Stars of the future make their mark now: Mexico’s Luis Guzman and Arturo Gonzalez hold the FIFA U-17 World Cup trophy in Mexico City Sunday after defeating Uruguay in the final (AP Photo).
This is what summer soccer weekends are about.
I can’t remember a weekend packed with as many dramatic games as those we saw over the last couple of days.
With interest in the U.S. National Women’s Team at its lowest ebb for years, this crop of players evoked memories of the glory days of 1999 with the sort of game of a lifetime – for players and fans alike – that will always make you remember exactly where you were on July 10, 2011.
But that wasn’t all:
*Japan shocked heavy favorites and World Cup hosts Germany.
*The Mexican U-17 team reminded fans that the nation’s potential in the years ahead is virtually unlimited.
*And the atmosphere Sunday at the first-ever Timbers-Sounders game in Portland was something to behold, even on television, during a five-goal thriller that lived up to its billing on the field, too.
Somewhere in the middle of all that the Galaxy and Chivas USA played, too, with David Beckham scoring direct from a corner kick and Sporting’s Omar Bravo popping up for a second successive game against Chivas USA to remind the team that they really should have made a bigger effort to sign him.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy had four players – midfielders Beckham and Landon Donovan and defenders Sean Franklin and Omar Gonzalez – named Sunday to the starting XI of the MLS All-Star team. The game is set for July 27 against Manchester United
And there’s no let-up in sight.
United’s rivals, Manchester City, are now in Southern California to open preseason training ahead of the July 24 game against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center and on Sunday the club attempted to boost the Dodgers’ lack-luster attendance by sending much of its squad to the game.
Real Madrid, I believe, fly in to LAX sometime today ahead of Saturday’s game against the Galaxy at the Coliseum part of the World Football Challenge that begins Wednesday in Boston.
But first the Galaxy must face the Sounders in Seattle Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal and I must head out to practice to chat with the team.
I’ll have more on the Galaxy, Real Madrid and their contribution to Carmegeddon this Saturday in Tuesday’s column.