We’re still in that lull between summer Olympic sports and winter Olympic sports, but we have plenty to report from the weekend. Names in the news include Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski, Brad Friedel, Kimbo Slice, Lance Armstrong, Lolo Jones, Dana White and Johnny Weir.
Nearly every game meant something …
– Columbus 1-1 Kansas City: KC only leads the East by three, and Columbus stayed within a point of the fifth playoff seed in the East.
– New York 0-2 Chicago: A massive hurt on the Red Bulls, who have just announced a front-office shakeup and dropped to fourth in the East, not yet assured of getting into the playoffs at all. Chicago‘s up to second and has clinched a berth.
– Toronto 0-1 D.C. United: United stands third, one ahead of the Red Bulls.
– Philadelphia 1-0 New England: The only game of the weekend with no playoff ramifications doomed the Revolution to ninth place in the East. The Union could still move up to seventh.
– Houston 1-1 Montreal: A little controversy, with Brian Ching‘s late goal wiped away on a late offside call. Houston is clinging to the last playoff spot, and Brad Davis‘ absence didn’t help. Summing up the East (all contenders have two games left): KC 59 pts., Chicago 56, DC 54, New York 53, Houston 50 // Columbus 49.
– Colorado 1-4 San Jose: A couple of months ago, I said Roy Lassiter‘s single-season scoring record was unbreakable. Chris Wondolowski is getting dangerously close to proving me wrong after netting a hat trick. The only other suspense for the Earthquakes is whether they’ll clinch the Supporters Shield next week — they have 64 points to KC’s 59.
– Seattle 3-0 Portland: The Sounders drew 66,452 for the big rivalry game, and neither the home team nor the home fans disappointed. Check out the Sounders’ tifo:
– Chivas USA 1-1 Dallas: Huge disappointment for Dallas, now trailing by four points for the last playoff spot in the West.
– Los Angeles 1-2 Salt Lake: From watching the first 30 minutes, you never would’ve guessed the night would end so badly for the Galaxy. But Real made a great comeback, and to make matters worse for the Galaxy (and possibly the USA), Landon Donovan is hurt.
(Highlights and so forth at The Kickoff.)
The top two seeds are in good shape after the first leg of the semifinals: San Antonio left Minnesota tied 0-0, and Tampa Bay won 2-1 at Carolina.
Heard Barcelona-Real Madrid was terrific. Sorry to miss it.
And sorry to see the end of an era. After eight years of starting every Premier League game his club played, Brad Friedel finally surrendered the starting spot at Spurs to Hugo Lloris.
Goal of the weekend: Man U’s Tom Cleverley?
What? Lance Armstrong isn’t cleared for sanctioned races? Fine — we’ll go unsanctioned.
Track and field Olympians Lolo Jones, Hyleas Fountain and Tianna Madison joined the fun at the annual U.S. push competition, with all three placing in the top 10 and Fountain barely missing the top three. Rookie Aja Evans took the win. Veteran Steve Langton won the men’s event.
Sri Lanka had West Indies baffled in the World Twenty20 final. The host country held the fierce West Indies batters to 32 runs in the first 10 overs, on pace to score an anemic 64. Then Marlon Samuels played the innings of a lifetime, scoring 78. West Indies scored 137 — still not a great total.
But while West Indies took a while to warm up, Sri Lanka never did. Samuels added a terrific bowling performance to his vital spell with the bat, and Sunil Narine simply mowed down Sri Lanka just as it tried to get going. With defeat all but mathematically certain, Sri Lanka gave up its 10th and final wicket, scoring just 36. West Indies took the championship.
The women’s final was considerably closer — Australia held on to beat England by four runs.
Big weekend, with cards in the UFC, Bellator, One FC and Invicta. A few of the highlights:
– The UFC’s free cards continue to be pretty good, though Travis Browne‘s injury spoiled a compelling matchup with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. And John Dodson is ready for his UFC flyweight title shot.
– Dana White will take a bit of flak for thinking he could bail Jeremy Stephens out of jail in time for his fight with Yves Edwards. But the UFC clearly went above and beyond for Dennis Hallman, who is in the midst of a horrible child custody dispute.
– Remember when Brett Rogers was the man? He was 10-0, having just beat Andrei Arlovski, and he arguably took a round from Fedor Emelianenko? He looked horrible in Bellator against Alexander Volkov.
– All-female Invicta FC delivered another strong card from top to bottom. If you saw a better contest than Michelle Waterson‘s bout with Lacey Schuckman this weekend, please tell me.
The weekend highlights are on a comprehensive Bloody Elbow playlist, along with this …
I like Kimbo Slice, having met him a couple of times. But it’s a little painful to see him go from the UFC to boxing matches against guys who fall down every time he hits them. I’m sure Kimbo hits hard, but seriously? The opponent in this case was one Howard Jones, and we have to say things can only get better.
And finally, from the intentional humor department, here’s a group of figure skaters putting away the glitter and showing us some hoops trickery. This is clearly a parody of something I haven’t seen, but it’s still amusing, and it features nearly every skater who’ll be in the upcoming Grand Prix season (preview forthcoming). Watch the video.
But winter is fast approaching, and several figure skaters tuned up for Grand Prix action at the Finlandia Trophy, with Richard Dornbush second in the men’s competition, Mirai Nagasu third in the women’s event, Madison Hubbell/Zach Donohue third in ice dancing, and the returning Johnny Weir fourth in his first competition since the 2010 Olympics.
More Oly sports in the Team USA roundup: Vincent Hancock is still shooting well, Kim Rhode‘s a little distracted, and Janet Bawcom edged Kara Goucher in a 10-mile run.