This rivalry is why soccer can be big in America. This game was very exciting to watch, and the atmosphere was crazy at Providence Park in Portland. Goals were being scored left and right with the final score coming to a draw at 4-4. Some big goals were scored by Clint Dempsey in the later part of the second half, and whether you’re a Seattle fan or not, that can be seen as a positive development for the USMNT as they head into the World Cup. With that group of death, we’re going to need everyone on top of their game. Both sets of fans are pretty crazy about their respective teams and the rituals at the Portland games make the game particularly exciting for spectators. If every team in the MLS could mimic this sort of environment for their fans, it seems like the popularity of soccer could grow in leaps and bounds. Slowly but surely the league is gaining steam, but it seems to be a long way off from being as big as any of the other popular sports in America.
El Clásico is upon us. Two of the world’s best teams, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will battle it out this Sunday, March 23rd in perhaps the biggest “derby” in football. Of course, in dramatic fashion, there is a lot riding on this match. If Real Madrid win, they will place themselves 7 points ahead of Barcelona and will most likely be in a great position to win La Liga. Atletico Madrid currently hold the second place position. Cristiano Ronaldo, who will debut his new Mercurial Vapors this Sunday, is La Liga’s leading scorer with 25 goals. Lionel Messi is third with 18 goals, although he recently became Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer with 371 goals.
Another huge match will be taking place in a London Derby between Arsenal and the Premier League leader’s Chelsea. If the gunners lose, they will be out of the title race as they currently sit third in the rankings behind Liverpool.
The Champions League quarter-final draw was also just released and it looks like there will be some tough match-ups. Manchester United are coming from a 3-0 win over Olympiacos, but will have to face last year’s title holder’s, Bayern Munich. This is a tough draw for Man U, as Bayern are the current favorites to win the title again. Real Madrid will be looking for revenge against Borussia Dortmund from their defeat last year, and Barcelona is in an all-spanish matchup with Atletico, who also sit ahead of them in La Liga. We’re definitely looking forward to these matches!
On Sunday Messi became Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer when he scored a hat-trick against Osasuna, and helped Barcelona win 7-0. Messi has scored 371 goals in all competitions, eclipsing the record set by Paulino Alcantara, who scored 369 goals in 357 appearances between 1912-1927. The craziest number in this whole thing is 26: Messi’s age.
The MLS season started this weekend and the Goals of the Week Nominees are in! The first is from Sebastien Fernandez of the Vancouver Whitecaps in a game against the New York Red Bulls. The second comes from Boniek Garcia of the Houston Dynamo in a game against the New England Revolution. Finally, the third comes from another Whitecaps player, Pedro Morales. This is actually a tough decision! All the goals were well placed and came from some decent ball movement amongst the teams. Can’t decide between Fernandez and Boniek Garcia. Vote here.
Let’s not give the strikers all the glory. Here are the nominees for save of the week from some of soccer’s greatest acrobats: Bobby Shuttleworth, Donovan Ricketts, Jaime Penedo, Nick Rimando, and Sean Johnson. Vote here.
NYCFC is letting it’s supporters vote for the Official Club badge this week. The badge will be the cornerstone of the official launch of the team’s identity on March 20th. The voting period ends on Thursday, March 13th which is about one year away from the start of the team’s inaugural season in 2015. The club has also offered it’s supporters the chance to design their own NYCFC badge, which will be displayed in a fan badge mosaic to be revealed later this spring. Some of these fan designs are shown below.