Islanders on Tap as Aztex Roster Woes Continue

Someone needs to become a scorer for the shorthanded Aztex

The Austin Aztex took a tough loss on Sunday, 1-0, to the first-place Carolina RailHawks, on a questionable 83rd-minute penalty in a game that was otherwise pretty even. The second straight loss dropped the Aztex to eighth in the USL First Division standings. Without their English striker pair of Gifton Noel-Williams (hamstring) and Eddie Johnson (work permit), the Aztex offense was short on ideas and execution and struggled to create real scoring opportunities. To make matters worse, Brazilian playmaker Sullivan Silva rolled his ankle in the game and again in practice, and now looks doubtful as the Aztex host the Puerto Rico Islanders this Friday, May 29, at 7:30pm. That leaves Kyle Brown as the only player listed as a forward on the roster, and Yordany Alvarez and defender Lyle Adams as the only players who've had even a shot on goal through six games. Where's Willy "Speed" Guadarrama when you need him? The next weekend the Aztex will be halfway through their home schedule, with a "doubleheader" (Friday and Sunday, June 5 & 7) against the Charleston Battery.

As we go to press, the U.S. Open Cup draw has just been announced; the Aztex open at home June 9 against the PDL's Mississippi Brilla, with the winner playing either Arizona Sahuaros or El Paso Patriots on June 16; the winner of that one takes on an MLS team June 30, most likely Chivas USA or the Houston Dynamo.

Below: Aztex U-23s, Euro champion Barcelona, and on tap: FA Cup Final and WC qualifying.

Meanwhile, the Aztex U-23 amateur squad thumped El Paso last weekend, 4-0, but due to results elsewhere, were eliminated from U.S. Open Cup qualification; it would've been fun to have both teams in. The Aztexlets take on PDL rival Rio Grande Valley Saturday, May 30, 7:30pm at Dragon Stadium in Round Rock, and then Houston on Thursday, June 4, 7:30pm at Bastrop Soccer Stadium.

Barcelona won the European Champions League Wednesday in Rome, handling Manchester United with surprising ease. The Catalans scored once early, and once late, but controlled the play throughout. Apologies to Man U, however: Last week I said Barca could become the first team ever to win the triple crown of league title, National Cup, and Champions League in the same season; Man U did so in 1999.

With the club season about over, it's time for World Cup Qualifying to take center stage again. The U.S. is at Costa Rica on Wednesday, June 3 (9pm, ESPN2), and hosts Honduras Saturday, June 6 (7pm ESPN2); there are games on every other continent as well, mostly on June 6 and 10.

Saturday, May 30 is the traditional climax of the English season, the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium: Chelsea vs. Everton, 9am, live on FSC… That's also the last day of the French season, as Bordeaux tries to nail down that title… Last weekend Wolfsburg won their first-ever German championship, and Glasgow Rangers won Scotland.

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