As I sit here watching the start of the CONCACAF Champions league second leg I have to look back at all the happenings this past week in football. This week featured more tournament play, the start of La Liga and Serie A and the close of the fall transfer season for the EPL. The big transfer news is that Man City stole Robinho out from under Chelsea and Manchester United finally got Berbatov from Tottenham. The rest of the transfers can be seen here. Now lets get to some match recaps.
The start of the week saw more Carling Cup action. Newcastle was paired with Coventry City in what I have to call the match of the week. This match flew under plenty of people's radar, but was extremely exciting. I thought it was going to be a fairly big blow out, but after Newcastle went up 2-0 Coventry dug deep and brought it back. They pressed hard on the Magpies and netted their first goal at the close of the first half. As the second half went on it was a back and forth struggle with Coventry trying to press in to find the equalizer. It finally came at the close of the half again which must have had Newcastle fans fuming. With the tie the game went into extra time and newly returned Michael Owen got the go ahead goal in the first 15 minutes. With a match this exciting I knew it wasn't going to be the end and Coventry pushed with all their might to try and set it to penalties. Their wish was almost granted, but the ball was just an inch high and flew off the crossbar. When the final whistle came both teams knew the outcome was fair and there was nothing but good sportsmanship on the way out.
Later Tuesday night was the start of CONCACAF Champions League and the New England Revolution traveled down to Trinadad and Tobago to take on Joe Public. The Revs just looked terrible and were lucky to come out of the game only losing 2-1. Joe Public was just on cruise control the entire game and right now (in the second game) are winning 2-0 at half time. Seems like New England won't be able to net 4 goals to go ahead and advance so that is one less MLS team in the group stage.
Wednesday afternoon was the second half of the Carling Cup matches. I got a chance to see Nottingham Forest take on Sunderland. As with the Newcastle/Coventry match it was exciting for the full 90 minutes. However, this one didn't go into extra time much to the chagrin of the Forest supporters (myself included as I have adopted them as my Championship team). The game was 1-1 for the longest time and was about to end before Sunderland put a beautiful shot into the net. Forest couldn't get the equalizer in the tiny amount of time that was left and the game ended with Sunderland advancing.
Thursday was an off day/night, but Friday picked back up with the UEFA Supercup. Manchester United and Zenit St. Petersburg traveled to Monaco for the battle of champions. Although it seemed like United would win because of possession, Rooney, Tevez and Scholes could not get a ball into the net to save their lives. O'Shea got a good deflection to put the Red Devils back into the game. However, the Zenit attack with their Argentinian striker proved to be too much and they got the go ahead goal in the middle of the second half. Try as they might United couldn't get another equalizer and ended up losing for the first time since Middlesbrough in last season's EPL. Next up is the always exciting and brutal Liverpool/Manchester United match.
Saturday morning I only got to see one match as it was the start of College Football (American Football). It was worth it though as I got to see West Ham United take on the Blackburn Rovers. Both teams are very attack minded and thats always something I like to see. In what was a close game turned out to be a blow out when the Hammers netted two goals in stoppage time at the end of the game. Blackburn suffered its first loss under its new boss, but seemed not too deterred. It may have something to do with the loss of Santa Cruz as Blackburn searched for a new name to get them some goals. The Hammers on the other hand looked superb and thankfully kept Ashton after the close of the transfer market. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season holds for them and certainly think its within their power to make a European competition.
Saturday night was another DC United MLS match with this week's opponents being the always hated NY Pink Cows. I am not going to hide my bias as if you are a true DC United supporter you could never give NY a fair shake and so if this bothers you, please skip to the next match recap. Anyway, as bad as the Pink Cows were, DC just couldn't get the ball into the net. Even with a PK the ball went just wide and the great penalty taker Jamie Moreno just stood there in disbelief. DC had some great chances, but it seems like the ball and the goal had the same polarity and the ball would curve wide every time it got close to the net. The most entertaining part of the game was new goalkeeper Louis Crayton who was faking out attackers with the ball and almost made it to midfield once with the ball before passing it. It may not have been the smartest thing to do, but dammit it was entertaining. He got another shut out though and that's all anyone can ask. DC has two games this week and one is the US Open Cup final against the Charleston Battery Wednesday night. Here's hoping the Black and Red can actually get the ball into the net in those two games.
Sunday I saw one half of two different games. First was the second half of the very boring Liverpool/Aston Villa match. The game ended 0-0 and really had nothing of note. The one bad thing for the Scousers was that Torres was injured and will be out for the next three weeks. The second match I saw was Real Madrid's opener against Deportivo. Unfortunately I turned it on after all the goals were scored, but seeing both teams play really impressed me. Real losing 2-1 didn't hurt things either. I am going to have to start watching more La Liga games as the players seem extremely skillful.
That's it for now until next week. Remember, no EPL matches this week (and possibly other leagues are suspended as well). World Cup Qualifying starts up again and the US takes on Cuba at Cuba Saturday night. Enjoy your week!