Tuesday, August 02, 2005

And now, Back to the Action

After a horde of European clubs came to our shores in July, MLS clubs will return to focus on the league and the US Open Cup this week, while another soccer-specific stadium opens its doors this Saturday.

First, a recap of last week’s action. MLS sides did pretty well against European clubs, as Chicago dropped a 3-1 decision to AC Milan at Solider Field. DC United’s Bobby Boswell gave the defending champs a first-half lead against Chelsea, but fell 2-1. The MLS All-Stars sent a packed Columbus Crew Stadium home happy after dismantling EPL mid-flight squad Fulham by a 4-1 score. The Revs’ Taylor Twellman, FC Dallas’ Ronnie O’Brien, and Colorado’s Jeff Cunningham (2 goals) scored for MLS.

Though many snobs were decrying that the matches were “meaningless friendlies,” short of December’s World Club Championship (Costa Rica’s Saprissa is the CONCACAF entrant) in Japan, there’s really no “meaningful” competition that club teams from Europe and North America can take part in together. Critics have really got to get a grip.

The fourth round of the US Open Cup will be played tomorrow night with eight matches, and the MetroStars, who take on USL-1 front runner Rochester in upstate New York, are hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s uninspired 1-0 upset loss to Charleston. Mike Magee, interviewed on bigapplesoccer.com, says the Metros will be ready.

Though the amenities won’t all be in place, FC Dallas’ spanking new Pizza Hut Park opens this Saturday night with the Metros the opponent. When the paint is completely dry, the Frisco, TX stadium will hold 21,000. With parking lots yet to be finished, the Hoops will host about 15,000 fans for the inaugural match.

A check of its webcam page shows how nicely Chicago’s stadium in Bridgeview, IL is coming along. MLS’ next stadium could be ready for opening day in 2006. As for the Metros’ Harrison, NJ project? We’re coming up on FIVE FULL YEARS since the project was introduced, and nary a shovel has hit the dirt. Stay tuned.

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