Inside the Brain of a Teenage Soccer Genius

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming Up This Week...

I haven't been posting much (I can blame a ridiculous school schedule on that!) so to spice things up a bit, here is a short preview for games to come this week! We have some big ones from the men and the ladies over in Europe!

Tuesday May 15, 2012: Kitsap Pumas vs. Cal FC - U.S. Open Cup

defending National Champions will host to Cal FC
U.S. Open Cup kicks off on the peninsula as Kitsap Pumas take on Cal FC, managed by former USA player and Fox Soccer analyst Eric Wynalda. The Kitsap Pumas are the current National Champions of the USL/PDL and advanced impressively far in the Open Cup last season, losing out to their superior MLS neighbors, the Seattle Sounders in a very close 2-1 game.
Fun Fact: Many of the Kitsap Puma players were hardly in grade school when Eric Wynalda was featuring for the USA. I wasn't alive yet.

Wednesday May 16, 2012: FC Basel vs. FC Luzern - Swiss Cup: Final
The 2012 Swiss Cup final kicks off in Bern at 8pm local time tomorrow! FC Basel can top off a great season with the double after they secured the league title with a generous handful of matches to spare. FC Luzern were disappointed to lose their grip on the Axpo Super League title when Basel took off after strong performances in the UEFA Champions League, but they still have a chance to get some sliver wear for their trophy cabinet. After nearly being relegated last season in the small 10-team league, Luzern's new coach Murat Yakin took over and steered the side to consistently strong performances throughout the season. They now qualify for a playoff spot in the UEFA Champions League. Basel won their third consecutive title and are at the peak of a dominant winning streak. They too will qualify for the UEFA Champions League playoffs in August.
Fun Fact: Luzern's manager, Murat Yakin, is a former FC Basel player.

Thursday May 17, 2012: Lyon vs. FCC Frankfurt - UEFA Women's Champions League: Final
The women from Frankfurt can hope to capitalize on the success of the men's side in the city (Eintracht Frankfurt was promoted to the Bundesliga in April) and top off their own season with a big win in their home country. The Frankfurt side is no newcomer to success in the Women's Champions League. They have three titles to their name from 2002, 2006 and 2008 and were finalists in 2004. They will be looking to make the most of this final match, because at the moment they sit in 4th place in the Frauen Bundesliga and will miss out on the top two qualifying spots for next season. Defending champs Lyon, the visiting side from France, have their hearts set on a second consecutive UEFA Women's Champions League title. Speaking to about their victory last season, Lyon player Lotta Schelin stated that she "can't say anything negative about the game." She and her teammates are prepared to do their best to get a similar result in this final.
Fun Fact: Lyon's leading goalscorer, Eugene Le Sommer, boasts eight goals in eight games in the competition. 

Saturday May 19, 2012: Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League: Final
It is safe to say that Bayern Munich, the side from the host city, are favorites to win, but both sides will be missing key players to their squads after some of the most intense football in history was played out in both semi-final matches. Their captain, John Terry, is one of the more noticeable absences from their squad that will feature in the final. The Englishman saw red early on in the match when he took a cheap shot on Alexis Sanchez in the box. In addition to losing Terry, the Londoners must also fill the boots of Raul Meireles, Branislav Ivanovic and the Brazilian striker Ramirez. Chelsea played their part in one of the biggest upsets in sports history to date, defeating Barcelona at the Camp Nou with only ten men. Bayern Munich barely scraped by on penalty kicks in the semi-finals but were the victors after overtime and the intense shootout in Madrid. They will be missing a sizable portion of their regular starting backline due to accumulated yellow card bans for the young defenders David Alaba and Holger Badstuber. In addition to the young defensive players Luiz Gustavo will also miss out on the final game when he saw yellow against Madrid.
Fun Fact: The number of regular players from both sides who are banned for this fixture is seven!

Sunday May 20, 2012: Juventus vs. Napoli - Coppa Italia: Final

Juve and Napoli will clash in Rome
A 2-1 victory over AC Milan in the first leg of the semi-final and a 2-2 draw in the second leg was enough to put the undefeated champions of Italy through to the final. Juventus have enjoyed a dream campaign so far this season and will be looking to top off their final match with a win and keep their losses for the entire duration of the season at 0. Napoli were able to celebrate on the closing day of the Serie A season as well as they secured themselves a spot in European football next season, finishing fifth in the league right behind Lazio. The blue squad from Naples narrowly squeaked by Siena in the semis but a single away goal in the first leg and a lucky own goal from Vergassola in the second leg meant that they went through to face Juve in the finals. The match will be held in the Stadio Olympico in Rome.
Fun Fact: The two sides clashed in League play on April first. Juventus won 3-0

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