Aug 30, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT
What we’re thinking, what we’re watching, what’s coming on the blog today and the RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day). Setting up your day in soccer:
Birthdays of Note: This may be the only time that Steven Smith (the Portland Timbers’ defender) and Juventus’s Simone Pepe will be mentioned in the same sentence (unless there’s another blog out there that does soccer player birthdays). Smith, in his first year in MLS, turns 27 in Thursday, while Pepe, recently cleared for wrong-doing in Italy’s latest match-fixing/throwing scandal, turns 29.
Big Important Story of the Day: UEFA Champions League draws its groups today in Monaco. Four pods, 32 teams, four groups – the draw takes place at 11:45 a.m. Eastern. Expect no shortage of breakdowns. Take a pass on the Champions League drinking game of “Group of Death” is on your card.
What we should all be watching on TV: Europa League is in its final play-in round, though that’s unlikely to draw much television attention. CONCACAF Champions League, however, may be more interesting, with both the Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo in action on FOX Soccer.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Brian Maisonneuve
If the MLS playoffs started today:
- Chicago at D.C. United
- Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
- New York Red Bulls vs. Houston
- Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy
- San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
- Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle
PST background noise while blogging today: We all have those songs on our [portable music player or choice] we’re a bit ashamed of, right? Well, I’ve got them on one playlist, a selection that’s given me Nelly Furtado’s “Say It Right” followed by LL Cool J’s “Hey Lover”. Don’t judge.
We’ll leave you with: Did you catch the starting XI Bruce Arena threw out against Puerto Rico on Wednesday? Credit to the Galaxy boss. He started essentially a second choice team (at best) and got a 4-0 victory in CONCACAF Champions League. Still, don’t you get the feeling Arena would rather not deal with this other, non-MLS competition the Galaxy get dragged into every year?
- Stock Rising: United States men whose values are rising out of Salt Lake 0
- MLS Preview: Portland Timbers at LA Galaxy 0
- Goal, assist from Neymar give Brazil win, prolong Mexico’s woes 1
- MLS Preview: Houston Dynamo at Montréal Impact 0
- USA can theoretically clinch a World Cup berth in their next match 4
- Graham Zusi keeps making it harder for Landon Donovan to get back into U.S. national team (27)
- Broadcast of U.S. v. Panama was second highest audience for World Cup Qualifier (14)
- Marseille’s hideous away kit one of the worst of all time (14)
- Orlando City dumps Sporting Kansas City out of U.S. Open Cup, extend unbeaten streak to 14 matches (13)
- It’s time FIFA reconsiders the Confederations Cup bid to the Oceania region (13)
- LIVE: Bruins-Blackhawks, Game 4
- Posnanski: How Heat won a game of mistakes
- PHT: Can Blackhawks solve Rask in Game 4?
- PFT: Report: Hernandez accused of prior shooting
- CSN: Report: Hernandez 'not ruled out' as suspect
- GTC: Tiger pulls out of AT&T citing elbow issue
- HBT: Biogenesis suspensions still likely coming
- Play Video: Police clash with protesters in Brazil
- Play Video: Highlights: Sounders win in final minutes
- Play Video: Highlights: Revolution dismantle Galaxy
- Play Video: What does New York FC have to do to succeed?
- Play Video: The Hype: Bending the screen like Beckham
- Play Video: Galaxy's Rogers talks about coming out to the public