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Royal Roundup: NWSL Challenge Cup kicks off tonight

British teams boycott social media, Concacaf will finally start using VAR, USWNT vs Sweden on Sunday, Sky Blue re-brands, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 17 NWSL - North Carolina Courage at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New owner watch: 91 days since the league took over the sale.

NWSL starts play today with the 2nd edition of the Challenge Cup. Here is a rundown of all the teams participating. [NWSL]

And if you haven’t already seen the news elsewhere, Real Salt Lake defeated Phoenix Rising 1-0 in the 2nd game of the Tuscon Sun Cup (formerly Desert Diamond Cup). [RSL] they will play the final game vs LA Galaxy on Saturday (which should be streamed on KSL).


INTERNATIONAL

  • [FTW] In a breach of etiquette, an assistant referee got a players autograph following a UEFA Champions League match. [Guardian] Update - the referee explained that the two cards (red and yellow used in the game) were to be auctioned to raise money for the SOS Autism Bihor in Hungary which provides therapy for around 30 Autistic people under the age of 47.
  • [MLS] Concacaf will finally introduce VAR in 2021 starting in June with the Nations League finals.
  • [Guardian] Rangers and Swansea have announced a 1 week boycott of social media to protest racial abuse. All players and staff will not post to any platform. Other British teams and players are joining as well.
  • [FRS] The Gold Cup preliminary stage is set to kick off on July 2-3 at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale. The final 3 teams will move to the group stage.

USA

  • [USSOC] The USWNT plays a friendly match vs Sweden on Saturday at 11 AM MDT, it will be broadcast on Fox.
  • [SBI] The USMNT deployed the little-used 343 lineup in last week’s friendly match vs Northern Ireland. Here’s how it could be deployed in future games.
  • [NBC] USMNT crack the top 20 in FIFA’s newly released rankings. Highest they’ve been since 2014.

MLS/USL/NWSL

  • [NWSL] Sky Blue FC announces a surprise re-brand. They will now be called NJ/NY Gotham FC, with a crest that incorporates the Statue of Liberty crown.
  • [ESPN] All of the new MLS kits got the Power Ranking treatment, where did Real Salt Lake’s end up?
  • [VWFC] Vancouver Whitecaps got a 3-0 win in a pre-season friendly vs USL’s Real Monarchs.
  • [MLS] In Champions League action, Portland Timbers will take a 2 away goals back for the home leg after a 2-2 draw vs Honduran side CD Marathon.
  • [MLS] The 2nd Champions League game saw Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan sent off with a red card at the end of the first half.
  • [BG] A save off the line by Philadelphia Union ensured a road win vs Saprissa in their first ever Champions League game.
  • [MLS] Toronto held off Liga MX side Leon for a 1-1 draw in their away leg of the Champions League.
  • [StarvingArtist] Rebranding MLS. Concept art for new logos and/or kits for MLS teams.
  • [USLC] ESPN networks will broadcast 19 USL Championship games for the 2021 season, with playoffs available on ESPN+.
  • [USSP] New MLS coaches for 2021 face a steep learning curve.
Leicester City v Everton - Premier League
Inter Miami’s Phil Neville
Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

FLASHBACK

  • [4/11/10] Real Salt Lake tied Seattle Sounders 2-2 at home to extend their home unbeaten streak to 14 games.
  • [4/12/11] A reality check for RSL as they head into the final game of the Champions League.
  • [4/12/14] RSL tied Philadelphia Union 2-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to 6 games. They have yet to lose a game in 2014.
  • [4/12/16] The good, the bad, and the ugly of RSL’s 2014 reboot under Cassar.

MEDIA

The first MLS game was played on April 6th, 1996 between the San Jose Clash and D.C. United.