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels will host the Rhodes Lynx in the Southern Athletic Association championship match today in Brookhaven at 1pm. It's a battle involving the SAA Offensive Player of the Year Ben Alram of Oglethorpe (12 goals, 7 assists) against the SAA Defensive Players of the Year Eli Pilcher of Rhodes. The Lynx only allowed 2 goals in SAA play this season, one of them coming in Rhodes' 2-1 win in Memphis over Oglethorpe a few weeks ago.
2- Oglethorpe scored twice in the second half against a stout Sewanee Tigers' defense on Friday night to get to the final. Alram opened the scoring in the 65th minute with a left footed curler into the far side netting. Cristian Medina scored his sixth goal of the season in the 89th on an assist from JR Cozine to put the game away. The Stormy Petrels outshot Sewanee 17-5 on the night and earned their 12th clean sheet of the season. (📷 @liz.calls.it.soccer)
3- Rhodes needed some late game magic from a local freshman as Max Sosa ripped a shot from over 25 yards out with 1:19 left on the clock to send them to the championship match. It looked like Centre was going to force overtime on the night, but the Alpharetta native Sosa enjoyed his return to the Atlanta area with his first goal in college. He was the man of the match for Rhodes before the goal, consistently shutting down Colonels attacks. It was the 10th clean sheet for Rhodes in 2023.
4- We'll have pregame coverage from Brookhaven on our YouTube channel starting at 12:15 and we're hoping to have postgame coverage as well.
5- Dallas forced a game three in their MLS Cup Playoffs series with Seattle by jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead in the 18th minute. Paul Arriola scored in the 6th minute, Jesus Ferreira added the second from the spot 12 minutes later. Jordan Morris pulled one back early in the second half for the Sounders, but Dallas eventually restored their two goal lead through Jader Obrian late in the match.
6- It looked like the New York Red Bulls would also force a game three, but they conceded an equalizer to Aaron Boupendza in the 75th minute on a patented Cincinnati counter and then lost in penalties in ten rounds.
Cincinnati's celebrations in front of the Red Bulls' supporters section did not go over well and resulted in things being thrown at them, but the league wanted the penalties to be taken there and Cincinnati chose to celebrate there. It doesn't excuse throwing things, but it's not exactly surprising.
7- Speaking of not exactly surprising, Matt Miazga will miss the MLS conference semifinal due to earning three yellow cards in the series. He is suspended for accumulation, not for being sent off for receiving two yellow cards last night. Stay with me...
In 2020, IFAB separated yellows earned during the match from yellows earned during a post-match penalty shootout. This was in response to the change in penalty kick rules, giving goalkeepers more yellows for coming off their line, and the controversies from the 2019 Women's World Cup.
Miazga earned a yellow at the end of regulation last night for forcefully complaining about a goal being taken away for a foul committed on the goalkeeper, strongly pointing his finger in the face of Victor Rivas, who eventually carded him after giving him a lot of leeway. Then after converting in the shootout, Miazga was celebrating towards the Red Bulls fans, a club he used to play for. They were booing him, he kept showing them the heart symbol with his hands, and he was told multiple times to return to midfield. Rivas again gave him lots of leeway, but eventually had to book him. In addition to the yellow he received in game one, that makes three and he's suspended for accumulation in the conference semifinal. Per Taylor Twellman on X, Miazga only had three of his eleven yellow cards during the season received for challenges.
8- Plenty of people will yell about Rivas' management of the match, but he had no help from the behavior of the players. Both teams overreacted to every foul call, every decision, and consistently added fire to every situation. It was an accomplishment for Rivas to get the match to penalties at 11v11 because I didn't think he was going to be able to do that. In order to get there, he had to be the punching bag for everyone's childish antics. You expected a physical game between these two teams due to their styles and what happened in game one, but this was ridiculous. It's not the soccer I enjoy and it was a major turnoff for a game of this magnitude.
9- Speaking of childish antics, the Copa Libertadores final was full of them as well as Fluminense defeated Boca Juniors in Rio in extra time. The referee in this one was not willing to be a punching bag for everyone and chose to be more of the center of attention as the match finished 10v10. John Kennedy (yes that's his name) of Fluminense scored what turned into the winner with an amazing half volley and ran into the stands to celebrate. He was given a second yellow and sent off. Then just a few minutes later as the teams came together after a foul for a 105th time of the night, Frank Fabra slapped a Fluminense player and was sent off for violent conduct.
The goals were good in this one, the drama was there, the absurd antics were most definitely there, but it wasn't the greatest final. The better team won, as Boca's luck ran out before getting penalties this time around.
10- News broke yesterday that the next USWNT manager would be Emma Hayes, currently in charge of Chelsea. It came out early yesterday that Hayes would be leaving the Blues at the end of the current season and then the rumors started that she would be coming to the USWNT. ESPN is reporting that the USSF board has approved the hire, which would be for a record amount of salary. Hayes has won 6 Women's Super League titles with Chelsea to go along with 5 FA Cups and 2 League Cups.
I love the hire and full credit to the USSF for going big on this one.
11- On this day in 1971, Elton John released his fourth album Madman Across the Water. It contained one of my all-time favorite songs. This one wasn't a big hit at the time, but has endured over the years. It also was used for one of my all-time favorite movie scenes in Almost Famous. Enjoy your Song of the Day, and yes, it's okay to sing along.