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Tacoma Defiance at St. Louis SC CITY II: Preview, Game thread, How to watch

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St. Louis CITY SC isn’t joining MLS until next year. They did a smart thing, starting their academy team two years out and starting their MLS Next Pro team the year prior to joining the top flight. This should help their First Team find some utility players and give them experience within the organization prior to the pressures of their expansion season.

A few of their talents are probably already MLS quality. The best of those is Josh Yaro, the former No. 2 draft pick of the Philadelphia Union, who has played for several teams in the USL Championship. He may only be a backup defender in the American top flight. Wan Kuzain is a winger who had some decent success with Sporting KC II and a few cups of coffee with the Sporks top team. Kwame Awuah played for NYCFC and dominant CPL side Forge FC. Vitor, their 10, was drafted by the Vancovuer Whitecaps in the 3rd round. It’s a solid concept that should help the org overall. Their head coach is former Philly man John Hackworth.

Defiance head to face the SLCSCII for the first time, in their first road game of the season. Last year Wade Webber led his side to two road wins, their best performance in several years. If Tacoma Defiance are going to be the dominant team in MLS Next Pro that people assume they will be, they need to at least double their 2021 performance. Taking it to an expansion side for an expansion side is a must.

  • AOC’s scoring streak — Remember when Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez was one of the bright points for the USYNT as a teen phenom? Those times faded. Reality interfered. But then something odd happened. Fonz went off to Europe on loan, did poorly, and discovered something about himself. AOC’s now a low-touch forward willingly defending from the front, putting in the type of effort that coaches love. He has 3 goals in 2 games and remains tied for the league lead heading into Sunday’s games with the other two at 3 goals having played 3 games.
  • Defend front the front — Webber’s men are taking his defend-first mantra to heart, including the forwards. The team leaders in tackles are three forwards (Adeniran, RBW, AOC), an all-arounder (Teves), and a fullback (Hafferty). It’s easier for an inexperienced centerback pairing to succeed when the first band wins the ball in the attacking half.
  • The B-Team — With Seattle Sounders off this weekend the matchday 20 for Webber should be stocked with the high-end prospects already on MLS deals, similar to what conquered Real Monarchs 4-0. They will still be a youngish average age of around 21, likely with the Defiance (or C team) being older than those loaned down.

Match date/kickoff time: Sunday, April 10, 5:00 PM PT

Venue: Hermann Stadium, St. Louis, MO

Online Streaming: MLS NEXT Pro

Defiance Absences: Cody Baker (ankle)

SLCSCII: Unknown



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Gameday Guide: Your complete timeline for the Rapids’ Sunday doubleheader 

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2:00-5:00 P.M. Happy Hour at Hamburger Mary’s

Start your gameday off right at Hamburger Mary’s for drink specials and giveaways! Individuals have the option to bus from Hamburger Mary’s to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park at 4:00. The bus will return individuals to Hamburger Mary’s after the match. Purchase bus tickets here.

5:00 P.M. C38 Pride Tailgate

Join C38 for their Pride tailgate before making your way into the stadium! All are welcome to enjoy the pregame festivities and get hype to watch the Burgundy Boys with Colorado’s best supporters’ section.

Countdown to kickoff starts now! Welcome the Rapids to the pitch with hype videos, lineups and special Pride features.

6:00 PM Colorado Rapids vs Seattle Sounder FC Kickoff

Come on you Burgundy Boys!

9:10 PM Rapids 2 vs Tacoma Defiance Kickoff

Don’t head out just yet! Colorado’s MLS NEXT Pro side Rapids 2 will make their DICK’S Sporting Goods Park debut directly at the conclusion of the Rapids’ matchup with Seattle.





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2022 MLS season: Fire standing behind struggling goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina

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Gabriel Slonina has made his decision. He’s going with the United States men’s national team.

Slonina, 18, announced Friday on social media he is committing to the US over Poland. A dual national, Slonina was recently named to Poland’s roster for its upcoming UEFA Nations League matches but has chosen to cast his lot with the United States program. Poland clearly wanted Slonina badly, as shown by coach Czesław Michniewicz traveling to Chicago to meet with him and present him a jersey.

Those overtures were rejected, and Slonina explained why. Though he discussed his pride in his heritage and what it means to be Polish, Slonina said “my heart is American.”

“This country has given me and my family all the opportunities I could ask for,” Slonina posted. “It’s pushed me and supported me through good and bad. I understand the privilege of wearing the badge, and the only time I’ll put my head down is to kiss it. America is home and that’s who I’m going to represent.”

Because of his age, FIFA rules allow Slonina to play in three matches for a national team before being bound to a country, so it’s possible he could change his mind in the future.

Slonina is part of a crowded US goalkeeping picture that includes Manchester City’s Zack Steffen, the Revolution’s Matt Turner (who will join English club Arsenal this summer) and former Fire standout Sean Johnson, currently the captain of reigning MLS Cup champion New York City FC. Poland is also strong in net, led by Wojciech Szczęsny, the starter for Italian powerhouse Juventus.

But just because Slonina, who’s represented the US at youth levels, has made this decsion doesn’t mean all his major choices are complete. Slonina’s been linked with major European clubs, and with their transfer windows opening soon, the young goalie might be forced to decide between famous teams in the near future.

Slonina’s recent play for the Fire has raised questions about whether those outside factors have taken a toll. Last Saturday, Slonina’s late giveaway led to the Fire’s 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati. Then on Wednesday against the Red Bulls, Slonina whiffed on an easy save for New York’s second goal, overcommitted on their stoppage-time equalizer and could’ve easily given away a penalty after contacting an opposing attacker in the Fire box.

After the Red Bulls match, coach Ezra Hendrickson was asked whether the external noise was affecting Slonina’s concentration.

“Maybe outside of the game but in the game I don’t think he’s thinking about all that stuff. He just happened to make some mistakes,” Hendrickson said. “You know, we all make mistakes as soccer players and it just happened to be that in that position of his, your mistakes are more dangerous, are more costly than someone missing a goal or something like that. But he’ll get out of it and we’ll make sure that he stays positive and stays confident.”

Perhaps that will be easier for Slonina with one major decision out of the way.





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Monarchs Spotlight: Tyrone Mondi – rsl.com

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Monarchs Spotlight: Tyrone Mondi  rsl.com



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