The Weekend: What Are You Watching

Break out the Chardonnay and croissants. It’s Mother’s Day Weekend, here in the States only as I learned on Twitter yesterday.

Giggs, incredulously going stronger than Lampard these days...

But there is a full plate overflowing with bangers, mash and a whole host of phenomenal footie affairs.

The “premiere” match-up? Of course that’s Manchester United vs. Chelsea. John Terry vs. Wayne Rooney. Massive debt (MUFC) vs. Diminishing Wealth (CHE), Aging talisman (Giggs) vs. Very aging sharpshooter who doesn’t create anymore and is really just taking up space sometimes (Lampard), though he’s a complete professional.

Chelsea just off the top ‘o the table, Manchester United looking to brush them under.

There’s more of course, the USMNT’s two “2011 EPL minutes leaders” in the central midfield go head-to-head. Of course that’s Michael Bradley vs. Stu Holden rather Jermaine Jones vs. Jonathan Spector. West Ham is currently porkloined in the basement, Blackburn is a hovering.

Roma vs. Milan goes down in Serie A. Unfortunately Roma’s tomato over-ripened about half a season ago. Maybe Zlatan will create some excitement though.

Bundesliga, pass this week. I’ll take flack.

La Liga, pass this week. Won’t take flack.

Back home in MLS, you’ve got the bi-coastal marquee match-up of the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. the New York Red Bulls. If you remember last year, the Red Bulls visited a Galaxy-side that was depleted at the back having to play then-second choice Leonardo and third stringer Yohance Marshall in central defense.

That said, it was the Red Bulls central defense of Tony Tchiani and Rafa Marquez that laid the beatdown on Dema Kovalenko and Juninho in the middle and that was the story of the match and will likely be the key ingredient to Saturday’s match. Can the Los Angeles Galaxy midfield step-up when teams stretch to cover a withdrawn David Beckham and advancing Landon Donovan.

Don't worry Omar....

On the opposite side, Bruce Arena’s company will have to deal a methodical linking attack of the Red Bulls that’s starting to take shape.

...you're beautiful...

They’ll also have to deal with the fact that Omar Gonzalez readied himself for the match by going to see James Blunt this week. Don’t worry, we called him out.

Elsewhere, the Sounders take on Columbus in their 2nd game of the week and need to put it together–again–on offense to do any better than a draw. Philly heads to Portland’s lair for a battle of offense vs. defense.

Two more notes:

» First, gave a little stick to Grant Wahl about his Sporting KC MLS Cup pick. He fired back that he was still all-in on the wizardry of Peter Vermes.

Sporting KC might be looking down at no one in the table right now, but they’re a lot better than their record indicates. Red cards in all but one game (that will get corrected), a road trip from hell to start the season while Lance LIVESTRONG park readies itself for the MLS Tour, and injuries to the backline.

Yes, this man is, in fact, a ferocious defender...RRRrrgh...

KC haven’t lost a game by more than one goal and were in every game that they have played. Once they get back home, their defense will solidify and with the weapons up front, they’ll just need to get that midfield a little more sorted. With a KC bye this week, good times for you fantasy footie managers to pick up some Sporting players on the cheap. Just got myself a shiny new Michael Harrington on discount.

» Second, and am way late on this: I love the move to ban colored shoes on the pitch. If you recall it was a shrewd business move by Nike to guerrilla market the 2010 World Cup. This consisted of: calling out the Jabulani, making the infamously expensive hype video featuring Wayne Roo-ins and more, and of course, honoring their athletes contracts by outfitting their South Africa bound players with shoe colors that went highlighter.

In case you didn’t know, that the color is for them to get noticed, nothing more. And I for one, cannot stand when a marketing move disrupts the tradition of club color’s or unity. Anywho…

Back to the games….

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47 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by EFG on 2011/05/06 at 10:47 AM

    Over-ripened? Perhaps, but Roma is 1 point back from the final CL spot (and Totti is playing on another level) and Milan needs 1 point to clinch the Scudetto. Should be compelling

    Reply

  2. Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/05/06 at 1:51 PM

    Stupid no FSC in HD on my cable. Hopefully that gets fixed soon. Also as a Right coaster, 11pm is just too late to catch a game.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Alex Song on 2011/05/06 at 3:48 PM

    Ban colored cleats?

    Then Clint Dempsey will no longer be Super Fly.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/06 at 4:00 PM

      Oh gosh, I was going to post on this. Never, ever try to develop a nickname for an athlete who already has one. Horrible move.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/06 at 5:59 PM

        Superfly is just the name for the shoes–they’ve got Neymar, Ozil, Ronaldo, etc. etc. all saying what they think “Superfly” means to them. So not as if they’re trying to invent a nickname for Deuce.

        Reply

  4. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/06 at 6:48 PM

    The majority of the world’s population celebrates Mother’s Day this Sunday.

    Reply

  5. Posted by dth on 2011/05/06 at 8:26 PM

    In the Timbers-Union first half, thought Okugo looked real good for Philadelphia and Nagbe looked good for Portland. Too bad Nagbe won’t be eligible for the U.S….

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/06 at 9:34 PM

      And Okugo makes an error–handles the ball in the middle of the field, ensuing set piece results in a goal.

      Meanwhile, the Union continue to be a mystifying team. Last year, so dynamic on offense. This year, have more talent, yet stagnant and boring on offense. Why? (And, though he had a good game, Kyle Nakazawa continues to be a one of the great unsolved mysteries.

      Reply

  6. Posted by John on 2011/05/06 at 9:44 PM

    I am just so damned proud of my team and my city.

    Reply

  7. Posted by John on 2011/05/07 at 6:48 AM

    There is always a certain level of antagonising that goes on between Timbers and Sounders fans, but during/after the Union game the baiting has really stepped up. I’m not sure that the MLS really even gets how intense a rivalry this is.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Jake C. on 2011/05/07 at 7:43 AM

    “West Ham is currently porkloined in the basement.”

    Bravo, sir. Bravo.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/07 at 8:28 AM

    So is Findley hurt again?

    Reply

  10. Posted by dth on 2011/05/07 at 1:45 PM

    Javier Morales is down, and I’m not sure when he’s going to get back up. Very nasty challenge. Don’t watch the replays.

    Reply

  11. Posted by dth on 2011/05/07 at 8:07 PM

    Arena going with Juninho-Beckham in midfield…with no Chris Birchall out on right wing to give some bite there. Guessing Thierry Henry does some damage to LA between the lines.

    (The big question, though, will be Mehdi Ballouchy at holding midfield. Clearly Backe thinks he can hold possession.)

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/07 at 8:56 PM

      Juan Agudelo comes in in the second half to push back Galaxy’s back line and win back the possession battle. Clearly Luke Rodgers isn’t respected from a pace perspective.

      Reply

  12. Posted by Andy Karnes on 2011/05/07 at 8:29 PM

    John Harkes’ commentary is as good a reason as any to check out games in person.

    Reply

  13. Posted by john on 2011/05/07 at 8:41 PM

    I gave you a quote from gladiator….. “John Harkes”

    Reply

  14. Posted by john on 2011/05/07 at 9:32 PM

    “He lives in la and was in gangs of new York…. he doesn’t know who to support” — John Harkes

    Reply

    • Posted by Andy on 2011/05/07 at 10:27 PM

      you can’t teach commentary like that…either you got it or you don’t

      Reply

    • Posted by Soccernst on 2011/05/08 at 10:01 AM

      As electrifying as hair in a hot tub my friend.

      Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/08 at 12:14 PM

      My favorite piece of commentary from him happened on Henry’s goal: he insists multiple times that Dane Richards’s through ball is somehow an accident when it is very clearly not.

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/05/08 at 1:04 PM

        I’m getting to the point where I want him on every commentary. Really. Some of the stuff is “mind-bottling”.

        Reply

  15. Posted by John on 2011/05/08 at 10:04 AM

    Chelsea have just been awful.

    Reply

    • Posted by Scott on 2011/05/09 at 7:42 AM

      Officially resigned to the fact that Chelsea has crossed the threshold into decline. How did they manage to climb back to 3 points back?
      And where did all the clamor re: David Luiz come from? He is terribly unfit for EPL football. Makes at least one major mistake a game at CB that seems to cost a goal. And Terry just needs to go away…
      I have come to truly respect this United side for its 11 hands to the pump system. This team winning the EPL this year pretty much cements Ferguson’s genius as a world class team and game mgr. Kudos and I look forward to see his strategy against Barcelona. They may be able to match them in industry and countering and their back 4 are stronger than any other team that Barca has played if Ferdinand stays healthy.
      With his abilities and firm hand in managing superstars you have to wonder what Sir Alex could do with the England squad…he may be one of the few in the world that could pull that off.

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 7:47 AM

        Ferguson would never coach the England squad. He has pretty much stated it in the press. I believe that he even helped Bob Bradley with a few pointers before we played them in the World Cup.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/sports/soccer/18soccer.html

        “I was offered the chance to manage the England team on a couple of occasions but, of course, it was just out of the question,” Ferguson said Friday before United defeated Glasgow Celtic, 3-1, in a preseason friendly in Toronto.

        “It’s a poisoned chalice anyway,” he said. “I think it’s a terrible job, plus the fact that I would have had a tremendous handicap being Scottish.”

        Reply

        • Posted by Scott on 2011/05/09 at 8:01 AM

          I understand the sad impossibility, just musing on the idea that he would be one of the few personalities who could make the hard calls that need to be made to craft a side instead of a collection of inflated egos, overrateds and has beens.
          The Terry’s, Lampards, Cole’s, Gerrard’s, Gareth Barry’s etc that seem to continue to get included in the side at the expense of younger, faster and fitter players.
          Re being Scottish…they have translators for that I’m sure:<)

          Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/09 at 9:23 AM

          Here’s a weird thing that cropped up after the World Cup: it seems like Ferguson really loves Bob Bradley. I know Bradley’s been around Manchester United practice a lot, and Ferguson even said he was shocked the U.S. hadn’t re-upped his contract.

          Now, I know that’s not necessarily the highest endorsement–Sam Allardyce is also Ferguson’s boy–but I do wonder how that relationship got cemented.

          Reply

  16. Posted by John on 2011/05/08 at 1:12 PM

    So I was out on the field today. Bout 3hrs ago.

    I was working on my shot and just messing around on the pitch.

    Then.

    A kid pedals up on a bike, WITH
    Baseball bats
    Baseball cleats
    Baseball

    He goes to the other end of the soccer/football field and practices hitting grounders.

    AGE – Approximately 10 years old

    THEN

    A group of kids come in, WITH

    Soccer balls
    Inter Milan Jersey
    Hanover T-shirt
    LA Galaxy Ball

    7. Age range 5 to 10.

    They set up a pick up game at one of the ends.

    More kids show up. In more soccer gear.

    While I am working on my shot, one of the kids (approximately 10 years old) stands at the 18 and switches from your typical American accent to a perfect British TV announcer accent yelling “FROM 18 YARDS OUT!” before punting it towards the net.

    Meanwhile, more kids show up.

    When I left there were about 10 or 11 kids, about 7 to 13 playing pickup soccer. At the other end of the pitch was a co-ed team practising.

    I think this sport juuuuust might make it in the US.

    Reply

  17. Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 7:52 AM

    http://www.mlsplayers.org/files/May%201,%202011%20Salary%20Information%20-%20By%20Club.pdf

    Wow.

    I bet most of you (or your households) make more money than quite a few of these players.

    Reply

  18. Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 10:07 AM

    Hoooooo boy. Oliver Kay reporting on West Ham United, quote from David Sullivan.

    ”The fans should know this club is in a worse financial position than any other in country” “No route via administration”

    Reply

  19. Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 10:50 AM

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2011/05/09/rbnys-rodgers-lashes-out-donovan

    BAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    From KristianRDyer’s twitter account:

    On Landon Donovan, Luke Rodgers said “The kid is a dickhead.”

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/09 at 11:39 AM

      You’re sure it isn’t the other way around?

      Not sure when Luke Rodgers is going to get into his first fight, but it’s going to be soon. Basically every team I’ve seen ends up scuffling with him, and this is only his first round through the league.

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 12:34 PM

        annnnnnnnnnnnd the response.

        @landondonovan I’m confused, who is Luke Rogers?

        RT @JasonEndres: @landondonovan Luke Rodgers thinks you are a prick, what do you think of him?

        Reply

  20. Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 12:11 PM

    Liverpool currently up on Fulham 2 – 0 10 minutes in. They are just in full flow with their current starting 11.

    Reply

    • Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 12:19 PM

      Massive Penalty shout with a push in the back on Suarez, but the play continues.

      Also, Kuyt Scores

      18:00

      Liverpool 3 – Fulham 0

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 1:37 PM

        Liverpool 5 – Fulham 1

        It cannot be understated how important it was to get rid of Torres.

        Suarez is a revelation for Liverpool, and an utterly mesmerizing player.

        Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/09 at 1:53 PM

          Going to be interesting to see how Liverpool strengthens the team with investment.

          Also, Jonjo Shelvey has been pretty impressive also.

          Dempsey, a la Confed Cup Brazil group stages, is bursting out the tricks out of frustration. If only he were a bit faster…

          Reply

  21. Posted by John on 2011/05/09 at 2:59 PM

    Er: I could be…. wrong… about this

    Nowak to Attend “Match of Stars” Charity Event in Poland – Union manager to miss @LAGalaxy match; Hackworth to fill-in

    but… I would be colossally pissed if I was a union fan.

    Reply

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