Nov 8, 2012, 7:30 AM EST
Russian international Pavel Pogrebnyak, whose migration west has taken him through German’s Stuttgart and then through England’s Fulham and Reading, turns 29.
Lille’s Joe Cole, who still seems for all the world like he should be Chelsea’s Joe Cole, turns 31.
Brazilian international Luis Fabiano, currently with Sao Paulo, turns 32.
Finally, Northern Ireland Aaron Hughes, a fixture around Craven Cottage since 2007, turns 33.
(Bonus: celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (pictured right), whose tales of a brief career in professional soccer apparently were, uh, “embellished,” turns 46. Once his “embellishments” were revealed, a spokesman contested that “Any inaccuracies . . . can be explained by the fact that all this occurred nearly 25 years ago.” Yes. I sometimes forget whether or not I played professional soccer, too. It’s all so darn confusing! Or, we can go with this: It’s also explained by the fact that he lied to gin up a brief trial with Rangers.)
Big Important Stories of the Day:
Things we know this morning that we didn’t know yesterday:
Two of the four MLS Cup semifinalist – and we’ll learn the third and fourth later tonight, and; we know the U.S. national team’s schedule for final round World Cup qualifying.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Scott Garlick
*Ahead on the blog today:
Lots of MLS playoff talk (including more on the bizarre scene in New Jersey, where snow forced a 24-hour postponement of the Red Bulls-D.C. United match), a little Europa League talk and more than a little U.S. national team talk.
What you should watch on TV today:
Anzhi Makhachkala hosts Liverpool at 11 a.m. ET in Europa League play on Fox Soccer Channel.
Then at 2 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel, Clint Dempsey and Tottenham Hotspur host Maribor in Europa play.
As for the “late shift,” both MLS playoff matches are on NBC Sports Network. Coverage of the Red Bulls-D.C. United contest begins at 7:30 p.m. ET. Then coverage moves west to Utah, where the camera lights switch on at 10 p.m. ET for Real Salt Lake and Seattle.
We’ll leave you with this: MLS host rights are wide, wide open. Sporting Kansas City and San Jose had the top odds going into playoff season. Now it could easily be any five of the six teams still alive; only Houston doesn’t have a path to potential host duty.
Dec 8, 2013, 8:45 PM EST
Fulham decided it early against Aston Villa, while Giroud was denied late at The Emirates.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:40 PM EST
Collin, Feilhaber, Findley and Schuler may have changed the way we see their careers.
Pulis vs. Allardyce; Crystal Palace vs. West Ham: Earle, Mustoe talk diverging paths of Eagles, Hammers (video)
Dec 8, 2013, 6:38 PM EST
NBC Sports’ analysts look what’s going right in the South, wrong in the East.
Dec 8, 2013, 5:43 PM EST
New depths for Moyes, Everton continues to convince, and perspective required for Chelsea’s, City’s stumbles.
Dec 8, 2013, 2:51 PM EST
Roma’s enormous win, fueled by Mattia Destro’s winner in his season debut, gave the Giallorossi a vital three to keep pace with Juventus and extend their distance from Napoli.
Dec 8, 2013, 2:23 PM EST
Wenger believes consistency will be the key, but can Arsenal learn from previous campaigns and not shot themselves in the foot?
Dec 8, 2013, 12:59 PM EST
Mesut Ozil gave Arsenal the lead with just 10 minutes to go, but Gerard Deulofeu broke Arsenal fans hearts not long after.
Dec 8, 2013, 11:47 AM EST
The North London Derby gets a third chapter this season as the two sides will face off in the FA Cup third round. See the complete draw results here:
Dec 8, 2013, 10:33 AM EST
Dimitar Berbatov looked like a changed man and Steve Sidwell scored as well to give Fulham their first win in seven weeks.
Dec 8, 2013, 10:31 AM EST
Arsene Wenger has the Gunners flying high at the top of the league, with a chance for another impressive win against Everton to put them 7 points clear.
Dec 8, 2013, 9:14 AM EST
Fulham are well on their way to ending a run of six consecutive defeats.
Dec 8, 2013, 8:36 AM EST
It’s slowly coming out that David Moyes has been keeping an eye on summer target Kevin Strootman of Roma.
Dec 8, 2013, 7:50 AM EST
Can Rene Meulensteen breathe life into Dimitar Berbatov and a weary Fulham squad, or will it be Villa’s away day magic that continues to shine bright at Craven Cottage?
Dec 7, 2013, 11:05 PM EST
We’ll know in the next few days:
Dec 7, 2013, 11:00 PM EST
Can the Gunners stretch their lead at the summit? Will Fulham stop the rot? Both games live on NBCSN:
Dec 7, 2013, 10:00 PM EST
Experience was key early, set pieces came back to haunt them, and nobody will remember how you lost.
Dec 7, 2013, 9:28 PM EST
A few take-aways from Sporting Kansas City’s side on the clubs’ MLS Cup triumph Saturday over Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park:
Dec 7, 2013, 9:01 PM EST
Both coaches said so after Saturday’s exciting match:
Dec 7, 2013, 8:35 PM EST
Sporting Kansas City’s center back scored a goal in the run of play and then nailed a beauty of a penalty kick:
Dec 7, 2013, 7:45 PM EST
Round-by-round as Sporting Kansas City wins MLS Cup 2013 in a 10-round penalty kick tiebreaker.
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