Sister City’s Soccer

I discovered this week that Barcelona is a sister city of my hometown of Boston, MA.  This gives me a good reason to support FC Barcelona for what better way to foster goodwill and cultural exchange than through sport?  It also means I don’t have to feel like a heel of a frontrunner picking one of the best football clubs in the world to follow.

I thought it would be fun to look through the list of Boston Sister Cities and see what other soccer teams I could potentially support (in my admittedly dwindling free time):

Kyoto, JapanKyoto Sanga F.C. plays in the J. League Division 1, finishing in 12th place last season.

Strasbourg, France – The historic Racing Club de Strasbourg has fallen on hard times in recent years and play in France’s third division Championnat National after being relegated from Ligue 2 last season.

Hangzou, China – Hangzhou Nabel Greentown F.C. finished 15th in the most recently completed season of the Chinese Super League.

Padua, Italy – Calcio Padova finished 19th in Serie B and managed to avoid relegation in the play-outs.

Melbourne, Australia – Home to two teams in the A-League, 2-time champions Melbourne Victory FC who finished 2nd last season and expansion club Melbourne Heart FC playing their inaugural season.

Tapei, Tawain, Republic of China – I think the closest I can find to a premier club team in this city is Tatung F.C. of  the Intercity Football League.

Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana – This Ghanaian city has two football clubs, both of whom were relegated from the Glo Premier League to the Poly Tank Division One League at the end of last season: Sekondi Eleven Wise and Sekondi Hasaacs F.C.

Haifa, Israel – Haifa has two clubs as well both playing in the Israeli Premier League: Maccabi Haifa F.C. (2nd) and Hapoel Haifa F.C. (11th)

Boston, England – The original Boston has a club on the 7th level of the English football pyramid, Boston United F.C., charmingly nicknamed The Pilgrims.   I think the Revolution could take them.

I think some of these clubs should be invited to an off-season tournament in Boston, MA, perhaps the next Fenway Football Challenge.   Of course there’s one world class football club that may soon have a strong connection to Boston and that is Liverpool!  As an Everton supporter, I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Here are the games I’ve watched the past week:

AFC Ajax 1:1 AC Milan (28 Sep 2010) – An exciting Champions League match saw my Amsterdam side host Berlusconi’s Bandits from Milan.  At least two of Milan’s players once played for Ajax, including their goal scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was assisted by form Ajax player Clarence Seedorf.  Mounir El Hamdaoui continued his impressive first season with Ajax by providing the opening goal of the match.  Match report.

Rubin Kazan 1:1 FC Barcelona (29 Sep 2010) – On paper, Barcelona outmatched Rubin Kazan but this match ended in a disappointing draw.  The Russian side tied Barcelona in last season’s Champions League match at home and even more surprisingly won the match at Nou Camp.  Rubin Kazan’s continued success against is the type of thing that will make sports commentators say “they’ve got Barcelona’s number” (and they did say so in the post-game) .  Match report.

Birmingham City FC 0:2 Everton FC (2 Oct 2010) – The Blues wore their hot pink kits to their away match St. Andrews in Birmingham.  To confuse things further Birmingham wore blue and are also known as The Blues.   Everton seemed to have better control of the ball but the two sides went to half-time scoreless.  In the 54th minute the Everton attack paid off with an own goal by Birmingham’s Roger Johnson.  Late in the game, Everton appeared  to drop back into defense allowing Birmingham to attack, attack, attack with Everton just clearing.  To my novice eyes this seemed a poor strategy, and perhaps because I’ve been watching too many Revolution games, I expected the equalizing goal at any minute. I was happy to be proved wrong as Everton not only held the lead but Tim Cahill added another goal in the third minute of stoppage time for Everton’s first win of the season!   Match report.

FC Barcelona 1:1 RCD Mallorca (3 Oct 2010) – I only saw the first half of this game but caught all the scoring.  It looked like the Barcelona Globetrotters against the Mallorca Generals as Barcelona dominated possession and toyed with their lesser opponent.  And yet, Mallorca managed to equalize near the end of the first half and hold on for the draw.  Quiet a shocking disapointment for Barcelona.  Match report.

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