The European seasons have come to a close for the most part. This past Sunday marked the final game of the year in Portugal when FC Porto faced off against Vitoria de Guimaraes. What a game!!! Two teams that showed up to play some attacking soccer. The final was a 6-2 Porto victory but don't let the score fool you, it was back and forth until the end of the first half when Porto was able to score 3 late goals to pull ahead 5-2. In the second half Guimaraes still created some chances but were unable to capitalize. Give Guimaraes credit, they played a good game of soccer and the game could've been much closer if it weren't for some blunders by their goalie. They showed up to win, they played attacking soccer, they didn't sit back and defend which is often the case when teams play Porto in Portugal. As for Porto, what a season!!!! To win the league by going undefeated, win the UEFA Cup, and top it off with the Taca, all while playing some great attractive soccer. I hope they're able to keep the squad intact and make a run at the Champions League. They have a great squad with lots of depth. Over the coming weeks the rumors around Falcao, Hulk, Varela, and others will continue to persist, lets hope nobody leaves and we make a run at another European Championship next year.
The rosters for the 2011 Gold Cup were recently announced. I'm not a big fan of the Gold Cup, I'll explain, maybe later this week. Anyways, there are 3 players who were named that play in Portugal. Canada named Pacheco who plays for Santa Clara in the second division. He spent one year in first division playing for Nacional. He's been a regular for Santa Clara in the midfield this year. Santa Clara is a bit of a strange team in that over the last decade they have spent the majority of the decade in the second division but they always seem to have a couple of players being named to World Cup or some other National Team tournament.
Guadeloupe has named two players who are based in Portugal, Ulick Lupede a defender who plays for Covilha in the second division and midfielder Larry Clavier who plays for Freamunde also in the second division. Both players played in about 40% of their team's league games. It's cool to see some players from Portugal getting the call. Maybe one these guys can do something to grab the attention of a first division club and make the jump.
Midfielder Gabriel Gomez was also called up by Panama. He spent a few seasons over at Belenenses when they were in the first division. He's a solid player. I always liked him when he was there. So sad to see Belenenses where they are now. A club with such history now in the second division barely escaping regulation again this year and going to the third division. The team has no money and the supporters disappeared years ago, the stadium has been pretty much empty the last 10 years, which is the case with many clubs in Portugal these days. But that's a topic for another day.
Maybe we'll see these four guys play against the US as the US will be playing Canada, Guadeloupe, and Panama in the group stage.