Soccer birthdays: Dmitri Sychev, better known as “The Russian Michael Owen,” celebrates his 29th birthday. The lightning fast midfielder is losing some steam as he grows older (aren’t we all?) but still calls Lokomotiv Moscow home. He will not, however, play for Russia when the United States goes to Krasnodar next month.
Elsewhere, Vasilis Hatzipanagis turns 58. The former Greek international did little of note — beyond, of course, being a professional footballer — but he has an amazing name and even better hair.
Big important soccer stories of the day: The CONCACAF Champions League groups are set. Who ya got? Yeah, we don’t have a clue either, but Steve Davis will break it all down. And there’s more of the 2016 Copa America “will it or won’t it happen?” deal. Oh, and MLS is having a pumpkin-carving contest.
Yes, we are aware that’s three separate stories. Lo siento.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Bob Bradley.
Ahead on the blog today*: SD and RF have all your MLS playoff implications for the coming weekend. What to watch, when to watch, why to watch, what to drink while you’re watching.
I also heard a rumor that Steve was going to announce his appointment as NBA deputy commissioner, but I could be wrong. This seems like a remarkably strange venue to do so.
PST background noise while blogging today: The kids screaming outside our apartments.
What we should all watch on TV: Saint-Étienne and Rennes are playing at 2:45 in a battle of teams for which Carlos Bocanegra used to play. The winner gets the Chicago Fire.
We’ll leave you with this question: We mentioned this yesterday, but in a USMNT fantasy draft, who gets picked first? Who are the top five? And where, oh where, does Mr. Jonathan Bornstein rank?