The European season is coming to an exciting conclusion while the MLS gets into full swing. Here’s three weeks of soccer highlights.
New England Revolution 3:2 Sporting Kansas City (23 April)
This game was the culmination of an exciting week – striker Rajko Levic’s first home game, the debut of midfielder Benny Feilhaber and the premier of the Revolution’s new shirt sponsor. While I’m not too excited by corporate advertising on the jerseys themselves I do appreciate that it will improve revenue for the team. The game was exciting come from behind win with Feilhaber helping set up the first goal and Lekic scoring the game winner with captain Shalrie Joseph scoring as well.
DC United 2:3 New England Revolution (26 April)
The Revs traveled to Maryland for a US Open Cup qualifier, playing an almost entirely different lineup from their previous game against Kansas City. It was a good sign of the depth of the team as the Revs easily took a 3-goal lead with two goals by Kheli Dube and one by Alan Koger. They let up towards the end of the game allowing United to get back two points but the Revs held on for the win and advance to the next qualifier versus KC.
Real Madrid 0:2 Barcelona (27 April)
This game had everything: the mad rants and eventual expulsion of José Mourinho, Real’s negative play and hard tackles, Barça’s excessive play-acting, and lots of fisticuffs on and off the field. Of course none of these were good soccer and an embarrassment to the game. Imagine a novice soccer spectator being told that two of the best clubs in the world were playing in the world’s premier tournament and then seeing every soccer stereotype acted out. Luckily there is Lionel Messi whose two brilliant goals in the final 15 minutes were a joy to behold.
Real Salt Lake 0:1 Monterrey (27 April)
I rooted against Real in the afternoon in one Champions League and for Real in the evening in another Champions League. Real Salt Lake historically made it to the final of the CONCACAF Champions League and tied against Monterrey 2:2 on the Mexican leg of the final. Unfortunately, RSL was not able to secure a MLS bye in the Club World Club despite a lot of pressure on the Monterrey goal and good chances in the final 20 minutes.
Chivas USA 3:0 New England Revolution (30 April)
Hello gut punches, I remember you! The new players and wins against KC and DC built up a lot of excitement for the road game against one of MLS’s weaker sides. The Revs lost and lost bad as the Goats scored twice in the first half and sealed the game in the 57th minute. I guess it was lucky that I wasn’t able to get video of the game, just audio from the Revs website. And the audio cut out after the third goal and I couldn’t restore it.
SC Herenveen 1:2 AFC Ajax (1 May)
An exciting Eredivisie season is coming to a climax and Ajax came from behind to win their second-to-last match. Herenveen scored in the 19th minute but Ajax calmly responded in less than a minute with Miralem Sulejmani’s equalizer. Christian Eriksen put Ajax ahead for good right at the start of the second half. Ajax stands in second place one point behind FC Twente and face that team at Amsterdam Arena for the final game of the season on 15 May that will decide the Eredivisie championship. Interestingly the same two teams met for the Dutch Cup final on 8 May which was won by FC Twente 3:2. Hup Ajax!
Boston Breakers 1:0 Sky Blue FC (1 May)
The Breakers won their first home game and broke a two-game losing streak on Rachael Buhler’s goal in the 53rd minute. A week later though, they lost 2-0 away to Philadelphia.
Barcelona 1:1 Real Madrid (3 May)
A better game than the first tie of the Champions League semi-finals with the home side dominating the first half and going up 1-0 in Pedro’s goal in the 54th minute. Real Madrid made things interesting when Marcelo Vieria equalized ten minutes later but it was too little too late. Barça advances to the final against Manchester United at Wembley on May 28th.
New England Revolution 0:0 Colorado Rapids (7 May)
Accentuate the positive: the Revolution got a point from the defending MLS Cup champions and their first shutout of the season. On the downside, the Revs failed to score themselves despite having long periods of dominating the attack and shots by both Ryan Cochrane and Benny Feilhaber hit the crossbar and Shalrie Joseph missed a golden opportunity. I guess this is baby steps for recovering from the Chivas lost and bringing the team together.
Fulham 2:5 Liverpool (8 May)
Things got ugly quick at Craven Cottage as Fulham went down by three goals to Liverpool in the first 15 minutes. Maxi Rodriguez would net a hat trick in this laugher for the Liverpool side. It’s quite a recovery for Liverpool who were in the relegation zone a few months ago and now are challenging for a spot in the Europa League. I just wish the Red Sox ownership purchased Everton instead.