Soccer birthdays: On another day, Carsten Jancker might not make the big birthday list. But the former Bayern Munich man was a big whoop in the late 1990s and into the next decade. And he did have 33 caps for Germany. So, yeah, happy 38th birthday, Herr Jancker.
Longtime Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paul Allen (pictured) turns 50. That man is darn near a legend around White Hart Lane.
Big Important Story of the Day: Toronto FC got off to a good start in CONCACAF Champions League play with a resounding 5-1 win over travel-weary Aguila from El Salvador. But tonight’s contest against Mexican power Santos Laguna? Yes, that will be a different story.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Ted Eck
If the MLS playoffs started today:
D.C. United at Chicago
Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
New York Red Bulls vs. Houston
Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy
San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle
What you should watch on TV today: Sacha Kljestan and his Belgian club Anderlecht try to stay alive in UEFA Champions League play, hosting AEL Limassol FC from Cyprus. Kljestan’s team is down by a goal, but this one is in Brussels, so it’s “game on!” That one kicks off at 5 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel. (But stay off of Twitter; it is a delay broadcast.) Later on FSC the aforementioned Toronto-Santos Laguna contest kicks off at 8 p.m. ET.
*Ahead on the blog today: In addition to the usual Tuesday staple, our ProSoccerTalk MLS weekly rankings, we’ll have some thoughts on Monday’s terrible news out of Kansas City, where striker Teal Bunbury is done for the year after suffering a severe knee injury in Sunday’s draw with New York.
PST background noise while blogging today: We’ll see what SoundCloud has to say about it; I’m thinking downtempo.
The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.
There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.
Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).
The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…
“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”
We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.
Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.
Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”
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“When we started out, it was all different, that was 20 years ago. Now a 20-year-old will get into the first team and have more Instagram followers than Messi. When I was young, the older players would say ‘it wasn’t like in my day’ – that’s life and it always will be.
“Mind you, some of them irritate me too. When I see them do live Instagram videos from inside the locker room before a game, I’d like to take a baseball bat to their teeth… But they’re 18 years old and in 20 years’ time they will find themselves complaining about the youth of today.”
Mmmm, tastes like ash and hickory.
It’s a safe bet that De Rossi isn’t wild about Stephan El Shaarawy’s hair, we imagine, but living legends generally get a little leeway with their comments in the media.
Plus, it sounds like he has the wisdom to understand the “why” and at least channel his angry into tackles.