Drama. Drama. Drama.
I usually have that reserved for my daughter's school and social life, but in the world of soccer there is drama in the MLS, drama in the UEFA Champions League, and drama in the Premiere league by a certain Manchester City team who made an otherwise quiet morning into one that had me whooping and hollering in my "man cave" making our dogs wonder what's wrong with their owner.
First let's start with MLS and the Toronto/Crew game:
Amazing win on the road and a good start for the Crew for the Trillium Cup. A 1-0 win by a super, hard fought goal by Crew mid-fielder Bernardo Anor silenced a Toronto crowd and gave those fans who made the trek to the Great White North a big smile on their face.
One note of question I had about the coverage by Fox Sports Ohio: WHY, WHY, WHY DID YOU NOT HAVE YOUR COMMENTATORS THERE AT THE GAME IN TORONTO?!! I know this is the first years coverage for FSO for the Crew; I know it took a lot to pull everything together to get everything in place with such little time between the announcement of the deal between the Crew Front Office and FSO, but you had Dwight Burgess and Duncan Oughton calling the game away from Toronto.
Much props to Crew defender Shaun Francis for making an incredible coverage in the corners and for a very heads up play towards the Toronto side. Plus, Milovan Mirosevic making an incredibly timed slide to create the goal for the Crew side.
UEFA Semi-finals: Barcelona v. AC Milan Leg One: 0-0
If you're AC Milan right now you must feel confident of one thing: You held the biggest club in the world to a scoreless side for the first time in two years inside the UEFA Championship League. Not a bad way to start this incredible face off between two of the top teams in the world. Milan kept Lionel Messi in check, kept David Villa in check, and gave your club a huge boost as you go through the second leg back to Italy.
Now that we're down to the final four clubs in play for the Champions cup Fox Soccer is stepping up the coverage with some nice digs for Warren Barton, Eric Wynalda and company to play up the coverage as we head up to Munich and Allanaz Stadium.
BPL Game of the Week: Sunderland v. Manchester City 3-3
Originally I was going to put the rescheduling of the Bolton v. Tottenham Hotspurs game as game of the week. It came on the heels of news that Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba is recovering and will be looking at a long road recovery following his near life ending heart attack. As moving as this game and story was (with Tottenham advancing to the semi-finals with a 3-1 final) the game with Sunderland and Manchester City proved to be the clincher for me.
ESPN's BPL pairing of Ian Darke and Steve McManaman is (IMHO) the best commentators in the game right now gave this particular game the type of emotion needed for a story you couldn't make up on a good day.
So I start off the morning seeing Sunderland strike first; Man City comes back to tie it up and make it level. However, in the course of several minutes go by Sunderland comes back with two extra goals and is on the verge of making the biggest upset of the entire Premiere season. What was brought to light about the Black Cats is the fact several Manchester United refugees were on the field that morning.
These are some of my notes about the game:
*Mario Balotelli. Why always him? Why does this remarkable striker act like such a diva with boots on the ground? Why did he feel it was a good time to fight over a ball for a free kick when you're down 2 and need everyone to get back on the same page? Maybe it was the frustration of a striker who is being outplayed and outgunned by a Sunderland team who came to prove they are no pushovers.
What really got me hot against him was his petulant attitude and near fight on the field in front a testy home crowd over who gets to kick the damn ball. That's the kind of fighting you see six-year-old kids fight over while playing Amoeba ball in the field.
68th minute: Ian Darke: "If Manchester City doesn't win this tittle history is going to judge Carlos Teves pretty harshly for going for a five month holiday in the middle of the season. Steve McManaman: Ian, history will judge Tevez, Roberto Mancini, and the sides. People will point fingers at why they let him back into the team after Mancini says 'he's finished, he's finished" (and be top of the league) and then this happens. I mean, of coarse, it's not Tevez fault, but it doesn't look good as a whole. They (Manchester City) will be criticized and people will be happy (terrible to say), people will be happy they lost the league because of their detraction of the whole situation. My note: "Could be the statement of the year."
83rd minute: Manchester City fans are seen leaving the stadium. Ian: "Several people are going to need a stiff drink to support Manchester City after this!"
84th minute: Goal by Balotelli! The shot of the goal, at this point, and the look at Mancini shaking his head was a stark contrast to what the goal meant to him and the next result in a minutes time.
85th minute: "Tied up?! What? Are you kidding??" Ian: "Two in a minute! And Manchester City—out of nowhere-- have salvation!" Steve: "Quick! All the people who just left, all come back in! Game on! Plenty of time left for the winner!"
Sadly, no winner came from either team to really ratchet the drama coming from the pitch. But a 3-3 draw, coming from behind, would be something to celebrate on most days. For City, not so much. They were lucky to have pulled it out the way they did, but may be further behind if Manchester United gains 3 pts with eight weeks left in the season. But the strife, drama, and all the twist and turns happening this past week on the tube is any indication of what it will be like when the Premiere season is history it will only cement an already known fact about soccer.
You never leave your seat until the ref blows his whistle for the last time.