Let’s get going:
• It’s Not Beer Pong:
We’re down to the final eight for the College Cup and this is where–if you haven’t been paying attention–it’s time to start…because honestly, the zeal and passion combined with the talent left the rest of the way, makes this a very fun tournament to watch.
I would say over the past few years, I’ve been very impressed with the maturity of teams being on the rise. Teams keeping their cool, muted trash talking etc.
Tonight you have SMU at North Carolina. And then tomorrow you’ve got some of the bigger guns going with Michigan at Maryland, Cal at Akron and UCLA criss-crossing the States over to Lousville.
TSG will be rooting for Cal since USF didn’t have the make-up this year (and we could see them giving Teal Bunbury’s Akron some real trouble Saturday), but we really like Taylor Twellman’s Maryland (because G Zac MacMath is scalding right now).
If David Estrada’s UCLA deals with the time change as well, I can see them knocking off the #1-seeded Cardinals.
And, lest we fail to mention it as we always do, one of TSG favorite games ever was the 2007 NCAA Championship Game between Ohio State and Wake Forest that we mentioned in this column here.
In that game–as we mentioned in the piece–Wake Forest captain Julian Valentin went–unselfishly–head first to defend a loose ball near the Wake Forest 18 and received a cleat in the face that is one of the worst if not the worst cosmetic injuries I’ve seen in soccer. The 1-minute mark. (Other players in that game by the way? Ike Opara and Marcus Tracy).
• More Hits From DeJong?
All American eyes will be on the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday where nervous American fans will look to see if a) Stu Holden passes fit and starts against the citizens and b) the first time that Nigel De Jong and Iceman Holden tangle in central midfield.
That moment has to be in the back of the American’s mind. Bolton takes on Manchester City, 7am PT on Saturday.
• Spector’s encore
The former Manchester United signee Jonathan Spector figures to be in the starting line-up again on Saturday when the Hammers look to spook the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light.
If you though Holden was the only one that had to look for his health this weekend, if Specs is in the midfield he goes up against Lee Cattermole, who never met a Red Card he didn’t try to collect.
West Ham Sunday in the early game against Sunderland.
• Fulham Head Intercity
Fulham to the Emirates to face Arsenal. Arsenal’s home form has been challenging…nay it’s been atrocious. American father Clint Dempsey could sparkle–if he gets service–in this one as Arsenal’s central defense has been softer than Santa’s belly lately.
Fulham play Arsenal early Saturday and please, please “Don’t Climb On the Cannons!” Another favorite video of ours.
• All Points Bulletin: The Gooch Watch
Yes, The Shin Guardian just re-issued The Gooch Watch, not seen in these parts for some time AND we’re putting out an All Points Bulletin for Oguchi Onyewu to be on the bench this weekend when Milan welcome relegation candidate Brescia to the San Siro.
Milan has a critical midweek tussle against Ajax in the Champion’s League (Onyewu is not on the Euro roster) and word is that suitors are in the offing for Onyewu. A little run out would certainly help his value.
Odds: 3 to 2 on Onyewu in the 18.