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Weekend preview, Atlanta hosts Montreal and more: Starting Lineup, September 22

by Jason Longshore

1- It's been a busy week on my end with the midweek trip to Washington, a college match last night in Kennesaw, and preparing for this weekend's 5 Stripes match hosting Montreal. I'll also be filling in for Greg Clarkson on 92.9 The Game Sunday morning from 6-9am alongside Sam Crenshaw plus calling Georgia State's women's home opener in the Sun Belt Sunday afternoon against Coastal Carolina. Send me a few cases of Red Bull por favor...

2- Expecting a short, light training session for Atlanta United this morning in Marietta as the team prepares for Montreal on short rest. Gonzalo Pineda will speak to the media after the session and I'm looking forward to hear his reflections on the draw in DC and what that result could mean for this weekend's battle. Montreal dropped a win in second half stoppage time on Wednesday, conceding a late penalty that was converted by Cincinnati's Luciano Acosta. We'll see which team has anything left in the tank tomorrow night.

3- It was a scoreless draw last night between Kennesaw State and Bellarmine in ASUN Conference play as both teams are struggling to find goals in recent matches. It's now been five straight matches without a goal for the Owls, although last night was a better performance and they deserved more out of it. Ten shots on the night, four on target, and control of the match for three fourths of it, but KSU couldn't find the breakthrough. I was really impressed with the fullbacks who came in midway through the first half, Julianne Barbush and Aila Swinton helped turn the game to the Owls' advantage with strong defense and kick starting attacks down the flanks. Kennesaw State will try to find their scoring touch on Sunday at home against Eastern Kentucky, kickoff at 1pm and you can also watch on ESPN+. (photo by Sofia Cupertino)

4- In other college action last night locally...

#22 Georgia couldn't hold onto their 2-0 lead at home against LSU, falling 3-2 with the winning goal coming in the 84th minute. Georgia State freshman Aaliyah Faddoul scored in the second half to propel the Panthers to a 1-0 Sun Belt win on the road at Louisiana-Monroe. Georgia Southern dropped a 2-1 result on the road at South Alabama. Chattanooga defeated Mercer at Finley Stadium 3-2 in a SoCon match. Emory and Centre drew in a big D3 women's match hosted by the Eagles. Life's women beat Middle Georgia State 5-0 in a conference win.

5- Julie Ertz said her goodbye to the USWNT last night in their 3-0 win over South Africa in Cincinnati. She played the first 35 minutes before being substituted and tearfully waving to the crowd as she left the field for the final time. There just won't be another player exactly like Ertz and her retirement will be a big hurdle for the next USWNT manager to overcome. Lynn Williams scored twice in the win, Trinity Rodman also scored for the US. They will play South Africa again on Sunday in Chicago in what will be another legend's final match for the team, Megan Rapinoe will wrap up her national team career at Soldier Field.

6- Atlanta United can clinch their playoff spot Saturday night with a win over Montreal. Other storylines that grab my attention are DC United hosting eternal rivals NY Red Bulls in a vital match for both, NYCFC with a golden chance to jump DC for the final playoff spot if they can defeat Toronto, a MLS Cup rematch in Philadelphia as the Union host LAFC, and San Jose hosting Nashville as the Boys in Gold try to win back-to-back on the road.

7- In the Premier League, lots of attention will be placed on the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham. The Gunners come into it off the back of a 4-0 thrashing of PSV in their return to the Champions League. Both teams are on 13 points so far in the Premier League season with Mikel Arteta and Ange Postecoglou two of the most interesting managers in the league.

8- Germany has named Julian Nagelsmann their new manager ahead of hosting the Euros next summer. He is the second youngest manager in German national team history and likely gave up quite a bit of guaranteed money from Bayern after he was let go from a five year contract last season. His contract is through the summer tournament next year, with a strong performance likely earning him the job through the 2026 World Cup.

9- The Madrid derby is also this weekend but Real Madrid might have another injury to add to their long list as Jude Bellingham pulled out of training ahead of the match with Atleti. AS reported that Bellingham left the session due to stomach problems. Carlo Ancelotti's staff is hopeful that he will recover in time for Sunday's match as Bellingham has become the most important figure in the squad. He scored the late winner on Wednesday in the 94th minute as Union Berlin frustrated Madrid but couldn't hold onto the result.

10- On this date in 2020, Atlanta United signed Marcelino Moreno from Lanus in Argentina. He had 13 goals and 10 primary assists for the 5 Stripes before his departure this year for Coritiba in Brazil. Moreno had some amazing moments for Atlanta especially late in matches. His wizardry at Audi Field, where he scored two late goals in the last two years to help the team to wins, could have been useful on Wednesday.

11- On this date in 1958, Joan Jett was born in Philadelphia. She was a founding member of the Runaways before going on to huge success backed by the Blackhearts. They were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. So many great songs to choose from, but I've always loved their cover of this 60's hit by Tommy James & the Shondells. Here's your Song of the Day.

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