Is it just me or does the soccer world seem to be holding its collective breath for Wednesday? There are the usual rumors, of course (see MLS Rumors; I’ll catch up once a week and when they come together), and talk of Major League Soccer (MLS) releasing the 2008 regular season schedule on Thursday…at which time we can determine the precise size of the barrel over which Superliga and the CONCACAF Champions put MLS clubs. See what I mean? Waiting for Wednesday, waiting for Thursday…except on the scheduling stuff; I’ll putz around that issue a little more in a bit.
Before getting to the body of this post, here’s a theory: perhaps dragging players on the league’s best teams through those two late summer tournaments is just an indirect measure for enforcing parity. Think about it.
But, no, this post is all about my continuing effort to get up for tomorrow’s friendly pitting the U.S. Men’s National Team (Yanquis) against Mexico (ESPN2, 6 p.m. with plenty of soccer-porn included). With appearances pointing toward the Yanquis fielding an A-Team (otherwise, why bring them? Exactly! Don’t bring them.) – not what I had hoped to see after all – I’m still plenty excited about this game on at least one level: what else is there between tomorrow and the Pan-Pacific Tournament? A couple Mexican Primera games, a little of the Fulham survival saga, an ongoing quest to find when the UEFA Cup resumes (NOTE: I know where to find this, but, for whatever reason, I keep checking soccertv.com) – e.g. several convenient, emotionally-disengaged relationships I’ll kick the curb without remorse or even a box of chocolates come March 29. That ain’t love, people. It’s just sex….sex…sex…hmm…where am I now?
Anyway, the big sites are working to up the profile for tomorrow’s game. A quartet of features have run on ESPN’s front page for the past couple days: I haven’t read ’em all, but did make time for Andrea Canales’ look into a change in tone within the Mexican camp, Jen Chang’s piece that plays with the “Clash of the Golden Generations” angle (a popular idea picked up in Soccer America (if only for a sentence or two) and Dan Loney’s big preview post stating that the coming of age of Mexico’s Golden Generation means they’ll beat us…just not Wednesday); elsewhere, Steve Davis just flat-out hypes the game.
Elsewhere, FOX Soccer’s site went one better with the creation of a separate CONCACAF Clasico hype-space. To all that, USSoccerplayers.com added a predicted starting XI (with all that damnable reasoning about playing who you called) and a separate piece that goes some way to justifying that approach (it’s the “nucleus of the team,” man).
Roll it all together and what do you have? Plenty in there to whet the appetite, I should think. I do like the “Golden Generation” meme, that’s a good narrative. Congrats on that, whoever came up with it. If all the above isn’t enough – particularly in conjunction with the considerable, ongoing dry spell in the U.S. soccer world – well, I don’t think anything will get you interested.
If, on the other hand, you’re just fatigued at the prospect of another U.S./Mexico friendly and are looking for a new flavor to try, Fox Soccer Channel is airing another CONACAF friendly on Wednesday: Jamaica and Costa Rica, 3 p.m. PST. I’m looking forward to a little scouting…
BONUS MATERIAL: Being a live and let live kind of guy generally, I’d normally think several times more than twice before posting something like this. That said, if you can laugh at these (frankly harrowing) Top 100 quotes, items lifted from Christian fundamentalist message boards, forums, etc. by a group seeking to mock them, you may want to take a gander at the map of the underworld which came courtesy of Boing Boing. It might be worth knowing where you’re headed.
How’s that for a two-fer?