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The Daily Dirt, October 23: Hometown Glory

Who will feel it tonight after clinching a playoff spot?

MLS: MLS Cup Final-Portland Timbers at Columbus Crew Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t a story in MLS like that of the Chicago Cubs. I watched more baseball last night than I had in quite a while, grinning from ear to ear when the Cubs clinched their first World Series appearance since 1945. It’s amazing to think that the Cubs have never been on a televised World Series game (those started in 1947).

Beyond showing that Theo Epstein might have the magic touch after being the GM in Boston when the Red Sox finally won a World Series and now in Chicago, it shows the power of sport. Seeing the older Cubs fans who have suffered through so much losing and close calls just overjoyed at finally getting to see their team play for a World Series.

When we get frustrated about American soccer’s TV ratings or attendance at times, we have to remember the head start that other sports have. MLS is in its 21st season. The NBA, which is the youngest of the major professional sports leagues in the US, started in 1946. They have a fifty year head start on MLS, before we even get into the others. I mean, the National League was founded in 1876...

We will get these types of stories and moments, and they will be incredibly meaningful. It takes time to get there though. We are now starting to see kids grow up as a fan of a team before playing for them as a professional. That’s a huge turning point. Parents are passing down their fandom to their kids. These things only happen with time.

Today is MLS’ Decision Day. The biggest action is in the Western Conference with four teams playing for three spots. The drama will be escalate with every goal and every minute as each team will be scoreboard watching to see where they stand. The emotional currency that comes with these sorts of moments can’t be bought, it has to be experienced. It only deepens the connection between the fans and the club. Both good and bad moments in these situations, they keep you coming back for more.

What the Cubs’ story can teach soccer fans is that you can’t give up. The U.S. can win a World Cup. The Chicago Fire can become relevant again. The New York Red Bulls can win a MLS Cup someday. Anything can happen in sports.

Perhaps, even an Atlanta team that can be a winner...


Domestic

Portland limps north to Vancouver in hopes of getting into the MLS Cup playoffs (Stumptown Footy)

RSL needs a win in Seattle to guarantee a playoff future (RSL Soapbox)

A guide to Decision Day (MLS) and a breakdown of the playoff scenarios (MLS)

Philadelphia embracing its blue collar roots (FourFourTwo)

The MLS-USL partnership is a work in progress (SI)

The new look USWNT takes on Switzerland this afternoon, get the details (Stars and Stripes FC)

International

Arsenal asked to ban season ticket holders if they don’t turn up to matches (MIrror)

AC Milan defeat Juventus in a surprise (AC Milan Offside)

Tomas Boy has resigned at Cruz Azul, we’ll see if this changes Maza Rodrguez’s playing time:

Local

Mercer’s men win 5-0 on Senior Day against VMI (Mercer)

West Georgia’s women fall 2-0 on the road to Armstrong State (ASU)

Georgia Gwinnett’s stout defense has been led by two English center backs (Gwinnett Daily Post)