Category Archives: ‘Saahcker’/MLS
Major League Soccer, US national team, growth of the game in North America
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there at 5-a-sides: the ball comes over, and despite knowing that your attempt has a 99.5% chance of flying over the bar, you think “I’m going to back-heel this while it’s still in the air, then turn and execute a delightful overhead kick which will propel the ball into the back of the net for a wonderful goal”. Or something like that.
But that’s exactly what Nkosi Burgess of the Dix Hill Heat U-15 team in Long Island, USA, did at the weekend. Hats off to the young Yank:
Today is National Cleavage Day. Apparently. Which is perfect timing, as we’ve been waiting for a chance to try out our new mankinis. Today’s Scaramanga-like voluptuous set are:
1) Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund vs Stuttgart, 20.30 CET/14.30 EST
Dortmund’s front pair have been doing the business recently, while Stuttgart’s have been rather flat. A win for the away side would give them a bit of a lift as they lean forward towards Europe, but the league leaders have been in bouncy form recently, and should emerge on top.
2) Belgian Pro League Play-offs: Club Brugge vs Genk, 20.30 CET/14.30 EST
Belgium’s terribly distracting play-off system, now in its third year, has never truly been welcomed into fans’ bosoms. We don’t really have the time to explain it here (especially when we’re racking our brains for boob puns…ooh – ‘rack’, nice one), but suffice to say that Club Brugge look hot and Genk do not.
3) MLS: DC United vs FC Dallas, 01.30 CET/19.30 EST
If you’ve been keeping abreast (ha!) of early MLS results, you’ll know that DC have done little to arouse their fans so far, and that the Texans have been udderly inconsistent. Goals have not always flowed from this fixture, so we’re tipping the home side’s twin-pronged attack of Maicon Santos and Hamdi Salihi to bust through the Dallas defence.
Three Champions League ties, across two continents. Here’s today’s trio to watch:
1) UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg: Marseille vs Bayern Munich, 20.45 CET/14.45 EST
The Frenchies haven’t won the Big Cup since 1993, while Bayern haven’t ruled Europe since 2001. The Germans have a far superior team on paper (Ribery, Gomez, Neuer, Robben, and I’ll stop there so I don’t have to write out 11 names), but as that toothless bloke at the bar is fond of reminding you, paper is not the surface upon which the beautiful game is played. Munich have come unstuck in France before, but L’OM will need to find some form (recent results: losses to Dijon in Ligue 1 and 3rd division Quevilly in the Coupe) if they wish to give themselves a fighting chance in the second leg.
2) UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg: AC Milan vs Barcelona, 20.45 CET/14.45 EST
The chat doing the rounds at the moment is that Milan may be the only side that can stop Barça tippy-tappying their way to Euro glory once again. For inspiration, fans of I Rossoneri will look back to 1994, when one of the finest Milan teams in history put in debatably the greatest team performance ever seen in a Champions League final, spanking their highly-fancied Catalan opponents 4-0. The odds on that scoreline being repeated tonight? 150-1. Go on, you know it makes sense.
3) CONCACAF Champions League semi-final, first leg: Toronto v Santos Laguna, 03.00 CET/20.00 EST
The first Canadian side to reach the last four of CONCACAF’s showcase event, Toronto are also the last MLS team left in the competition, leaving Americans in the uncomfortable position of having to cheer on their northern neighbo(u)rs. Aron Winter’s men took care of GoldenBalls and the Galaxy rather impressively in the last round, but the task remains a sizeable one. Los Albiverdes currently top the Mexican league, are playing some damn sexy football and smacked six past Seattle Sounders in the second leg of the quarter-final. If they’re in the mood, it could be watch-through-your-fingers time at BMO Field.
Thought all the best football today had already been and gone? Think again. Here’s an appetising Americas assortment that’ll get your pulses racing faster than that of a Kazakh athlete forced to listen to Borat’s ‘alternative’ anthem at a recent medal ceremony.
1) Argentinian Primera A (Clausura): Racing Club vs Unión, 00.30 CET/18.30 EST
Now managed by David Beckham nemesis Diego Simeone, Racing are, well, racing to end an eleven year wait without a league title, a bloody eternity for fans of a club considered to be part of an admittedly rather arbitrary ‘big five’ in Argentina. Their newly promoted opponents have not done too shabbily so far back amongst the big boys, and with both sides having strengthened their defence, it promises to be a tight one.
2) Mexican 1a División: Santos Laguna vs Querétaro, 03.00 CET/21.00 EST
In Mexico, it’s second against 18th tonight, also known as last. Querétaro have won once in eleven matches, while Santos Laguna recently put six goals past a previously-thought-to-be-pretty-damn-good Seattle side in the CONCACAF Champions League. Expect a few goals at the Estadio Corona, and expect them for just one team.
3) MLS: Vancouver vs DC United, 04.00 CET/22.00 EST
The Canadians won their first two games of the season, including a first-ever away victory as an MLS club last week. In the meantime, DC United were losing their opening two fixtures. While it all points to a home win, the Whitecaps have a few pesky injuries, and DC United have…well, it might be clutching at straws, but they might well have more Canadians on the field than their hosts, if Dejan Jakovic can shake off a groin strain and 2011 league MVP Dwayne de Rosario plays, as he is expected to do. De Rosario constitutes DC’s best chance of taking something from the game, and he would no doubt relish the chance to do it in front of his countrymen, continuing his mission to become the most famous Canadian since, um, John Candy.
Fridays generally offer slim pickings for those looking for some live footy action, and today’s fixture list does have a certain Old Mother Hubbard look to it. Still, football’s a bit like sex, or pizza; even when it’s bad, it’s really, really good:
1) Bundesliga: Wolfsburg vs Hamburg, 20.30 CET/15.30 EST
Hamburg have had a bad season, by their high standards. Currently scrabbling about just above the drop zone, the former European champions really need to take something from their tricky trip to Wolfsburg, following a run of five games without a win. Hamburg have never been relegated from the top flight, but should they get bitten on the bum by the Wolves tonight, the yawning abyss will seem a wee bit too close for comfort.
2) Portuguese Primeira Liga: Olhanense vs Benfica, 21.45 CET/16.45 EST
It’s been a pretty divine couple of weeks for Jorge Jesus’ Benfica side, what with them making it into the Big Cup quarter-finals, being chosen to host the 2014 final of that same competition and cutting the gap on pesky Porto to one point. A win this evening over Algarve outfit Olhanense would see them temporarily leap-frog their rowdy rivals into first place. However, just before you stick the mortgage on The Eagles to grab all three points, it’s worth noting that their traditionally modest opponents are enjoying one of their best ever seasons in the top division.
3) MLS: Seattle vs Houston, 04.00 CET/22.00 EST
A battle of undefeated sides, I hear you say? Let’s be having some of that! Except the MLS season has only reached matchday…three. Still, Sounders fans always create a cracking atmosphere, and the Dynamo have looked pretty solid so far. Seattle should have won the MLS last year, and Houston almost did, so the chances of a dull encounter are as unlikely as one of Mitt Romey’s campaign advisers comparing the candidate’s policies to an Etch A Sketch. Oh, wait…