Just two more home games in the 2013 Austin Aztex regular season – if you haven't seen them yet, this would be the time. The undefeated Aztex host the West Texas Sockers Friday, July 5, 7:30pm at House Park. Get there early to see local country superstars Brass Buckle playing a full set pregame, 6:15-7pm. The home finale is against Oklahoma City, Saturday, July 13, 7:30pm, and after a road trip to West Texas the next week, the PDL playoffs start July 26 (see below)... The Aztex ran their record to 8-0-1 Saturday, beating Houston, 4-0, behind Andres Cuero's two goals and an assist. Cuero now leads the team in scoring with five goals and two assists, all coming in the last four games... Here's a little secret: Last year's Aztex had three players who are now in MLS, but this year's team is actually better at this point in the season.
OOPS: the PDL Southern Conference playoffs will be Friday and Sunday, July 26 and 28, not during the last week of the regular season, as I had it last week. Meanwhile, the Aztex confirmed this week that they will bid to host those games in Austin if they qualify. As it stands now, they'd have first right of refusal, by virtue of having the best record in the 14-team conference, four points clear of the field with five games left to play.
Brazil won the Confederations Cup in delightful fashion, running rampant over reigning world champion Spain, 3-0, in front of a raucous, happy, home crowd in fabled Maracana Stadium... Off the field, the jury's still out, with that very stadium under siege and itself the object of massive protests, as the government's social austerity measures butt up against massive public spending on "economic development" (see "White Lodging," p.12) in the glare of worldwide media. For the most part, the sportsmen said the right things – they want schools and buses and libraries, too – and everyone's rooting for the Brazilian populace and government, but the investment in this tournament, and in the World Cup and Olympics over the next three years, remains a huge gamble.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup starts this week, with the U.S.A. fielding a largely second-string roster. One notable exception: Landon Donovan will be back in a U.S. jersey for the first time since his recent hiatus. The U.S. starts off Tuesday, July 9 against Belize (10pm on FSC).