The highlight of the weekend: A wrestler who suffered a severe spinal cord injury two months ago vowed to walk at his graduation from the University of Buffalo. He did. (AP)
In more mundane news from the weekend:
Stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia looked like the chase scene at the end of The Blues Brothers, with multi-vehicle pileups at every turn. See the Universal Sports video montage.
American Tyler Farrar was among those crashing, but he recovered to win the final sprint and stands one second behind Cadel Evans in the general classification. (VeloNews)
MLS is already covered. Big stories are the Galaxy still rolling, the injury-riddled Revolution reeling and the Sounders giving money back after being blown out at home.
- The Atlanta Beat shouldn’t think about giving refunds after their first game in their new soccer-specific stadium, but the Beat lost 1-0 on an unfortunate own goal to Sky Blue. Atlanta is a fun team to watch but just couldn’t finish chances. Karen Bardsley stopped 13 saves to finish second on my player of the week ballot.
- Washington and Boston ended scoreless.
- Tiffeny Milbrett scored a brilliant goal in Gold Pride’s 2-0 win over Chicago.
- Lindsey Tarpley got my player of the week vote, with pressure leading to an own goal and then a goal of her own in a 2-1 St. Louis win over Philadelphia. Tarpley is battling back from ACL surgery.
Standings though five games: Gold Pride (Bay Area) 12, Sky Blue (NJ) 9, St. Louis 8, Philadelphia 8, Washington 7, Boston 6, Chicago 4, Atlanta 1.
Caribbean Club Championship: The Puerto Rico Islanders did more than clinch a CONCACAF berth in Trinidad and Tobago. They won the whole thing, a four-team round robin, with two wins and a tie. (USLSoccer.com)
Division 2: Montreal celebrated the announcement of its pending move to MLS with a 2-1 home win over Minnesota. The only other decisive game of the weekend was a 2-1 home win for Rochester over St. Louis. The Rhinos lead the league with 11 points. Vancouver (8) has a one-point lead over Montreal in the NASL Conference, but the Impact have a game in hand.
No final-day drama in England or Germany. Chelsea just needed to avoid a shocking home result against Wigan to clinch the Premier League; an 8-0 win didn’t qualify as “shocking.” Bayern Munich needed to see two scores bigger than that to surrender the Bundesliga title, but that didn’t happen. For American fans, the biggest news was Hannover (Steve Cherundolo) winning 3-0 at Bochum to complete an escape from relegation.
As is so often the case in Mexico, the lower seeds pulled some playoff upsets, with eighth-seeded Pachuca (Jose Francisco Torres) downing top seen Monterrey on 3-1 aggregate. No. 7 Morelia shocked the Chivas fan base 5-2, and No. 5 Santos Laguna held off Pumas. Another giant fan base was disappointed in the one matchup that went according to form — No. 3 Toluca won 2-0 at home for a 4-2 aggregate win over Club America.
In Italy, Inter Milan and Roma won their last home games with some drama — Francesco Totti scored two late goals in Roma’s rally past Cagliari. Next Sunday, it’s Inter (79) at relegated Siena and Roma (77) at pesky Chievo.
In Spain, Real Madrid won easily and Barcelona held on for a 3-2 win at Sevilla to keep the race alive into the final week. On Sunday, Barcelona will be in the same situation Chelsea faced in England — a home game against a weaker side (Valladolid) and a one-point lead over second-place Real Madrid, who must win at Malaga and hope Barca stumble.
What’s that in the headline about Barcelona wining the European title? Didn’t they lose in the Champions League? Sure. But in the EuroLeague, Ricky Rubio and company beat Olympiakos in Sunday’s final.
England, which suddenly remembered how to play cricket upon reaching the “Elite Eight” stage of the World Twenty20, is playing kingmaker today. With their semifinal spot assured, they’re playing New Zealand, which needs a win or “no result” to advance.
Australia has virtually clinched a berth from the other group, with India virtually eliminated.
If Vishy Anand hadn’t blundered on his final move before making the 40-move time control in Game 9, the world championship would be all but over. Instead, it’s 5.5-5.5 heading into Game 12, with Veselin Topalov going for the win with white. If Anand manages a draw here, we’ll go to four tie-breaker games in which each player gets just 25 minutes, plus 30 seconds for each completed move. As aggressively as Topalov is likely to play, maybe we’re more likely to see Anand take advantage and counterattack for the win?
- Serbia Open: Sam Querrey over John Isner in an all-American final.
- Estoril Open (men): Defending champion Albert Montanes took out Roger Federer in semis and finished title defense against Frederico Gil.
- BMW Open: Mikhail Youzhny upset top seed Marin Cilic in final.
- Italian Open: Jelena Jankovic ousted Serena Williams in semis, then lost to unseeded Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in final.
- Estoril Open (women): Anastasia Sevastova def. Arantxa Parra Santonja — no, I don’t know who they are, either.
- Men’s volleyball: Three years removed from a 3-25 season, Stanford beat Penn State to win the national title.
- Men’s lacrosse: 16-team NCAA Div I field has been announced; all eyes on top-seeded Virginia, which has a player in jail on a much-publicized murder charge in the death of a women’s lacrosse player. (NCAA.com)
- Women’s lacrosse: 16-team NCAA Div I field announced; Virginia has the No. 6 seed in this one, with Maryland first. (NCAA.com)