Friday, October 19, 2007

Big Football Weekend

The European kind, that is.

Last weekend, there was no real, meaningful soccer, thanks to Euro 2008 qualifiers. Sure, South America began World Cup qualifying, but that goes through 2009, so it's not like last weekend's results were cause for nail-biting. But this weekend is HUGE. Like, three leagues of huge, kicking off more hugeness for the next week or so. As a result, here's what I'll be doing this weekend:

1:30 PM Saturday - Celtic @ Rangers, the first Old Firm clash of the season, which I'll be watching at the Celtic Cross, an honest-to-God Celtic bar (its website has the Celtic hoops as the background and the menu features "Parkhead Pic a Pic", "The Hoops Full Irish Breakfast", and "Lisbon Lions Just Deserts"). The list of live sporting events even says "Them vs. The Mighty CELTIC". Susie will have to keep her DaMarcus Beasley love at a low volume.
Saturday Night - Keeping Abreast of MLS Results, which won't be my main focus, but will have a big impact on Sunday.
8:00 PM Sunday - Barça @ Villareal, featuring the return of Liga action and my two favorite Liga teams. At the same time I'm enjoying the atmosphere at Stuzzichini, I'll be following another game online.
9:00 PM Sunday - Chicago Fire vs. L.A. Galaxy, most likely for all the playoff marbles. David Beckham & Landoon Donovan vs. The BlanChopFle. Remember those Saturday MLS results? There are several permutations, depending on how Saturday plays out, but the short of it is win and you're in. It's Beckham vs. Blanco. Style vs. Substance. Flash vs. Brute Strength. The Golden Boy vs. The Hunchback. The highest profile signing in American sports history vs. a no-nonsense gamechanger. I honestly don't know if I've ever been more disappointed to miss a game, and I'll only say this - IF YOU ARE IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO, GO TO THIS GAME! You'll have to scalp tickets, but I promise it will be worth it.

My predictions?
Celtic 2-1 Rangers. Heated match, but cooler heads prevail. Celtic is healthier following the Euro matches, and Artur Boruc is just sick in goal. Playing at Ibrox won't be enough for Gers.
Barça 2-0 Villareal. The Barcelona attack is just that good.
Fire 2-1 Galaxy. Blanco scores the winner and gets into it with either Becks, Donovan, or Abel Xavier. Cooler heads do not prevail, and both sides finish with 10 men.

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