WCQ in South America, college rivalries, and more: Starting Lineup, October 12
by Jason Longshore
1- We had high hopes coming into the season for this year's edition of the oldest soccer rivalry in the state of Georgia between Emory and Oglethorpe. Both teams, on paper, looked to be contenders in the their conferences and among their best rosters we've seen in quite a while. Emory came into Tuesday's match ranked #3 in the country while Oglethorpe was inexplicably unranked at 9-1-1 this season. The Stormy Petrels jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Emory showed their quality pulling it back to 2-2 early in the second half. Both teams had chances for the winner, but they shared the spoils with the draw. (📷 @liz.calls.it.soccer)
2- More local college rivalry action from last night in Statesboro as Georgia Southern's women held on to defeat to Georgia State 2-1. The Panthers dominated possession, but the Eagles got on the board first as a deflection fell to Simone Timm to put home. After sustained pressure from Georgia State, the Eagles earned a penalty and Smith Cathey converted it. Alondra Nieves cut the lead in half for Georgia State, but they couldn't find an equalizer. After a slow start in Sun Belt play, Georgia Southern has pulled back to 3-3 in conference play while the Panthers fall to 3-2-1.
3- The men's rivalry match, which dates back to 1980, is renewed as the Eagles pay a visit to the GSU Soccer Complex in downtown Atlanta on Friday night. It's Alumni Night for Georgia State, as they'll be celebrating their first conference championship team, the 16-6 Trans America Athletic Conference champions from 1983.
4- Tonight, Jessica Charman and I will be on the call for a big game in the SoCon as Mercer's women host Samford. The Bears are trying to climb into the top 4 to host a conference tournament match, they're currently level with Chattanooga for fourth but behind them in the standings due to the tiebreakers. Samford is sitting in third. The Bears have two of the leading scorers in the country in sophomore Jada Moorman and freshman Larkin Thomason.
5- The US U23's defeated Mexico last night in Phoenix 2-1, Obed Vargas' 90th minute goal ended up being the winner after Mexico cut the lead in half in stoppage time. Esmir Bajraktarevic's goal in the 47th minute opened the scoring. Atlanta United's Caleb Wiley checked into the match in the 60th minute and will likely start next week against Japan.
Inexplicably, the match was not streamed last night however next week's match with Japan is scheduled to be available for fans to watch. I was honestly kind of shocked to not be able to watch a match involving a US national team in 2023 in some form or fashion.
6- Charlotte FC opened their training facility and headquarters on the eastside of town, the Atrium Health Performance Park.
7- South American World Cup qualifiers are back tonight with five games across the continent. Colombia hosts Uruguay at 4:30 (Fanatiz PPV), Argentina hosts Paraguay at 7pm (NBC Universo, ViX Premium), Bolivia hosts Ecuador at 7pm (FIFA+), Chile hosts Peru at 8pm (Fanatiz PPV), and Brazil hosts Venezuela at 8:30pm (NBC Universo after Argentina match, ViX Premium).
8- Lionel Messi is expected to start on the bench tonight for Argentina. Lionel Scaloni said, “We still have a training session to go and it’s important for Leo. We think he looks good and we will speak before to see if he can play from the start or not. From there the team can change, but I have to speak to him and above all it’s important he’s OK, and that we are convinced that he can play from the start. He looked good and from there we’ll see the rest of the team." Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez could start together up top.
9- English FA CEO Mark Bullingham said that soccer's decision makers are divided on whether the conversations between referees and VAR officials should be shared with fans at home and in the stadium in real time. Personally, I'm okay with not sharing the conversation as it is happening, but I do feel that it must be made available as quickly as possible afterwards. I'm glad to see more discussions with soccer's governing bodies and IFAB about how to improve replay. We have seen this in all of the US major sports when replay was added, the NFL went through quite a few revisions before getting to replay as we know it today. It's a process, but it's one that must be taken to modernize the game and get as many calls right as possible, especially the big game-changing decisions.
10- On this date in 1995, the Atlanta Ruckus fell in game 3 of the A-League Championship Series to the Seattle Sounders at Memorial Stadium in Seattle. Norwegian striker Staale Soebye gave Atlanta an unexpected 3rd minute lead, the Sounders eventually found their equalizer in the 82nd minute through Jason Farrell. The game went to the 35-yard shootout, something Atlanta had excelled in all season long, going 8-1 in the regular season which gave them the needed points to sneak into the playoffs. They were 3-0 in the playoffs in the shootout, winning two against Montreal in the semifinal and the first match in Atlanta's Adams Stadium in the championship series. So... of course they couldn't win the final shootout needed to become champions as Sounders' goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann stood tall to win the title for Seattle.
11- On this day in 1987, INXS released their multi-platinum album Kick. They were always such an interesting band to me, straddling the genres of alternative, rock, and pop and often having songs that ended up in all three. This album took them to another worldwide level with a series of monster singles. Here's my favorite for your Song of the Day: