Venezuela makes history, Italian controversy, and more: Starting Lineup, October 13
by Jason Longshore
1- Venezuela made history last night, earning a draw in Brazil 1-1 in a World Cup qualifier. Brazil had won 15 in a row at home in the qualifiers, going back to a 2-2 draw with Uruguay in 2016. That was an all-time record, that has now been ended by the Vinotinto. Eduardo Bello's 85th minute goal, assisted by Jefferson Savarino, leveled the match after Gabriel's 50th minute opener for Brazil.
Brazil coach Fernando Diniz condemned the "disrespectful" incident in which Neymar was hit on the head by a bag of popcorn thrown from the stands after the match.
2- Lionel Messi came off the bench in Argentina's 1-0 win in Buenos Aires over Paraguay. Nicolas Otamendi scored the goal in the 3rd minute, assisted by Rodrigo de Paul. Messi entered the match in the 53rd minute and was up to his old tricks.
3- In the other CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, Uruguay earned a valuable point in Colombia with a 2-2 final. James Rodriguez had a goal and an assist for Colombia in the draw. 16-year old Kendry Paez opened the scoring for Ecuador in Bolivia, the hosts pulled one back late, but Kevin Rodriguez scored the winner in the 96th minute. Chile found two second half goals at home to defeat their eternal rivals Peru and earn three points.
4- Alvaro Morata and Oihan Sancet scored goals in the second half as Spain ensured that Scotland would not clinch their spot in Euro 2024 with a 2-0 victory. Scotland lead the group with 15 points from their six games after tasting defeat for the first time in the campaign, while Spain have 12 points from five matches and Norway 10 from six.
5- Italian national team players Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo left the Azzuri's headquarters on Thursday after being told they were involved in an investigation by prosecutors, the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) said on Thursday. The players were notified of the probe by Turin prosecutors while at the national team's training facility in Coverciano, ahead of European Championship qualifiers against Malta and England.
The FIGC did not specify what the investigation was about, but said the two players were allowed to go home as the federation believed they were not in the right frame of mind to face upcoming matches. Turin prosecutors said on Wednesday they were investigating another Italian footballer, Nicolo Fagioli, for alleged illegal betting activities.
6- Mercer's women fell 2-1 to defending SoCon champions Samford last night on a rainy night in Macon. The Bears opened the scoring early through Sara Engels before Samford scored two goals quickly to take a 2-1 lead. Mercer had an outstanding second half, outshooting the Bulldogs by a wide margin, but couldn't find an equalizer.
7- Georgia State's men host Georgia Southern tonight at the GSU Soccer Complex in downtown Atlanta at 7pm. The Panthers and Eagles are both chasing the top teams in the Sun Belt this season, three of the top seven teams in the country call the conference home in 2023. a win for the Panthers would pull them into a tie for third in the Sun Belt standings. The Eagles have two draws in conference play, including one with #7 West Virginia, but are still looking for their first conference win in 2023. If you can't make it out tonight, I'll be on the call with you on ESPN+.
8- Caleb Wiley was named to the MLS Best 22 under 22 list yesterday at #9. Dallas' Alan Velasco was named to the top spot. I was personally a little surprised that fellow left back John Tolkin was named to a higher spot than Wiley, with the narrative being that some of Wiley's stats came from playing as a left wing versus purely playing this season as a left back. In my opinion, that versatility makes him even more valuable, but that's just my opinion.
9- Wayne Rooney, now in charge of Birmingham City in the English Championship, has set big goals for his new club. “I want to be successful, it’s clear this club wants to be successful, and everything we spoke about really was very similar,” he said. “That’s the goal — for the club, for myself, is to get this club back to the Premier League, of course." The Blues are currently in sixth place in the 2nd division, 10 points behind the second automatic promotion spot currently held by Ipswich Town.
10- On this date in 1990, the Atlanta Attack held an intra-squad scrimmage at the Soccer Academy in Lilburn. The Attack were preparing for their second season under head coach Keith Tozer. They averaged almost 6,000 fans per game at The Omni in their first season.
11- On this date in 1992, Prince released his 14th studio album. It's commonly known as the Love Symbol album, or the Symbol album, due to the symbol on the cover art that later was adopted as his stage name for much of the 1990's. The third single on the album is my all-time favorite Prince song and one of my all-time favorites from any artists, enjoy your Song of the Day from Prince & the New Power Generation: