The [Horribly Unpopular] Soccer Thread

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Reno_eNVy

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I figured my World Cup thread was decently busy and the domestic soccer league, Major League Soccer, goes into full swing March 15th.

Just hoping this thread can get some interested in the Beautiful Game and maybe get some of those who scoff at American soccer to watch some MLS.

It's still preseason but there is a televised match tonight in the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League (a tournament in the conference consisting of North America, Central America and the Caribbean in which the winner goes on to the FIFA Club World Cup.)

It airs at 5pm PST on Fox Soccer Channel or CONCACAFchampions.com (short notice, I know) and it is a match-up between Real Salt Lake and Columbus Crew. Both clubs have a history of quality play, especially RSL's defense and goalkeeper.

Here's a preview of the match for any interested

I hope there are others out there who enjoy soccer as much as I do. Even if you watch EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga... I just love talking about and analyzing the sport so please speak up!
 

desiderata

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I'm a soccer player and fan, but really only somewhat follow the European leagues. I would be more of a fan, but I don't have cable, so I only watch the occassional match when I can for free online. I would say my favorite team is Liverpool, with Chelsea a distant second.

I have to admit, I don't really enjoy watching MLS after comparing it to the European talent. It seems that when I do watch it, it's mostly turnovers and fouls, making for a boring match. However, it's been a year or so since I've last seen them play, so hopefully it's gotten better since then. Of course, I'd still rather watch MLS than other professional sports, such as American football, baseball, hockey, etc.

I play midfield, and so I enjoy the versatile players such as Zidane (now retired, bummer), Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Xavi, Michael Ballack, etc. I tend to have favorite players rather than favorite teams though.

I'll check out the game you mentioned and see if I can watch it online.
 

ArcaneXor

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The MLS games I have watched have always been on par with second division European leagues at best, but without the passion. It's just boring, and the weirdness of the league structure means that many games are essentially meaningless.

I'd rather spend my time watching Champion's League, Premier League or Bundesliga games.
 

desiderata

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I should also mention that I find it silly that the MLS has resorted to naming things to capitalize off of the European success (i.e. CONCACAF "Champions" League, and "Real" Salt Lake, "Sporting" KC).
:confused:
 

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I follow mostly EPL with Manchester United being the team I support. I also like to keep track of American players over there especially Tim Howard (I always follow the keepers.)

I have never really followed MLS before, but I will be moreso this season. We moved to Atlanta last year and there are rumblings of a team here in the future. We have a WPS team that is a good time and there are going to be a few MLS preseason matches played at their ground.
 

Ace_Club

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Love soccer. Can't wait for this year's Gold Cup. USA should dominate what with their A team back in the game. Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Dempsey, Holden and Bradley will lay down the smack.
 

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I'm a casual soccer fan. What drew me to the European leagues originally was the league structure. Growing up with all American sports I thought the idea of relegation was awesome. It makes the end of the season interesting for both ends of the table. Obviously this wouldn't work in America as there are not enough legitimate leagues. Like many others I've slowly been getting into it more and more, however, the MLS has just not really stuck with me. Maybe it is the level of play, especially compared to the European leagues. I really do enjoy watching European matches though. I'm not sure why but I've always liked northern England, and when I was a teenager I liked Newcastle, so that team has stuck with me, especially since they're always an underdog against the giants.
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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Yeah a lot of the complaints I see have been debated to all ends in the MLS community including promotion/relegation... but considering they just confirmed the second-tier American league (neoNASL) I doubt pro/rel will happen for a long time. But it should become more interesting with two expansion teams coming in this season (Vancouver and Portland) and another in 2012 (Montreal) followed by most-likely another NY team or a southern team in 2013.

As far as the names go, there are some legit reasons for it them:

- Real Salt Lake is in affiliation with Real Madrid
- Sporting KC will be an actual sporting club... they're in the works to get rugby and lacrosse clubs going. So the name is not just to make themselves feel special
- As far as the CONCACAF "Champions" name.... every single confederation has the same name for their tournament (except the CONEMBOL Copa Libertadores). UEFA Champions League, AFC Champions League, CAF Champions League, OFC Champions League. It's just pretty much industry-standard.

And MLS play and atmosphere can be hit and miss... at times they look on par with EPL and La Liga with great movement on and off the ball and supporter clubs that rock the house. Then there are the matches that are a little lackluster, often due to complicated schedules working around the CCL, Gold Cup, World Cup (last season), etc., that result in exhaustion and injury. But attendance has received a huge boost since the Yanks did so well in the World Cup group stage. Average attendance across the board is 20k+, with bigger markets like Seattle and LA pulling averages of 32k+ and 25k+, respectively.

I'm also a fan of the fact that MLS is a much more physical league and the domestic players don't do pathetic dives to draw free kicks.... that's a job for the international players :D
 

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Love soccer also. I'll admit however, that I don't follow the MLS. Real Madrid is my team and I try to catch almost every game. I'll watch some EPL games and always have the champions league on DVR.
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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Gotta say it is very refreshing to see this many soccer fans respond so fast :mug:

Oh and I've yet to declare my clubs! LA Galaxy first and foremost (BLUE WHITE AND GOLD!!) and across the pond I follow Tottenham.
 

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I'm a die hard Arsenal fan, and really only keep up with English Premier League and Champion's League. I only follow the latter since Arsenal is currently in it, particularly after our amazing defeat over Barcelona the other day.
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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For any interested Arsenal play Stoke City today at 11:45am PST. Stoke City has been hanging around the middle of the table looking to breakout while the Gunners are looking to cement their position in the top four... should be a good one.
 

jbrookeiv

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For any interested Arsenal play Stoke City today at 11:45am PST. Stoke City has been hanging around the middle of the table looking to breakout while the Gunners are looking to cement their position in the top four... should be a good one.
Indeed. Since I cancelled cable, I subscribed to FoxSoccer.tv, which allows you to stream the games online.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I love watching soccer. MLS, Prem, La Liga, and Bundesliga. I like them all. Unfortunately, I don't get to watch the Champions Leugue because it is not carried by espn3. Boooo...

I don't yet have a team I really support. I just like to watch good games and pick who to root for each game.
 

BlackJackBrews

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I'm a die hard Arsenal fan, and really only keep up with English Premier League and Champion's League.
Die hard Gunners fan here as well. Thankfully we have the Fox Soccer Channel here in OKC and I get to watch about half of the games, although many are tape delayed.

I've tried getting into MLS, I figured FC Dallas is the closest and maybe I should get into them. Watched a few matches, played with them on FIFA 10, I don't know, just can't get into it. I think maybe it has to do with the missing tradition. I mean I consider myself a die hard Cubs fan, but if the team just started 10 years ago, I don't think I'd really care all that much...
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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I've tried getting into MLS, I figured FC Dallas is the closest and maybe I should get into them. Watched a few matches, played with them on FIFA 10, I don't know, just can't get into it. I think maybe it has to do with the missing tradition. I mean I consider myself a die hard Cubs fan, but if the team just started 10 years ago, I don't think I'd really care all that much...
Um they've been around for 16 years, thaaaaank YOU :D:D

Also there are clubs that were "promoted" from old NASL and USL leagues, namely Seattle Sounders FC (founded in 1974) and the two expansion clubs this season, Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers (1974 and 1975, respectively.) All three of these clubs came, or are coming, into the league with an already huge fanbase with excellent atmospheres.

I know I tend to ramble but I just love the sport. And this is an especially exciting season for the MLS: expansion clubs, new and exciting soccer-specific stadiums, longer schedule, improved play, new sponsors/kits, best attendance since the first couple seasons.... I've been itching for First Kick since November, especially since the first match of the season is LA vs Seattle... I can't wait!!!
 

BlackJackBrews

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I really want to get into it. I do. I just don't know what it's going to take. Been seriously considering a trip to Dallas to watch a game live. Maybe that would win me over?
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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I really want to get into it. I do. I just don't know what it's going to take. Been seriously considering a trip to Dallas to watch a game live. Maybe that would win me over?
Live matches are absolutely amazing. I went to the LA vs NY match in LA last season... it was, without a doubt, the most exhilarating sporting event of my life. SWMBO and I sat in the Angel City Brigade supporters section and the only requirement for being in the section is standing and singing/chanting the whole 90 minutes. I wasn't even close to drunk (really hard to get drunk when you're 5200ft lower in elevation than usual) and it was thrilling... I was drunk on soccer and fandom.


For those of you interested, the Disney World Pro Soccer Classic tournament kicks-off today at 3pm PST. It will feature MLS clubs Toronto FC, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and brand-new USL (third-tier) club Orlando City. This will be an opportunity to see the second year of a tournament that Disney is really trying to make huge.... and also a chance for those starved for domestic soccer (like me) to watch some matches.

The matches will be streaming on ESPN3.com, ESPN 360 on the XBOX, and MLSsoccer.com. It's a short, two-stage tournament with matches today at 3pm and 5pm and Saturday the 26th at 3pm and 5pm (PST.)
 

jm195907

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I always pull for Aston Villa but it has been a tough year....Champions League is starting to heat up, always one of my favorite times of year. FSC and GolTV always comes through with some good games (Barsa-Real game a few months ago was amazing). I think playing FIFA is what got me back into soccer.
 

BlackJackBrews

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For those of you interested, the Disney World Pro Soccer Classic tournament kicks-off today at 3pm PST. It will feature MLS clubs Toronto FC, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and brand-new USL (third-tier) club Orlando City. This will be an opportunity to see the second year of a tournament that Disney is really trying to make huge.... and also a chance for those starved for domestic soccer (like me) to watch some matches.
Well, your message has been received my friend. I'm going to make an effort with FC Dallas this year. I have an XBOX 360 in my editing suite. I'm cranking up yesterday's match against Orlando City right now, and will watch it as I work this morning.

Does ESPN 3 run most MLS matches?
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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Well, your message has been received my friend. I'm going to make an effort with FC Dallas this year. I have an XBOX 360 in my editing suite. I'm cranking up yesterday's match against Orlando City right now, and will watch it as I work this morning.

Does ESPN 3 run most MLS matches?
Excellent, great to hear it! The match against Orlando City was a pretty good one, especially for the 2nd-ever game of the new franchise! It was nice to hear decent fan support... they're too new to have chants and songs but there were definitely drums and horns.

As far as FC Dallas goes, I'm sure you heard the commentators talking a lot of Brek Shae... he is definitely one to watch if you're going to follow the Hoops. He is superstar material at the age of 20 and already has a couple starts for the US Men's National Team.

There is actually a full TV schedule floating around MLSsoccer.com... I'll start hunting for it. MLS games are featured on ESPN/2/3, Fox Soccer Channel, Telefutura and often Telemundo.

EDIT: Oh, and TSN for you Hosers
 

BertusBrew

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I am a huge soccer fan, I also play year round on a few different teams. I just want to say that people need to start giving the MLS a chance, the level of play gets better every year. I am a Chicago Fire season ticket holder and I have to say I think the atmosphere is amazing. Most people would rather watch the EPL or La Liga or Serie A, who wouldn't they are incredible, but if you live in an area that is fortunate enough to have an MLS team you should support them, it's really the only way the league can grow.
 

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I think the defending in MLS is weak, but if you're going to be sub par at something, that's it. It's a pretty uptempo league and there are some very attractive goals scored.
 

jtlawlor

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Thanks for starting this thread -- I am a : since inception MLS and Chicago FIRE supporter. Love following EPL and La Liga games, UCL and of course all the int. games.

[IMHO] It would be nice to see the Euro snobs in the USA start trying to support local teams... we could use their support to have the league grow and attract those bigger name players not on their final leg... [/end RANT]

FIRE - FIRE - FIRE! less than a month away!
 

soundsandsuds

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Hey guys,

Nice to see this here. I'm a Vancouver Whitecaps fan and am pretty excited for the new MLS season. They've always been a great team to watch. I just moved to within walking distance of Swanguard Stadium. Unfortunately they're playing at Empire Stadium and then BC Place this year. Oh well.

One thing that a lot of people don't realize is how big the old NASL was, with NY Cosmos games outselling Giants games when they were at their peak. Poor management (and unchecked expansion into tiny markets) bankrupted the league, but it was huge at the time. Hopefully the MLS continues its responsible and intelligent management.

Looking forward to this season. Go 'Caps!
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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YES! So glad there are MLS supporters on here!

BertusBrew & jtlawlor: Keep up the support!! Are you guys Section 8ers? And also, super-sucks that McBride retired... dude was a beast. Is there anybody capable of replacing him in the Fire's roster?

McGarnigle: Yeah defense can be a little hit-and-miss but there's always the exceptions (i.e. RSL.)

soundsandsuds: Nice, was really hoping to draw one of you Canucks in ;) How long have you been a Caps fan? And on a side note, BC Place is going to be sick.
 

BertusBrew

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Not a Section 8er, just a big fan. I had season tickets 2 years ago, didn't get them last year, but decided I missed it too much and got season tickets again for this season, can't wait for the season to start. Not sure who can fill McBride's boots, dude was a beast in the air. I'm hoping Patrick Nyarko steps up big this year, if he stays healthy I think he'll be great up front because of his speed. Hopefully, the new guy Diego Cháves can find the back of the net often for us.

Who do you support Reno_eNVy_446?
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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SWMBO and I support the LA Galaxy. Gotta love the blue, white and gold, though I do miss their gold kits with the green sash across the front; absolutely classic.
 

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The Galaxy should have a good year, it's gonna be an interesting one for the Fire, not sure what to expect. I'm hoping the Fire at least make the playoffs b/c it's been a long season for my Reds across the pond, being a Liverpool fan this year hasn't been easy.
 

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Been a Tottenham Hotspur fan for several years now. I chose them because a friend in England said all Americans know about the EPL is Manchester United and Liverpool.

Growing up I was a Sounders fan, back before there was an MLS and they were playing at Huskies stadium. I'm glad to see the increase in the popularity of the game in America. Maybe now we will start seeing some talent capable of performing on the world stage.
 

BertusBrew

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Stratotankard, I agree with everybody in people in America only knowing about the EPL is Man U, but it I think your friend may have been a little mistaken. Most people only know about Man U and Chelsea, I am a Liverpool fan and other than my brother I don't know a single person that follows them. It's all Man U, Chelsea, and a few Arsenal fans out there.
 
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Reno_eNVy

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During the preseason I've been hunting all over the intarwebz for when clubs reveal kits and when website-design interns accidentally leak kit images. Finally there is a full list of them. Here's the link to the article... there's an interview about the kit designs with images of all of them below. Scroll to the bottom for the 3rd kits.

And here's my analysis on all of them from another forum. And don't worry, I won't be offended if you do a "tl;dr"

The "Awesome!":
- Portland Timbers (both kits)... I mean seriously, those are already iconic before a match has even been playing in them. And it's great to see so much effort be put into even the smallest details. Hands-down best in MLS

- Vancouver Whitecaps (both kits)... They seem perfect for the club. The white homes are pretty classy and I dig the stripes. The blue with the raised 'Caps logo is sweet... reminds me of the jersey from a club I played for as a kid. Also, the Bell logo fits well on both.

- Real Salt Lake "Victory Gold".... Just plain sick. That is all.

- Toronto FC home kit.... I like the increased use of gray and the maple leaf is a nice topping of an otherwise clean and straight-shooting kit

- Chivas USA secondary kit.... The subtle vertical striping is a good counter to their main kit. And is it just me or does the Corona on the front look like it's belonged there the entire time?

- Houston Dynamo home kit.... HOLLAND EURO '88 FTW! No but seriously they look awesome and the starburst doesn't look crazy on TV at all (see: Disney Pro Classic.) And orange is a classic soccer color IMHO

- FC Dallas (both kits).... Gotta love the hoops. Great look.

- Columbus Crew secondary kit.... Why don't they use this more?! So unique and awesome.

- D.C. United third kit.... What can I say, I like all-red.




The "Meh it's alright":
- LA Galaxy home kit.... Love the club but the kits have always been kinda "meh" for me. I know they are iconic and you realize who is playing as soon as you turn the match on but just.... meh. I'm still holding out hope for a retro-ish third kit with either a sash across the front or vertical piping. Also, BOO for dropping the ganja leaf off the sponsor logo

- Chicago Fire (both kits).... I do like that they have simplified the kits without the sponsor but the secondary? Come on.... at least the other all-white kits have SOMETHING on them. It makes me think of a scene from Scrubs: JD-"Oh hey is that shirt new? It's really nice... what kind of shirt is it?" Dr. Cox-"It's a white t-shirt..."

- Chivas USA home kit.... It's alright. Corona looks nice on it though.

- Colorado Rapids (both kits).... They look fine, I like the new secondary kit better than the old one. But what you can't see are the big V's on the back of the jerseys that, if tucked in, look like hiked-up thong straps. I also think the secondary will look a lot better with a sponsor filling in the white void.

- Columbus Crew home kit.... Looks weird without the sponsor logo. All-yellow, without the frame, would've been great.

- D.C. United (both kits).... Yeah it's pretty classic looking but it's a far-cry from the three stripes. They're so-so.

- Houston Dynamo secondary kit.... Yaaaay all-white. The orange accents are decent though. I feel they could have done better overall, though.

- Sporting KC (both kits).... The epitome of "meh." Interesting rebranding, retarded crest and bland kits. It would like the secondary (with the raised SC all over) better if the crest read how I originally thought it did: "SC" meant Soccer Club, with the LAX and Rugby clubs having LC and RC respectively. But alas...

- New England Revolution secondary kit.... It's like the "Mirror-Mirror" version of LAG's primary. The only thing missing is the goatee.

- New York Red Bulls (both kits).... Aside from the new black secondary it's pretty unchanged. At least the massive logo lets anybody know who's playing right away.

- Philadelphia Union (both kits).... This one would be in the "Awesome" section if not for the logo. Don't get me wrong, Bimbo is giving them a lot of money and that will be most helpful. But they could have gone with a color scheme that blended better... or nixed the white logo background.

- Real Salt Lake primary and secondary kits.... Yeah I got nothing.

- San Jose Earthquake (all three kits).... Most uncreative way of using the template that a large portion of the clubs use.

- Toronto FC secondary kit.... All-whites... yay. I miss the grays.





The "Herp-a-Derp":
- Seattle Sounders (both kits).... Seriously, what the eff? Way to ruin one of the best set of kits in the league. And while duct tape fixes everything and essentially holds the universe together, it does not tie the ensemble together. The secondary looks like something you'd see at The Thunderdome.

- LA Galaxy secondary kit.... Um yeah, last I checked that color is not in our crest.

- New England Patriots home kit.... 'nuff said



So overall a lot of mediocrity peppered with style and just a dash of suck.
 

BertusBrew

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The Fire kits are the same as last year minus the Best Buy logo since Best Buy didn't renew their sponsorship. I might have to break down and buy the away shirt, I actually like the fact that it's plain. I guess I'm just used to soccer jerseys having a sponsor on them, so if there is not sponsor I would rather there be nothing than the team name, the name is already on the crest.
 
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Reno_eNVy

Reno_eNVy

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The Fire kits are the same as last year minus the Best Buy logo since Best Buy didn't renew their sponsorship. I might have to break down and buy the away shirt, I actually like the fact that it's plain. I guess I'm just used to soccer jerseys having a sponsor on them, so if there is not sponsor I would rather there be nothing than the team name, the name is already on the crest.
I completely agree with you on no names on the chest.

However the Chicago kits are a little different from 2010 (the secondary varies less than the primary.) I'm really happy they simplified the new primary.

2010



2011
 
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Reno_eNVy

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Oh and match announcement.

CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal -- Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew at 7pm PST TODAY on Fox Soccer Channel, Galavision and concacaf.com

This is the second leg of this portion of the quarterfinals. They play each other twice, once at Crew Stadium and once at Rio Tinto Stadium, with the winner having the highest aggregate score; currently the aggregate sits at 0-0. Ties are settled initially by away-goal advantage and if that does not break the tie overtime followed (if-needed) by a penalty shootout.

Note-worthy facts:
- RSL must win outright to advance; any tie will result in a Crew victory due to away-goal advantage.
- It's been snowing balls in Utah so the pitch (real turf) should be interesting.... this shouldn't be an advantage for RSL as it's been going nuts in the midwest as well.
- RSL are currently sitting on a 33 home-unbeaten steak in all competitions (i.e. regular season, playoffs, CCL, U.S. Open Cup.)
- Last Tuesday, the first leg of this series, RSL had zero shots on goal and zero corner kicks for the first time in franchise history.

Here's a link to the match preview.

If anybody can't get the match on TV, PM me and I will send you a link to watch it streaming.


Also worth mentioning, at 5pm PST the other quarterfinals match will be played, this one between Santos and Cruz Azul. This one is being televised on Telemundo (I'm pretty sure... don't hold me to that) and will also be steaming if you would like the link. Cruz Azul currently lead the aggregate 2-0.

EDIT: Removed error (RSL/CLB not playing winner of Santos/Cruz but instead plays winner of Olimpia/Saprissa.) Television information is still correct.
 

BertusBrew

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It could be a great game, although you never know what Liverpool you are going to get. From week to week they have to ability to look like completely different teams. One week they beat Chelsea, next thing you know they lose to West Ham. My prediction is a 1-1 draw.
 
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