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Big D Daily: News for Thursday, September 9, 2021

If you haven’t gotten on board the Ricardo Pepi hype train, you are missing out.

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It is amazing what a positive 45 minutes of soccer will do to lift your morale and spirits up. That is exactly what we got out of the USMNT last night thanks to Ricardo Pepi’s amazing debut.

// FC Dallas //

Ricardo Pepi shines in his USMNT debut with a goal and two assists - Big D Soccer
Oh and he was also the man of the match for those who are into that sort of thing.

Ricardo Pepi's marvelous USMNT debut is yet another reminder he's yet to hit his ceiling | The Striker Texas
What a night it was for Pepi. A goal and two assists to help lead the US back from what was starting to look like a terrible start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Lee Nguyen at home working toward what's next with Vietnamese league shut down | The Striker Texas
It is kind of a shame he is still under contract elsewhere and is only in town to stay fit (I'm sure staying with family is another part, but you get it). Seeing him suit up here locally would be a nice cap to his career.

// MLS //

Playoff contenders? 2021's unheralded teams to watch down the stretch |
Yeah, unfortunately, we're not seeing FC Dallas on stories like this at the moment.

Playing past distractions, RSL stays in contention | US Soccer Players
Real Salt Lake has had another season of upheaval as the league searches for a new investor/operator and the club looks for a new coach.

Ambition and expectation in the MLS playoff race | US Soccer Players
For some MLS teams, making the playoffs is still enough to salvage a season while for others the scene shifts to an unmet expectation.

The Importance of Sebastian Blanco’s Growing Impact - Stumptown Footy
Blanco is starting to return to his full powers and it’s coming at the perfect time for the Timbers.

// USMNT //

Three takeaways from the USMNT's stabilizing WCQ win at Honduras |
It was wild and unnerving at times but the USMNT found a way (thanks to Pepi) to pick up a vital road win last night.

Charlie Davies offers moving perspective on Weston McKennie USMNT controversy |
Hearing Davies talk about 2009 really did bring me back a good bit. I really respect his honesty in this moment.

How halftime adjustments drove USMNT turnaround in Honduras – The Athletic
The tale of two halves was indeed a thing last night as the US looked terrible in the first but they dominated the second.