Needless to say, Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League games were exciting.
Perhaps even more so because of the nearly unprecedented attendance. Between the two CCL matches, 71,001 fans showed up. That's an average of 35,500.
By comparison, UEFA's four Champions League games this week averaged 49,776.25. That includes 75,632 fans who packed the Nou Camp in an attendance figure nearly as ridiculous at Barcelona's 7-1 destruction of Bayer Leverkusen.
Second stage qualifying in CONCACAF for the 2014 World Cup got underway in full force on Friday night, and El Salvador came out the big winners.
Portland Timbers defender Steve Purdy put in a full shift in the back line as La Selecta marched into André-Kamperveen Stadion in Suriname and walked out with a 3-1 win to seal their ticket to the third round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Robbie Keane may have been thwarted at the final hurdle before the 2010 World Cup, but the LA Galaxy striker and his Republic of Ireland team now have one foot firmly in the 2012 European Championship.
Behind a brace and an assist from their captain, Ireland throttled Joel Lindpere and nine-man Estonia 4-0 on Friday in the first leg of their playoff series in Tallinn.
More than 30 MLS players were in action across four continents during the October FIFA international fixture date. Here’s a look at how they did.
In Europe, Ireland took care of business, beating Andorra 2-0 last Friday and Armenia 2-1 on Tuesday to clinch second place in Group B of Euro 2012 qualifying and a spot in the final qualifying playoffs next month.
AMSTERDAM — It was quite the fruitful Thursday for Americans playing in the Europa League, headlined by a smooth Jozy Altidore opener in AZ Alkmaar's 1-1 draw with Metalist Kharkiv in Ukraine.
In the 26th minute, the striker accepted a slip pass from Adam Maher with one touch and lashed a curler home to the far post with the second. Altidore, who saw yellow for a shirt tug moments after his goal, has now hit for four in his last three Europa League outings.
There’s something special about those midweek European nights. Whether it’s an early play-in round in the Europa Cup, or an April semifinal in the Champions League, the cross-border clashes seem to bring the best out of teams all over the continent.
And there’ve been no few Yanks who’ve gotten their taste. Currently, the Europa League is littered with American Exports, with the likes of Jozy Altidore at AZ Alkmaar, Brad Friedel at Tottenham Hotspur, Sacha Kljestan at Anderlecht and several more from nearly all parts of the continent.
It was a busy day for MLSers on international duty on Tuesday. There were friendlies as far afield as south Asia, qualifiers throughout the Caribbean and Central America, and a friendly you may have read a thing or two about in Belgium.
The star of the day was Philadelphia's Keon Daniel, who scored the winning goal in Trinidad and Tobago's 2-0 World Cup qualifying win. A shout-out, too, goes to Columbus' Emmanuel Ekpo. The Olympic silver medalist made his senior national team debut for Nigeria in a 3-1 loss to Argentina among the mangrove forests of Bangladesh.
Like most of the soccer world here in the US, both David Beckham and Thierry Henry will probably spend the early part of Saturday afternoon watching Manchester United face FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final.
It’s a special game for a lot of reasons: a rematch of the 2009 final (won 2-0 by Barça, and we’ll get to that in a few); a matchup of two teams beloved for their decades-long commitment to attacking, attractive soccer; and a contrast of styles between the quintessential British side vs. the quintessential Iberian team.
Fulham may have finished in eighth place in the Premier League, but Clint Dempsey & Co. are returning to European play for the second time in three years.
The Cottagers were awarded a spot in the 2011-12 Europa League via UEFA’s Fair Play rankings, which reward three teams from the federation’s top-ranked member leagues based on a formula that rewards sportsmanship both on and off the field.