This weekend is full of soccer goodness. To begin with, there's the USA. Landon Donovan—New York Post coverboy—leads his squad against Ghana in this first game of the round of sixteen. It's all one-and-done knockout stuff now, folks, so it's serious time. Ghana—the only remaining African team in this year's World Cup—is without their star striker Michael Essien but Asamoah Gyan and
captain Stephen Appiah are not to be underestimated. Ghana knocked out the U.S. in group play back at the 2006 World Cup. HOWEVER. Ghana does not have Clint Dempsey who can get knocked in the face and have blood pouring out of his mouth and still play awesome. The match is on ABC at 11:30 a.m.
For a great photographic summary of this edition of the World Cup, the Boston Globe's excellent Big Picture feature has an amazing collection of photos from the tournament so far. Really good stuff and I'm guessing after viewing them all, many of you will become Paraguay fans now.
There's no easy matches at this stage, but with the US winning their group, they were able to avoid the other potential round of sixteen foe Germany. That honor goes to England who play on Sunday at 7 a.m.
Speaking of England v. Germany, here in Portland, English pub Horse Brass and German bar Prost! have a friendly wager on the game going with some help from Adidas. Each bar is putting up $250 that their national team will win. Buckets will be passed around at each location to increase donations with the winning bar then donating the whole pot to after school youth soccer programs chosen by Adidas. The losing bar must then wear the winning team's jersey and cheer them on in the next quarterfinal match. Rivalry!
Want more? There's more. The Timbers get back into their USSF 2nd Division season with a game against the FC Tampa Bay Rowdies on Sunday at 5 p.m. While technically an 2010 expansion team, there's no guarantee that this is a gimme given the Timbers play against other expansion teams this season. That said, Portland has been on a good run of play with two consecutive wins in U.S. Open Cup play and as they sit second to last in the standings, they need points. The starting eleven is anyone's guess with head coach Gavin Wilkinson constantly tinkering with the lineup but I'm hoping Bright Dike—who had a hat-trick Tuesday against Kitsap—will feature heavily in the attack.
The game is on FSN on the televisions, also online, as well as on the radios at 95.5 The Game and in Spanish at 1360 ESPN Deportes. Also: kids 12 and under eat FREE prior to kickoff plus it's Teddy Bear Toss night too.
Finally, after the crazed public unveiling of the MLS Portland Timbers crest, there was some dissension in the ranks. Suffice to say, many people found the new crest underwhelming if not downright bad. But after some constructive criticism and productive meetings between the Timbers Front Office and the Timbers Army 107 Independent Supporters Trust, a newly tweaked crest and secondary logos were unveiled yesterday. See them here. I have to say that calm and logic have ruled the day and the result is one that has people happier and ready to get back to watching the action on the field. Which is what it's all about anyways.
Go USA! Go Timbers!