Today’s Best: (Mexican) Chivas Shake-Up (+ Lalas on Lalas Action)

Tucked toward the bottom of a well-reasoned take on the Ricardo Clark situation, Ian Plenderleith passed on some news I might have known had I read The DCenters a little more closely over the past couple weeks (you guys caught this, right?):

“Speaking of difficult challenges for US teams in Central America, tonight DC United faces a second leg road game in the Copa Sudamericana at Chivas de Guadalajara in Mexico, defending the 2-1 lead they eked out at RFK last week.  Chivas not only sacked its coach after the defeat, prompting a 3-1 weekend victory over Velacruz in MFL play, but they also announced free entry to tonight’s game, ensuring a large and lively crowd.

Dang.  Mexican clubs love that free entry concept…we should work that States-side a little more often.  Should be a good game tonight.  Those wanting further reading should check out DCenters’ preview post.

(In other, super-secret bonus news (maybe I should just go back to the Daily Sweeper feature), Greg Lalas informed his brother, Alexi, through the national media that he wants his team, the LA Galaxy, to fail.  And the Lalas not affilliated with a major sporting operation…crap…the Lalas who is not a club president has it largely correct.  I’m looking to Houston to forfend the madness.)

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MLS Week 26 Power Rankings: Experiencing Theoretical Difficulties

Now that most teams have only three games remaining, it occurs to me that my theoretical approach to these power rankings hasn’t been consistent from the beginning of the season. For a time, teams were ranked based on relative power at that point in time – e.g. if a team sat higher in the standings than another, that amounted to an opinion that the higher team would beat the lower more often than not. Since then, the rankings followed a different standard: whether or not a given team seemed likely to make the post-season.

I bring this up now courtesy of an urge to rank Real Salt Lake (RSL) higher than a few playoff-bound teams. RSL punches toe-to-toe with the bottom half of the playoff bracket these days and that’s not quite showing up. To give an example, I’d wager they can have their way with FC Dallas right now, point differential notwithstanding.

Well…I screwed up. What can I say? So, with that in mind, expect the same half-thought, random mash. As always, last week’s ranking appears in parentheses after this week’s ranking and, in a new(-ish) twist, current points (drawn from the ever-helpful standings) and each team’s upcoming game(s) are listed as well. Continue reading

The Tuesday Morning High-5

And bringing you a hopefully new and reoccuring segment, The daily morning High-5

1.)  They still love Ronaldinho in Sport today, but will he actually make is return today against against Stuttgart, that remains to be seen.  My question is with Henry, Eto’o (once he is healthy) will there actually be room for the Brazilian at the Camp Nou, and how much would it take to sell him off??? The price could be right this summer.

2.)  Sevilla may play tonight against Slavia Prague in a stadium with empty seats, something not seen in Nervión in quite sometime.  I guess the fans are not happy with the way Sevilla has been playing of late, but that doesn’t ever stop me from going to a game.  Come on, I root for the Buffalo Bills, and I still go to every homegame.

3.)  Phil Ball anoits Leo Messi as the next coming of Christ.  Honestly, I don’t think he is over exaggerating.

4.)  News and notes on all of the Champions League games today for the Spanish sides.

5.)   Some may say that two of the best players in La Liga are Leo Messi and Sergio ‘El Kun’ Agüero.  Both Argentinian, but Agüero says that he is at the same level as Leo Messi, seriously. I don’t think you are there yet kid, but give yourself some time.

Gerrard hits boy with car er…boy hits car.

With all this controversy and ill-will towards our keynote speaker Jeff (by the way, I still love you), why not get a small laugh (only small because someone did get hurt) at the misfortune (i.e. bad driving) of Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.

The Anfield star was driving “very slowly” through Birkdale, Merseyside when a “young boy ran out and hit the side of his car”. First off, the way this is phrased by Gerrard’s spokesperson really stimulates the imagination. Was it a boy sent to do Chelsea’s dirty work by running head-first into Gerrard’s car? Who knows, but how slow is “very slowly”? Better yet, who cares?

No word as to whether or not the little boy – mercenary or not – is going to get front row seats to Liverpool’s Champions League match-up against Marseille this Wednesday.

Just Call Me a Useful Idiot, OK?

 (UPDATE: Yeah, I changed the title.  “Memo to ____” doesn’t match the mood of the post.)

I’ve been mulling over the things I’ve written in my “screed of independence” (which continues to fill with comments now that the SoccerCity message board has found it) and have cede one point to the Timbers’ Army commenters: every member of the Timbers’ Army is twice the fan I am. Absolutely true: you do more to build the game outside the stadium and you do more to make the game interesting once it’s on. As for where I am, a comment left by “Vic,” absolutely nails it. Vengance seems to wish me bodily harm for something as close to nothing as you can get, and that’s more of what I expected when the SoccerCity message board found this post.

(The comments keep stacking up and I have a late, good one to flag: I’ve heard stories about trouble between Sounders fans and visiting Timbers fans, so what yabollox wrote makes sense, or at least explains the fervency I’m getting. I never had fan trouble – thankfully – ’cause I think it’s sub-moronic to the point where I have a rule of thumb about it: if you throw the first punch at an opposing fan and it’s, literally, in defense of nothing more than your team’s pride, the most unfortunate moment in your life came when the sperm met the egg. Long digression…sorry.)

But I appreciate the willingness of some people, in what has become a record comments thread, to write something simple as “glad you support the team,” even if they follow it up with, “but you’re not a fan.” If being a fan means wearing green underwear and singing songs with everyone else, no, I’m not that kind of fan. But I show up, I know what I’m watching, I know who I’m watching down to the individual players, along with their strengths and weaknesses, and I yell and whoop like it. There are people like me in every one of the “cathedrals of the game.” We’re here, we’re not really sure why, get used to it.

Turning to this specific post, I don’t hate Seattle ’cause I don’t see the point of it. As much as I want to see the home team win – and I do…just not desperately – I’m mainly there hoping for a good game and a good night. The funny thing is, I used to “get sick” watching my team, did the whole act really. But, one day, I realized it was just an act. Is everyone out there acting? I really doubt it. And I’m not about to question anyone’s sincerity because I don’t live in their head and it’s their life, not mine.

That’s kind of the point in the end. Why do I feel like it’s my job to speak for anyone who might feel guilt about sneaking up to Seattle for an MLS game? I can’t tell you. It’s just how I’m wired, precisely the same reason I follow the Timbers the way I do and why I’m slowly, but surely, turning on my old club, New England. I just like soccer and I don’t have it in me to fake caring about things I don’t care about. What I do know is that I’m paying money to support the business the Timbers Army loves; not counting concessions (which I don’t know that the club gets; in fact, I really doubt it), I’ve paid the Timbers’ organization easily over $1,000 down the years – and that’s on the inside; I’m absolutely horrified to think what I’ve given to places like the Marathon and the Bitter End down the years. And, no, I’m not looking for a thank you…jesus, I’m not stupid.

It was my love for places like the Marathon that took me back to Portland from the East Coast. If there’s one thing I resent in the above, it’s the throw-away line about “Portland being just an address” for me. (Damn shame that came from Obi, who I think is a mad genius for the Deborah Knapp thing…oh well.) I turned my life upside down in more ways than I can count to move back to Portland six years ago. I moved here out of simple love for the city itself, not the soccer team. And, as much as the city has changed, I don’t regret the move for a minute; the people drive me batty, but that’s a personal problem; PEOPLE drive me batty – goes back to wiring.

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’ll pay to see the Timbers as long as I live here and when I can afford it. So, let me support the team/teams I like in my own weird way, take my money, and we’ll all be happy.

La Liga Para Todos Oct 1st—Da plane..da plane.

Real Madrid got a new plane today, and showed it off for all the world to see. I just think that it is utterly hystarical that on the front of as.com today, this was the top story. Really? A new plane? Some clubs don’t even have a bus, let alone a plane. You think Real Murcía hops on their plane and gets off in Barcelona for their game? Hell no, they are taking a bus baby, just like the rest of the world. The plane is called ‘La saeta’ which means ‘arrow’ or ‘dart’. It should also mean ‘lots of money’.
Ronaldinho is ready to get back into action and will show what he is worth on the field. He has been criticized as of late, by pretty much everyone out there, but was backed by former Barça coach Johan Cruyff who said he shouldn’t be rushed back into the lineup and should be slowly incorporated back in. The brazilian said that he will respond on the pitch. In the article, he also addressed the issue of supposed late night partying to which he replied ‘I go out the same now as I did two years ago.’ Thanks for that info Roni. With teeth like that, you better go out at night.

According to the Daily Mail, Riquelme may be swept up by Eriksson’s Manchester Citea in the January transfer window for a cool 8 million Euros. I talked about Riquelme earlier and his stay with Boca Juniors and his return to Argentina. It is hard to say whether or not the Daily Mail actually knows what they are talking about, but who knows. Eriksson’s swept up everyone else under the sun this season, why not Riquelme, God knows that he isn’t going to play at Villareal anymore.