Sunday, January 14, 2007

Soccer News & Notes: 1/14/2007

InterLiga Champion Crowned
Necaxa won the 2007 InterLiga with a 1-0 victory over Jaguares de Chiapas on Saturday at the Home Depot Center. Necaxa won all of its matches during the eight club tournament and will be the Mexico #2 representatives in the 2007 Copa Libertadores. Necaxa will be in Group 2, which matches them up with Brazil's Sao Paulo, Chile's Audax Italiano and Peru's Alianza Lima.

Club America won the other InterLiga final, 4-2 on penalty kicks over Tigres UANL. Club America now must play a home/away series with Peru's Sporting Cristal on Jan. 24 in Mexico City and Jan. 31 in Lima. The winner of the series will enter the Copa Libertadores in Group 1, taking on Argentina's Banfield, Paraguay's Libertad and Ecuador's El Nacional.

Toluca is Mexico’s #1 entry into the Copa Libertadores and will enter the tournament in Group 7, which currently consists of Argentina's Boca Juniors and Bolivia's Bolivar. The group will be filled out with a yet to be named Peruvian club.

Manchester United remain 6 points up on Chelsea
Both Manchester United and Chelsea won yesterday. United won 3-1 behind goals from Ji-Sung Park, Michael Carrick and Cristiano Ronaldo. Chelsea won 4-0 over Wigan behind two Arjen Robben goals (one was called an own goal).

In United’s victory, Park’s goal was pretty sloppy on the Aston Villain defense as three defenders were just flailing about as they tried to clear the ball. Carrick broke his duck with a great goal several minutes after park scored. Carrick also made a wonderful cross to the back post to set up Ronaldo’s header for the third goal. Gabriel Agbonlahor scored an easy goal off of a great run to the end line by Milan Baros.

Chelsea destroyed Wigan. Wigan had two shots the entire match, one on goal. It seemed that every time I checked the TV to see how this match was going, Chelsea was either taking a shot or they were scoring.

I watched both of these matches at Summers in Arlington, Virginia. There was a good United crowd out for the match, along with a loud crowd in the back watching the Rangers match.

Beckham benched for the rest of the season, joining MLS early?
Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello has publicly benched David Beckham for the rest of the La Liga season due to not being able to rely on Beckham to perform. Capello will allow Beckham to train with the club, but he will not play him in any matches.

I find this to be a very chicken shit move on the side of Capello. Yes Beckham has signed a contract with another club, but he is still under contract with Real. Beckham is one of the last guys in international football to just coast through his final months. He has way too much pride and would probably be even more determined to get some type of silverware with Real as it would give him some amount of success during his time in Madrid.

This brings us to his options for the rest of the season. AC Milan is reporting that they were very close to completing a deal with Beckham worth €5 million a season, over 3 seasons. Plus he would have been able to retain 100% of his image rights. Due to his new permanent spot on the Real Madrid bench, maybe Milan would be interested in taking Beckham on for a loan until the end of the season?

A different idea would be that Beckham leaves Madrid in January and joins up with the LA Galaxy when they meet for preseason training for the 2007 season. There are ideas floating around that MLS might make a play to bring Beckham in before the end of his Real Madrid contract is up, which would end up costing the league more money as they would have to pay Madrid some sort of fee to allow Beckham to leave. This would allow Real the chance to save from having to pay him for the final 6 months of his contract, and will allow them to pick up some extra cash from the transfer fee. Considering that Beckham is such a competitor, I would not be shocked to see him leave Real within the next month and join the Galaxy in preseason training and end up playing the whole season with the Galaxy.


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