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ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

Oct 25, 2012, 7:30 AM EDT

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Soccer birthdays: If you to went on playing style alone, you’d say Roger Espinoza was 33 years old. Opponents find it frustrating, but Espinoza’s a master of leveraging that area between where a normal player stops and the rules begin. He’s the person in the pickup game who’s compensating for a lost step with a bag of tricks picked up through years at that park.

The main difference? Espinoza’s not that old. He’s not old at all. The Honduran international turns 26 today, a birthday he shares with German soccer legend Birgit Prinz and Queens Park Rangers winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Big important soccer stories of the day: All’s quiet on the homefront as Major League Soccer gears up for its regular season finales, but in England, race is back on the front back page.

One day after Rio and Anton Ferdinand released a statement explaining their issues with the Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association’s attempts to combat racism, expect the pundits and tabloid press to have their say. Based on early reactions, there’s a danger that defensiveness will lead most views to promote (rather than engage) the brothers Ferdinand. At some point, England, you’re going to have to honestly, thoughtfully talk these things out.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Carla Overbeck

Ahead on the blog today*: “You’ve been a great audience. No, you really have, but we all know why you’re here. I DON’T WANT TO WASTE YOUR TIME! So put your drinks down and your hands together for Mr. Noah Davis.”

PST background noise while blogging today: Kung Fu Panda’s quest for a fourth home run.

What we should all watch on TV: Europa League is still a real and actual thing. On Thursday, it gets realer. And actualer!

That’s when Liverpool hosts big spending Anzhi Makhachkala. You know: The team that bought former Barcelona, Inter Milan star Samuel Eto’o? They’ve also bought Christopher Samba, Yuri Zhirkov, and Lassana Diarra, as well as a handful of lesser known signings that have pushed them to the top of the Russian Premier League.

On Thursday, Anzhi visit Anfield. Check your local FOX Soccer listings.

We’ll leave you with this question: If you took the time to rank them, where would the 2012 Major League Soccer season place among the league’s previous campaigns? For quality, entertainment, drama, highlights, competition – whatever quality you want to prioritize. How good has 2012 been?

  1. soccerjohn - Oct 25, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    I have to confess, I’m a soccer snob. With few exceptions over the last years, the play in MLS has been too ragged and the officiating too poor to keep me watching. I love the idea of a US soccer league, so I have tuned in…but then I’ve usually cringed and tuned out. I wasn’t singling out MLS; I used to tune out of most EPL matches too. I’m just not a fan of gnip-gnop soccer. The point is, I’m not qualified to make any in-depth comparisons of MLS years for quality.

    But I wanted to say this: the quality of play has improved enough that when I tune in these days I stay tuned more often. There are an increasing number of nights when I choose the MLS game over whatever European game is on. I follow the standings and major story lines. And, for the first time, I’ll be watching the playoff games that don’t involve my team. For sure, it helps that my hometown team (DCU) is resurgent, but it goes beyond that. MLS is much, much better than it was. The trajectory is really positive.

  2. mkbryant3 - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    I think this season ranks right up there with the best seasons (I’ve been a fan from the start. Welton, anyone?). Everything seems to be coming together this year. The incredible fans in the NW, the drama from the new playoff format, CCL competition. Of course, my Quakes having a banner year and Wondo’s goal chase. The league reviewing video of dicey situations after the fact and handing out punishment seems to be working.

    But some of the bummers have been Donovan’s injuries as well as Toronto’s ownership failure to again get things right and reward their fans.

    And, lest I forget, this year brought us the go to site for all soccer geeks: NBC Pro Soccer Talk!

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