To prepare myself a bit for Saturday night's showdown at the Linc between the Philadelphia Union and Real Madrid, I actually watched all 90 minutes of a soccer game last night between two teams I have no connection to. What have I become?
Since I was out of town, I was unable to get the Union vs. Everton match on TV (much more on the U's impressive youth against Everton from Matt here), but Real Madrid vs. Chivas de Guadalajara was being aired on ESPN2 live from San Diego. As a casual soccer fan whose biggest exposure to the sport has been watching Union/MLS games, getting the chance to see Cristiano Ronaldo and the pinpoint passing and ball control of his squad was, obviously, quite impressive. After being held in check for most of the match, Ronaldo exploded for a hat trick late in the game.
Three random observations plus video highlights from Union/Everton and Real Madrid/Chivas below:
First, Ronaldo took a PK when one of his teammates was fouled in the box. That's like letting Ray Allen shoot free throws when Shaq gets fouled going up for two. How does that work?
Secondly, Real Madrid's passing really is the most impressive aspect of their game to watch. It's like video game passing.
And finally, much of the talk on ESPN last night was about the MLS' weak showing against their European opponents in the current string of friendlies taking place. The Seattle Sounders got demolished to the tune of 7-0 against Manchester United with Wayne Rooney getting a hat trick of his own.
But how about the Union pulling out the 'W' against Everton? I kept waiting for ESPN to bring that up, but it must not have been on their agenda because the game was not on their network.
Regardless, Saturday night in Philly should be pretty fun. Ronaldo played the entire match last night, so how much action will he see at the Linc?
Highlights from the Union-Everton match:
More from the Union-Everton match:
And the Ronaldo hat trick I enjoyed watching: