One Season Winding Down, Others About to Begin
Aztex, Longhorn preview, plus WCQ and WPS
By Nick Barbaro,
7:35PM, Wed. Aug. 12, 2009
It's gotten dire for the Austin Aztex playoff hopes: They've earned just one point in their last seven games, and been shut out in their last three (all on the road). Now, of the eight games left in the season, they need to win six. They'll be looking to get on track at home this Sunday against fellow strugglers Minnesota Thunder. Strikers Gifton Noel-Williams and Kyle Brown are both out on red card suspensions, leaving Eddie Johnson and Sullivan Silva up front – but that's probably OK; those two have been their most productive attackers all year. 6pm Sunday, Aug. 16 at Nelson Field. Only two home games left after this one!
The English Premier League kicks off this week; Aztex affiliate Stoke City hosts newly promoted Burnley on Saturday. It's on FSC tape-delayed at 1:30pm, and the Aztex are hosting a watch party at Cuatro's.Below: UT Longhorn preview, WCQ, WPS, and more . . .
The UT Longhorns will start the season ranked 15th in the country, one of four ranked Big 12 teams, along with Texas A&M (7), Oklahoma State (11), and Missouri (24). The Horns play an exhibition game at LSU this Friday, and start the regular season next Friday, Aug. 21, 7pm, hosting TCU. A very young defense will be a concern, as the Horns graduated four four-year starters on the back line – Dianne Pfenninger in goal, plus defenders Jill Gilbeau, Stephanie Logterman, and Kasey Moore, who've all gone on to be regulars in the Womens Pro Soccer league. The 2009 Horns have two talented freshmen goalkeepers, only five natural defenders on the roster, 10 freshmen overall on the 24-player roster, and only one senior who started even one game last year (striker Emily Anderson, due for a breakout year).
An early goal may have been a bad thing for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying Wednesday in Mexico City. They sat back and let Mexico control the possession, the pace, and the game; El Tri played a much more attractive game than the U.S. did, and fully deserved their 2-1 win.
Women's Pro Soccer playoffs are on TV: Sky Blue FC at the Washington Freedom, 3pm, Sat., Aug. 15, Fox Sports Net. Winner is at St. Louis, 6pm, Wed., Aug. 19, Fox Soccer Channel; regular season champ L.A. Sol hosts the final next Saturday (2:30pm, FSN).