Sports

Soccer Watch


House Park underwater on Monday (photo by John Anderson)

The biggest local soccer news this week had nothing to do with soccer: House Park was under a reported seven feet of water in Monday's flood, and it appears unlikely at press time that it will be useable in time for the Austin Aztex's next home game on June 20, or indeed for the rest of the season. Plan B? At this point, "all options are open," as the team mulls Nelson Field, the Kelly Reeves stadium up north, and doubtless others – with an eye toward where they can maintain the best fan experience.

At that, I guess the Aztex were lucky to get in the antediluvial game against Tulsa – postponed from Saturday night by lightning and played to a disappointing 0-1 loss Sunday morning – and lucky perhaps that the next four (or five) games on the schedule are on the road. They're playing the San Antonio Scorpions in the U.S. Open Cup third round as we go to press Wednesday, with the winner moving on to play the Houston Dynamo in the fourth round in mid-June. Then, it's at OKC, Sacramento, and Portland the next three weekends – a tough stretch for a team now on the bubble in the USL playoff hunt.

Countdown: Just a week now until the kickoff of the Women's World Cup, Sat., June 6 in Canada. The U.S. women play a final tuneup, against South Korea this Sat., May 30 (3:30pm, ESPN), before tackling Sweden, Australia, and Nigeria in this WWC's "Group of Death" starting on Mon., June 8. Fox networks will show all 52 games live in HD... The Men's U-20 WC starts this weekend in New Zealand, with Fox Sports starting its coverage with USA-Myanmar at 11pm, Sat., May 30.

The European season is largely wrapped up. Sevilla fought off Ukranian underdogs Dnipropetrovsk, 3-2 on Wednesday, to win their second straight Europa League cup, earning an unprecedented fifth slot for Spain in next year's Champions League... England's FA Cup final, Arsenal-Aston Villa, is this Sat., May 30 at Wembley (11:30am, Fox)... The European Champions League final – Italian champion Juventus against Barcelona – is next Sat., June 6 in Berlin... In England, Bournemouth (stadium capacity 11,700), won the championship (second division) and qualified for England's top division for the first time ever, since being founded in 1890, 125 years ago.

Seven FIFA executives were arrested in an early-morning raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich, accused of a "24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer" to the tune of $150 million in bribes and kickbacks. This came on the eve of the FIFA Congress at which embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter is expected to win election for a fifth term. In coordinated actions, U.S. officials raided CONCACAF offices in Miami, and issued 14 indictments in New York. A FIFA spokesman said Blatter "is not dancing in his office."

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Nick Barbaro, Sept. 18, 2020

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Nick Barbaro, Sept. 11, 2020

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