- Luciano Emilio is emerging from hibernation with a brace against the Fire and 3 goals in his last 2 games. Perhaps he's spotting Angel and Johnson a lead to make the race for the Golden Boot more interesting? Joking aside, if he continues to click and doesn't wilt in the heat of the summer, I can see him passing the streaky Johnson should he hit a bad patch, but Angel is the signing of the season so far in MLS. I doubt if the Bulls would be flying quite so high without him.
- I've been touting Real Madrid's performances in the past few months as "Team of Destiny" stuff. Well - destiny fulfilled and well done to a team that didn't look like challenging for the title prior to the Christmas break. Head-to-head is a funny little thing to sort out a title race as Barca's goal differential was massively better than Madrid's. It's strange to think of Los Galácticos as a scrappy side, but the heart they showed to fight back in so many matches this year was tremendous.
- Congrats to the Gwada Boys! I thought that Honduras was probably looking the most dangerous side in the Gold Cup, but the little non-nation that could upset the Central Americans to advance to the semifinals. The list of Guadeloupe-born or Guadeloupe-heritage players is pretty impressive. The midfield might need a bit of help, but if they could field a regional team like the Catalan and Basque sides, they would have one of the world's best attacks and pretty solid back line.
- The US Nats need to go back to finishing school. They should have absolutely steamrolled Panama in the first half-hour of their quarterfinal tie, but consistently fell at the final hurdle. I don't see any easy answers as the closest thing we have to a poacher is Twellman and he just can't seem to translate his MLS scoring touch to the international stage. Likewise, Johnson as our speed threat is way too inconsistent to be relied upon.
- CONCACAF refs are miserable and are making ragged Gold Cup matches look even more so. The only reasonable quality officials in this federation are from Mexico. Let's see - consistent exposure to high-pressure games involving big, passionate crowds and a high standard of play. Who would have thought that would produce the most competent refs? FIFA's crappy mandates about involving everybody at the highest levels of competition need to be scrapped because they're influencing results, bringing the game into disrepute, and, most importantly as far as FIFA should be concerned, endangering players. You can't just throw an unqualified and unprepared official into a match he is not equipped to handle and expect that he'll magically improved through the experience. That said, it's a thankless job and even the refs from the best leagues are often less than stellar. Robot Referees now! Only kidding - I think.
- Of course, some of the teams participating in the Gold Cup are not helping matters. Panama and Costa Rica in particular are doing a brisk trade in the card-factory business. Sure the refs are poor, but that's no excuse for the levels of ill-discipline on display from supposedly professional players representing their countries on an international stage. Who would want to pick up a whistle with the way some of these guys are treated by the players, let alone the fans?