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Around the World: January 9, 2009

By Jeff Kassouf

It seems that there is always some type of huge match-up taking place these days, but there are some major games on tap this weekend with even more implications on the future of certain players and clubs. Here is a look at some of the biggest stories:

David Beckham could see his first official action in Serie A against rival AS Roma. He played 45 minutes in the midweek friendly against Hamburg. Of course there is also still a game to be played. AC Milan sits in third, nine points behind nemesis Inter, while Roma still struggles down in tenth place. Becks aside, Milan should be able to get three points against a Totti-less Roma side.

Chelsea takes on Manchester United on Sunday, with the two teams sitting second and third, respectively, near the top of the table. This is a huge six-point game for the two heavyweights, who rarely drop points. Who will shine in this battle of the bigs? My money is on a 2-1 win for United, with some late heroics from golden boy Ronaldo, no pks this time.

Remember their Champions League penalty shootout - I'm sure John Terry does, The Blues 'Inspirational leader' will be back for the monster EPL clash against Manchester. Ronaldo was reprieved by Terry's slip/miss.

 

In Spain, second place Valencia clashes with seventh place Villareal in perhaps the biggest match-up of the weekend, but Barcelona still holds a commanding lead with an 11 point cushion over Valencia. They will likely only add to that in their Sunday fixture against bottom-dwellers Osasuna. And, Messiah Messi will only receive more standing ovations.

State-side, there are some interesting things happening off the field midweek. The MLS SuperDraft and WPS Draft take place on January 15 and January 16, respectively. For Major League Soccer teams, it is a chance to boost their current rosters (with the exception of expansion side Seattle, who is still building). In the case of Women's Professional Soccer teams, it is time to build their inaugural rosters with fresh talent, as the women’s college system typically produces more national team level players than the men’s.

And on a side note, Soccer By Ives is reporting that the Philadelphia franchise has narrowed its name choices down to four: AC Philadelphia, SC Philadelphia, Philadelphia City, and Philadelphia Union. Consider this one journalist’s vote to finally see a team named the “AC.”


Jeff Kassouf is a staff writer for The New Paltz Times and a freelance writer who covers soccer, and can be reached at: jeffkassouf@yahoo.com


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