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TST: 5 Things we learned on Day One

Newtown Pride are hottt, the big clubs look small, and the olds can still ball: Here's an Instant Reaction to the first day of The Soccer Tournament.

Agüero Team lost both of their games, allowing 8 goals | Courtesy

We're only at the start of the six-day soccerpalooza that is The Soccer Tournament, with 48 games from the men's first two group stage matches in the books. Here's what we learned so far.

1. Newtown Pride FC are for real

Last year's champions started the tournament strong, with a 4-0 win over DC Hyper and a 2-0 win over Supra United FC. Those two wins will see Newtown advance to the Round of 32 — and those two clean sheets make them the only team that let in zero goals so far this tournament.

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.

2. The Big clubs look small

In our guide to all 48 men's teams, we looked at the squads assembled by big clubs such as FC Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, Inter, and Villarreal CF, and we weren't impressed. There's a reason why we put them in a category called "The Harder They Come, the Harder They Fall."

Fall they did. Those four teams combined for just two wins in eight games, with just 15 goals scored and 27 goals allowed. One of those wins was from the Dortmund 2 - 1 Bayern match: At least one German club was guaranteed a victory.

3. The olds can ball

Tommy Heinemann still has it. When he played for Columbus Crew, he took to the field with a head of hair that would make Alexi Lalas proud.

He's less fuzzy now that the 37-year old is the head coach for the United States U-15 team. But Heinemann can still ball, as you can see when he puts in a shift as forward for the North Carolina FC team at TST:

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4. 2-v-2 is super fun

One of the nuttiest and best rules in Target Stoppage Time is the reduction of players: Every three minutes, both teams go down one player until the target score is met.

Earlier today, that meant Manhattan Kickers and Hashtag United were going 2-v-2. The play on the field was both utterly exhausted and completely wide open: You felt bad for those tired legs, but every gladiator battle that is a TST match must end in blood:

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TST is pure, uncut soccer: No offsides, rolling subs, 20-minute halves. The Soccer Tournament packs 118 games into 6 days, awards $2 million in cash prizes.

5. 48 games in one day is a lot of soccer

We never thought we'd say this, but: Is there such a thing as too much soccer?

Day One had all 48 men's teams playing two group stage matches, which works out to 48 games total. Waking up on Wednesday morning felt like it was Boxing Day in June, with so much delicious soccer to savor. But we all know how it feels when you eat too much cake — and some sugar cookies, and a box of peppermint bark, and an eggnog milkshake.

Day Two will have just 24 games as the men finish the group stage. The diet begins then.

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.

One more thing

Below are the 14 the teams with two wins, which means they will advance to the knockout round. The remaining 18 teams will be determined on Day Two.

• La Bombonera
• Fitbodega Vancouver
• Dueling for Lincoln
• Gracie FC
• Hoosier Army
• Kwik Goal FC
• Nani FC
• Manhattan Kickers
• Newtown Pride FC
• North Carolina FC
• Raleigh Rebels
• Reggae Rovers
• Socceroof
• Toronto Athletic FC