Here's my Hat Trick:
1. Well, yesterday was certainly interesting in UEFA Champions League qualifying. Both mighty Manchester teams suffered quite the disgrace in failing to move into the final round of 16 in the Champions League. Manchester City, despite an obscenely rich owner, will now have to look to the Europa League for some hardware. Most people assume they will now fully concentrate on winning the Premier League title and run out a "B" or even "C" team in their Europa matches. The odd thing is that Manchester City actually won, but needed Villareal to draw or beat Napoli to advance. Napoli won 2-0 to shock the City faithful.
In equally shocking news, mighty Manchester United also fell from the Champions League into the Europa League. Basel defeated Wayne Rooney and company 2-1 to send the whole city of Manchester into endless binge drinking. For both Manchester teams, this is viewed as a great failure. I enjoyed it somewhat, especially in the case of Manchester City. All that money spent and they still fail. It's like the Yankees buying players every year but still not winning the World Series. It's also a bit comical because most teams in the world would be privileged to play in the Europa League. For these two teams, they are used to more glory, so this competition is viewed as being below them. I guess they will know what it feels like to be the other 99% of teams in the world. Follow me after the break for one more interesting point from Champions League action. You can also read the rest of my hat trick and vote/give input for the question of the day.
French side Lyon was in the same boat as the Fire at the end of the last season. They needed a lot of goals just as the Fire needed to make up a large goal differential. Fortunately for Lyon, that is just what happened. They trailed Dutch super side Ajax by an astounding 7 goal deficit. Insurmountable right? Not for Lyon today. Real Madrid handled Ajax easily 3-0, and Lyon hung a 7 spot on Dinamo Zagreb (who fired manager Krunoslav Jurcic immediately after the embarrassing 7-1 defeat). Lyon made up the vast goal differential in an astounding fashion to advance into the Champions League round of 16. The results set of the expected rumors/conspiracy theories of shady dealing that allowed all this to happen. There is truly never a dull day in the world of soccer.
2. Disgruntled Manchester City (yep, they get two mentions today) striker Carlos Tevez looks to finally be settling somewhere else. It appears that AC Milan has agreed to terms with Tevez, with an option to buy after that. But, that of course may not be good enough for Manchester City. They only want a full sale, without the loan option. It is insane that Tevez makes a reported 13.4 million per year but is acting like a whiny little baby. So now he is not even playing soccer but still collecting a massive paycheck while acting like an idiot. Life must be rough.
3. Soccer America has posted their picks for the top 10 forwards for the 2011 MLS season. While this list is decently accurate, I think that Dominic Oduro definitely should be on it. Also Andres Mendoza deserves a nod as well. Alvaro Saborio also has an argument. Although no top 10 list is perfect, I think it does a pretty good job of showing who stood tall last season. They also have a good little blurb up about the first televised matches next season. It will be interesting to see how NBC does in televising the MLS vs. Fox Soccer. I think the Montreal/Vancouver match should be pretty interesting, especially with BC Place having recently been renovated.
Question of the day:
I was watching some soccer the other night and saw some goal scoring highlights. It got me thinking about how awesome it would be to score a goal on the world stage in front of a huge crowd and millions of people on tv. But, it would also be pretty fun to be a manager and get to call the shots for your favorite team and players. As a third option, I also think it would be fun to be an owner of a club and get to sign that star player and help shape a team to make it successful. It would be pretty fun to have control over every player signing, both incoming and outgoing. So, if you could have your soccer dream fulfilled for one month, what would you pick?