Nov 7, 2012, 7:30 AM EST
Huge, huge day in birthdays ….
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea turns 22.
United States international Jonathan Bornstein, who took his spins on the revolving wheel of U.S. left backs, turns 28.
England international and Manchester United defensive staple Rio Ferdinand turns 34.
Dutch international Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (whose name is actually even longer than that, because his proper name is Johannes Vennegoor of Hesselink) also turns 34
Scottish international and Vancouver Whitecaps chatty midfielder Barry Robson turns 34. (Come to think of it, perhaps the fact that one of their central midfielders is 34 helps explain the Whitecaps demise over the second half of the season, which is when Robson joined up.)
Former England international and Liverpool legend left winger John Barnes turns 49.
Finally, while guys like Pele and Giorgio Chinaglia absorbed most of the headlines, guys like the fabulously talented Vladislav Bogicevic were just as important to those illustrious Cosmos teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The former Yugoslavian international, who is a member of the American National Soccer Hall of Fame, turns 62
Big Important Stories of the Day:
The United States learns its World Cup final round qualifying schedule today as FIFA and CONCACAF conduct the draw for six teams that have made it to the remaining stage, the so-called “Hexagonal.” The draw from Miami takes place tonight at 8 p.m. ET
It’s MLS playoff day – three of the four conference semifinal series will be settled today. By late into the evening, five Major League Soccer clubs will remain in contention for the 17th MLS Cup.
Plus, it’s another Champions League Day, with the other half of group play rolling out today from Europe.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Jennifer Grubb
*Ahead on the blog today:
More on the three MLS matches today, including the one in San Jose, where Major League Soccer’s reigning champs, the star-packed L.A. Galaxy, have some heavy lifting ahead just to remain in contention.
Later, we’ll have analysis and highlights from the trio of eliminators.
We’ll also tell you what happened in the UEFA Champions League, where the big matches include Scottish giant Celtic against inimitable Barcelona and title holder Chelsea against Shaktar Donetsk.
What you should watch on TV today:
- Braga host Manchester United live from Portugal at 2:35 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel. (The photo above is from Braga’s beautiful grounds.)
- Celtic hosts Barcelona on delay at 5 p.m. ET on FSC.
- In MLS, the New York Red Bulls host D.C. United at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
- And San Jose hosts Los Angeles at 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Background noise while blogging today: All the fallout from another historic night in American will be fascinating. And if that gets tiresome, last night’s speech from the President of the United States is worth replaying a time or two. That was powerful stuff.
We’ll leave you with this: As someone who appreciates what Dutch soccer offered the game back in the day, it’s nice to see Ajax become a bigger player in European competition once again.
Dec 21, 2014, 9:07 PM EST
The sky continues to fall in Dortmund.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:17 PM EST
Tim Howard converses about his recently released autobiography, “The Keeper.”
Dec 21, 2014, 7:40 PM EST
Jeremy Menez has done a fantastic job as AC Milan’s primary attacker, and he’s primarily aiming for the French national team call-up.
Dec 21, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Ally McCoist has left Scottish Championship team Rangers, as the club has recognized the former star striker is now on “gardening leave.”
Dec 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
Catch up on Premier League Round 17 action from this Sunday.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
According to Brendan Rogers, Liverpool’s prime attacker, Daniel Sturridge, will make his return from a multi-month injury in early January.
Dec 21, 2014, 4:05 PM EST
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson on game-winner and Tyne-Wear derby triumphs: “Three years in a row, they must hate me here!”
Dec 21, 2014, 3:39 PM EST
Brendan Rodgers gives his thoughts after a 2-2 draw despite what he called “dominance” on the ball.
Dec 21, 2014, 3:12 PM EST
With polarizing halves separating the teams, Arsene Wenger said a draw was the correct result based on performance.
Dec 21, 2014, 2:29 PM EST
Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to bring a grudge with him to Morocco.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:44 PM EST
With Newcastle yielding late, Alan Pardew thinks he may have left his team a little too exposed as the clock ticked towards the final minute.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:08 PM EST
Martin Skrtel returned from a nasty injury and took full advantage of the resulting stopptage time.
Dec 21, 2014, 11:58 AM EST
A day to forget for the American central defender in Germany’s top flight.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:26 AM EST
The boyhood Newcastle fan scored at St. James Park for the third year in a row as Sunderland stole the Tyne-Wear derby late.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:16 AM EST
Raheem Sterling looks to be the lone attacking option for Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers has left both his available strikers on the bench.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:52 AM EST
A magnetizing first touch leads to a meaningless but nonetheless beautiful goal by the man who gives us magic weekly.
Dec 21, 2014, 7:53 AM EST
The heated Tyne-Wear derby has brought us goals and fireworks of many kinds, and will be no different today as Sunderland looks to win four in a row over Newcastle for the first time ever.
Dec 20, 2014, 10:54 PM EST
Howard doesn’t think Lampard will start the MLS season with NYCFC, although he says he should.
Dec 20, 2014, 9:51 PM EST
Doneil Henry is reportedly close to joining West Ham, which is a surprise, to say the least.
Dec 20, 2014, 8:46 PM EST
After logging lots of miles the last 16 months, Raheem Sterling is going to get a short rest very soon.
- Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Wounded Skrtel turns away Gunners at the death (video) 1
- Arsene Wenger says Arsenal could spend big in January, if the deals are right 0
- Real Madrid outclass San Lorenzo, win 2014 Club World Cup 6
- Premier League Sunday preview: Loaded morning sees Tyne-Wear Derby and Liverpool vs. Arsenal 0
- Premier League roundup: Goals galore as Saints, Tottenham, QPR, Man City win 0
- WATCH: Match of the Day – Recap Saturday’s madness in the Premier League 0