Sweet news from the nether reaches of the North American game (motto: "Taking What We Can Get Since Approximately Forever"): after the US Open Cup quarterfinals ended in a flurry of penalty kicks and red cards, two First Division teams landed in the semis. With Charleston and Seattle paired off in the next round, the scrappy little league that subsists in MLS' slender shadow is guaranteed a spot in the Final, and thus a possible berth in next year's continental Champions League.* True Fans will, of course, pull for Charleston, and not only because the Seattle Sounders collectively worship a nameless demon entity. Thanks to the franchise system, the Sounders are "going up" to the Major League regardless of their results this year, so only a Battery victory will yield a true Cinderella tale. Follow?
Meanwhile, north of the Border, a faintly similar story unfolds. The First Division's Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps are holding their own against MLS' Toronto FC in the weird three-team mini-league ("The Nutrilite Canadian Championship") that determines the Dominion's entrant in the Champions League. (Yes, I know it's not called "Dominion" any more. I'm a nostalgic.) While the 'Caps finished with four points and thus exited with a moral victory, Montreal can win the thing with a draw against the Football Club** on the final matchday.
* Which, being a CONCACAF affair, will probably be a joke, but still. It's called the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, so it must be awesome.
** Which reminds me: does anyone remember when CONCACAF tried to rebrand itself as "The Football Confederation"? Good times. I think we should call it The Special Confederation.