The Austin Chronicle

Soccer Watch

By Nick Barbaro, June 1, 2012, Sports

Last week I asked, "Are the Austin Aztex really that good?" On Thursday they did their best to answer with a resounding "Yes!" – mauling the Texas Dutch Lions by an eye-popping 7-0 count, to follow-up their 6-1 rout of the El Paso Patriots. This time out, the goal-scoring hero was 17-year-old Kekuta Manneh, with four(!) tallies – though he had a ton of help in a total team effort that had the Lions completely demoralized by the end. This is a fun team to watch. This weekend, the New Orleans Jesters are in town for back-to-back games, Friday & Saturday, June 1-2, 7:30pm, at House Park, 13th & Lamar. Tickets are $10; $50 for eight; kids 10 & under free.

There were a slew of upsets Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup third round: MLS teams dropped seven of 14 games against lower-division opponents, including the San Antonio Scorpions knocking out the Hous­ton Dynamo, the Carolina Railhawks ousting the MLS champion LA Galaxy, and the amateur Michigan Bucks stunning the Chicago Fire, 3-2 in overtime. Quarterfinals are this weekend, with the Bucks the last team still representing the Aztex's PDL level.

Lots of international action this week as well, as national teams prepare for the European Championships, or for World Cup qualifying. Euro 2012 kicks off Friday, June 8, with Poland and Ukraine co-hosting: 31 games over four weeks, with every game showing live on ESPN (mostly at 1:45pm, some at 11am). Group B is clearly the Group of Death: Germany, Holland, and Portugal, all ranked in the Top 5 in the world, plus Denmark (10th), and only two going on to the knockout round... The U.S. men open their World Cup quali­fying campaign June 8 as well, hosting Antigua and Barbuda in Tampa (6pm, online only on ESPN3). The U.S. warmed up with a 5-1 thumping of Scotland on Satur­day – led by a Landon Donovan hat trick – and are playing Brazil as we go to press Wednesday.

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