"Defending this team is like trying to nail jello to the ceiling."


Ray Hudson

was not talking about the U.S. women's team, which was thoroughly eviscerated 4-0 by Brazil this morning in the semifinals of the World Cup. Coach Greg Ryan will be dogged for his

inexplicable decision

to switch goalkeepers, but he should be more broadly derided for fielding a dull, predictable squad that did little more than pound the ball down the field and try to take advantage of their superior size. The U.S. team was a snooze to watch from the first whistle of this tournament.

Nor was Hudson talking about his former squad D.C. United, which overcame a dodgy red-card decision to take a 2-1 win over Chivas Guadalajara in the first leg of their Copa Sudamericana clash. The home side played some nifty soccer in the opening 45 minutes, but had to survive a Chivas onslaught over the last half hour playing a man down. Can the MLS club make the lead hold up next Tuesday at Estadio Jalisco? Sadly I seriously doubt it.

Hudson was talking about Barcelona. Playing without Ronaldinho their last two matches, Barca has put on a simply spectacular show. The reason: Lionel Messi. The Argentine kid was mesmerizing against Sevilla and Real Zaragoza. I can't find the highlights of those matches, so you'll have to make do with this cheeky Messi golazo from the summer against Mexico:

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