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Bogert: Three playoff-defining games out West and more on Wednesday

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Each circle represents the location of the corresponding player’s aggregate touch, while the thickness of the lines connecting them represents the volume of passes exchanged. Heber (No. 9) played alongside Valentin Castellanos (No. 11) with Alexandru Mitrita (No. 28) and Maxi Moralez (No. 10) beneath. 

Mitrita (No. 28) played closest to Castellanos (No. 11), but naturally drifted wide to space. Jesus Medina (remember him!) came off the bench to score a brace against the Revs. Could he join the starting XI and play closer to Castellanos in Heber’s absence or be a direct (positional) replacement for the suspended Moralez? 

Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada)

Since the No. 2 through No. 8 seeds are separated by just four points out West, taking care of games you should win is vital. Even a midweek road trip down to Houston is one Minnesota should win, as the Dynamo have spiraled far below the playoff line and have just two wins since early July. 

It still won’t be straightforward. The likes of Robin Lod, Rasmus Schuller, Jan Gregus, Kevin Molino, Hassani Dotson and Mason Toye are wrapping up international duty, leaving the Loons shorthanded. 

Exciting player personnel news? Young Designated Player Thomas Chacon looks in line for his first MLS start. The Uruguayan midfielder went 90 minutes in the Loons’ friendly against Pachuca, in which he looked sharp, took a few challenges and won a penalty. He took the aforementioned penalty, though it was saved. 

“Trust me, playing down in Uruguay, he’s gonna have no trouble coping with the physicality, because I’ve been down there and watched the games,” head coach Adrian Heath said of the 19-year-old after the game. “They’re tough and they’re big and strong. They don’t hold back in Uruguay so he’ll be fine.”

Wednesday could be a huge night to kickstart his Loons career juuuuust right. 

Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy (9 pm ET | TSN, MLS LIVE on ESPN+)

Everything written above about Minnesota? It also applies for the Galaxy. 

But it’s not a straightforward opponent, given Colorado’s form since making a coaching change in May. They’ve also won their last two games against the Red Bulls and Seattle, but time for excuses is running out. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristian Pavon around, the Galaxy need to elevate their pace.

Currently sitting in eighth place, though with a game in hand over seventh-place FC Dallas, the Galaxy are in danger of missing the playoffs again. To borrow a stat I found in Doyle’s Week 26 recap: They’ve gone just 6-11-2 with a -11 goal differential since the beginning of May. That doesn’t look like a playoff team, despite having Ibra, Pavon and Jonathan dos Santos. 

The Rapids, meanwhile, have played like a playoff team since the end of May, though they likely won’t be playing postseason soccer. In Robin Fraser’s first game in charge, they came out in a 3-5-2 against the Red Bulls then a 4-3-3 against the Sounders in his second. What will they show against the Galaxy?

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes (9:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, DAZN)

The two themes of the night: Playoffs and the international break. A midweek MLS special!

Coming just at the end of an international window, neither team will be full-strength in their pivotal Western Conference clash, but that shouldn’t take away from the excitement. 

In the teams’ first meeting, a late 1-0 San Jose win in July, the Quakes’ winner came off a quick corner in the 93rd minute. For most of the game, RSL coped well with San Jose’s controlled chaos. Boasting potentially a very makeshift defensive unit on Wednesday, can RSL keep the tactical rigidity to deal with the Quakes or will San Jose find even more space in transition than normal? 

The clubs are separated by a point, straddling the divider between a home or road playoff match in round No. 1. Margins, as you know, are thin in this playoff race. A quick perusal of each side’s remaining schedule hints that the Quakes might be more in need of a result, given they exclusively face teams above the playoff line for the rest of the season. 



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Gaming News

No Female Character in CoD: Modern Warfare?

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The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Multiplayer Beta has been in full swing for a couple of days now. While the game has received slack because of some unconventional design choices, it still is a core Call of Duty experience which i think most people would enjoy. However, while playing the beta, i couldn’t help but notice the lack of female characters in the multiplayer game modes. This was rather strange since Infinity Ward had announced earlier that the game would have playable female characters. Usually, these characters are much more nimble and really help if you prefer a faster playing style.

So, i went on over to twitter to ask if these characters had been removed for some reason. However, what i got in response was a bunch of dismissive, sexist and misogynistic replies saying that the game is better without females anyway. This sad state of affairs snapped me back to the reality of how inclusivity is actually frowned upon in the core video game community.

Inclusivity in video games has always been a massive point of debate throughout the history of games. While most people would agree that all forms of art and media should be inclusive enough for everyone, things have not been so smooth for the video games industry to adopt this mindset. The ‘hardcore’ gaming community, sadly, just isn’t ready to accept any change that pushes us towards the greater good.

Modern Warfare Gameplay

Every time game developers try to include women and minorities in their games just to make them more relatable and inclusive for everyone, they are met with review bombs and other forms of unjustified criticism from the core ‘gamers’. It is actually pretty bonkers to see how far people are willing to go just to undermine something that does not affect them or their experience in any way.

Sadly, this bad behaviour isn’t just limited to the video game community. We’ve seen some really bad cases of sexism in the gaming industry during recent times as well. However, slowly but surely, things are moving in the right direction. For example, we’re seeing better working conditions for women in the industry thanks to a lot of hard work and bravery from these women.

Female Protagonists in Games are actually good

We’re also seeing video games being much more inclusive. From Cyberpunk 2077 not having a binary gender option for character creation to Gears 5 moving to a female protagonist for the first time in the series, things are moving in the right direction. However, if you think that these changes are hindering your experience in any way, you’re wrong. You can still choose to play as a white male in Cyberpunk 2077 and the majority of video games still have male protagonists in them.

Gears 5
Kait, The protagonist of Gears 5

However, some of the best video games of recent times like Horizon Zero Dawn, Tomb Raider, Gears 5 and the upcoming The Last of Us 2 all have female protagonists. So, saying that having a female lead in a game would somehow make it worse is just not true, whether you like it or not.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and why it is important for games to be more inclusive

Recently, when Infinity Ward announced that Call of Duty Modern Warfare will include playable female characters, it was met with the same unjustified criticism. This is not the first time we’ve seen this though and people are just used to it at this point. Back when Battlefield V was announced with Female characters, people had the same reaction. However, people need to realise that video games are a form of art and the right of expressing that art in any way or form is in the hands of the artist.

Call of duty

Video games have never been about being historically accurate. If you wanted that, you could watch a historical documentary instead. Video Games are meant to be fun and relatable. They’re played by millions of people around the entire world. If these people around the world don’t feel like they are a part of this magical universe that a developer has conjured up for them, then what is the point of art anymore? No other form of media can connect us with the characters it has like video games because for a brief moment in time, games make us feel like we are that character.

The ability to see yourself in the character you’re playing is probably what sets video games apart from everything else as an art form. This is especially true for multiplayer games, which brings us back to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Having a female character in multiplayer is only a good thing. This would mean that millions of female gamers would actually be able to feel like they’re a part of this universe that we’ve all come to enjoy and love. Furthermore, it doesn’t affect anyone else in any way. You can still pick your usual male characters so you’re not losing any part of the experience.

The addition of something doesn’t always have to come at a cost of something else. However, if, for some weird reason, even hearing a female character in a multiplayer match triggers you, then you have some serious issues and I hope you find the help you need.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Video games are arguably the most expansive and expressive form of art out there. Everyone deserves to experience this amazing art form in the most relatable and immersive way possible. We have made some really good strides during recent times to curb stomp the negativity that surrounds the whole industry. However, there is still a long way to go and I hope, with time, we can all feel happy just to be a part of this amazing community and experience these magical worlds together in complete harmony.

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