Van Persie vs Wolyniec

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie scored three goals yesterday to lift his team to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa (and U.S. keeper Brad Guzan) that clinched the club’s 20th English championship.

His second was a beauty:

The full volley into the far corner, off of a pass from distance, kind of reminded us of MetroBull striker John Wolyniec’s overtime winner against Columbus in 2003:

Which one is better?

The MLS man was closer to goal, but the pass he had to deal with was longer. It was also an overtime winner.

Both players hit the ball absolutely on the screws, but RVP’s degree of difficulty to get it on frame was greater, and he pocketed it right in the corner.

Advantage: RVP, by a nose.

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Quote of the Day: Ferguson Confirms Rooney’s Greatness, Whiteness

Ahead of last week’s Champions League clash between Benfica and Manchester United, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus called Man U striker Wayne Rooney the “best British player so far.”

Jesus then added, “but he doesn’t look like a British player but an Argentinian or Brazilian.”

Pressed for a response by The Sun, Alex Ferguson, Rooney’s coach at Man U, agreed—to an extent:

“If you look at Pelé, for instance, he was a very aggressive attacker also who could look after himself, so can Rooney. They have similarities that way—strength, speed, determination, but he’s white, completely white.”

Thanks for the clarification, Alex, but we’re pretty sure the Benfica manager was referring to Rooney’s style of play, not his physical appearance.

Breaking: Judah Friedlander, World Champion, Banned from MLS All-Star Game

You may know him as Frank Rossitano from NBC’s 30 Rock, but Judah Friedlander is much more than an actor on an Emmy Award–winning sitcom.

He’s also the World Champion (after winning the World Championships), a master of the martial arts, and an accomplished soccer player who was kicked off the Brazilian national team for scoring a bicycle kick off his own corner kick.* The play showed up his teammates so much that they voted him off the team.

Additionally, Friedlander had been scheduled to play in this Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United. But his presence would have required goalkeepers to don Kevlar vests and helmets* for their protection, a measure deemed to costly by league honchos, so Friedlander was barred from the event.

He did tape this explanatory video, though:

*These facts courtesy of Friedlander, from his appearance on ExtraTime Radio, here.

Revs Hang with Man U for 50 Minutes …

Hey, we’re just trying to put last night’s kickoff of the World Football Challenge in the most positive light for the underdog.

New England actually carved out the game’s first chance, a flying header by Shalrie Joseph that went juuuust wide of Man U’s far post in the 12th minute.

But the Red Devils controlled possession all the way through and in the second half, after both teams made substitutions, things went off the rails for the Revolution, and the visitors cruised to a 4–1 win.

That turn in the plot may have had something to do with the fact that when the teams went to their benches, Man U produced Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen, and Park Ji-Sung, while New England came up with Otto Loewy and Ryan Guy. May have….

In any case, the Red Devils created some pretty slick goals, especially the fourth one, which was nothing short of dazzling.

To the highlights:

United’s next U.S. stop is in Chicago, where they’ll take on the Fire at Soldier Field on July 23rd (5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Red Devils Go Crimson

Manchester United is in the Boston area ahead of their clash with the New England Revolution in the World Football Challenge opener tonight (8:00 ET ESPN2), and yesterday, they took a tour of Harvard University.

Here’s some video:

A few comments: Nani’s Harvard hat is several sizes too big, and makes him look like a small boy. Dimitar Berbatov, before he flips his cap backward, oddly looks the part of a Harvard man, circa 1920. Or so we imagine. Wayne Rooney is more UMASS-Lowell or Boston University than Harvard, and the sight of him on the Cambridge campus is pretty rich. Though we could see him in the crowd (or on the ice) at a Beanpot game, screaming his lungs out alongside Tawmmy from Bev-uh-lee.

And Ryan Giggs is still a d***.

MLS Roundup: Vancouver Signs Gambian DP, Rooney, Ferguson Meet the Press

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced the signing of Gambian international and former Belgian league standout Mustapha “Toubabo” Jarju today.

A 24-year-old striker, Jarju scored 18 goals in 31 games for RAEC Mons last season, leading the side to promotion to the Belgian top flight. He has 25 appearances and four goals for the Gambian national team, and is an alternate captain for his national side.

Jarju becomes the first African designated player in MLS history, and the fifth Gambian player in the league, after Sanna Nyassi (Colorado), Sainey Nyassi (Sanna’s twin, New England), Kenny Mansally (New England) and Mamadou “Futty” Danso (Portland).

•••

Manchester United has landed on U.S. shores in advance of the first game of their preseason tour (against New England on Wednesday) and coach Alex Ferguson had some interesting things to say about MLS and soccer in the U.S. Chief among these was his notion that the country should form several leagues, due to its size:

“I always thought the problem would be the size of the country. Travelling from Boston to Los Angeles is a long haul. But in Brazil they have two leagues. They could easily do that in the United States if it takes off and they got more clubs involved. In fact, you could have four leagues because of the size of the country and the population base. There are unbelievable possibilities for the United States.”

It would never happen, but we like it. You create regional leagues to get around the problem of travel (which is real; ask any MLSer), and then take the winners of them and do a playoff (or championship game) in one neutral site. Not a bad idea. Commissioner Garber, your thoughts?

Wayne Rooney is part of the Man U contingent that’s here, and he spoke with the MLS website today, saying he thinks the league is on the rise and “in the next five, 10 years, it’ll be one of the major leagues in football.” From  your lips to God’s ears, Wayne.

Rooney goes on to name-check Brian McBride and Joe-Max Moore, both of whom he trained with at Everton (Joe-Max “when I was a young lad”). Click here for the full article on Red Bull midfielder John Rooney‘s older brother.

New England–Man U kicks off at 8:00 tomorrow night on ESPN2.