Friday, December 16, 2005

Giant Fat News

-ADDITION: Is this a scoop? While listening to the press conference in Houston announcing the new team I heard the MC introduce various dignitaries. The one that caught my attention was the introduction of Doug Hamilton as an AEG Executive, and former President of the Los Angeles Galaxy. Did we hear a bit of unannounced news here????? At :33 seconds of the conference you will hear: "Doug Hamilton - Chief Operating Officer of AEG Sports, & also last year was the President & General Manager of the LA Galaxy who won the MLS Cup...."
-Houston it is! The San Jose Earthquakes soccer team has officially moved to Houston TX. This is great for one city that really deserves a top flight team, but a complete disaster for another city that had and still deserves a top flight team. Something is just completely wrong with this whole deal. I hope none of the people involved believes in karma, cuz if they do, they better duck.
-The San Jose Mercury News has in-depth coverage of the wreckage from their end of the shaft.
-I think part of this situation is big drag on many levels. First being that San Jose, while not drawing the biggest crowds, has been pretty damn enthusiastic during the matches. Secondly, the rivalry that developed between them and LA was fantastic! Those games were so much fun to watch. And lastly, the fact that a new ownership group could not be found during all this time in SJ shows that MLS still does not have the cache to be a real major league sports enterprise yet.
-But it's about business too. And nothing could be done with the situation as it was to not continue losing millions of dollars every year in SJ.
-The good part is that people in Houston always go to see matches! Lots of people! Period. They also have some of the best daily newspaper soccer coverage already with 3 excellent writers: Glenn Davis, Bernardo Fallas, John Lopez & John Conway. Now they get a quality team to cover.
-One San Jose fan sent a fiery email to MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and actually got a reply. Read it here.
-The 2006 USL First Division schedule has been released. (Including my Minnesota Thunder.) Read it and shout for joy. Thanks to Primuscomics for the heads up.
-The draw was held this morning for the Champions League round of 16 (to be played Feb 21 & Mar 8). There are some fantastic mash-ups here:
Chelsea FC v FC Barcelona
Real Madrid CF v Arsenal FC
Werder Bremen v Juventus
FC Bayern Munchen v AC Milan
PSV Eindhoven v Olympique Lyonnais
AFC Ajax v FC Internazionale Milano
SL Benfica v Liverpool FC
Rangers FC v Villarreal CF
-Last night was the first leg of the Laguilla Final. And what an insane match it was. Toluca 3-3 Monterrey, which is great to see in a big match like that, but the score itself doesn't tell it all. Monterrey tore out to a 2-0 lead before the game was even 8 minutes old. But right on the stroke of half time Toluca rallied for a 2-2 tie. In the 63 minute Toluca scored an own goal to fall back behind. In the 88th minute though they had a the chance to even the score on a PK, but missed it. Only to score a minute later to tie the match at 3 apiece! Talk about drama. Which naturally takes us to the Grand Finale on Sunday with Monterrey holding the magical 3 away goals in their hand. The only way Monterrey can lose now is if they get beat or draw 4-4. See the match Sunday at 5pm on Univision.
-Big Euro matches this weekend:
Lazio v Juventus - The kings of (f or r)acist salutes v the best team in the world - see it at 1:30pm Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel
Werder Bremen v Hamburg - #3 v #2 & trying to keep up with #1 Bayern - see it Sunday at 10:30am central time on Fox Soccer Channel
Arsenal v Chelsea - who is tougher mentally, and will Man U get a chance to chase Chelsea?
Real Madrid v Osasuna - #3 v #2 with 6 points separating them
Rangers v Hearts - Hearts are trying to stay with Celtic at the top, while Rangers are gaining some momentum but are still 14 points back - can they pull off something amazing?
-The Copa Sudamericana second leg Final between Boca Juniors & UNAM Pumas is also set for Sunday from Buenos Aires. Leg one ended in a 1-1 draw. The game is only available live in the US on Fox Sports En Espanyol. But will be shown a day late on Fox Soccer Channel - Mon Dec 19 7PM Central
-Ricardo Seyton of Sports Illustrated previews Sunday's Club World Championship between Liverpool and Sao Paulo.
-Is it funny, cute, nice or weird: DC United keeper lil Nicki Rimando married his longtime sweetie lil Jacqui Little - who used to play pro soccer herself (for the defunct Washington Freedom). And who was it that conducted the ceremony for the lovely twosome? Of course DC United teammate, and professional Caveman impersonator Ben Olsen! Now that is the way to do it up right!
-UEFA Cup final day of group play. Here are the scores from last night:
Hamburg 2-0 Slavia
Monaco 2-1 CSKA Sofia
Palermo 3-0 Brondby
Espanyol 1-0 Maccabi Petach-Tikva
Lens 2-1 Sampdoria
Hertha 0-0 Steaua
Middlesbrough 2-0 Litex
AZ Alkmaar 1-0 Grasshoppers
At this point the top 3 teams from each group go thru to join the 8 3rd place teams from the Champions League in the 2-leg knock out stage matches.
So here are those 16 matches (to be played Feb 15-16 & 23):
1 PFC Litex Lovech v RC Strasbourg
2 VfB Stuttgart v Middlesbrough FC
3 SK Slavia Praha v US Citta di Palermo
4 SC Heerenveen v FC Steaua Bucuresti
5 FC Lokomotiv Moskva v Sevilla FC
6 Bolton Wanderers FC v Olympique de Marseille (FRA)
7 Hertha BSC Berlin v AFC Rapid Bucuresti
8 FC Basel 1893 v AS Monaco FC
9 Udinese Calcio v RC Lens
10 Rosenborg BK v FC Zenit St. Petersburg
11 Club Brugge KV v AS Roma
12 FC Schalke 04 v RCD Espanyol
13 LOSC Lille Metropole v FC Shakhtar Donetsk
14 FC Thun v Hamburger SV
15 Real Betis Balompie v AZ Alkmaar
16 FC Artmedia v PFC Levski Sofia
The round of 16 will then face off like this:
Winners of Match 7 v Winners of Match 14
Winners of Match 8 v Winners of Match 1
Winners of Match 2 v Winners of Match 11
Winners of Match 4 v Winners of Match 15
Winners of Match 3 v Winners of Match 12
Winners of Match 6 v Winners of Match 10
Winners of Match 9 v Winners of Match 16
Winners of Match 13 v Winners of Match 5


Blogger hartley said...

I hope San Jose and Bay Area fans hang in there and work for an MLS expansion club. Yes, they deserve better. But so did Cleveland Browns fans when their owner moved them to Baltimore.

MLS is keeping the Earthquakes name, and that means they are serious about putting another team there if ownership and stadium issues can be resolved.

If folks in the Bay Area feel they cannot support MLS, then they should put together a proposal for a USL Division 1 team and take it to MLS all they can by building that team up. Plus, if they develop a really good squad for USL, then they can really go after all the MLS teams they face in U.S. Open Cup play.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Kali said...

Did Ben Olsen do one of those Internet minister certifications or something?

12:33 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Is it me or does the UEFA Cup look like a complete joke? Just rename it the Losers Cup already.

Oh, and nice "draw" with a rematch of Chelsea and Barcelona. Kenyon says in the rehearsal draw they also drew Barcelona. Wait. A rehearsal draw? WTF?

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

I know Ben Olsen's uncle is an Orthodox priest. Whether he is or not I do not know.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's really weird, is the city of San Jose is offering 80 million for an expansion team, including a stadium deal. Read the story. It almost seems as if SJ is saying "We want a team, just not this team."

One question: Where the hell was this during the recent unpleasantness?

6:21 PM  
Blogger brucio said...

yes, ben olsen got his "ministers" certificate off the internet!!!!

and this deal that san jose is offering smells a lot like that joke of an offer put on the table by the mayor of san antonio - the city council will never go for this deal, its obscene

7:48 PM  

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