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Spain to the final, Leagues Cup semis tonight: Starting Lineup, August 15

by Jason Longshore

1- Spain has advanced to their first Women's World Cup final with a 2-1 win over Sweden this morning. Neither team could find the breakthrough until the quarterfinal hero 19-year old Salma Paralluelo opened the scoring with a brilliant right-footed strike into the far side netting in the 81st minute. Sweden leveled it off of a looping cross headed down by Lina Hurtig and slammed home by Rebecka Blomqvist in the 88th minute. As extra time loomed, Spain earned a corner a minute later and Teresa Abelleira played it short to the corner of the penalty area to left back Olga Carmona. Her left-footed rocket was inevitable, restoring Spain's lead and ultimately sending them through to the Final.

2- "We're just one step away from glory ... We took this little step, and now we need that final push," Paralluelo said after the win. Spain didn't qualify for a World Cup before 2015. They hadn't won a knockout round match before this tournament. They'll face the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between Australia and England in Sydney on Sunday. (Reuters)

3- Sarina Wiegman has warned that Australia are more than just Sam Kerr. The big question going into the semifinal is if Kerr is fit to play from the start on Wednesday. She has made two appearances in this tournament, her last was from the 55th minute in the quarterfinal against France. Kerr played through extra time in that match and converted her attempt in the penalty shootout. If she starts, could she play 120 minutes if necessary? That's a big ask. I'm sure it's on the minds of the 81,500 that will fill Stadium Australia in Sydney tomorrow. (BBC)

4- Atlanta United trained yesterday in a short, but intense session in Marietta as they prepare for this weekend's trip to Seattle. Xande Silva took part in the session as he has attained his work visa to take part in team activities. He had two assists in the Saturday closed door scrimmage with St. Louis according to Brooks Lennon. The team is still efforting the visas for Jamal Thiaré and Saba Lobjanidze for their participation this weekend.

5- Inter Miami heads to Chester to face the Philadelphia Union tonight in one Leagues Cup semifinal. The match sold out in eight minutes on Saturday and the secondary market is booming for tickets. I'm really curious as to what the atmosphere will be like for the match, I'm sure the Philadelphia contingent will be loud, but how many neutrals and/or Messi fans will be on hand? The match is a fascinating one where Miami will try to dominate possession, Philadelphia will be more than happy to let them do so and will try to create turnovers and transition moments. Unless they get ripped to pieces with Messi y amigos on the ball. (AS)

6- The other Leagues Cup semifinal is in Nashville as the Boys in Gold will host Monterrey. Rayados had an epic comeback to defeat LAFC 3-2 with all three goals coming in the second half. Nashville coasted to a comfortable win over Minnesota in the quarterfinals at home. Monterrey has never lost to MLS opposition in a knockout match, can they keep that streak rolling tonight?

7- Referee Simon Hooper and VAR Michael Salisbury will not be booked for appointments during next weekend's Premier League games after they declined to give a stoppage-time penalty to Wolves in Monday's 1-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford. This is the second time in four months that Salisbury has been rebuked and removed from future assignments. I wish MLS/PRO would make it public when these situations happen, not to embarrass referees but to display to the fans that mistakes are being taken seriously. (ESPN)

8- KI Klaksvik of the Faroe Islands is in the second leg of their Champions League qualification matchup with Molde of Norway this afternoon at 1pm. You can watch on Paramount+. Their storybook run has captured many new fans along the way, learn more about them at the link. (Yahoo)

9- South Georgia Tormenta has announced Jay Peake as their new MLS Next Director. Peake is originally from England and worked with Coventry City's community programs before coming to the U.S. He joined the Tormenta academy in 2020 as a coach and director. Peake said, "We don’t just want to create good soccer players at Tormenta FC, we also want to help develop good people. By challenging our players every day and putting them in the most competitive league in the country, we really do believe that we can follow through with our motto: Pros Start Here, Pros Are Here.” (Tormenta)

10- On this date in 1980, Parkview HS grad Kevin Fouser converted the winning penalty in a shootout as the US defeated Honduras in the Concacaf World Youth Cup Qualifying semifinal at RFK Stadium.

11- On this date in 1969, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair began in Bethel, New York. 32 acts performed from Friday night through Monday morning, with Jimi Hendrix closing out the festival from 9-11am in the morning to around 200,000 people. Here's your song of the day:

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