Thursday, March 13, 2008

SuperLiga has outlived its usefulness, but boy, was that ever fun

, mi gran amigo I come to bury you with the utmost of respect and admiration.

First some facts to state for the record:

1. I loved SuperLiga last year.

2. The game against Pachuca here in Houston was the best game I've ever seen, though the result was a Dynamo loss.

3. The energy and passion at the games was like nothing else. After the game, Mister3d and I congratulated and had our picture taken with a group of Pachuca fans standing next to us, absolutely wonderful, gracious winners who turned me into an immediate fan of los Tuzos, which is what the tournament, ultimately, was all about, right?

And yet, I find myself in the odd position of advocating its abolition after this year, after what I expect will be a rollicking good time again. More on that below, but first, the SuperLiga 2008 pairings and schedule were announced today and they look like this:

Group A
D.C. United

Group B
Chivas USA
New England

Saturday, July 12

D.C. United vs. CD Guadalajara (RFK Stadium - Washington D.C.) 7 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Atlante (Robertson Stadium - Houston, TX) 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 13

NE Revolution vs. Santos (Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, MA) 7 p.m.
Chivas USA vs. Pachuca CF (Home Depot Center - Carson, CA) 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 15

D.C. United vs. Atlante (RFK Stadium - Washington D.C.) 7 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. CD Guadalajara (Robertson Stadium - Houston, TX) 9 p.m.

Wednesday, July 16

NE Revolution vs. Pachuca CF (Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, MA) 7 p.m.
Chivas USA vs. Santos (Home Depot Center - Carson, CA) 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 19

D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo (RFK Stadium - Washington D.C.) 7 p.m.
Atlante vs. CD Guadalajara (Location TBD) 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 20

Chivas USA vs. NE Revolution (Venue TBD - Los Angeles, CA) 7 p.m.
Santos vs. Pachuca CF (Location TBD) 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 29

Semifinal 1 (Location TBD)

Wednesday, July 30

Semifinal 2 (Location TBD)

Tuesday, August 5

Final (Location TBD)

It kind of sucks for Dynamo to have two 9 p.m. games, but then again it is summer and the heat here is, shall we say, a tad on the warmish and muggy side. Despite what some have said, there is no conspiracy to this situation. What, you're going to do that on the east coast and stick them with 10 p.m. games? No way. It's merely an accident of geography that we have the start times we have. And considering the weather conditions here in Swampland, it's actually a blessing.

And you know what? I don't care. 9 p.m. or 9 a.m. Bring 'em on. I'll be there.

My personal feeling, though, is that with the advent of the CONCACAF Champions League, SuperLiga, for all its greatness, is at the end of its rope. It was a great idea when there was no real Champions League. Now that there is, there's really no reason for it. It was an absolute blast last year, but now all it's doing is congesting the fixture schedule.

I'm rooting for the US U-23s all the way tonight (though we get screwed royally if the Cubans have to forfeit their two remaining games, giving Panama and Honduras 3 extra points each, while we just get the 1 from Tuesday.) But you know what, since my emotions are leading me more towards club over country from time to time, the silver lining of having Stuart Holden and Pat Ianni here full time in the summer if we don't qualify for Beijing brings a smile to my face. So while my first priority is "Go USA!!" my second of "Whew, dodged that bullet." is, to be perfectly and absolutely honest, not all that far behind.


And here is the game of which I speak. Just an amazing, amazing time. I'll never forget it.

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