Now We’re Talkin’: Actual Crew News…A Singing + Chatter

Well, shut my mouth! Just after bitching about the dearth of news on the Columbus Crew, a trip around the Web drops a steaming hunk of it plops in my lap.

Soccer By Ives reports the Crew has actually signed Gino Padula, an Argentine (natch) left-back who played most recently in France – and for a club with a name, no less: Montpelier. After that, I know nothing…and won’t insult you by pretending I do. But that’s one left back signed and secured.

Soccer Insider mentions Brian Bliss’ scouting trip to Honduras where his pursuit of “good players” led him to cast his eye over Jocimer Nascimento…yeah, you got it – from CD Motagua. You might know him from such CONCACAF Champions Cup (CCC) quarterfinal first legs as Tuesday’s goalless draw between Motagua and Mexico’s CF Pachuca. He didn’t have much of an impact – no one from Motagua did, in spite of playing fairly wel – but, while Pachuca did contain him, he looked pretty burly. Sadly, can’t say I saw him crack one on goal…which isn’t to say he didn’t.

Soccer Insider also names Allan Dos Santos as a potential target. Don’t know who he is either.

Crewture put out a report and dug up a Wikipedia entry on Jocimer Nascimento (by way of a heads up, Crewture is moderately NSFW, not for naughty images, but because a song plays everytime you hit the page; turn down volume before visiting perhaps?); not a lot in the latter, but one detail gives pause: the list of clubs at right shows he averages a club a year, a two-year stop at São Bento excepted. Often not a good sign. Against that, he’s in the hunt for the scoring chase in the Honduran league (see “Table de Goleadors”). So, he maybe something good, maybe something bad…you just don’t know.

But I’ll wager he’s better than the air currently occupies the Crew’s forward slot…and probably has a thing or two on Jason Garey…just sayin’…

GREAT OUTDOORS
All of today’s come courtesy of b3ta.com.

– A clever ad (based on a Guiness ad, it seems) for what looks like the English equivalent of Cup o’ Noodles.

Clever cartoon, this one answering the question about bears shitting in the woods…though it’s more an answer to why.

– Finally, just…just…weird. And a little wrong. Probably NSFW, but your boss might be too appalled to care.

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Champions League Draw: Quarterfinals and Semifinals

I am sure you’ve already seen it but the quarterfinal draw looks like:

Manchester United v. AS Roma – can Roma avenge the 7-0 drubbing of last year? they did in the group stages

Barcelona v. Schalke 04 – as inconsistent as Barca has been as of late, I wouldn’t put a Schalke shocker out of order, Kevin Kuranyi likes clutch games

Chelsea v. Fenerbahce – another possible upset, but Chelsea will probably see the Turks off with no problem – Mateja Kezman might want to give his old club a lot of trouble though

Arsenal v. Liverpool – battle of the on-form strikers, Adebayor vs. Torres, I’d go with El Nino if I had to pick right now

Semifinal Draw

Manchester United/AS Roma vs. Barcelona/Schalke 04
Chelsea/Fenerbahce vs. Liverpool/Arsenal

Well, what do ya think? Will United breeze by Roma? Is Fenerbahce really an easy draw for Barcelona, especially with how they’ve been playing as of late? Who will come out on top in the Battle of Britain???

(What Passes for) Columbus Crew News

On the soccer front, this is one slow friggin’ week in Columbus Crew news.  The only thing going seems to be Eddie Gaven’s “superb ball” or “excellent serve” to Josmer Altidore, which set up the penalty kick in the “Mini-Yanquis” win over Panama.  Good to see the kid do something positive.  (Now shave.  Wait.  Don’t.  You’re probably sick of getting pulled over by cops for driving underage.  But, dude, your beard looks worse than mine.)  After that, it’s all rumors of coming players, pissed-off fans, and ’08 season previews.  Oh, there’s also the front office, non-soccer bullshit that MLSnet.com official sites enjoy posting.

Taking them in turn…

Soccer Insider reported that the Crew are taking an interest in Flavor-of-the-mon…, er, Argentine d/m (that’s defender/midfielder, not dungeon master) Matias Almeyda.  My first question is how an Argie ended up in Norway.  Less mysterious, after a moment’s thought, anyway, is why the Crew would go after a defender/midfielder given their more desperate need at forward: in a name, Marcos Gonzalez and, in a (conjugated) verb, gone.  WVHooligan gives a bit of history on the player, while a (new-to-me) site, Crewture, digs around what could motivate Almeyda to head to Columbus….and, for what it’s worth, he seems simultaneously skeptical and hopeful about the potential move.  Put me down as skeptical as well…moving on…

– Maybe Guillermo Barros Schelotto hepped him to life in Columbus.  Then again, maybe not…and the locals are pissed.  Really pissed.  For what it’s worth, fans – e.g. people madly in love with their team – get kind of weird about players.  Well, they can’t all be Duncan Oughton, I guess.  It’s worth remembering real people wear your club’s jersey  and, face it, real people are fickle, weird, and neurotic animals; they can screw up, wind up unhappy on the job, etc., just like anyone else.  Another part of it is the automatic – dare I say robotic? – adulation players give, and are expected to give, to the fans.  I guess what I’m getting at is, I’d pay less attention to what a player says – which, judging by the repetition of some particular inanities are pure pre-programmed bullshit 80% of the time – than what they do on the field.  If Schelotto dreams of Argentina every time he passes the ball, I can live with it; just so long as he passes the ball well and to the guys in yellow (or black).

– It’s preview season and I saw my first one for the Crew: WVHooligan’s.  I’ll turn in one of my own before the season starts – I anticipate an exhaustively, even stupidly, thorough affair – but recommend that one (and, thank the maker, that’ll be the only one this year; I’m doing conference previews only).  I’ll flag other ones as I see them.

– Finally, the corporate garbage…nah, I’m not going to post it.  I can’t see the point unless I’m going to mock it.

CCC08: Atlante FC 2-1 Saprissa – Tournament’s Best?

Again outwitted by VCR programming – this time, due to neglect to keep the time current; damn thing started recording at 9:00 p.m.  I’ll spare you the full, profanity-laden story.

The upshot, though, is that I didn’t see this whole match – only enough of it to know Atlante FC was a little better than good for the win.  How good?  I started watching after the half and was able to turn it off around the 80th minute, thoroughly secure in the knowledge that the Costa Rican club (Deportivo Saprissa, for the record) would never equalize.  They created their chances, even made Atlante’s show-boat ‘keeper use all his tricks, but Atlante kept Saprissa on the back-heel with strong tackling and an impressively speedy attack.

Still, cracking goal from Saprissa’s Walter Centano.

Getting back to the Mexicans, how they attack is worth noting: they poured forward in a way you don’t often see, with players running ahead of the ball into gaps that allow short, diagonal forward passes to their feet.  Either it was something they Saprissa allowed through zonal marking, or Atlante is just that proficient at their game.  The won on a pretty goal, one involving this quick little bugger named Bermudez, but it was the vision and precision of the final ball that most impressed me.  They tackled hard in the middle as well, imposing themselves on the game generally.  Tough customers, these guys, perhaps even the class of the tournament.

The Costa Ricans know how to play as well.  Seeign what they can do on the return leg should prove interesting….not Houston v. Municipal interesting, but this quarterfinal seems more evenly matched than the other two.

For the record, though, if it’s a matter of who gets through to the semis, I’m definitely pulling for the Costa Ricans.  Unless, they had a banner day, I’m not liking the Major League Soccer clubs’ chances against these guys.

One-Liner Guide to La Liga- Jornada 27 (Next Week, I Take On Paragraphs!)

Welcome back to the LAST One-Liner Guide to La Liga- Jornada 27.  No, don’t run crying into the streets yet, I’m just allowing myself to expand a bit in the upcoming weeks because I feel I can be wittier in more than one line.  And well..frankly..I can.

Your Spanish Cosita

I present to you the winner and Spanish representative in the Eurovision 2008 contest, Rodolfo Chikilicuatre. He is a comedian on a late night TV show in Spain called ‘Buenafuente’. This season, fans decided to break the sterotype of boring and dull songs and just go balls out with this guy.

If this guy wins, it would be amazing. What a star.

La Semana Pasada

–Is the Sky Really Falling in Spain?? I beg to differ.

— Getafe is ‘The little club that could’ moving on to the Round of 8 in the UEFA Cup. Aupa Geta!

–Apparently Barcelona are already making their Shopping list for next season, and who would have thought, 2 Sevilla players (and Diego Capel is missing) are on their list. On the same topic, AS gives a look at what Sevilla players are being sought after this off season.

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