Fiesta Bowl…Kind Of. (And Other Stuff!)

Tonight was the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl which pitted two undefeated teams, Boise State and TCU, against one another.  I know the game ended 17-10 and came down to a final drive, blah blah blah…but was I the only one who was bored?  I just couldn’t get into it.  I caught the very end of the fake punt, which from what I understand was the best play of the game.  My fiancee tried to change the channel several times and normally she enjoys watching the good games.  Heck, she usually enjoys watching the mediocre games.  Maybe it was just our apartment that didn’t feel like watching football tonight, I don’t know.

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Day Late Review of the Champions League Final

I kept meaning to write this yesterday, but I went to a Ben Folds concert instead.  Priorities, I guess.  Anyway, yesterday was the UEFA Champions League Final.  For the Americans reading this, it’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl, only bigger.  This year’s final pitted Spanish giants Barcelona against the English side Manchester United.  Barca got into the game on a couple controversial calls in the semifinals against the English version of the Yankees, Chelsea.  That was alright with me, since I don’t like Chelsea or the Yankees.  Manchester United got through after ousting Arsenal, their rivals from London.

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Live Champions League Final

The second half just started and my roommate left his laptop in the living room, so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to post some thoughts. Man U really carried the play in the first half, and probably should have had three goals, but the stellar play of the hungry Petr Cech kept the Red Devils at bay. I had just gotten a text message off to my friend and Chelsea supporter saying Chelsea needs to step it up when Frank Lampard leveled for Chelsea. So, 1-1 at half, should be a good one.

Looks like the game is going to get a little testy in the second half. Both teams were pretty unhappy with the refereeing, namely Claude Makelele, who felt hew was unjustly cautioned for a challenge that bloodied Paul Scholes. I must say I agree with him.

Man U is just a touch off. That’s about the third time they’ve been a little too hard on crosses.

Great run by Essien there, I really thought he was about to score.

Drogba really needs to get in the play. He hasn’t done much but complain about his back and not make runs. Chelsea is playing much better at the moment though. Ballack was just given way too much room. Man U needs to be better with their coverage. Rio Ferdinand had been awful today, causing one goal and almost giving up another.

Makelele really needs to watch it. He’s already got another and probably deserved one there for his elbow on Hargreaves. I guess he’s even now.

It seems awful slick out there. Essien and Tevez just went down with minimal contact and Ashley Cole has already changed his boots. I feel like it’s just a matter of time before Chelsea puts one in here.

Man U is really on the defensive here. Chelsea hasn’t gotten inside the box much, though. Lots of long range efforts and corners.

And Ferdinand goes down with a leg cramp. His rough game continues. I think Tommy Smyth disagrees with my assessment of Mr. Ferdinand’s performance.

That was the best effort from Man U in a while. They’d just been trying to spring Tevez for the majority of the half.

Cristiano almost creates a goal by himself, but he probably should’ve crossed that ball instead of shot.

Maloud wants a penalty after being clipped by Ferdinand in the box. It was incidental contact, good no call.

Wow, Drogba with his first real effort of the game and it’s a beauty. That would have been a spectacular goal.

On the other end, Tevez can’t get anything to go for him. He’s very frustrated.

Ferdinand slips, allowing Chelsea to have quite a chance there. People are having a ton of trouble with the playing surface.

Looks like Joe Cole has taken Makelele’s spot for hounded the referee.

With 5 minutes left, it looks like the subs are readying themselves.

Tommy Smyth just said that there has been little good football. I’d agree with him in the second half, but there were many flashes of brilliance in the first half.

Ryan Giggs comes on for the still bloodied Paul Scholes. Let’s see if he can help United’s stagnant attack. My roommate just wondered aloud if Cech’s helmet would help him if he was hit in the head with a sledge hammer. I doubt it.

2 added minutes. Looks like we’re going to be headed to extra time. I’m trying to jinx it. Didn’t work. Overtime.

Chelsea really dominated the play in that half. Drogba’s effort was really the only time where they looked like they were going to score, even though they were in United’s half for most of the 45. I figured they were build on their early-half efforts and scratch one out, but they didn’t. United should make some changes here and try to get something going.

Great close control from Man U as they look better than they did all second half.

Florent Malouda is headed off in favor of Solomon Kalou. Malouda wasn’t overly impressive, so let’s see what Kalou can do.

I thought Chelsea had gone ahead, wow, Lampard cracks the crossbar from close range. They have to be frustrated.

In the recurring theme of the day, Tevez can’t get on the end of the Ronaldo cross.

Now Joe Cole has gone down with a cramp. The Man U fans are not happy with him.

Joe Cole is coming off for Anelka. Chelsea obviously feels like they can take this game and I agree with them. They will be kicking themselves if they let this one slip away.

Evra just had a great run and I thought Giggs had to score. John Terry just saved Chelsea’s hopes with a clearing header, what a play.

Now Wayne Rooney is coming off for Nani. Rooney had little affect except for one amazing long pass to Ronaldo that should’ve been finished.
Man U has looked much better as of late. Maybe Tevez will end his frustration.

First half od overtime comes to an end. Lampard should have finished his chance inside the six and Giggs almost put Man U ahead, hopefully someone will break through in the second OT so we avoid the shootout.

Someone just pointed out that Man U beat Chelsea in penalties in the Community Shield. That’s a little different than now, but it gives us something to go off of.

Wikipedia just told me that Man U won 3-0 on penalties. Pizarro, Lampard, and Wright-Phillips all missed, so it looks like we won’t have a repeat performance in that respect.

Vidic with a two footed tackle that earns him a yellow card. Drogba takes the free kick and misses. His effort was just about as close as Ballack’s earlier, so they won’t have much to fuss about in the dressing room after the game.

Man U suddenly pours on the pressure, but Tevez slips and a couple shots are blocked down. That was best they’ve looked in a while. Several players are down with cramps now, including Ashley Cole and John Terry.

Tevez is now getting into it with the entire Chelsea team, mostly Terry and Ballack. Vidic is now very hot at someone. A yellow card for Ballack, AND NOW DROGBA HAS BEEN SENT OFF! What a turn of events…oh his smacked Vidic, that’s why Vidic was so angry. What a terrible mistake from Drogba. Unbelievably childish from a player who should know better. Incredible.

Shocking turn of events. I’m in disbelief. My non-soccer roommate doesn’t care. I wish someone else was here for this. What was Drogba thinking? Vidic and Drogba had nothing to do with that, unbelievable.

Not much time now. Both teams are resigned to the shootout at this point.

Makelele is coming off now for Juliano Belletti for Chelsea and Anderson is in for Wes Brown for Man U. They don’t have time to do anything though, as the shootout is here.

The first shooter Tevez. Beautiful kick to his lower right. 1-0 United.

Ballack for Chelsea. Another nice kick to his right. Just kicked it too hard for Van der Sar. 1-1.

Carrick for Man U…fools Cech to his left 2-1.

The sub Belletti for Chelsea now…great kick to the lower right. 2-2 now.

Cristiano now…he stutter steps and IT’S SAVED BY CECH…what a bad idea.

Frank Lampard now. Van der Sar gets a hand on it, but it’s too hard. Chelsea in front

Owen Hargreaves with the best shot of the night in the upper left corner. 3-3 now.

Ashley Cole for Chelsea. Van der Sar gets another hand on it, but just can’t keep it out again. 4-3 and now Man U has to score.

Nani now. He puts it in off Cech. John Terry could win it for the Blues.

HE SLIPS AND PUTS IT WIDE! TIE SCORE! The turf really plays a part now.

Anderson for Man U just crushed it up the middle. Man U ahead.

Kalou has to score now. Nice shot to the top right. The tension is mounting.

And here comes Ryan Giggs. Cool as ever, lower right. United with another chance to win.

Anelka to shoot for Chelsea. SAVE BY VAN DER SAR! UNITED WINS!

United has the double and it’s despair for Chelsea. You have to feel for John Terry now.  The Man U players are going crazy in the Moscow rain.  What a game.

Champions League Final

Tomorrow marks the biggest game of the soccer year outside of World Cup years. That would be Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea. Chelsea will be looking for revenge against the Red Devils who won the English Premier League crown less than a month ago.

This is the first time the CL Final will feature two English teams and they have to travel to Moscow to do it. It’s Man U’s 3rd trip to the Final and Chelsea’s debut. ESPN has reported today that Ashley Cole suffered an injury today during training and his status is uncertain. The Chelsea website, of course, has said that Cole is fine and will play tomorrow. While Ashley Cole used to be one of my favorite players at Arsenal, he fell out of favor with me when he defected to Chelsea in a messy transfer saga. I won’t miss him if he doesn’t play but Chelsea will.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has decided to give United some bulletin board material by saying Chelsea are hungrier than Manchester. There are two things that I can’t understand about this statement. Why would you call out a team on the verge of the biggest game of the year? Great, piss off Cristiano Ronaldo and his 41 goals. Wonderful idea. Also, what does this even mean? We’re hungrier? Yeah, Man U probably doesn’t want to win as much just because they already won something. They’ll probably just roll over and die for that reason. This makes no sense; Mr. Cech, you should have kept your mouth shut on this one.

I’m picking Man U for tomorrow by a score of 1-0 with a second half winner from Carlos Tevez. Chelsea is a little nicked up with minor injuries to Didier Drogba and John Terry, plus this new injury to Cole, which I think will be just enough for United to slide by in a close one. Got any predictions of your own? Let me know in the comments.

EPL Champions Again

As some of you who follow soccer may know, Manchester United won the English Premier League for the 17th time overall. I’m not a huge Man U fan, but it’s not Chelsea so I’m happy. Congratulations to the Red Devils. In honor of them, here’s a video of Man U highlights set to U2. Enjoy.

Champions League Soccer

I watched the Manchester United-Barcelona Champions League Semifinal today, and I couldn’t decide who I wanted to win. I’m usually a supporter of any English side (except Chelsea) since I enjoy the Premier League the most, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to see an all-England Final.

If I were English, or didn’t care about the average American’s opinion about soccer, I would really enjoy seeing a Man U-Liverpool final. Man U has already played Liverpool twice and Chelsea three times this season, going 2-0 against Liverpool and 1-1-1 against Chelsea. To my knowledge, Barca hasn’t taken the field against either team this year. Obviously, this would have created a fresh, new match up that might intrigue the casual American fan enough to flip on the TV and watch.

Unfortunately, Paul Scholes had other ideas when he lashed the ball into the top corner of the net in the 13th minute. I was very surprised at the frantic pace of the opening 45 minutes, but it slowed considerably after the halftime break. I had to miss the last 20 minutes of the game for class, but I understand that not much happened in the second half. Henry had little effect on the game and Ronaldinho was unavailable. Samuel Eto’o was virtually non-existent until he was substituted at the beginning of the second half. The only player that really impressed me for Barca was Deco, who strung together a couple good chances in the first, but overall Barca never looked threatening and Man U deserved to win, even without the services of Wayne Rooney.

I’ll be pulling for Liverpool tomorrow since I have a die-hard Reds fan in my house and I hate all things Chelsea (except Frank Lampard and John Terry, they’re just that good). I’m not expecting them to win though and I think a Chelsea-Man U final would be more entertaining since Man U has outscored Liverpool 4-0 in their two meetings this season, but I’ll still be sporting my old Michael Owen jersey. Having said all that, mark me down for a 2-0 Chelsea win and a Man U-Chelsea Grand Final.

EPSN’s limited soccer coverage has just informed me that this will be the first time in Champions League history that two English teams will meet in the Final. What do you all think the score will be? Leave your comments…

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