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• It could hardly have been a better week for soccer in Kansas City, or worse for their opponents. First, Sporting Kansas City won the 2015 U.S. Open Cup, beating Philadelphia 7-6 on penalties to take the cup for the third time in the team's history. It was yet another disappointment for Philadelphia, which lost last year's final in extra time. One day later, it was FC Kansas City's turn to get in on the excitement, winning a second consecutive NWSL championship, 1-0 over the Seattle Reign. Amy Rodriguez scored the game's only goal, leaving Seattle with a second consecutive season in which the Reign dominated the regular season but couldn't get past Kansas City in the title game.

• Minneapolis native Mukwelle Akale, who has played many times for USA youth national teams, is impressing in Spain with Villarreal's youth setup — but he's not the only Akale getting attention on a national stage. Mukwelle's younger brother Masango, just 13, was invited to a training camp with the USA under-15 national team, where he played alongside Giovanni Reyna, the son of former USA captain Claudio Reyna. Perhaps there will soon be another Akale to follow on the national stage?

• Heading into Friday night's game at Wisconsin, the Gophers women's soccer team was the only perfect side remaining in the Big Ten. Two comfortable wins over Indiana and Purdue last weekend helped vault Minnesota all the way up to No. 11 in the national rankings, and to the top of the conference standings — the first time they've been on top since they won the Big Ten title in 2008.

• The United States began Olympic qualifying on the men's side this week with a 3-1 win over Canada. Unfortunately for two Minnesotans who have been a regular feature in the Under-23 Olympics team, though, injuries have come up at precisely the wrong time. Goalkeeper Cody Cropper, of Maple Grove, sustained a knee injury while playing for the MK Dons reserve team in England and will miss the tournament. Defender Eric Miller, of Woodbury, was all set to join the USA — but was not cleared by the doctor at Montreal, his MLS team, and thus had to miss out because of injury as well.