Lunch Links: MLS Previews Galore, VAR Mishaps, & D.C. United's Akeem Ward

The opening day of Major League Soccer is here — well, basically. After months of non-MLS soccer, the month of MLS action has finally arrived. And the first weekend of the season isn't starting off quietly, either. A number of high-profile clashes jump right off the page: D.C. United vs Atalanta United, of course, but also Columbus vs New York Red Bulls, LAFC vs Sporting KC, and more.

The games start tomorrow at noon CT and won't finish until past 11 PM. Yeah, I'd say that's very good! If you really want to make a day of it, you could start by watching Arsenal battle Tottenham (go Gunners) at 6:30 AM, flip to Schalke-Dusseldorf at 8:30 to watch Weston McKennie, and by that point you'll have plenty of options.

Did we mention there's a derby in Rome between Roma and Lazio? Oh, and that thing called El Clasico. 

Here's some reading to tide you over:

All The MLS Preview Content You Need For Opening Day

1. On FloFC, Captain Streff recaps Atlanta's impressive win the Concacaf Champions League, and what it means for their matchup vs D.C. United on Sunday.

2. Also on FloFC: The D.C. United midfield goes through one very, very good Argentine: Lucho Acosta.

3. The only Designated Player + MLS + LA Galaxy Twitter thread you'll ever need to read:



4. From SI.com: Top 24 Storylines, Questions, & Names to Watch Entering MLS's 24th Season. To be clear, that's 24 total things, not 24 in each category. Just in case that wasn't clear. 

5. One last from FloFC, looking at one crucial player on each Eastern Conference team. West will be tomorrow.

D.C. United Video: Akeem Ward Locks Himself Out

6. The latest from FloFC's video offering follows Akeem Ward around the day of the team's preseason matchup with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Akeem is a good kid!

7. The smart folks at American Soccer Analysis have done a lot of MLS previewing with a generous amount of graphs and charts.

To Italy We Go: I'm VAR-Y Disappointed

7. To be honest, I can't get enough of VAR and VAR scandals. I find them quite entertaining. Here's Adam Digby's latest "10 Things In Italy" column.

8. Via Di Marzio: Roma-Lazio is going to be a testy one tomorrow in Italy's capital. FloFC will have preview content for the game tomorrow as well.



That's all, folks. Enjoy the endless day of soccer (or futbol, or calcio, or football) tomorrow.

US-Based AS Roma Owner James Pallotta In Public Row With Ex-Employee Monchi

AS Roma made the unusual move of firing both their coach and sporting director with the removal of Eusebio Di Francesco and Monchi almost two weeks ago. Since then, the Giallorossi have appointed Claudio Ranieri for at least the rest of this term, but a bitter war of words has erupted between owner James Pallotta and his former Spanish employee.

Sporting KC's Johnny Russell Talks MLS Progress, Derby Experience, & More

Johnny Russell was one of the success stories of the 2018 season in Major League Soccer. Signed from English Championship side in January, the Scottish attacker scored 10 times and contributed seven assists as he became a key figure of Peter Vermes’ Sporting KC side.

DCU's Chris Durkin Looking For A Chance To Showcase At U-20 World Cup

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A year and a half ago, Chris Durkin went with the USA U-17 team to the World Cup in India and appeared in all five games. Durkin had signed with D.C. United in June 2016 but had spent most of his time away from the club, either with the U.S. team or playing games in USL with the Richmond Kickers. It was part of United's plan for the defensive midfielder from the Richmond, Virginia, area. Now, with just a couple of months before this year's U-20 World Cup, Durkin is headed to Spain for the U-20 camp with friendlies against Japan and France.

Curacao All Over The Best XI Of Concacaf Nations League Players In Europe

While many of the players in 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League hail from countries that do not have a professional league or from clubs that still compete in the amateur ranks, there are a select few who compete at the highest level in Europe.

Rooney Opens 2019 Account With Hat Trick, Rodriguez Wows With Stunning Goal

Rooney On RSL Game: 'We Were Clinical'

After Saturday night's romp over Real Salt Lake, D.C. United is off to their best start to a league season in a decade. Seven goals scored and zero goals conceded has yielded seven points against Atlanta United, New York City FC, and RSL — all playoff teams from 2018. Wayne Rooney opened his account for the season from the penalty spot, and then didn't stop shooting — and scoring — until he secured his first MLS hat trick in the 5-0 win. 

Lunch Links: Rodriguez Over Morris, Davies Scores For Bayern Munich

Rooney On RSL Game: 'We Were Clinical'

D.C. United dismantled a pretty decent Real Salt Lake team on Saturday night behind Wayne Rooney's first hat trick since moving stateside. Lots of other stuff happened in the MLS over the weekend, but nothing was better than Lucas "Titi" Rodriguez's volley. I promise you that. 

FC Cincinnati Hands Portland FC A Stunning 3-0 Loss In MLS Home Debut

A beautiful sun-splashed afternoon along with 32,500 fans greeted FC Cincinnati when they stepped out of the locker room and onto the home pitch for the first time as a Major League Soccer club.

'Crazy Inter' Win Thrilling Milan Derby In Dramatic 3-2 Victory After PK

Serie A fans were treated to an enthralling Milan Derby on Sunday, as the unfancied Inter pulled off a frenetic 3-2 victory over cross-city rivals AC Milan. The Nerazzurri had been heavily criticized following an awful performance just three days earlier as they crashed out of the Europa League, and reports were rife that coach Luciano Spalletti was close to losing his job.

Make AC Milan Great Again: The Derby Della Madonnina Stakes Are High

Milan’s path to return to greatness is difficult to navigate. With a Juventus’ dynasty not going away, any misstep can knock them off the track. Elliott Management Corp. has installed a stable upper management team with experience. They now have to decide who are the fundamental piece they can build the future on. Both coaches and players are under scrutiny. 

Ruthless D.C. United Make Man Advantage Count Against Real Salt Lake

Rooney On RSL Game: 'We Were Clinical'

Washington, D.C. — Real Salt Lake ended Saturday night's contest against D.C. United with significantly fewer players than they began the game with. Jefferson Savarino was shown a red card for raking Luciano Acosta's face in the first half, and then Marcelo Silva picked up a second yellow for hauling down Lucas Rodriguez in the second half. That made the night easier for the Black-and-Red, as the hosts ran away with a 5-0 victory thanks to a Wayne Rooney hat trick.