Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Hooligan's Daily: Ronaldo nets another UCL hat trick

Yesterday's Score
UEFA Champions League- Semi-Finals First Leg
Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid
(Ronaldo 10', 73', 86')

Cristiano Ronaldo is not human. He single handedly dug a giant hole at the center of the Santiago Bernabeu and violently threw Atletico Madrid to the bottom of it with his seventh career Champions League hat trick, third in this year's knockout stage, and his 42nd overall. He is 32 years old and is clowning players ten years younger than him. I used to be on Team Messi in the great debate of whether Ronaldo or Messi was the world's best player. I'm officially converted until Messi rocks three hat tricks in five UCL knockout stage games. Until then, Ronaldo is the best and there is no second guessing it.

Sulley Muntari, the US Pescara midfielder targeted by racist chants on Sunday, has been suspended for one game for receiving a second yellow card when he left the pitch when the referee refused to address the chanting. To add insult to insult, Serie A has announced that Cagliari will see no discipline for the actions of "about ten fans" or "less than 1%" of total attendence. This is a steaming crock of crap. If Serie A wants to prove they are serious about eliminating racism in its league, they need to drop the hammer on any racist incident in the stands,whether it's from ten fans or 10,000 fans. They should also rescind Muntari's suspension. He shouldn't be punished for standing up for himself in the face of adversity.

U.S. Soccer has set the venues for their final two home World Cup Qualifiers next fall. The USMNT will take on Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena in September and Panama at the brand new Orlando City Stadium a month later. This means it will be the second consecutive World Cup cycle where MLS stadiums have hosted every game in qualifying.

Voters in St. Petersburg, Florida have overwhelmingly approved the privately funded expansion of Al Lang Stadium, which would serve as the home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who are seeking admittance into MLS. A whopping 87% of the voters voted yes on the measure, which would only take effect if the city is granted an MLS franchise.

I'll close with a little bit of local news as Detroit appears to be hosting an International Champions Cup match between Paris-Saint Germain and AS Roma on July 19. The game will take place at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit, which will be hosting soccer for the very first time.

Michigan Stadium in nearby Ann Arbor has hosted two of these matches, including Real Madrid vs. Chelsea last summer, that have attracted over 100,00 fans. Comerica Park holds a bit more than 41,000 people, so don't expect a record breaking crowd, but the event will sell out. The last time a top level soccer game was played in Detroit was when the US Men's National Team played Canada to open their 2011 Gold Cup campaign at Ford Field in front of about 20,000 fans.

A more successful soccer match in terms of attendance in the city could become a catalyst for Detroit's MLS expansion efforts, which is what Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores are hoping for. This match won't attract the overall hype that Real Madrid and Chelsea did last year, so it will actually be a good barometer of where the game stands in the city. If soccer fans come out for two high profile, but less world renowned teams, it would show the city has what it takes to host a top flight team.

Toady's Matches
UEFA Champions League- Semi-Finals First Leg
AS Monaco v. Juventus- 2:45pm- FS1

Europa League- Semi-Finals First Leg
Ajax Amsterdam v. Olympique Lyonnais- 12:45pm- FS2

Toronto FC v. Orlando City- 7:30pm
Sporting Kansas City v. New York Red Bulls- 8:30pm

Pittsburgh Riverhounds v. Toronto FC II- 7pm- YouTube

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