The Clean Sheet: Just a game

a celebration of nationalism and the passion of sport. And I guess beating Mexico wouldn't hurt, either ...

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On the field, while both teams will taste schnitzel next summer, don't think for a second the Yanks don't want to do so against their rivals. While it will not be at the expense of El Tri even if they win, it would be a fitting way for The Bruce and his boys to finish an impressive run through a relatively soft CONCACAF.

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I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love the gamesmanship by Arena. Why announce your team at all?

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Mr. Kovalenko, stick around for the end of a game one of these days ...

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Kudos to all involved in getting the Hall of Fame Game on Fox Soccer Channel. That kind of stuff is just good for the slow building of the game.

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The best race in the MLS standings might turn out to be whether the suddenly dangerous Chivas USA can catch Real Salt Lake before the season is over. Yes, The Goats' backline is still comical at times, and I know they haven't actually won any games with the new look, but five goals and two road draws is enough to make me think they might be able to catch RSL.

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How fitting is it that San Jose is the first team to clinch the playoffs? Their fans deserve it, if nothing else, for that sign about who wears the pants in Landon's house. Topnotch stuff, that.

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For all of you who are sick of the vanilla quotes athletes give the media, I give you Russia's goalkeeper, Sergei Ovchinnikov, who had this to say to the media about his team's World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein on Saturday: "They don't have a chance, not even one, of beating us." Nice.

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This wonderful tale comes courtesy of the Reuters news service: Pumas head coach Hugo Sanchez on Sunday wore a T-shirt with the number five on the chest, the number of times he led the Spanish league in scoring when he was a player. So what happened in the match? His team went out and lost 5-0 at home to Cruz Azul. You absolutely cannot make this stuff up.

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GRAB A COLD BUD (OR AQUAFINA) AND PUT YER FEET UP:

WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING:

Saturday - WALES vs. ENG-ER-LAND (10 a.m. ET on PPV): Good thing this match is on TV everywhere so David James can make sure and see it.

Saturday - QUAKES at FC DALLAS (8:30 p.m. ET on Direct Kick): While we all know how I feel about MLS playing on a World Cup qualifier day, this game is pretty important for the Formerly Mighty Hoops to start to sort themselves out ... somehow.

Wednesday - GUATEMALA vs. USA (10 p.m. ET on The Deuce): OK, I can't make it through the whole column ... if the Yanks send those cheating deadbeats El Tri back south of the 2-0 border on Saturday with a good old-fashioned spanking, this game means nada. And Mexican manager Ricardo La Volpe still isn't picking Cuauhtémoc Blanco because the star player skipped two qualifiers in June to look for his neck. Sorry, just couldn't do it. It is U.S.-Mexico, after all.

The Clean Sheet runs each Thursday on MLSnet. Views and opinions expressed in this column views and opinions are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com. Send any questions and comments to tcsresponses@yahoo.com.


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