Lots of interesting things happening in the futbol world this weekend, so let's take a gander at what hooked my attention.
Cup Final Snorefest
Alright, so it wasn't a complete waste of nearly three hours, but the Spurs-ManU Carling Cup final provided few moments of excitement. Let's see. It had some truly god-awful finishing and no goals--check! Neither side was able to field their best side because of injury/sickness (both sides), cup-tied players (Spurs), or general lack of interest (United)--check! And add to that the fact that both sides, already dog-tired from fixture congestion and the first 90 minutes, barely limped across the line in extra time--big check! Yep, all the ingredients were there for another disappointing final.
At least one person was excited--ManU's keeper, Ben Foster. Foster went into the penalty kicks like a kid at Christmas: excited, clapping his hands, big smile, winding up the crowd. Contrast that with Spurs keeper Gomes, who was playing it cool and distant. I watched the two of them heading for the net and thought, "There's only one way this is going to end." Nevertheless, I watched anyway, and was rewarded for my efforts be getting to see David Bentley screw his shot wide. Perhaps the target was too close?
Barca--Only Human After All?
It looked for a long while like Barcelona were unbeatable and would be running away with the La Liga crown, amassing a record number of goals and points along the way. Well, they're still in for the most goals (how could they not be with the array of attacking talent they can field?), but after a poor last month, things have started to get really interesting at the top of the Spanish table. The latest setback included some memorable goals . . .
Hmmm, I wonder if Juande Ramos really is a dead man walking at Real Madrid. If he lands an improbably title, will he be so easy to show the door in favor of a bigger, flashier name?
United Pad the Back Line
Hoping to avoid the "Barca problem" of a top-heavy attack in front of a wobbly defense, DC United has finally started to shovel bodies into that big pothole in the center of defense. The arrival of the 6'2" Dejan Jakovic and rumored signing of the Onyewu-ish Anthony Peters (6'5", 205 lbs) certainly adds mass and athleticism to the back line. The question is now whether this young group of centerbacks (Jakovic, 23; Peters, 25; McTavish, 24; Janicki, 24), with precious little (outside of McTavish) pro experience can knit together and form a solid wall in front of Crayton.
So those were the major pieces of action that caught my eye. Anything else strike your fancy? Encouraged by the FO's moves to shore up DC United's defense? Worried about the lack of experience? Excited that the race for the Spanish Crown might be back on? Disappointed that it's Real-Barca who seem to be the only ones in the race at the moment? Hating the disappointment that cup finals generally bring? Wondering what Beckham is up to? Think Donovan should just give up on Munich (as they seem to have given up on him) and wait for the phone calls this summer? Encouraged that Edu put in a good showing for Rangers? Wondering if Freddy disappeared into the Monaco night?
Whew! That's a lot of questions. Take your pick when answering them.
Programming note for faithful readers with Black-and-Red allegiances: A Refining the Roster update is in the works and waiting to see if the Peters signing is confirmed. Hopefully we'll get word later today.