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Slate on soccer: Touching on Seattle Sounders, UEFA, USMNT

The Seattle Sounders captured their first MLS Cup this past weekend.

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Congratulations to the Seattle Sounders who captured their first MLS Cup with a 5-4 win in a shootout on Saturday night at Toronto’s BMO Field. For the league as a whole, it was a big deal that the match was featured in a primetime slot (8 pm ET starting time) on a major network (Fox) but this being MLS, of course it turned out to be pretty dull highlighted by the fact that Seattle had no shots on goal in 120 minutes. Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei was named MVP after making seven saves including an amazing one-handed stop on Jozy Altidore’s header.

Stanford Men’s Soccer Repeats as NCAA Champions With Win in PKs

It was not exactly a banner weekend for men’s soccer in the United States as Stanford won the College Cup on Sunday afternoon for the second year in a row after they beat Wake Forest 5-4 in a shootout. Similar to the MLS Cup, it was 0-0 after regulation and thirty more minutes of boring soccer followed that. One of the main reasons that many Americans are hesitant to love the sport is its utter lack of scoring in big matches and that is totally understandable after a forgettable couple games like these.

The 2016/17 Champions League Round-of-16 Matchups are Set

On Monday afternoon, the all-important draw for the Round-of-16 matchups in the UEFA Champions League was determined. The meetings (with a leg at each club’s home field starting on Valentine’s Day) are Manchester City vs. Monaco, Real Madrid vs. Napoli, Benfica vs. Borussia Dortmund (Christian Pulisic’s club), Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal, Porto vs. Juventus, Bayern Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona and Sevilla vs. Leicester City. The headliner for me is the fact that Arsenal’s cruel reward for actually winning their group (for once) is yet another meeting with mighty Bayern Munich (this is the 10th time they’ve played since 2000/01), who is 7-3 against them in that span.

What Has Happened to the Goalkeepers for the USMNT?

A few years ago, the strength of the U.S. men’s national team lay in its top-notch goalkeepers. Tim Howard was a star at Everton and Brad Guzan was a solid backup who also played in the Barclays Premier League for Aston Villa. Fast forward to late 2016 with Howard shelved with a groin injury while Guzan is riding the bench for lowly Middlesbrough (BPL). A report over the weekend said that Guzan will likely join Howard (Colorado) in MLS with the expansion club in Atlanta (which begins play in 2017), the problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a younger guy stepping up for the USMNT while those players are clearly reaching the end of their respective careers.