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Everything posted by Viper

  1. In 1995, Blackburn Rovers became one of the few non-giant clubs to win the Premier League. After this weekend's results, they have been relegated... not from the Premier League, but from the Championship to League One. They've become England's first former Prem champs to drop to third division.
  2. Minnesota's new stadium will have it too. (As a side note, it turns out they have not officially announced the stadium sponsor yet - it's been reported as Allianz but apparently they're waiting for all the paperwork and approvals to go through first.) As for their game today, I'm not sure who should have gotten Man of the Match - Miguel Ibarra for setting up both goals (both on crosses from the right of goal) or goalie Bobby Shuttleworth for keeping the Loons' sheet clean despite playing most of the second half with a broken nose. On the other hand, I'm still not quite sure what Peter Vermes was thinking not starting Graham Zusi. Igor Juliao got the start in his place and Ibarra ate his lunch, to the tune of those two goals he set up.
  3. The last time the Ducks have looked this bad, they still had the Mighty adjective.
  4. That's a long story. Suffice it to say it probably wouldn't have happened without (1) the North Stars moving to Dallas, the Timberwolves almost moving to New Orleans, and the Vikings starting to clamor for a new stadium - and start to flirt with Los Angeles - all within the span of a couple of years in the '90s, and (2) several members of my extended family and most of my college pals also being Packers fans.
  5. The Wild don't need to blow it up and start over, but they do need better finishers up front. Dubnyk did his job, and on offense the Wild did almost everything they had to except finish their scoring chances. Instead of the back of the net, too many shots ended up bouncing off Allen or going into his glove. As for WAS-TOR, I knew the Leafs were doomed the moment NBCSN showed Justin Bieber in the house wearing their jersey.
  6. I've sort of been that way with the NLL after the Swarm left Minnesota. I did adopt Colorado as my new nominal "favorite" NLL team, but I don't really go out of my way to watch the Mammoth much more than any other team in that league.
  7. Well, RSL's stadium also has a Spanish name (Rio Tinto) so there's that. "Real" (i.e. "Royal") doesn't really befit an American club, however. (There's one fan theory that, with Salt Lake City basically being Mormon Central, "Real/Royal" actually refers to Jesus Christ, but more likely RSL's just trying to bask in Real Madrid's reflected glow.)
  8. The Loons are looking less and less like MLS laughingstocks every week. With Minnesota's 1-0 home win vs. (Tim Howard-less) Colorado they have achieved: Their first clean sheet in MLS (also their first clean first half) Three straight halves (including the second half last week at Houston Dynamo) without conceding a goal, after hemorrhaging goals their first few games Their first MLS point streak (draw last week in Houston, win today) Miguel Ibarra's goal (and the play that set it up) was a sight to see.
  9. Where the hell was that Gunners team in the Premier League campaign?
  10. The United Center Curse LIVES!!! (And even followed the Hawks to a non-United-sponsored arena!) Also, regardless of how STL-MIN Game 5 turns out, for the first time in franchise history, the Wild will have outlasted the Hawks in the playoffs. Maybe just by one game, but still...
  11. Or perhaps too much bad juju emanating from the arena's sponsor after the events of this week. Is United Center cursed?
  12. I'm not sure if any concept art was ever even made or released to the public, but what is now the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN north of Minneapolis was built on the site of what would have been the main hub of Minneapolis's failed 1996 Olympic bid. Had Minneapolis been the Olympic host instead of Atlanta, the main Olympic Stadium would have been built on the site of the outdoor stadium where Minnesota United FC (and its various predecessor clubs) played their pre-MLS seasons, while the complex now known as Schwan's Super Rink (actually a set of several ice rinks connected to a single concourse) would have hosted some of the more obscure events. The complex also includes a cycling velodrome, which is still in use. As it turned out, the NSC did host the 1990 US Olympic Festival, and a few vestiges of its original purpose do remain: Part of the original running track is still in place behind the bleachers opposite the main grandstand (the rest was removed so that the soccer pitch could be moved closer to the grandstand) and they even erected a cauldron tower, which still stands today, next to the grandstand (though I'm not sure if it's ever been actually lit).
  13. You think your team has it bad? A Spanish side got thrashed so hard by Barcelona's JV squad that they mailed in the rest of their season.
  14. The moment Christian Ramirez scored his slam-dunk goal, I knew (1) MNUFC were finally going to bag their first win, and (2) Nick Rimando's botched stop would be the moment that gets all the attention.
  15. The US started the evening at -5 GD and finished at +1. Honduras did exactly the opposite - starting at +1 and finishing at -5.
  16. I've long predicted that eventually the NHL will go to the other extreme, by just giving every team one outdoor game per season (or maybe even two - one home and one away, to allow every team to actually host one). That still seems much more likely than doing away with them.
  17. After severely shaking up their starting XI (with most of their legacy NASL players starting or being subbed in), briefly taking the lead, then playing the last 20 minutes (plus a generous five added) down a man following a questionable straight red, Minnesota United escapes Colorado with a 2-2 draw and their first-ever MLS point.
  18. Given the FA Cup semifinal matchups, it has now become a significant possibility that Arsene Wenger's final match as Gunners manager will be in the FA Cup final - against Spurs. How bonkers would that be?
  19. Well, I was at this game. They actually had to stop it once during each half to blow snow off some of the pitch markings, and spent all of halftime doing the same. They apparently didn't add any of that time onto the stoppage time, though considering how the game turned out, it was just as well. FWIW, the announced attendance was just above 35K. The next game in Minnesota is on April Fools' Day, but snow in April isn't uncommon in Minnesota, so this might not be just a one-time thing. Oh, and one more bit of Loons news: The stadium being built in St. Paul has a sponsor now.
  20. For the first 80 minutes of Minnesota United FC's MLS history, they looked like they belonged. Those last thirteen minutes, on the other hand...
  21. There is one North American league where Canada has been much more successful lately: The National Lacrosse League, where teams representing four different Canadian cities (Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and even Saskatoon) have won NLL Champion's Cups since 2009. Of course, it helps that almost half the league's current member teams (four out of nine) and the overwhelming majority of its players are Canadian (and quite a few more physically live north of the border but identify as Iroquois Nationals).
  22. A seemingly run-of-the-mill story that broke on Monday but could set an ominous precedent going forward: Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, has announced he's skipping the Sun Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft, despite being healthy (unlike LSU's Leonard Fournette who is also skipping his team's bowl game, but due to injury). The message apparently being sent by McCaffrey: If it's not the College Football Playoff, it's not worth playing.
  23. A few current and former teams representing Chicago in various sports play(ed) at Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, a good 30 miles northwest of downtown.
  24. The Cosmos aren't the only warmed-over NASL brand linked with an MLS move. Now there's word that the Tampa Bay Rowdies could get in (setting up an I-4 rivalry with Orlando City) if David Beckham's Miami bid doesn't get its together in time.
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