Soccer Watch

World Cup preview, Aztex homestand continues

The Austin Aztex upped their league-leading record to 7-1-2 with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Puerto Rico Islanders Saturday night, getting an 80th-minute winner from Yordany Alvarez on what sounds like a very strange scramble in front of the goal. I had to miss the game (the only one of the season, I hope), but I'm down at House Park as we go to press Wednesday night, rooting for the Aztex against the Portland Timbers... Eddie Johnson and Jamie Watson have been the Aztex's main scoring threats – in fact they're the second- and third-leading scorers in the league – but add Maxwell Griffin to the list, with a goal in each of the last two games... The Aztex are now one-third of the way through the season... Their marathon home stand continues with three more home games in the next week:

• Vancouver Whitecaps: Saturday, June 12, 7:30pm

• Dallas-Fort Worth Tornados: Tuesday, June 15, 7:30pm

• Miami FC Blues: Saturday, June 19, 7:30pm

The Dallas game is the first round of the U.S. Open Cup; if the Aztex beat the PDL Tornados, they'll play a second-round game the next Tuesday, with the winner probably hosting the Houston Dynamo in the third round on June 29.

At the same time, of course, World Cup 2010 kicks off down in South Africa Friday morning. The full schedule is on the following page, along with our guide to some of the many public WC viewing parties going on around town – including several Aztex appearances, more drink specials than you can handle, and even one outfit that'll pay you to watch the games in 3-D. England vs. USA (Saturday, 1:30pm) is the obvious marquee match of the first weekend (see a very funny diplomatic exchange between the U.S. and UK embassies at, but frankly, I expect the two group favorites to come out very tentatively; look for a 0-0 draw unless someone gets an early goal. A better bet for attacking action is the opener, Mexico vs. South Africa (Friday, 9am): The hosts have something to prove, and Mexico could be one of the most exciting teams in the tournament.

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Austin Aztex, Yordany Alvarez, Eddie Johnson, Jamie Watson

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