It’s another one of my favorite kind of Tuesday: the kind featuring both UEFA and CONCACAF Champions League play (Disclaimer:I realize that headline is in no way the proper plural of Champions League).
It won’t be easy for the MLS sides today. Toronto FC goes into the home leg against Pumas with three regulars out of the match because of yellow card accumulation. TFC lost to Pumas 4-0 in Mexico, and if they can’t get the result today, they’d be eliminated from CCL play if FC Dallas beats Panamanian side Tauro.
On the other hand, Seattle could clinch passage through the group stage with a draw in Guatemala City against Comunicaciones, but despite being in the midst of a hellacious road trip they’re going to go all out for the win our man Brent Latham tells us from Guatemala.
Across the pond, Roberto Mancini is hoping his Manchester City side won’t get starstruck, but will face every club as equals. If the Italian manager can’t provide enough motivation, perhaps former teammate Jerome Boateng’s lack of confidence in City will breathe life into the squad.
In the other Group A fixture, Napoli welcome Villarreal and will put their best side out as manager Water Mazzarri is placing the Champions League as the top priority. Other intriguing matches include Real Madrid-Ajax and Lyon-Dinamo Zagreb. Full listing and live updates at the UEFA site.
Manchester United play against Basel, and while Sir Alex Ferguson might not be too worried by that clash he does have a few worries on his mind. The draw with Stoke this weekend? No, it’s the influence television has on fixtures. That’s right college football isn’t the only sport bowing its knee to television dollars, although Sir Alex thinks broadcasters should pay more than they do currently for EPL matches considering how many countries receive the broadcasts.
Happier thoughts from Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. With a derby against Arsenal looming Sunday, he’s expressed confidence that Spurs will finish above the Gunners in the table this season.
El Jadji Diouf left Blackburn after a run in with the manager, but that hasn’t stopped a bevy of teams from trying to secure the Senegalese striker’s services.
Schalke have a new manager after the abrupt departure of Ralf Rangnick. Huub Stevens takes the helm, and he is already Schalke’s longest-serving manager (for a different stint, obviously) having led the club to a great deal of success between 1996 and 2001.
FC Dallas has hit a rut in its quest to get back to the MLS Cup and the return of last year’s MVP David Ferrira to the lineup could provide a big boost for the playoff run. Unfortunately for coach Schellas Hydman, it’s unclear if Ferrira will fully recover in that time frame. The midfielder is attempting to come back from surgery on his double-fractured ankle injury that has kept him of the field for much of the year.
USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has plenty of capable midfielders at his disposal, and though Jose Torres sustained a season-ending injury it looks as though Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley are going to be seeing more time at their respective clubs, notes Avi Creditor in his Americans Abroad rundown.
And this is pretty gross, but also incredible. Espanyol striker Walter Pandiani starts off this news conference wearing a stylish light gray shirt and ends it wearing…the same shirt that’s a decidedly different color. Here it is sped up – some prompt perspiration for you: