Read Around the Clock...

Well, we all know what happens this afternoon, don't we? I'll probably catch the first half of the CONCACAF Clasico before being whisked away to a celebratory dinner for my impending birthday (another step closer to 40...sigh). Without knowing when I'll catch the second half, I can't promise a timely reaction piece, but it should be up at some stage.

In the meanwhile...

* Hey look, the We're Gonna Win the World Cup hype machine is starting to buzz on the rain-spattered shores of old Albion. It only gets more jingo-tastic from now until next summer.

* Not to be outdone in the Department of Bad Ideas, RSL big-cheese Dave Checketts wants to party like it's 1999 by tossing MLS's fragile credibility to the wind and embracing the shoot-out once again.

* And finally, Chris Webb is hopping on the 4-back bandwagon for United (on the road at least), though I do wonder why he thinks we "have to leave Christian Gomez in central midfield." Surely we could give him freedom to roam as a withdrawn forward in a 4-4-2? It's not like Jaime's exactly been excelling in the role of late, and we'll need to rotate the old warhorses given the stretch we're facing.

Only a few hours till kickoff. So do I break out the Nostradameter? I'd like to believe that the US can get a result, but I think Mexico has two major factors going for them. The Gold Cup victory restored some of their sagging self-belief, and, more importantly, they'll be without Rafa Marquez, whose tendency towards self-destruction in these matches certainly won't be missed by El Tri. But what about his distribution from the back you say? Probably not so important if the US can't apply full-court pressure for 90 minutes in the smog and altitude, don't you think?

See you on the far side of the Altercation at Altitude, the Smackdown in the Smog, the CONCACAF Clasico...

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