The Austin Chronicle

Soccer Watch

By Nick Barbaro, March 31, 2017, Sports

The U.S. got the four points it needed from the two World Cup Qualifiers over the long weekend, with an effervescent 6-0 romp over Honduras in California, followed by a pretty evenly played 1-1 draw in Panama. Clint Dempsey had four goals in his return to international play, and teamed so effectively with Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore up front, it may be hard for anyone else to break into the lineup. Not so, farther back in the formation, where a makeshift defense and a lot of wingers playing out of their normal positions did well enough, but the question of who's in coach Bruce Arena's starting 11 is likely no closer to being answered. The next games are June 7-12... No big surprises in WCQ elsewhere in the world – though it looks like Holland will likely fail to qualify for Russia 2018, and Argentina may be in trouble in South America, after Lionel Messi drew a four-game suspension for verbal abuse of an assistant referee.

The Austin High Boys and Girls were the only AISD teams to make it through the bi-district round of the UIL state playoffs, but 13 other area teams, from Round Rock, Pflugerville, West Lake, Lake Travis, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Dripping Springs, Del Valle, Leander, and Hutto – will compete in this week's Area round, Thu-Sat., March 30-April 1. The regional quarterfinals are Mon.-Tue., April 3-4, with the regional semis Sat., April 7.

San Antonio FC beat Rio Grande Valley, 1-0, in the first game of the 2017 USL season; their home opener at Toyota Field is this Saturday, April 1, at 7:30pm against LA Galaxy II, the first of three straight home matches... CONCACAF Champions League semifinal return legs are next week, April 4-5. Pachuca-Dallas on Tuesday at 9pm, Vancouver-Tigres on Wednesday at 9pm, both on Univision Deportes.

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