One of the greatest misconceptions about sports in this country is that Americans don’t like soccer. Vocal contrarian sportswriters love to perpetuate that misconception from their columns, and xenophobic Americans follow suit, ever skeptical of things “not from around here.” Admittedly, it’s not always easy to follow the sport’s top leagues from halfway around the world, but if there’s one thing Americans have proved time and time again, it’s that they do in fact enjoy the beautiful game…when it’s being played well.
That’s why minor leagues in any sport always struggle to survive, and why many fans are lukewarm about the game in this country. Too often, Americans who want to watch soccer are forced to watch third-rate athletes compete in fourth-rate stadia. Last night, though, 93,137 fans packed the Rose Bowl and proved once again that they will flock to the game when it’s played at the highest levels as Barcelona FC beat the LA Galaxy 2-1.
So remember when we told you that today offered some of the best spectacle an American soccer fan could hope for and that you should drop everything and tune in for the day? We remember it like it was this morning. Yeah. We’ve discussed this before, but we’re kind of an idiot.
In the primer, the L.A. Galaxy wilted in the D.C. heat to lose the Battle of the Abbreviated Locale Names, 4-1. D.C. United held such control that Known Invalid Ben Olsen even participated in a little ball touching near the end. Still… hey, scoring, right? That’s good, no?
If so, perhaps we should have dropped that hint around Germany or Spain. In a word: gack.
In the Euro 2008 final, Spain dominated much of the match but could only score once in the 33rd minute. Captain Hair (aka Fernando Torres) outclassed German keeper Jens Lehmann for the only recordable action of the final.
UPDATE: Groin pounding from the MLS game after the jump.
In a few hours, the Euro 2008 final will commence in Vienna with Germany and Spain renewing a rivalry that… okay, has never really existed. Both teams will be missing perhaps their best player (Michael Ballack for Germany; David Villa for Spain), leaving the outcome of the match in serious doubt. Therefore, as the kids say, you’ll have to tune in: same Euro time, same Euro channel.
(We’ll be snarking away like one of the gals here during the match, and then checking out the analysis here.)
We’ll also be taking in the undercard at noon ET, much to the glee of MLS: they’ve put the two most popular and famous teams in the league on national television just before the Euro 2008 final in hopes of reminding everyone that
football soccer is still played in America and isn’t that cool and did you see we have David Beckham?
It’s not every day you see a 70-yard scoring play that doesn’t involve Adrian Peterson, so we feel compelled to pass it along.
This one involves the L.A. Galaxy’s David Beckham and a poorly-timed effort by the opposing goaltender. No Laker girls were harmed in this performance. Read more…
Toronto FC fans are well on their way to reaching the dickweed bar they’ve set for themselves. They’ve already proven Toronto FC fans can’t control themselves when the first franchise goal is scored. Now they’re in midseason form by first kick in the 2008 season. The seven-hour bus ride to Columbus for the opening game against the Crew gave them time to marinade in alcohol.
(Come on, Toronto; the Columbus Crewzers have some pride)
The result? Hooting at Columbus Crew cheerleaders to “take off your tops”, throwing smoke bombs on the field, vomiting profusely, and then taking leaks in front of a church. Now that’s family-friendly MLS entertainment!
$115 MIL TO BUILD FOR AMERICA’S 7TH FAVORITE SPORT: The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER passes around the idea of a new $115 million soccer stadium for the City of Brotherly Love:
The Pennsylvania legislature is being asked to kick in $45 million in state funds to help build a home for a potential Major League Soccer team.Investors are looking to place the new digs on riverfront land in the nearby town of Chester. It would be following in the footsteps of other MLS clubs planting new fields in suburban areas. The L.A. Galaxy calls neighboring Carson home, while the Chicago Fire set up shop in suburban Bridgeview
Is such soccer spending a wise investment? Just ask Steve Winter, whose company helps promote D.C. United:
“It still is America’s fifth sport. Or sixth if you throw in NASCAR. Seventh if you throw in lacrosse.”
And it would be just one more sports franchise for Philly fans to get flustered over.
PLACIDO DOMINGO TO SING NATIONAL ANTHEM AT MLS CUP: Placido Domingo is ready to hit the high notes for Major League Soccer:
The league has announced that Domingo will be singing the national anthem to help kick off the 2007 MLS Cup.Best known as one of the Three Tenors that isn’t Luciano Pavarotti, Placido will be belting out “The Star Spangled Banner” at Washington’s RFK Stadium on November 18.
For your further enjoyment, Jimmy Eat World will chew up time, as they perform for the halftime festivities. They’re scheduled to play tunes from their latest album, but we bet if you ask nicely enough, they’ll do one of their classics - whatever they are.
We’d love to party with Placido, but we might be spent after watching Lenny Kravitz get his groove on at the Grey Cup.