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Rose City Roundup: Big Hearts, Brass Balls Edition

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USA TODAY Sports

Does anyone else feel like they're still coming down from last night? I know there's still a big challenge ahead of us at Real Salt Lake before we can even think about the possibility of the finals, and I know we're supposed to keep our highs low, but that would be a lot easier if our highs stopped being so exciting and heart attack-inducing.

It's a random mix of news and links today, kicking off with a great Grant Wahl piece on Alex Morgan, which really gave me a new sense of appreciation for the Thorns and USWNT star, and which contained an interesting little bit about Merritt Paulson and the Thorns.

Enjoy!

Alex in Wonderland
Fun fact: Morgan watched Portlandia to learn about Portland.

Ghana trounces U.S. to eliminate Americans from U-20 World Cup
The U.S. U-20s failed to make it out of the Group of Death.

Klinsmann Calls In Experienced 2014 Gold Cup Roster
Klinsmann's final Gold Cup roster and some thoughts on who's missing and what to expect from the guys who made it.

CONCACAF Best 11: Our Pick for Every Position
American Soccer Now picks the best 11 in CONCACAF, based on current form.

Is lower level soccer in Western America about to enter boom period?
We may soon see a flurry of lower-division teams spring up in the western United States.

Rumor: Dan Kennedy to leave Chivas USA for Maccabi Tel Aviv?
I love transfer rumors at least as much as actual transfer news.

First Half Winners: From NWSL Success to U.S. Glory
A look at who's making the most of the first ever NWSL season, plus a link to an article (yes, a link within a link) that explains the odd reason Lori Chalupny will probably not play with the USWNT no matter how well she continues to play in Chicago.

Seattle earns first win, Breakers continue skid
The Reign finally won a game! (And I'm just realizing how sadly ironic their name seems right now.)

When they don’t come to Portland to retire
The Timbers' recent older signings aren't treating MLS like a retirement league.

Rangers defender Steven Smith admits his return to Ibrox is solely down to club's cash troubles
An update on the former Timber, back with Rangers in Scotland (and if the Daily Record's writing style bothers you as much as it bothers me, I'm very sorry).