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Corner Kicks: Congrats to Austin, Rochester, Carolina and Puerto Rico !!!

Congratulations are in order for the Rochester Rhinos and Austin Aztex, who have both already qualified for the USSF D2 playoffs in October.  A tip of the hat goes to Coach Bob Lilley of Rochester and Coach Adrian Heath of Austin for clinching their playoff spots with more than a month left in the regular season.  Speaking of the Aztex, there are some fine podcasts available about the team and USSF D2 on the Chantico’s Army website.  The latest podcast features Aztex’ midfielder Lawrence Olum, a Kenyan who played at Missouri Baptist University, and for the PDL St. Louis Lions and the Minnesota Thunder before joining the Aztex this season.  An earlier podcast featured an in-depth interview with Coach Heath.  Here is the link to their site…..http://www.chanticosarmy.com/cajoomla/

The Carolina RailHawks put a dent in FC Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes, defeating the Rowdies 2-1 Wednesday evening in front of over 1,800 fans at George M. Steinbrenner Field.  Defender Matt Bobo opened the scoring for the RailHawks in the 24th minute, and forward Etienne Barbara doubled the RailHawks advantage later in the first half.  Rowdies’ midfielder Ricardo Sanchez pulled his team to within a goal very late on a great 88th minute free kick, but the Rowdies were unable to find the equalizer.  For a look at playoff standings in USSF D2,  http://ussf.demosphere.com/Playoffs/  .  And don’t forget tonight’s big USSF D2 matchup between the Portland Timbers and Austin Aztex at PGE Park.  It will be available for viewing not only online but on Fox Sports Northwest (Channel 687 on DirecTV, 426 on Dish).

The Puerto Rico Islanders continue to represent USSF D2 soccer well in the CONCACAF Champions League, winning Wednesday evening 4-1 over the FAS squad from El Salvador.  Playing at home, Colin Clarke’s Islanders got goals from David Foley, Nicholas Addlery and a brace from Jonathan Fana.  The Islanders, a team with a great tradition in tournament play, sit atop Group D in the CCL standings after two games.  Also on Wednesday night, Cruz Azul beat Real Salt Lake in a barnburner, 5-4, while Monterrey blanked the Seattle Sounders 2-0.  Tonight, Municipal plays Joe Public, Saprissa host Marathon and Toluca do battle with Olimpia.  The Saprissa-Marathan contest will be televised on Galavision.

Speaking of television, my life just couldn’t be complete without Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Sports Espanol in addition to FSC, GolTV, ESPN and the Spanish language stations that televise soccer.  I talked to my satellite provider and am getting a free new dish to be able to pick up FSE, and talked them into a discount on my package to add Fox Soccer Plus for little more than we are currently spending.  Might be worth a try if you are as obsessive as I am about being able to follow Ligue 1, the English Championship,  the Mexican Primera Division and South American tournaments. 

One more quick plug….I just received my copy of “Soccernomics” yesterday from amazon.com.  Outstanding.  Written by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, it is a fabulous read and I have to put it up there with Franklin Foer’s “How Soccer Explains the World” as must-read books for soccer fans.  There are other outstanding books on soccer, but personally if I had to recommend two, these would be my choices.

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