Friday Football: Waiting for the long UEFA Champions League Final weekend

i-5fa21ba650b8621b473f287be0c372b8-uefe2011wembley.jpgMoore football: London’s Wembley Stadium stands ready for Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final dream match-up between Barcelona and Manchester United. That’s a statue of late England captain Bobby Moore in front of the stadium in case you were wondering (AFP Photo).

The greater LA area tends to empty out on long summer weekends, which is why the Galaxy and Chivas USA avoid scheduling home MLS games in Carson.

That will allow Southern California soccer fans to give their (almost) undivided attention to the highly-anticipated meeting Saturday of two of the most storied names in soccer, Manchester United and Barcelona, in the richest UEFA Champions League final ever.

Coverage begins at 5 p.m. today with a preview show, cranks up again at 10 a.m. on Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer Channel and switches to Fox at 11 a.m. with the kickoff itself about 11:30 a.m. (it’s also live on Fox Deportes). The network is expecting a much larger audience over last year’s game, the first time it was shown on network television in the U.S.

“This is a dream final for a lot of people, myself included,” said Eric Wynalda, Fox soccer analyst. “When this competition started this year, and we saw the caliber of the teams, I think this is the kind of final we not only expected, but demanded as fans. The reality is that we have two teams that have won their respective leagues, are playing great football, and are both mentally and physically prepared for this game. This is a rarity, and it’s fantastic.”

There’s plenty of football friendly watering holes fans can gather to watch the game in Southern California.

Barcelona fans will congregate in Hollywood as usual, while Manchester United fans will meet a short distance away at this Hollywood location.

Both sets of fans will attend Galaxy-sponsored viewing parties of the game at Alpine Village near Torrance and at ESPN Zone at LA Live downtown.

I’ll post a game preview later today.

In other games this weekend:

*Mexico play Ecuador in Seattle at 1 p.m. Saturday on Univision.

*Chivas USA visit the Columbus Crew at 4:30 p.m. Saturday live on Prime

*The Galaxy take on the New England Revolution at 5 p.m. Saturday on Fox Sports West and Galavision.

Finally, FIFA continued to scrape bottom with word today that soccer’s governing body will now pursue an ethics investigation of its own president, Sepp Blatter (y’know, the guy who pledged to root out corruption in the game). Here’s how FIFA played down reported that news today.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • http://fatburningfurnacescam.net Sarah

    Normally I root against ManU, but Barca lost me with all their dives, whining, and gamesmanship against Real… Can’t wait for the game!