With first the U.S., and now Italy failing to qualify for World Cup 2018 in Russia, organizers this week are left trying to justify the event's continued existence, and I, for one, am ready to just give up on the whole thing. Repeated emails to FIFA, asking "WHY??," in all caps, have gone unreturned, and there seems little left to live for... (For the record, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Croatia, Australia, Senegal, Tunisia, and Morocco all punched their tickets this week; at press time, Peru is hosting New Zealand to decide the final spot.)
Closer to home, the UT Longhorns advanced to the NCAA second round with a convincing 3-0 win over North Texas last Friday; they're off to Durham, N.C., this weekend for a matchup with Clemson on Friday, and if that goes well, either Oklahoma State or top-seeded host Duke on Sunday... Soph forward Cyera Hintzen's second two-goal game of the year earned her the team scoring lead, and a spot on the Top Drawer national Team of the Week.
Austin's own Columbus Crew FC hosts regular season champs Toronto FC in the MLS Eastern Conference finals, Tue., Nov. 21, at 7pm on ESPN; Houston-Seattle follows at 9pm on FS1... On Nov. 9, Austin City Council unanimously passed their stadium-search resolution, aimed at helping bring the Crew to Austin.
The next-to-last games in the European Champions League group stage are next Tue.-Wed., Nov. 21-22, with several games both days at 11am and 1:30pm on Fox Sports 1 and 2. All five English entries are in a position to clinch spots in the final 16.