Wednesday’s Weekly Wrap-Up: August 31

This past week saw NY Red Bulls sit idle, Rochester Rhinos crash out of the playoffs in controversial fashion, and Tottenham Hotspur return to the depressing form fans were used to when I started casually paying attention to English football at the tail end of 2004/05 season.

Also, this is the last day of the transfer window in most of Europe.  English, German, Spanish, Italian, French teams will all finish their transfers tonight though they can still sign free agents and arrange loan deals for a while longer.

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What is the CONCACAF Champions League?

I was recently asked what one competition I would choose if i could get every snobby euro-loving American soccer fan to watch it.  Naturally, it wouldn’t be MLS and surprisingly not even my beloved professional lower leagues.  My first instinct was the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is currently in the semifinal stage of it’s 98th year.  That’s right, 98 years of national cup soccer competition, which makes it 3 years older than the Coupe de France, 8 years older than the Coppa Italia and only 12 years younger than the Copa del Rey.  The quality of play in the Open Cup increased sharply with the establishment of the MLS in 1996, and only one non-MLS has won the trophy since then (I’ll give you a hint, they’re from Rochester).  But even the cup is not the tournament I think all American soccer fans should tune into this year, that title belongs to the CONCACAF Champions League.

So a reasonable question to ask is, “what exactly is it?”  Well at it’s base, it’s the Champions League of the CONCACAF region.  Well, duh.

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Disappointing Play-Off Exit for the Rhinos

I did not watch Friday night’s game but I followed the twitter feeds about the match that quickly got out of hand.  As the top seed in the National Division, Rochester Rhinos secured the right to host Harrisburg City Islanders for the divisional final play-off encounter.  Rochester’s usual passing style of play was abruptly and systematically interrupted by hard tackles and chippy plays off the ball. Continue reading

Sub-17 Copa Independencia and Youth Club Culture

The Copa Independencia is the self-proclaimed “mejor torneo de clubes del continente categoria sub-17;” the best club tournament in the continent for under-17 sides, and kicked off proceedings earlier in the week.  This year’s edition of the under 17 youth tournament is hosted by Club América, Cruz Azul and Pumas.  From Mexico, Pachuca, Monterrey and Chivas de Guadalajara join the joint-hosts.   Sao Paulo and Santos flew up from Brazil with Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors, while Russian side CSKA Moscow round out the 10 team competition.

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