There will not be an English team in the Champions League semi-finals, as Arsenal and Manchester United crashed out in consecutive days. Blame the Germans, blame the officials, blame away goals, blame Leo Messi, blame poor formations, blame injuries, blame better teams in other countries, blame fatigue, blame Rafa, blame a 70% pass completion rate for the Red Devils. Just don't blame Canada. They've taken enough blame for everyone. More after the jump.
Wrapping up a days worth of news, links, rumors and rampant speculation.
THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!!!
You must play this while reading the following paragraphs.
Manchester United beat Bayern Munich 3-2 yesterday, and the game was tied 4-4 on aggregate... but the Red Devils were bitten by the away goals snake. And people wonder why soccer hasn't captured the imagination of the average American sports fan. It has ludicrous and seemingly made-up (and cruel) rules like how scoring a goal away from home counts more than a goal scored at home. I might sound like a bitter Manchester United fan. I might in fact be that. But not right now. I have never liked that rule. I just never had a platform to convey my hatred. (Or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) Should a goal scored in the first-half of the Champions League Final count more than a goal scored in the second half? That's ludicrous, right? Here's my solution. If a two-leg game is tied on aggregate at the end of the second game, let's have 30 minutes of sudden death. If the game is still tied,
let's count away goals. (At least, this is the compromise decided by me and my colleague Pete Grathoff.) Regardless, good on Bayern Munich (who were really the better team in the second half and rightly deserve their spot) and good on Lyon who beat Bordeaux 3-2 on aggregate. So the final pairings are Barcelona-Inter Milan and Munich-Lyon in the semis. For all the moaning I've done in this space, I think it's a good thing Italy, Spain, Germany and France are represented in the semis. England's nightmare is the fan's gain. And, aren't Barca going to walk to the title this year anyway?Some links:
• Because I'm an equitable chap, here's a guy arguing the exact opposite point I made: The away goals made this game more interesting. [EPL Talk
]• I really, really, really wish Sir Alex Ferguson hadn't said "typical Germans." Pretty class-less [Dirty Tackle
]• Yep, the best word for that game was "anguish." [The Guardian
]• There was another game. Lyon lost, but won. [Sports Illustrated
• The Wizards will host a pre-game friendly this Saturday between the University of Kansas and St. Louis University girls teams. • There's a new soccer show on the radio dial, The Kansas City Soccer Show will air on Sports Radio 810 from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Good pre-game fodder if you ask me. • Down they Byline has the lowdown on all of the former Wizards. [Down the Byline
Around the MLS
• The Colorado Rapids made a trade, acquiring forward Quincy Amarikwa from San Jose for a second round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. They also put midfielder Ciaran O'Brien and forward Ross Schunk on injured reserve. [World Soccer Reader
]• Real Salt Lake locked up captain Kyle Beckerman until 2013 with a new contract. [Salt Lake Tribune
]• Another captain, Toronto FC's Jim Brennan, has retired and will move upstairs in the front office. It's sorta weird. [Toronto Sun
]• Might there be a soccer-specific stadium and an MLS franchise in Tampa's future? [MLS Daily
]• An interesting riff on a European rumor about impending DP decisions by Kyle McCarthy. [Goal.com
]• An interview with Curt Onalfo. [Soccer America
]This week's MLS games
· Chivas USA vs. New York Red Bulls - 3 pm, TeleFutura
· Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United - 5 pm, FSC
· New England vs. Toronto FC - 6:30 pm
· Chicago vs. San Jose - 7:30 pm
· FC Dallas vs. Columbus - 7:30 pm
· Houston vs. Los Angeles - 7:30 pm
·Kansas City vs. Colorado - 7:30 pm, KCWE (Ch. 29)
· Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders FC, p.m.
USA! USA! USA!
• Clint Dempsey will miss the second leg of Fulham's Europa League quarterfinal match today with Wolfsburg with a thigh injury. No. No. No. The U.S. national team can't afford to have him injured. [USA Today
Around the World
• Yes, precisely.That's the problem.
Liverpool don't have enough funds to bring in new players. Well, okay, fine it'spart
of the problem. [Sports Illustrated
]• More information than you probably thought you'd ever get about the troubles plaguing the South African football association. [The BBC
And just for fun...
• Okay, this isn't so much "fun" as it a "You've done that and isn't it really freaking odd that a professional athlete would do the same thing?" kind of moment. Arsenal's Carlos Vela couldn't play against Barcelona on Tuesday because he couldn't find his passport. [Dirty Tackle