Thursday, September 29, 2011

Barca Routs Borisov 5 - 0

Last night, FC Barcelona began its defence of the Champion's League cup in Minsk against Ukrainian champions BATE Borisov in the opening round of this year's Champion's League competition.

According to FOX News Latino,

"Lionel Messi scored once in each half as Barcelona routed BATE Borisov 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday for the defending champions' first victory in Group H.

With his double, Messi joined Laszlo Kubala as Barcelona's second all-time leading scorer with 194 goals.

''I am very happy to have equaled a man who was so important in the history of this club,'' Messi said. ''I knew that I could match Kubala, but I didn't go out tonight thinking about scoring goals, nothing of the sort, just playing like always.''

Barcelona took advantage of the hosts' defensive errors to cruise to a comfortable win.

An own goal by BATE midfielder Aleksandr Volodko put Barcelona ahead before Pedro Rodriguez and Messi sent the Spanish giants into halftime with a 3-0 lead.

Messi got his second just after the restart with a cracking strike from inside the area, and David Villa capped the win in the 90th.

The 24-year-old Messi, now in his eighth season, has the chance to surpass Kubala on Sunday at Sporting Gijon in the Spanish league. Kubala played for Barca for a decade from 1951.

Barcelona's top scorer Cesar Rodriguez scored 235 goals from 1942-55. If Messi keeps scoring at the same rate he did last season, he could pass that mark before this campaign is over.

''(Messi) has equaled a legendary player for Barcelona, and he has done it at just 24 years old. I can't say anything more, only congratulate him,'' Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. ''The only way that he won't catch Cesar is if he leaves.''

Barcelona has four points, even with AC Milan after the Italians beat Viktoria Plzen 2-0."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Barca Destroys Atletico, Strikers Fall to Rowdies

After dropping a heartbreaking mid-week match to Valencia to surrender two points in the standings, FC Barcelona came roaring back this past weekend in classic form.  Facing Atletico Madrid, the Catalans returned to their typically dominant form.  Jedi Soccer hero Messi wan Kenobi scored a hat-trick of goals, and David Villa added another.  Adding insult to injury was an own-goal from Atletico's Joao Miranda  to complete the scoring.  Early in the Spanish league season, Real Betis surprisingly stands atop the league standings chart with 12 points, with Barcelona and Levante tied for second with 11 points.  Arch-rivals Real Madrid are tied for third with Malaga at 10 points each.

Now that DC United is eliminated from the MLS Cup playoff contention, our attention turns to the last US domestic team that we follow at Jedi Soccer, which has a chance to win a trophy.  Regrettably, our beloved Fort Lauderdale Strikers dropped their match this past weekend against cross-state derby rivals FC Tampa Bay (aka 'the team that should be named the 'Rowdies').  As reported on the Strikers website, "Tampa Bay’s first and game-winning goal came at the 68 minute mark when Shane Hill found Keith Savage all alone behind the Strikers defense. Savage tucked his shot past Matt Glaeser to give FC Tampa Bay the 1-0 lead. 

The goal came 17 minutes after Strikers defender Cristian Arrieta was shown a straight red card for a challenge against FC Tampa Bay’s Tsuyoshi Yoshitake. The ejection forced the Strikers to play a man down the rest of the way and Tampa Bay was able to take advantage. FC Tampa Bay’s second goal came in second half stoppage time when Matt Clare was able to control a long pass and fend off his defender long enough to score his second goal of the season."

The Strikers thus finish in 4th place in the 8 team league, a solidly .500 side who now sneak into the playoffs based on the NASL's generous tournament fomula.  The Strikers next face FC Edmonton in the first round of the playoffs at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 7:30p.m.  Go Strikers!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Barca Crushes Osasuna 8-0

This past weekend was a good one in the land of Jedi Soccer, as FC Barcelona proved that reports of their demise were greatly exagerrated, and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers secured a home-field berth for the first round of the NASL playoffs.  Only DC United turned in a dissapointing performance this weekend.

From The Hindustan Times:

"A hat-trick by Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to an 8-0 rout of Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday as the champions responded with a memorable performance after a poor week by their high standards. The Champions League holders were accused of complacency after blowing leads against Real Sociedad and AC Milan to twice draw 2-2 but they stormed into a 5-0 halftime lead against Osasuna at the Nou Camp.

David Villa scored twice, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and visiting defender Roversio (own goal) joined Messi on the scoresheet as Barca climbed to second in the table with seven points from three matches.
Barca are two points behind leaders Valencia who were 1-0 winners at Sporting Gijon earlier in the day after striker Roberto Soldado scored his fifth league goal of the season."

Unfortunately, in MLS action DC United stunk up the stadium against the Seattle Sounders.  According to SB, commenting on Seattle's fine showing,

"The passing, off-ball movement and penchant to threaten the keeper in Saturday's game was the team working at near perfection. Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero were able to pick apart the DC United defense... But it was more than just great offense. In fact offense gets easier when your defensive players win the ball in 69% of opposed situations. Jeff Parke shutdown Charlie Davies, who had only 15 trackable actions. Osvaldo Alonso took Dwayne De Rosario out of the game. Both Davies and DeRo were pulled early so that United could make an attempt next week at earning their points in their attempt at the playoffs. But it may have been blocked shots that were the key, as Seattle blocked five and was blocked zero times."

Fortunately for DC United, they are not yet out of the playoff race in the MLS.  But they are not looking too strong at the moment, either.

Finally, our Fort Lauderdale Strikers managed to post a 1-1 draw against the lowly (and horribly named) Atlanta Silverbacks.  The goals were scored by Nico Colaluca for Atlanta and Brian Shriver for the Strikers. The Strikers earned the right to host a first round playoff game on Oct. 1.

Now that Barca appears to be returning to form, another exciting season of Spanish soccer is on, and our MLS side and NASL side are both either still in the hunt for a playoff spot (DC United), or already 'in' (Fort Lauderdale Strikers).  Coupled with Barca's 8-0 victory, that will do.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Barca Ties But United Wins

This past weekend was full of upsets in the land of Jedi Soccer.  Our beloved FC Barcelona surrendered a shocking 2 - 2 draw against Real Sociedad--surely a moral victory for Socieded-- but both DC United and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers posted wins in their matches.

Sporting their crisp new all-black 'away' Jerseys, FC Barcelona appeared to have the match sewn up with two early goals from Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas, but astonishingly they let Socieded back into the match with two quick-strike goals in the 57th and 59th minutes of play, allowing the home side to claim a 2-2 tie against mighty Barcelona.  Given that derby rivals Real Madrid posted a 4-2 crushing of Getafe, this is not an auspicious start to the season, as it gives the Galacticos some hope.  Next week we look forward to Barcelona returning to form.

In the States, however, the Jedi Soccer sides we follow, did quite well.   DC United saw striker Charlie Davies score a hat trick, for a 3-0 thrashing of Chivas USA, ending his nine-game scoring drought in spectacular fashion.  For his splendid efforts, the MLS has named Charlie Davies the MLS player of the week, a fine accomplishment.  With this win, United claws its way back into 5th place in the MLS Eastern Conference.

Likewise, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers downed FC Edmonton by the score of 2-1.  FC Edmonton opened the scoring in the 44thminute when John Jonke headed home Paul Hamilton’s long free kick. The equalizer came for Fort Lauderdale when Hamilton saw the ball go into his own net midway through the second half.  Then Brian Shriver scored the decisive goal in the 90thminute as Fort Lauderdale won their third game in a row.  With this splendid win, the Strikers have secured a playoff berth in the 8 team league.

So despite the dissapointing outcome for FC Barcelona, both DC United and the Strikers both performed quite well this past weekend.  And now-- back to business for Barca!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Strikers Over Impact 1-0

From the Montreal Gazette:

"With sixth place in the North American Soccer League on the line, the Montreal Impact lost 1-0 on Saturday, against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, at Lockhart Stadium, in Florida.

Strikers' midfielder Gerson Mayen scored the lone goal of the game, at the 70th minute, after receiving a pass from Mike Palacio behind the Impact’s defence. Mayen was alone in front of goalkeeper Evan Bush, and beat him on a low shot to his left. The Strikers goal ended the Impact’s streak of three consecutive games without allowing a goal.

“It was a tough game tonight and overall it was not a great performance,” said Impact head coach and sporting director Nick De Santis. “The effort to fight and to get the tying goal was good; however, we did not play our best game tonight. In the second half we were better. Perhaps their goal was questionable, but we’ll have to wait to watch the video. Now we need to regroup and go to Puerto Rico with the right mindset. Hopefully we can go there and get a positive result.”

This was the last of four matchups between the teams this season. The teams had previously played to three draws this season. With the win, the Strikers now hold the tiebreaker over the Impact, if necessary."