The GOAT bagged himself a sixth Golden Shoe this morning, the European goalscoring title, breaking his own record of five and becoming the only person to win the award three years in a row. Not bad Messi, not bad.
It’s been some week for our friend Leo who attended the premiere of his very own Cirque du Soleil show in Barcelona. You have to be at the top of your craft to have acrobats tell your story as only Michael Jackson, the Beatles, and uhh…Criss Angel…have had.
I like Cirque shows. The acrobatics are impressive, the clowns are outstanding, and they manage to work in some really neat things like live temporary sand art to tell the story. Naturally in soccer, we have some freestyling (I guess it’s still called that even if it’s choreographed).
Messi10 is open in Barcelona for a month before heading to Buenos Aires next summer. Yeah I probably won’t make either of those either.
If Messi is the greatest talent, then Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest worker. CR7 did what he does best this week (He scored a penalty 😉) as he edged a goal ahead of his great rival and reached a milestone that only five other players have achieved – 700 career goals. Someone was nice/bored enough to clip them all so enjoy some truly wonderful finishes!
From two wonderful achievements from all-time greats to some real stupidity. Switzerland’s Stephan Lichtsteiner and Granit Xhaka couldn’t figure out who was meant to take a free kick. You can see it below, but there’s also an angle that shows their team mates making runs in the belief that one of them had actually taken the dead ball.
Testing, Check Czech Cech
FC Dallas’ Zdenek Ondrasek had himself a great first week with the Czech national team. The 30-year-old scored the winner against England *sigh* then set up two as the Czechs came close to a comeback in a surprise 3-2 loss to Norn Iron. The Kobra is having himself a heck of a time lately, and well earned after working his way up from a player that honestly didn’t look like he could cut it in MLS for the first four months of the season in practice and games.
Another Czech I mentioned last week was former Chelsea and Arsenal keeper Petr Cech as he wrote the plot for the next Mighty Ducks movie. Playing for Guildford Phoenix, Cech made more penalty saves in one game than he did for Arsenal, making two stops in the shootout to win the game. Cech even gave us kit nerds something to drool over as he rocked a mask customized with both the Chelsea and Arsenal badges
It was a Zinch
After the Ukraine secured their place at Euro 2020 on Monday, Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko got the party started early as he seemed to take over the entire mobile studio for the Ukrainian broadcaster.
If Nobody Was There To See a Game, Did It Really Happen?
No that’s not a jab at FC Dallas ticket sales. South Korea played their first competitive fixture in men’s soccer in North Korea, drawing 0-0. However, no South Korean fans were able to see it after the North denied any foreigners entry to the Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang. They also refused to let the South broadcast the game, insisting that they would send a DVD eventually. FIFA President Gianni Infantino was present, which is a glowing indicator for a messed up situation.
Who knows what the North Korean public were told. In 2010 when they last qualified for the World Cup, North Korean state TV killed the broadcast as Portugal went 4-0 ahead on the hour. Cristiano and co went on to win 7-0, but North Korean media stated that it was okay to lose 4-0 to Portugal because they were by far the best team in the world. After scrapping the rest of the broadcasts for the World Cup, North Koreans were told that Portugal did indeed win it all and not Spain. It got even weirder when the authorities claimed North Korea won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when they hadn’t even qualified for it.
With the international break, we had Non-league Day in England. It was an initiative launched several years ago where fans of Premiership and Championship teams were encouraged to watch their local non-league side in the absence of their regular game. Some clubs offer discounts for the local big team’s season ticket holders or even free entry. It’s about building relationships and ensuring that these teams can gain support in the long run. We saw a similar thing this week as fans turned out for North Texas SC’s semi-final win over Forward Madison in lieu of an FC Dallas game. I saw this tweet over the weekend, it wasn’t new information but I wanted to share it as an illustration of how far the American game has come in a very short time. Despite the Berhalter family doing their best to hold back the men’s national team, the US has only had a professional domestic game for 25 years.
So to run it down, Sheffield FC were the first football club, founded on October 24, 1857. Their big rivals Hallam FC are the second oldest surviving club in the world, established on September 4, 1860. They played their first derby on December 26, 1860 in a 16-a-side game!
Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United now, was opened on April 30, 1855. While it was primarily a cricket stadium for the first 30 years, its soccer use was marked by one of the stands being called the Football Ground End. It was also the first soccer stadium to use floodlights, with the first floodlit game played on October 14, 1878 just a few months after the first electric street lights were installed in Paris and London.
Sheffield also hosted the world’s first knockout tournament. We talk of the US Open Cup being the oldest continually contested tournament since 1914, and the FA Cup being the oldest still played since 1871, but the Youdan Cup took place just once in 1867. In the days where there wasn’t one set of rules, the 12-team tournament was played under Sheffield Rules which included a tiebreaker known as ‘rouges’. If you’re familiar with Aussie Rules Football, this may sound familiar as they call it a ‘behind’ but the goal was only four yards wide, while there were two further flags four yards from each post (a modern goal is eight yards wide). The ‘rouge’ was scored by kicking the ball between the flags either side of the goal then touching the ball down similar to a try in rugby. A year later Sheffield Wednesday won the Cromwell Cup in the first ever game to go to extra time.
Well, class dismissed!
What to Watch
MLS playoffs headline the week. FC Dallas go to Seattle on Saturday, if they win they’ll play away at Portland or RSL on Wednesday night. North Texas SC also have their USL League One final at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening, hosting an FCD watch party before the game so you can catch both. We also have some Champions League action in the mix as well as some domestic soccer around the world.
Friday, October 18:
1:30PM – Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga) – FS2 / TUDN
1:45PM – Nice v PSG (Ligue 1) – beIN SPORTS
9:00PM – Santos Laguna v Xolos (LigaMX) – FOX Deportes
Saturday, October 19:
6:00AM – Eibar v Barcelona (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
8:30AM – Augsburg v Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – FS1 / TUDN
9:00AM – Tottenham v Watford (EPL) – NBCSN
9:00AM – Atletico Madrid v Valencia (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
11:30AM – Crystal Palace v Manchester City (EPL) – NBC
12:00PM – Atlanta Utd v New England (MLS) – TUDN
1:45PM – Juventus v Bologna (Serie A) – ESPN+
2:30PM – Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas (MLS) – FS1
6:00PM – North Texas SC v Greenville Triumph (USL-1) – ESPN+
9:00PM – Real Salt Lake v Portland Timbers (MLS) – ESPNews / ESPN Deportes
Sunday, October 20:
10:30AM – Manchester Utd v Liverpool (EPL) – NBCSN
12:00PM – Pumas UNAM v Leon (LigaMX) – TUDN
2:00PM – Philadelphia Union v NY Red Bulls (MLS) – FS1
7:30PM – Minnesota Utd v LA Galaxy (MLS) – ESPN
Monday, October 21:
2:00PM – Sheffield United v Arsenal (EPL) – NBCSN
Tuesday, October 22:
12:00PM – Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen (UCL) – TNT / UniMas / B/R Live
2:00PM – Galatasaray v Real Madrid (UCL) – UniMas / B/R Live
7:30PM – Boca Juniors v River Plate (Libertadores) – beIN SPORTS
Wednesday, October 23:
12:00PM – Ajax v Chelsea (UCL) – TNT / B/R Live
6:00PM – NYCFC v Toronto or DC United (MLS) – FS1
9:00PM – Seattle or FC Dallas v RSL or Portland – FS1