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The Daily Dirt February 21, 2018: Minnesota United Prekrap and CL results

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Don’t look back in anger

Chelsea FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ah yes, game day. Time for me to write a preview of the friendly against Minnesota United. At this point the preseason feels less exciting and more like an impending sense of doom and dread has befallen the team. There probably isn’t a good reason to feel this way since the team hasn’t put out what is expected to be the first team roster with Tata Martino seeming more content to see what he has from some of his depth players.

The preseason is probably not a great time to hope to be satisfied by the soccer that your team is playing. Still, the very lackluster performance against Columbus and the rain game haven’t exactly inspired confidence in the team.

Still, this should be a good matchup for Atlanta United. The Loons supplemented their 2017 roster that was made up of mostly depth players, marginal MLS starters, and two pretty solid players in Christian Ramirez and Kevin Molino with mostly depth players and marginal MLS starters. Coach Adrian Heath refuses to alter his “attack at all costs” philosophy and the costs are pretty high. Minnesota lost 1-0 to Charleston in their opener of the Carolina Challenge Cup - put the rosters of Minnesota and Charleston side by side and tell me that aside from Ramirez and Molino the Loons have any expectation of winning that game - and this should be a game that Atlanta is able to exploit some space in the Minnesota midfield and get good chances against their porous defense.

Anyway, onto the Dirt...

Domestic

Houston unveiled their totally radical, tubular, audacious, disruptive, dope, sick, extra, 100 emoji, TBT, extra, yass, bae, fomo, lit, turnt, kits yesterday. Looking like a Houston Astros player from the 1980s has never seemed so with it, right kids? It’s got something for everyone: The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, everyone will adore it.

If I have one guilty pleasure, it’s Ace of Base. If I have two, it’s the mocking of everything about soccer in the US from Maxi Rodriguez (the Twitter troll, not the World Cup hero). Usually he’s painfully on the nose with his irony, but he has a take on that thing Alexi Lalas said on his podcast that was going around yesterday in his latest newsletter. It is worth reading.

Pugh, Pugh, Pugh - Mallory Pugh should be a name you know if you watch the US Women’s National Team or the Washington Spirit of the NWSL. She gave an interview with Teen Vogue in which she talks about debuting for the USWNT when she was in high school and her training in the preseason.

There’s a roomer going around that the NY Red Bulls may be interested in Vancouver Whitecaps center back Tim Parker. Originally the report was that NYRB would send Felipe to the Northwest in exchange, but at this point, it’s just a roomer.

International

In case you missed any of the soccer that happened yesterday - in Champions League Chelsea and Barcelona fought to a draw. It might not sound impressive but it was a pretty crucial result for Barca. It was always going to be hard for Besiktas to overcome Bayern Munich, but a red card effectively sealed their fate before the match even got into the 20th minute.

Athletes and contrived money making schemes go hand in hand, but Michael Owen’s 30 page brochure that was released in 2009 is nicely immortalized here by Who Ate All The Pies.

Goal

This is a lovely piece of work from Barcelona - Willian hit the bar so many times I had to check if Zack Steffen was in goal for the Maroon and Pinks, alas he was not. Chelsea might feel hard done by the result, but they have nobody to blame but themselves for giving Iniesta and Messi a chance to do this to them:

You should listen to

ME

On the MLS Fantasy Insider Podcast. That would be ME as in myself, not ME as in the fictional organizing principle of the Sumerian language from Snow Crash. If you like advice from someone who finished in the top 30,000 of players in the game last year and enjoy lame jokes and poorly thought out hot takes - I got ‘em. I get to talk about Orlando City and Atlanta United, you’ll enjoy it - or not. Plus, there’s a special guest appearance by my dogs.