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Soccer Watch

Horns face big test with Oklahoma State, and more

By Nick Barbaro, Fri., Oct. 5, 2012

Portland fans are serious.
Portland fans are serious.

The UT Longhorns, coming off a rare bye week, face a huge test Friday night, hosting nationally ranked Oklahoma State (Oct. 5, 7pm). At 5-6-1 on the season, the Horns' postseason hopes rest on a dominating performance in the Big 12, where they're undefeated so far at 2-0. But the Cowgirls may be the most talented team we see all year, ranked as high as third in the nation before stumbling to a 1-2-1 start in conference play. The Horns' Kick for a Cure promotion benefits breast cancer research; $4 advance tickets at www.texassports.com. All home games are also shown live on the Longhorn Network.

Three games in three states in five days proved one too many for the third-ranked St. Edward's women, who dropped their first match of the season Monday, 2-1 at Dallas Baptist – ending a season-opening nine-match winning streak, the best start in school history. The Hilltoppers had beaten Newman, 4-0 on Thursday in Kansas, and Oklahoma Christian, 7-0 on Saturday, and they're back on the road this weekend in San Antonio and Laredo, before returning home Oct. 11 & 13.

To catch U.S. soccer atmosphere at its best, tune into ESPN Sunday morning at 8am to catch what's likely the deciding game of this year's Cascadia Cup, the hotly contested, fan-initiated trophy awarded to the winner of games between long-time rivals Portland Timbers, Seattle Sound­ers, and Vancouver White-caps. Truly, this is one of the great pro sports rivalries in North America – dating back to the old NASL in the 1970s, carrying through several minor leagues, up through all three teams now having been promoted into Major League Soccer. In this edition, Portland can salvage an otherwise ruined season by going into the lion's den of Seattle's CenturyLink Field – where the Sounders have led MLS in attendance ever since they came in the league, the Yankees to Port­land's Red Sox – and taking the Cascadia Cup from the current holders with either a win or draw. If they do, Seattle fans will have to walk the trophy across the field at game's end, and present it to the visiting Portland fans; you know neither they nor the team want to see that happen.

Looking ahead: the San Antonio Scor­pi­ons, regular-season champions in the North American Soccer League, host the Minne­so­ta Stars in San Antonio's first-ever playoff game (Sunday, Oct. 14, 6pm, at Heroes Stadium). www.sanantonioscorpionstickets.com for info. It's been quite a season for the expansion Scorpions; more on them next week.

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