Just a few random bytes as pre-post-Cup depression makes an early appearance:
ITEM: Torsten Frings of Germany won't be playing tomorrow's semi-final, thanks to his role in the sordid aftermath of Argentina's dismissal. Karmically speaking, of course, this ban is actually the result of Frings' unpunished intentional handball against the USA four years ago. The capricious Soccer Gods speak again!
ITEM: American soccer fans looking for something—anything—to rally around (besides hoping Italy wins the Cup, so we can spend yet another four years trumpeting a dubious moral victory as evidence that we're "not that bad") may be in luck. How about the Hands Off Adu Movement? It seems Michael Essien is trying to lure the impressionable, XBox-loving teen phenom into re-defecting back to Ghana. As though acing us on a fakeola penalty isn't enough, the Black Stars are trying to steal back a player we stole fair and square in the first place! Given what I've seen of Adu, he is about as purely American as it is possible for a human being to be, so I rate his odds of committing endorsement-deal suicide as just about nil. But come on!
ITEM: The endless hoopla in Deutschland is really cutting into my Portland Timbers fandom in a disgraceful way. For the record, the Axemen drew a very healthy 6,000+ to Civic Stadium/PGE Park last night, but fell to Miami FC's reserve team (they sent half their starters, including Brazilian senior citizen Romario, home early) by a score of 1-0. Coupled with a 3-0 away loss to the Whitecaps, that puts the boys firmly back on schneid after their encouraging run last month. But up next: COVENTRY CITY!
ITEM: Speaking of the Soccer Gods, have England fans stopped to consider that maybe those crafty little genii are determined to prevent the Lions from hoisting the Cup until their countrymen learn to relax and enjoy the bloody thing?