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Soccer Watch

By Nick Barbaro, Fri., July 18, 2014

Soccer Watch

The Austin Aztex play their last home game of the regular season Thursday at 7:30pm, hosting the Houston Dutch Lions – but don't worry, you'll get at least one more chance to see them, because the Premier Development League announced this week that Austin will host the PDL Southern Conference Champ­ion­ships the following weekend, July 26-27; see details below. ... The Aztex rallied last Friday night for a 2-2 draw against the Midland/Odessa Sockers on goals by two defenders: Kalen Ryden in the 78th minute, and Marshall Tucker in the 96th, off a free kick play on virtually the last touch of the game... That goal may have knocked the Sockers out of the playoffs; they've finished their season in second place, but the Laredo Heat can overtake them with a win in Houston Saturday... It was the fifth straight home game that the Aztex gave up the opening goal – hard to say what that's about... Friday's crowd of 2,380 was a new regular-season record, surpassing the 2,111 for last year's season finale... The Aztex need a win Thurs­day to match last season's record of 11-1-2... The Aztex will name their 26-man playoff roster today (Thursday); they can't disclose that list, but say it will include both Mikey Ambrose and Tony Rocha, who've each missed the last four or five games.

Wasn't it a fine World Cup? Record viewership, record social media, record goal-scoring, record number of comebacks, record number of viewing parties, great games, great goals, great hosts, and some long-overdue scrutiny of FIFA and the corrupt funding structure for major events like this. Brazil seems to have come through better than anyone expected; let's keep our fingers crossed that this, and the 2016 Olympics, turn out to be signposts, and not detours, on Brazil's road to bringing its "economic miracle" to the general public.

Other cultures celebrate the WC: In Nigeria, at least 35 people, including young children, were killed in two separate bombing attacks at public watch parties, apparently the work of Islamist group Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to "Western education is sinful"... And in the southern Gaza Strip, an Israeli missile struck the Fun Time Beach cafe, where residents were gathered to watch the Argentina-Netherlands semifinal, killing nine people and wounding 15.

Austin Aztex PDL Playoff Schedule

Saturday, July 26: Southern Conference semifinals

Ocala Stampede vs. Laredo or Midland/Odessa, TBA

Austin Aztex vs. SW Florida Adrenaline, 7:30pm

Sunday, July 27: Southern Conference championship

Semifinal winners, 7:30pm

Playoff tickets, already on sale at www.austinaztex.com, are the same price as the regular season: $10, with kids 10 and under always free.

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