Anything catch your eye this weekend? A few things jumped out of the scrying glass at me, so let's take the Grand Tour, shall we?
Yes, yes, Liverpool's failure to get maximum points at home to struggling Manchester City means that the race for the Premier League crown is all but secure in Sir Alex's sack o' trophies yet again (It's still freakin' February, fer chrissakes! Thank the man upstairs that the jackbooted Parity Police of MLS will be keeping things much more competitive on the domestic front.), but what really caught my attention was some terrifyingly inept refereeing in multiple matches. Somewhere, Graham Poll is smiling . . .
Our Guys, Over There
Maybe I'm missing somebody blindingly obvious, but the only Yank that really made an impression from the matches and highlights I caught was Clint Dempsey. Deuce cracked a long-range effort off the woodwork and generally looked lively. I like how Hodgson has him playing at Fulham. He's ostensibly a wide midfielder, but spends much of his time centrally behind the front pair or pushed up level, or even past, Johnson and Zamora. Dempsey is confident again, and that can only spell good things for Bob Bradley.
Wait, check that. There was one other Yank who made an impression. After a long spell out injured, Jonathan Spector played at right back for West Ham and had a nice assist in a losing cause. And I think I saw Donovan clearing a ball off the line for Bayern as they went down to defeat. Not the end of the pitch you want to see Der Kapitan Kissypants making his mark, but at least he showed up in the highlights.
Meanwhile, Stateside (Sort Of . . .)
DC United managed another pre-season victory, this time at the hands of USL1's Puerto Rico Islanders, who are warming up for the resumption of the CONCACRAP Champions' League. You remember? The tournament that we got bounced out of pretty soundly in the fall?
Well, Gomez smacked in a free kick, and the Clydewinder Missile is apparently still in full effect, with Simms blasting one in from prodigious distance. Initial claims of 30-35 yards will be sure to grow in the popular imagination until we hear apocryphal reports of Simms actually having been climbing out of the hot tub at the team hotel when the ball fell to him and he smashed it, with venomous accuracy, over a distance of several miles into the upper 90.
Also, but for a late penalty, the back line almost pitched a shutout, apparently with no small thanks being owed to trialist Nic Platter in the net. Hmmm, wonder if SuperSerb Milos Kocic might have to suck it up and compete for a developmental spot or pack his bags for Europe in search of a payday? In case you missed it, the "D" included one Anthony Peters, a center back of massive size (6'5", 205 lbs), but limited professional experience, who happens to have joined United on trial. At the age of 25, he would require a senior roster spot, which puts him in direct competition with our other man-mountain trialist, 6'4" Kyle Veris.
On that note, I think we'll call it a weekend. I'll be revisiting the land of Roster Refinement later today, so keep your feed readers wide so I can lob that happy grenado down their gaping maws. Anything else jump out at you this weekend?