The Major League Soccer season is over. Correction, the 25th and weirdest season in MLS history is in the books. It may be a little bittersweet for FC Dallas fans since Seattle didn’t put in their finest performance after eeking out a win over FCD in an earlier round.
It is great to see an MLS original lifting the trophy, particularly the market that nearly got screwed out of its team for a city down the road from us. Amusingly that does mean that both teams the Hunts sold went on to win MLS Cup under new ownership.
Kathryn Nesbitt ran the line, making her the first female official to take part in a men’s professional championship match in North America.
I’d mentioned Wylie’s Sarah Fuller becoming the first woman to take part in a Power 5 Football game, and on Saturday she kicked two extra points to make the former D’Feeters goalkeeper the first woman to score in a Power 5 game.
All The Fun of the Cup
It may have been a couple of weeks ago but there were two brilliant moments that displayed the beauty of cup competitions, and what I hope the US Open Cup can become.
Seventh tier Marine FC beat Havant & Waterlooville to earn a home tie with Tottenham Hotspur in the third round – albeit their eighth round after qualifiers. After the upset 1-0 win, goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant went for a walk to the closest convenience store still in his kit to buy some beer to celebrate with.
Chorley FC went a goal down in two minutes away to League One Peterborough United but managed to pull off the shock to earn their first ever third round berth, at home to Derby County.
Even better than the win was the celebration, a team Adele rendition. I’d question why but I’m still unsure why my old rugby team would belt out Andy Williams’ Can’t Take My Eyes Off You after games 15 years ago.
You may also notice that one of the adjustments made for social distancing at Peterborough’s London Road home is the away team using an event room as a makeshift locker room.
There’s some interesting licensing agreements out there, like all those awful Disney shirts you can buy for every MLS team through Fanatics. Well Borussia Dortmund put together a pretty cool collaboration with none other than Spongebob Squarepants.
In His Pants
You don’t want to buy those clothes? How about sweat pants from the guy who made goalkeepers in sweat pants a thing?
Former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly played almost his entire career in grey sweats because of how much poor fields in his native Hungary would cut up his legs. Well, now you too can wear Kiraly’s pants!
What a Finish?
There were a couple of bizarre goals that came up last week for very different reasons.
Stuttgart’s Silas Wamangituka scored that kind of disrespectful goal that starts fights on playgrounds and gets booked for it.
In some ways, Stuttgart were lucky he took his time on that injury time finish as Werder Bremen pulled one back before time ran out. I just don’t understand what would possess a professional to do that unless you really can’t stand the opposition club.
Over in the Persian Gulf League, it was some comedy goalkeeping as Gol Gohar Sirjan goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi has a complete brain fart and puts Nader Mohammadi’s somersault throw into his own net.
It’s always worth remembering in those moments that a throw-in that doesn’t touch anyone can’t count as a goal.
Sometimes a team opts to call a game off at lower levels. Maybe they’re missing a few players and leave the sprinklers running while it rains, or ahead of a freeze. Screw that effort, in China, you just have to dye your hair!
The BBC ran a story as university teams from Fuzhou and Jimei saw their game canceled after the referee decided the players’ dyed hair wasn’t black enough. Despite a quick run to the drug store to raid the hair dye, the ref felt the hair color just got in the way of the game.
Pennsylvania Salt Mine
USL League Two side Reading United used Merritt Paulson’s patented Tweet-and-delete move after news emerged that recently departed coach Alan McCann moved to rivals Ocean City Nor’easters.
McCann won USL-2 Coach of the Year in back-to-back seasons as Matt Hedges’ former club made two USL League Two finals before resigning last week.
Upon the news, Reading United tweeted the following edit to a thank you image before pulling it down.
The situation was cleared up as a joke that probably looked worse to outsiders that it would to McCann himself from some old friends.
Qatar World Tour
Whether or not you think Qatar should host the 2022 FIFA World Cup due to ethical reasons or a lack of soccer culture, they’re certainly trying to get a few games under their belt.
This week’s announcement that Qatar will participate in Group A of UEFA qualifying for the 2022 World Cup adds to their participation in both the Gold Cup and Copa America.
A national team will typically play around 10 games a year. Currently, Qatar has 20 games scheduled between AFC Championship qualifying, the UEFA friendlies, June’s Copa America, and July’s Gold Cup.
Sunday, December 13:
10:30am – Fulham v Liverpool (EPL) – NBCSN
11:00am – Genoa v Juventus (Serie A) – ESPN+
1:15pm – Arsenal v Burnley (EPL) – NBCSN
1:45pm – AC Milan v Parma (Serie A) – ESPN+
8:30pm – Leon v Pumas (Liga MX) – TUDN
Tuesday, December 15:
11:30am – Eintracht Franfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
12:00pm – Wolves v Chelsea (EPL) – NBCSN
1:30pm – Werder Bremen v Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
2:00pm – Manchester City v West Brom (EPL) – NBCSN
3:00pm – Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
7:00pm – Olimpia v Montreal Impact (Concacaf Champs. League) – FS2 / TUDN
9:30pm – Tigres v NYCFC (Concacaf Champs. League) – FS2 / TUDN
Wednesday, December 16:
11:30am – Juventus v Atalanta (Serie A) – ESPN+
12:00pm – Arsenal v Southampton (EPL) – NBCSN
1:30pm – Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
1:45pm – Inter Milan v Napoli (Serie A) – ESPN+
2:00pm – Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur (EPL) – NBCSN
7:00pm – Atlanta Utd v America (Concacaf Champs. League) – FS2 / TUDN
9:00pm – LAFC v Cruz Azul (Concacaf Champs. League) – FS2 / TUDN
Saturday, December 19:
6:30am – Norwich City v Cardiff City (EFL-C) – ESPN+
7:00am – Atletico Madrid v Elche (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
8:30am – RB Leipzig v Koln (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
9:15am – Barcelona v Valencia (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
11:30am – Everton v Arsenal (EPL) – NBCSN
1:45pm – Parma v Juventus (Serie A) – ESPN+
7:00pm – Concacaf Champs. League Semi-final 1 – FS2 / TUDN
9:30pm – Concacaf Champs. League Semi-final 2 – FS2 / TUDN
Sunday, December 20:
8:00am – Sassuolo v AC Milan (Serie A) – ESPN+
9:00am – Pacos de Ferreira v Boavista (Liga NOS) – Streams
10:30am – Manchester Utd v Leeds Utd (EPL) – NBCSN
1:45pm – Lazio v Napoli (Serie A) – ESPN+
2:00pm – Lille v PSG (Ligue 1) – beIN SPORTS