Kicks of the Week: The World Cup is almost here

By Amon Kehr

Sports Blogger

@theozoneonline

 

World Cup draw for Russia 2018

The groups are set for the World Cup in Russia this upcoming summer. The eight groups were determined in a draw Friday. Group A is considered by some to be the weakest of the groups because Russia as the hosts was put into pot 1 for the draw, though it did not earn it through its actual FIFA ranking. The group also features Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Although Group A might be the weakest, Group B might be the toughest. With two European powers, Spain and Portugal, as well as Morocco and Iran, the top country from Asian qualifying. Group C has France, Australia, Peru and Denmark. Group D has Iceland, Argentina, Nigeria and Croatia. This is the sixth time that Nigeria has been drawn into to a group with Argentina in its six World Cup appearances. Group E has perennial World Cup contenders Brazil as well as Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia. Group F is Mexico, Sweden, South Korea and returning champions Germany. Group G contains Belgium, Tunisia, England and Panama, which is participating in its first World Cup. Last is Group H with Japan, Colombia, Senegal and Poland.

Toronto and Seattle set for MLS Cup rematch

Toronto FC will have chance to avenge its loss to Seattle last year in the MLS Cup. Toronto advanced Sunday evening after defeating Columbus Crew 1-0. The lone goal came from Toronto and United States’ striker Jozy Altidore, who scored despite an injury bothering him throughout the game. This will be Toronto’s second trip in a row to the MLS Cup and its second all time.  In the West, Seattle faced off against Houston in much less competitive game. The Sounders came into the game with two away goals. Although they only needed to sit back and defend for most of the game, they still scored three goals winning the game 3-0 and the Western Conference Finals 5-0. Seattle has a chance to become the fourth team in MLS history to win MLS Cup in back to back seasons, joining Houston, LA Galaxy and DC United.

MLS expansion race down to four

About one year ago, 12 candidates were announced to be in the running for MLS expansion slots. That list is now at four. The remaining four cities that are still in the running are Detroit, Michigan, Cincinnati, Ohio, Sacramento, California, and Nashville, Tennessee. MLS is expected to make an announced about which two cities will receive expansion teams on Wednesday. After this round of expansion takes place, MLS will be at 26 teams assuming David Beckham gets his Miami franchise. Although there are many markets that did not get a team, MLS has announced it will eventually expand to 28 teams.

ozone@ocolly.com

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