Let’s face it; local soccer lovers have a lot to be thankful for this week. From Erik Soler barking about officiating, to Thierry Henry giving out love taps and the United States playing for their lives in the Gold Cup, there has been drama, action, suspense and the occasional head slapping moments that make this sport the very best in the world.
And folks, it’s only Tuesday.
Here are some story’s to follow this week, including the U.S. Open Cup clash tonight, some Red Bull tidbits, Showdown In Chinatown and more:
US OPEN CUP SECOND ROUND: FC New York v. New York Pancyprian Freedoms
The New York Pancyprian Freedoms, an amateur side from the United States Adult Soccer Association, has a long and storied history. In the all amateur days of the Cup, the Pancyprians managed to capture the title three times. Tonight, they face a professional team playing in their own backyard.
F.C. New York in now the lone professional team to play at Belson Stadium. Tonight, both sides will meet in a literal home field war. FCNY enjoyed a fantastic 3-0 victory over Western Mass. en route to the second round. Striker Johnny Arteaga leads all tournament scorers thanks to his hat trick performance. With Graciano Brito expected to play some bigger minutes off of injury, and Tadeu Terra shining in USLPro competition this season, F.C. New York will certainly be a handful for the Freedoms.
The game is tonight, 7:30pm at Belson Stadium. The winner will go on to Red Bull Arena to face the Red Bulls in a historic, all New York fourth round.
TIM REAM: WANTED MAN
We all knew this day would come; just not after such an atrocious showing at the Gold Cup! Tim Ream has begun to gain some serious interest from would be European suitors thanks to his standout play in the league. MLSSoccer reports Dutch Giants, PSV, have begun to send feelers out towards the Passaic in hopes of landing the American defender. If Ream’s agent is to be believed, many other teams in Europe are watching the young centerbacks career with a keen interest as well. Nice to be wanted, though the Red Bulls have expressed no interest in severing ties with their young standout back.
HANS BACKE COMMENTS ON HENRY SITUATION
Just when you thought Hans Backe was biting his tongue on the Henry situation, Michael Lewis of Big Apple Soccer manages to get the coach to open up. In a revealing interview, Backe called the red card a “joke,” reiterating the words of his General Manager. To read the rest of Backe’s comments, click right here.
COSMOS COPA FIELD COMPLETE, DRAWING THIS THURSDAY
It was a wild weekend for Cosmos Copa hopefuls, as the field has been whittled down to 16 teams. The eight who have already qualified for the tournament will now be joined by Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Greece, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, the Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kosovo, Mexico, Poland, Senegal and Trinidad & Tobago for the cities ultimate cultural footie bragging rights showdown.
This Thursday at the Foreign Press Center, Cosmos Executive Director Joe Fraga will be joined by ESPN soccer commentator Tommy Smyth and representatives from all 16 teams for the official tournament drawing.
MIKE GRELLA BACK IN NEW YORK
Speaking of the Cosmos, current Leeds United player and New York product, Mike Grella (24), is heading back to New York this summer to ride with the Cosmos U-23 team. His first test? Playing former team The Long Island Roughriders, in the second of a series of PDL Friendly Exhibitions for the Cosmos side. According to BAS, Leeds gave the youngster permission to work the summer with the Cosmos side, and beyond if he so chooses.
REMINDER: STEVE NASH’s SHOWDOWN IN CHINATOWN TOMORROW
Steve Nash, Anderson Silva and ESPN’s Marc Stein walk onto a soccer pitch … sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, or the names and faces you may see in a park near you! Tomorrow, Steve Nash and friends will be bringing back “Showdown In Chinatown” for it’s fourth consecutive installment. Don’t forget to head on down to Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Chinatown before 6pm to catch all the festivities and fun!
FINALLY … FIFA 12 JUST KEEPS LOOKING BETTER
Here is a sneak peak at the new FIFA 12 video game system, expected to be out later this year. Here, the producers explain the detail behind the games new physics system. Check it out!