One Last Plug for the Pan-Pacific

I finally made my way over to MLSnet.com’s official propaganda page for the Pan-Pacific Tournament (kicks off tonight; check ESPN’s listings for times and channel…it’s in there…and all times are, helpfully, GMT). Can’t say I regretted avoiding it until now: even the news/headline section overflows with the usual airy features and quote-filled pap about how seriously all involved will take proceedings. This, for instance, is not a preview, but a series of throw-away quotes held together by a bit of context.

Tragically, the mainstream media isn’t doing much better. I have seen about two dozen variations on this story since Monday; only subtle differences in the completeness of the quotes and changes to word order separate this one from all the rest. But, here and there, one comes across actual news – e.g. the fact all games will be played on turf (to Ruud Gullit’s clear chagrin…he’ll get his back by playing rookies) and allusions to future expansion of the tournament should it prove a hot ticket. And, in defense of the general shortcomings, word that Landon Donovan will miss tonight’s semi first came my way through the official site.

As they sometimes do, blogs led the way on the Pan-Pacific Challenge. For instance, I liked Dan Loney’s pre-tourney musings almost as much as the one I posted yesterday (tee hee hee). But I owe most my current knowledge of how LA looks going in to 100 Percent Soccer, who identified the 27 players the Galaxy flew to Hawaii, as well as posting a situation review from training camp (for the curious, it’s about what one would expect: the attack looks all right, while the defense looks a little green). Can’t say how they’ll stack up against Japan’s Gamba Osaka, but the latter has issues of its own in the form of key players missing through injury and (if memory serves) national-team commitments (sorry to stiff you on links). Will it be a good game? Hope so. Failing that, though, I’ll take funny.

Credit Nutmegged for doing something clever for “the other game” – e.g. the late tilt of the Houston Dynamo v. Sydney FC. Nutmegged’s Martek compared notes with an Australian fella who runs a site called The Football Tragic, each telling the other what to look for from the oppostion. Enjoy The Football Tragic’s take on Sydney here and Nutmegged’s evaluation of their home-team Dynamo here.

As for me, I’ll try to do some jottings on the games between tonight and tomorrow. Expect the usual rambling, if not a little more of it, as I’m trying to get away from anything that resembles a typical match report. This being pre-season – for at least three of the teams – there’s not a lot to read into this anyway.

BONUS Continue reading

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Pan-Pacific Challenge: Hyping That Which Cannot Be Hyped

It’s possible Steve Davis (whoops…It’s actually Jeff Carlisle, who) said it best in the preview of the Pan-Pacific Challenge (PPC) he wrote for ESPN:

“While the PPC isn’t the UEFA Champions League, it is a sign that the beginning of the MLS season is inching closer, and the fact that some international sides are tagging along for the ride at least raises the interest level a smidgen above a typical preseason friendly. With the inaugural PPC trophy at stake, here’s how the participants stack up.”

I love Davis’ (whoops, Carlisle’s; I like his) work, so don’t get me wrong when I say I can read his comparative enthusiasm for the PPC in the copy. Naturally, all the teams involved are making obligatory noises about taking everything seriously, not being there “to get a suntan” blah, blah, blah. Contrary, however, to The Honolulu Advertiser’s headline, this is just a friendly competition…it’s pretty hard to get around that.

That’s not to say, however, that I’m not irrationally geared up. I am wound-up for the PPC to the extent of asking my wife to alter her work schedule (and the effort succeeded; kick ass). And that’s less about the international sides in attendance, than the presence of a couple teams with which I’m familiar returning after a seemingly eternal hiatus. Continue reading

Final Thought Heading Into the Weekend

I can neither put into words nor really believe how excited I am about the Pan-Pacific Challenge.

I need several more hobbies, clearly.

Labor Intensive Life After Soccertv.com + Once More Into the Breach?

As a lot of people seem to be finding out, soccertv.com went “ad” again yesterday (e.g. it looks like poop and tells the reader nothing, but where to buy stuff). That led quite a few people back to a couple old items I posted on soccertv.com’s future. Trouble is, neither post offered much information. The first was just me seizing up mentally at losing of the most reliable, one-stop listing of soccer broadcasts. The second pointed to a possible successorlivesoccer.tv – (and I was behind the curve on that; The Fullback Files beat me), but that site is 1) hard to navigate and 2) it doesn’t always seem current.

Loathe to give eager people so little information, I’m going to post the only ad hoc solution that occurs to me in the wake of soccertv.com’s apparent, hopefully temporary, demise. Fox Soccer Channel provides printable schedules on this page. Elsewhere, ESPN has a separate TV listings section that you navigate by clicking the relevant day. It requires a little more foreknowledge from the reader, but it is what it is. Bottom line, go to the multiple sources and hope they provide – and that it’s something coherent, easily navigable, etc.

Speaking of ESPN’s thing, it was the failure of livesoccer.tv to recognize the existence of ESPN Classic that compelled a deeper search of ESPN’s site. As we all know by now (and we do, right?), next week’s Pan-Pacific Challenge will air on ESPN Classic. Thanks be unto God, I get that channel. There’s something else I learned: the Pan-Pacific Challenge airs at the butt-crack of dawn Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)…assuming I’m reading the schedule correctly. So…what’s that mean for Pacific Standard Time (PST), my time-zone of choice? According to this time-zone converter, we’re eight hours behind GMT. That moves the 4:00 a.m. kick-off for LA Galaxy v. Gamba Osaka to…8:00 p.m. Wednesday night? Is that right? Is PST just two hours ahead of Hawaiian time (you’ll see from the “Pan-Pacific Challenge” link that LA v. Gamba kicks off at 6:00 p.m. local time).

Well, assuming I have this right, I won’t need to set the VCR. Thank god for that, in light of my recent struggles with outdated technology. But, if I’m wrong, and I do have to operate my tape-eating VCR once more, I’m not afraid. I’m a big boy. And I can do it.