by Jason Longshore
1- Atlanta United hosts Nashville on Saturday night at the Benz. Both clubs are on 38 points this season, although the way their seasons have been described feel wildly different. Atlanta will have new winger Saba Lobjanidze available for selection, he has joined training this week. Gonzalo Pineda was happy with the win in Seattle, but is looking for improvements in this week's match against a talented Nashville side.
2- Join us on Saturday at 1pm for our Matchday Live show from REVERB across the street from the Benz. We'll get your day started before you head to the tailgates, or you post up at the REVERB patio.
3- Last night at the GSU Soccer Complex, Georgia State's women and Mercer played to a 1-1 draw in a non-conference match. Over the last eight games between these two programs, the record is 3-3-2, they've traded draws over the past two matches. Alondra Nieves opened the scoring for the Panthers, Sydney Farr leveled it with two seconds left in the first half. The Bears had more opportunities in the second half, but both teams had opportunities to win it with neither breaking through. It was a great match to call, you can watch it back at ESPN+.
In other action from state schools last night, Georgia's Hannah White scored late to upset #22 Central Florida in Athens 2-1. Georgia Southern's women defeated North Florida 4-1 in Statesboro while Kennesaw State lost to Troy 3-0 in Mobile at South Alabama's tournament. It was a tough night on the men's side in their season openers as Georgia Southern lost 1-0 at East Teneessee State, Georgia State fell 1-0 at Belmont, and Mercer suffered a first half red card and lost 6-1 to Cal State Fullerton in Evansville, IN.
4- Mike Dean, who worked as a VAR in the Premier League last season, said that the declined to send a referee to the monitor in a match to spare him extra "grief". "I missed the stupid hair pull at Chelsea versus Tottenham which was pathetic from my point of view," Dean told Simon Jordan's Up Front podcast. He said that referee Anthony Taylor was a friend and didn't want to send him to the screen after everything that had gone on in the match. Dean retired after the season. (BBC)
5- In today's action worldwide, Chelsea hosts Luton Town and is still looking for their first win in the Mauricio Pochettino era. Real Madrid is on the road at Celta in La Liga. RB Leipzig hosts Stuttgart in the Bundesliga. Orlando Pride hosts the San Diego Wave in NWSL play.
6- MLS is back in action on Saturday and the key matches include Cincinnati trying to bounce back from their Open Cup disappointment by hosting NYCFC. Orlando hosting St. Louis is a fascinating cross-conference matchup. Austin tries to keep the Copa Tejas, but they need to get a big result on the road in Frisco against Dallas. San Jose tries to keep their hot streak going on the road in Kansas City. And of course, the Messi y Amigos road show heads to New Jersey for the first time as the Herons face the Red Bulls.
7- After not being able to secure their own stadium and training facility, the San Diego Loyal and USL Championship announced that this would be their last season in operation. They have been playing at Torero Stadium and drawing just over 4,000 in attendance per game. MLS is launching a team in the market in 2025, and while many have focused on that as the sole reason for the Loyal being unable to continue, I don't think it's that simple. Does it increase the risk of financial success? Yes, but the MLS team coming into the market hasn't stopped the Loyal from being able to build or control their own stadium and training facility. Ultimately, the business side requires owning or completely controlling facilities for success. Renting doesn't work in the long term.
8- Luis Rubiales has vowed to not resign as president of the Spanish football federation after the controversy over his unwanted kiss of Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony at the World Cup. He characterized the recent events as a "social assassination" and now will have to fight against many who want him gone from the organization, including members of the Spanish government. (The Guardian)
9- The crazy offseason transfer saga with Romelu Lukaku is a must-read from Gabriele Marcotti. Where will he end up as he is running out time to find playing time this season? (ESPN)
10- On this date in 1981, the Atlanta Chiefs played their final match. They were eliminated from the NASL playoffs by the Jacksonville Tea Men 2-1 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Brian Kidd scored the last goal for the Chiefs. After winning the Southeast Division, the Chiefs went cold and ended their existence losing seven straight matches. Only a few days later, the club announced that they were folding.
11- Elvis Costello was born on this day in 1954 in London. He is one of the greatest songwriters of all time and his debut album "My Aim Is True" is one of the best debuts in the history of recorded music. Your Song of the Day was played on Saturday Night Live in 1977 before it was recorded, here's "Radio Radio"...