Birthdays of note: Former Brazilian midfielder Emerson, whose 17-year career took him through Bayer Leverkusen, Roma, Juventus, Real Madrid and AC Milan, among other stops, turns 36.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Alan Willey
Twitter dap: D.C. United center back Brandon McDonald (@BMcDonald4), who was suspended retroactively by the league for one match: “Not too thrilled with this 1 Game ban!! #HEATED!!”
What we should all be watching on TV: “Chelsea had quite a lot of luck in the first match, considering we dominated the match.” That’s from Benfica manager Jorge Jesus, regarding last week’s 1-0 win for the Blues in Portugal. And them’s fightin’ words! The return leg is this afternoon from Stamford Bridge in West London. (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel). Real Madrid also closes things out (presumably) on tiny Apoel’s dream run (tape-delay, FSC, 5 ET).
Ahead on the blog today*: MLS Panic quotient (jumped the gun on that one yesterday), plus snapshots of your soccer day in Europe, South America, and Asia.
PST background noise while blogging today: Weather radio, if conditions look anything like they did yesterday around ProSoccerTalk’s regional HQ.
We’ll leave you with this: I noticed on Twitter yesterday where some people convinced themselves that referees / UEFA / spaceships or whatever conspired to make sure Barcelona won. I just shake my head. I get that people are passionate about their teams. But you cannot have watched those teams over two legs with any degree of objectivity and then run up the conspiracy flag – not with any credibility, anyway.
*Always subject to change; you know how it is