The big local soccer news this week: The Austin Aztex will host the PDL Southern Conference Final Four, July 26-27 at House Park, against the Panama City Beach Pirates, Ocala Stampede, and either Laredo Heat or Oklahoma City FC. The semifinals will be Friday, July 26 (matchups and times TBA, but the Aztex will play the second game, at 7:30pm); the conference championship game is Saturday, at or around 7:30pm. Tickets remain $10, with kids under 11 free. Unused regular season tickets can be redeemed for admission, and one ticket is good for both matches on Friday. The conference champs move on to the PDL National Championship semifinals the following weekend.
The Aztex had clinched the Mid South Division title Saturday night by trouncing Oklahoma City, 4-0, behind a Kris Tyrpak hat trick. That, and the hosting announcement, take some of the pressure off of this weekend's regular-season-ending road trip to West Texas and El Paso, but Aztex Communications Coordinator Jeff Burns notes that, at 10-1-1, the team is still in contention for the best regular-season record in the 64-team PDL, and a possible seeding advantage should they advance to the nationals. Might the Aztex host the nationally televised national championships the weekend of Aug. 2-4? Team officials don't rule it out. ... Tyrpak is now tied with Andres Cuero for the team scoring lead in league play; he has eight goals, to Cuero's seven plus two assists.
Landon Donovan continues to impress for the U.S. National Team at the Gold Cup, setting up the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Costa Rica on Tuesday, as the U.S. ended the group stage as the only team to win all three of its games. They play El Salvador in a quarterfinal this Sunday, July 21, 3pm on Fox. The other quarterfinals are on FSC: Saturday: Panama-Cuba, 2:30pm, Mexico-Trinidad, 5:30pm. Sunday: Honduras-Costa Rica, 6pm.