It was a down and up week for the Austin Aztex. On Wednesday they were knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup by underdog NTX Rayados, in a penalty kick shootout after a wild 4-4 tie through regulation and overtime. But on Saturday they stayed unbeaten in league play, beating Midland-Odessa 2-1 in their first road game of the season, with Chuy Cortes scoring one goal, and assisting on the other. This week the Aztex (2-0) host the Mississippi Brilla at 7:30pm Saturday, May 24, at House Park (13th & Lamar). As always, pre-game revelry starts around 5pm at the Tavern.
Earlier that day is the grand finale of the European season: the Champions League final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid (Saturday, May 24, 1:30pm, Fox TV from Lisbon, Portugal). It's the rubber match between the two crosstown rivals: Atletico won the league title, Real won the Spanish Copa del Rey, with Barcelona left a disappointing third in all competitions. Convenient that Real's Cristiano Ronaldo ends the season in his hometown of Lisbon, because...
With that out of the way, all players are now free for national team duty, and all attention shifts to World Cup preparations. There are a few international friendlies this week, but the pace really starts to pick up over the weekend and next week. The United States plays the first of three tune-up games at 9pm Tuesday, May 27, against Azerbaijan in San Francisco, live on ESPN2. Mexico-Israel is the next night, 9pm Wednesday, May 28, also on ESPN2. The U.S. will also host Turkey on June 1, and Nigeria on June 7, before heading down to Brazil for their WC opener, June 16 against Ghana.