Pre-Season Results: I Think Bueno Said It Best

MLSnet.com rounded-up a couple pre-season games from yesterday.  In order of least to greater importance/coverage:

Toronto FC 3-1 U.S. U-17s
Seeing as MLSnet.com’s report is the only place I read about this game, they get the link.  Then again, what’s to get excited about?  Men beating up on teenagers…old news this pre-season.  The line-up has some interesting points, specifically, who isn’t lining up for TFC: Danny Dichio, Jeff Cunningham, Ronnie O’Brien…basically, most the names the  average fan would recognize.  Must be testing trialists and bubble players?

Chivas USA 1-0 DC United
Sure, you can read a bit on this one through the link above, but that doesn’t bear Luis Bueno’s eye-jab of a headline: “Chivas trialists beat DC.”  That’s got to feel swell for DC fans (about as well, I suspect, as tales of freak injuries, recovery and uneven fitness).  Anyway, Bueno’s piece also covers the game, particularly an on-field incident what sounds like a “forward’s tackle” on Jesse Marsch by Luciano Emilio; fortunately for DC fans, no retaliation came…which would have given them more distressing news to digest.  Another write-up on the game came from Nick Green of 100 Percent Soccer, who liked what he saw of Chivas going forward.

For what it’s worth, this last game constitutes one of the more interesting results of the pre-season.

BONUS: What I don’t know about current pop culture can be could fill an oil refinery large enough to solve the United States’ importation of foreign oil.  As such, I didn’t know who Heidi Montag is/was…but, now that I’ve seen and heard her first foray into singing stardom, I’m missing that blessed ignorance horribly.

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The giants are now awake…, Liverpool over Inter 2-0 in CL Home Leg

Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt hit for two late goals – Gerrard’s individual effort being the most spectacular of the two – to surprise the crap out of Serie A leaders Inter Milan.

This also wasn’t an example of finishing what little chances the Reds had – Liverpool dominated Inter – 19 shots to 4, finally breaking through Inter’s 10-man ‘catenaccio’. Yep, 10-men – the Reds got some help from Marco Materazzi when he was sent off for a second yellow card offense in the 30th minute for tugging on El Nino’s jersey. Inter then had to play a whole hour a man dow, at Anfield, after one of the worst losses in Liverpool history (might not be THAT bad).

This will be a huge morale boost for Liverpool and it was led by none other than captain Steven Gerrard (would you expect otherwise?). Rafa also put in timely subs (Crouch, Pennant – assisted Kuijt’s goal) and allowed the fullbacks, Fabio Aurelio and Steve Finnan, the proper room to serve the dangerous ball in. The wings, as a whole, were wide open once Materazzi was out of the picture. Lucas Leiva put in a promising 60 minutes for a young midfielder still learning about European soccer.

It was Liverpool’s 100th European victory at Anfield and – rightly enough – it was Gerrard’s 50th goal at home.

Other scores:

Schalke 04 1, FC Porto 0Schalke uses Kevin Kuranyi’s early goal to head away to Porto a goal up
Olympiakos 0, Chelsea 0Chelsea holds off the Greek champions at home and is ready for a Stamford return
AS Roma 2, Real Madrid 1David Pizarro and Mancini overcome a decent looking Real Madrid side to secure the home win

Chris Coleman takes over the Sky Blues

His new post with Ray Ranson’s Coventry is Coleman’s 2nd in as many years. The former Fulham manager, and co-creator of ‘Fulhamerica’, was with Spanish Second Division squad Real Sociedad from June 2007 to January 2008 when he resigned citing ‘differences in vision’ with new club ownership. Coventry has also welcomed new ownership after Ray Ranson took over several months ago. Previous manager Iain Dowie was fired as the ownership cited very similar ‘differences in vision’.

A fan favorite in his playing and early managerial days at Craven Cottage, Coleman inherits yet another troublesome club. The Sky Blues sit in 20th place, just above the relegation zone with the season winding down quickly. Coventry City, however, has the infrastructure to potentially build a future with the new ownership of Ray Ranson, a relatively new Ricoh Arena built in 2005 (also recently renovated in ’07 to be suitable for UEFA Champions League and international matches), players to build around – Michael Mifsud, Leon Best, and some cash to work with.

If all goes well – Coleman’s new 3.5 year contract will extend to meet Ray Ranson’s “5-year Premiership plan”. Or he could wait around for the job to open up yet again at Craven Cottage if they end up not avoiding the drop. No word on whether or not Chris Coleman will lace up his boots again to keep Coventry from League One hell – and I might say this in jest, but Coventry has a history of young player-managers – Roland Nilsson (37 yo), Gary McAllister (38 yo).

Scoring Leaders Update: Who’s on form out there?

Austrian Bundesliga
1) Alexander Zickler (Red Bull Salzburg) 12
2) Mario Haas (Sturm Graz) 11
3) Carsten Jancker (Mattersburg SV) 9
4) Ivica Vastiè (LASK Linz) 8
    Hamdi Salihi (SV Ried) 8

Dutch Eredivisie
1) Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax) 23
2) Blaise N’Kufo (Twente Enschede) 18
3) Robin Nelisse (FC Utrecht) 13
     Roy Makaay (Feyenoord) 13
     Michael Bradley (Heerenveen) 13
6) Danny Koevermans (PSV Eindhoven) 12
7) Geert Den Ouden (Excelsior) 11
    Afonso Alves (Heerenveen/Middlesbrough) 11
    Marcus Berg (FC Groningen) 11
    Luis Suarez (Ajax) 11

English Championship
1) Kevin Phillips (West Brom) 16
2) Ricardo Fuller (Stoke) 14
     Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolverhampton) 14
4) Clinton Morrison (Crystal Palace) 13
     James Beattie (Sheff Utd) 13
6) Marlon King (Watford/Wigan) 11
     Stern John (Southampton) 11
     Andy Gray (Charlton) 11
    Jonathan Walters (Ipswich) 11

English Premiership
1) Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal) 19
    Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) 19
3) Benjani Mwaruwari (Man City/Portsmouth) 13
4) Robbie Keane (Tottenham) 12
     Fernando Torres (Liverpool) 12
6) Nicolas Anelka (Bolton/Chelsea) 11
     Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn) 11
     Carlos Tevez (Man Utd) 11
9) Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham) 10

French Ligue One
1) Karim Benzema (Lyon) 16
2) David Bellion (Bordeaux) 11
    Mamadou Niang (Marseille) 11
4) Johan Elmander (Toulouse) 10
    Tulio De Melo (Le Mans) 10
6) Djibril Cisse (Marseille) 9
7) Rafik Saïfi (Lorient) 8
    Steve Savidan (Valenciennes) 8
    Daniel Niculae (Auxerre) 8
    Bakari Koné (Nice) 8

German Bundesliga
1) Rafael Van der Vaart (Hamburg SV) 10
    Luca Toni (Bayern Munich) 10
    Diego (Werder Bremen) 10

4) Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich) 9
     Marko Pantelic (Hertha Berlin) 9
     Mladen Petric (Borussia Dortmund) 9
     Stanislav Sestak (VfL Bochum) 9

Greek SuperLeague
1) Darko Kovasevic (Olympiakos) 15
2) Ismael Blanco (AEK Athens) 13
3) Tomasz Radzinski (Xanthi) 11
     Rafik Djeabbour (Panionios) 11
     Dimtris Salpigidis (Panathinaikos) 11
6) Lucio Filomeno (Asteras Tripolis) 8
    Nikos Liberopoulos (AEK Athens) 8

Italian Serie A
1) David Trezeguet (Juventus) 15
2) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan) 14
3) Adrian Mutu (Fiorentina) 13
4) Marco Borriello (Genoa) 12
5) Francesco Totti (AS Roma) 10
     Julio Cruz (Inter Milan) 10
     Francesco Tavano (Livorno) 10
8) Amauri (Palermo) 9
     Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) 9
     Claudio Bellucci (Sampdoria) 9

Portuguese Liga
1) Lisandro Lopez (FC Porto) 13
2) Roland Linz (Braga) 9
3) Joao Paulo Uniao (Leiria) 8
4) Ariza Makukula (Maritimo/Benfica) 7
     Oscar Cardozo (Benfica) 7
6) Nuno Gomes (Benfica) 6
     Edinho (Vitoria Setubal/AEK Athens) 6
     Marcelinho (Naval) 6

Scottish Premiership
1) Scott McDonald (Celtic) 17
2) Barry Robson Dundee United) 11
     Noel Hunt (Dundee United) 11
     Andrius Velicka (Hearts) 11
5) Kris Boyd (Rangers) 9
     David Clarkson (Motherwell) 9
     Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (Celtic) 9

Spanish La Liga
1) Luis Fabiano (FC Sevilla) 16
2) Diego Milito (Real Zaragoza) 14
3) Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid) 12
4) Raul (Real Madrid) 11
    Guiza (Mallorca) 11
    Nihat (Villarreal) 11
7) Raul Tamudo (Espanyol) 10
    Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal) 10
    Joseba Llorente (Valladolid) 10

And Now For Something Completely Different: Nintendo..oh yeah.

(I take a break from CHI’s reguarly scheduled programming for my new segment ‘And Now For Something Completely Different’ Completely different being whatever I feel like writing about, once a week. That’s all)

This week’s virgin episode

‘The Ten Things In Nintendo That Make Me Want to Jump Off A Bridge’


I remember when I first got my Nintendo. It was by far one of the most impressionable days of my childhood. I instantly became a hero throughout the neighborhood, even though I looked like this.

my10_049.jpg
(Yes that is in fact me, at age 8 years old, except don’t let the glasses fool you, I hit .875 that season, seriously)

The Nintendo came in all it’s glory, two controllers, and what the hell is this?

A gun??? Amazing. What you can shoot stuff??? Best. Thing. Ever

I placed in the Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt game in the console and played away. From then, my love for Nintendo grew immensely and my game total ended up surpassing about 100 games in it’s hayday. Complete with some bootleg ones I found at the local flea market in Buffalo.

Last night as I was playing my nintendo emulator on my computer while wasting a bit of time before soccer, I decided to play Marble Madness. You know, that game where you guide the marble on the screen trying to get to the finish before time runs out? I love that game, but was FLIPPING out when I couldn’t beat the ‘expert’ mode. This got me wondering, what else from Nintendo makes me want to jump in front of a fast moving car.

Well, here are my top 10 things in Nintendo that Made Me Want to Jump Off a Bridge

10. Marble Madness and that stupid f’ing level.
Yeah I couldn’t get past that damn level! And not to mention that I could get there EVERY DAMN TIME, but just couldn’t finish the job. The damn marble goes the wrong way, you have 20 seconds, WTF??? WTF??? I want to take that marble and just shove it up the game designer’s ass. He was probably like, wow, I’m just going to totally own everyone who gets to this level. I’ll show them.

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Sepp Blatter ”FIFA is like the United Nations but has more members and is more powerful.”

FYI:: If anyone wants a good La Liga roundup from this past weekend, head on over to my buddy Striker at Spanish Football and Sports.Other people do roundups better than I do.

Now, For some more jolly fun with everyone’s favorite FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

I caught wind of this story last night right before I went to bed at the nice hour of 3am (9am Spanish time). FIFA are looking to ban Spain from all Champions League, UEFA Cup and International competition if the RFEF (Real Federación Española de Futbol ) are forced to hold elections before this summer’s Bejjing Olympics.

Jose Luis Zapatero (Spain’s Prime Minister) is ‘forcing’ all non-olympic federations to hold these elections, which would put an end to Angel Maria Villar’s reign as President of RFEF, who just so happens to hold a position as one of the vice presidents of FIFA’s Executive Committee. So is there a coincidence that Blatter may not want his friend to be given the boot? Maybe there is, and maybe there isn’t.

The heart of the matter is FIFA’s stance on not allowing governments to meddle in football related activities. Can you blame him? What would happen if footballing associations became puppets for the government. I can just see the bribes and fixed games now. 100 Euro shakes all around.

A quote from Blatter:

“It shocks me that the government has passed a ministerial order which states that the federations that will not be involved in the (Olympic) Games must organize their elections before then.”

This could all be tossed out the window if a) Zapatero (Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister) gets ousted in next month’s elections or if b) The RFEF is not forced to hold the elections in this time frame.

Greece was suspended in 2006 for a similar case with government interference in the Helenic Football Federation. The ban was lifted after 48 hours after Greece passed an amendment to rectify the problems cited by FIFA.

Sepp Blatter has a point. Governments should not be allowed to get involved in the elections or force the Footballing organizations to hold elections. Banning the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and MY Sevilla would certainly lessen the quality of football in the champions league, not to mention drive elderly men in Spain to cardiac arrest. But I can honestly say, I wouldn’t blame him for the decision. Sometimes you have to dole out punishment with an iron fist.

The government should not be involved in football, or sports, unless there is a good reason (i.e. corruption, scandal, etc). Aside from this, it is not the place for the government to be, and Spain knows that full well.

If this comes to fruition, Zapatero won’t have to worry about his presidential elections in March, he will have already lost them.

However, the quote of the day, is this gem by Mr. Blatter himself.  This sums up the world footballing power that is FIFA:

‘FIFA is like the United Nations but has more members and is more powerful.”

Priceless.