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TST: 5 Things to watch today in the Semifinals

And then there were eight: Nani vs Newtown, Bombonera vs Hoosiers, Streetball vs Courage, Tampa Bay vs US Women.

That winning feeling | Courtesy Hoosier Army

The Soccer Tournament enters today with just eight teams remaining in contention for the $1 million prizes, four in the men's division and four in the women's.

Here's what to look for in the Semifinals, with the women playing in the afternoon and the men in the early evening.

1. Nani FC vs Newtown Pride

As we predicted yesterday, Nani FC are in the Semifinals. They look vicious. Nani won their Round of 16 matchup vs The Town FC by the score of 6-3, and their Quarterfinals matchup vs Sire 7 by 7-3. That works out to an astonishing 29 goals scored in six matches.

Next, they face a Newtown Pride that doesn't give up goals easily: Newtown allowed just one goal in group-stage play, and four goals in three knockout round games.

In other words, this matchup will feature the most explosive offense in the tournament against the stingiest defense when they play tonight at 7:30 pm ET.

2. La Bombonera vs Hoosier Army

It was the Contender vs the Sparklepony, as La Bombonera defeated Pasha Luxury FC by the score of 6-0. It was never close. La Bombonera have plenty of players who won the 2023 Major Arena Soccer League title while playing for Chihuahua Savage, while others played for Mexico’s national beach soccer or futsal teams. They're a squad built for TST.

Now they'll face an over-achieving Hoosier Army, which we categorized as a Dark Horse. A team comprised of alumni from Indiana University, eight-time NCAA men's soccer champions, knocked out the media-friendly Concafa Soccer Club, a team put together by Pat McAfee, the longtime NFL punter turned sports talk show star. It was a tight game that finished 1-0 after both sides were reduced to five players.

Tonight's matchup will mirror the other men's Semifinal, with a team that likes to score facing a team that doesn't like to give up goals.

TST: A guide to all 48 men’s teams
The Soccer Tournament sickos here at Hudson River Blue analyzed the squads of all 48 men’s teams participating in the 2024 edition of TST.

3. Streetball Canada FC vs North Carolina Courage

We didn't expect Streetball Canada FC to make it this far, tbh. The team is an offshoot of a youth program, but they notched two wins in the group stage yesterday, including an impressive 3-0 rout of the highly pedigreed US Women. Well done.

This afternoon they'll face an equally pedigreed North Carolina Courage who also happen to be playing in their home stadium. North Carolina are winners of the NWSL Championship (twice), NWSL Shield (three times), and NWSL Challenge Cup (twice). They know how to win.

4. Tampa Bay Sun FC vs US Women

Just like Streetball Canada, Tampa Bay Sun FC wasn't supposed to make it this far: The TST squad are from a club that are making their debut in the USL Super League this year. But they routed Burnley Women FC yesterday by the score of 6-3, and fully deserve their place in the Semifinals.

They will face the heavy hitters on US Women, which is a who's-who of stars and starters from the United States national women's team. The US Women haven't been infallible this tournament – they were shut out by Streetball Canada 3-0 in the group stage – but they have the personnel and the experience to power through to the finals.

TST: A guide to all 8 women’s teams
The Soccer Tournament sickos here at Hudson River Blue analyzed the squads of all eight women’s teams participating in the 2024 edition of TST.

5. ESPN-

All of today's matches are broadcast exclusively on ESPN+, which means the days of streaming most of the TST games are over. We understand the economics of it: ESPN+ equals money for TST. But those of us who let our ESPN+ subscriptions lapse because we already pay for ESPN, Fox, NBC, Paramount+, Peacock, and Apple TV – and who never much liked Disney's funny habit of raising the monthly fee every few months – are out of luck. As Zinedine Zidane might put it, dommage.