Believe me, the last thing that I ever want to write about in this space is politics but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what’s been happening lately with U.S. women’s soccer star midfielder Megan Rapinoe over these last few weeks. While 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has drawn worldwide attention for kneeling before the National Anthem (as a means to protest race issues in America) at NFL games, Rapinoe is using the same controversial method to draw attention to gay rights and discrimination (she’s openly gay) at NWSL and U.S. international matches. You are certainly more than welcome to disagree with both of their approaches but I for one am happy to see 21st century professional athletes take a very visible stand against many of the most intense and complex issues facing our much divided country in 2016.
Happy Birthday to Christian Pulisic, the best USMNT Prospect Ever
Sunday was a big day for U.S. men’s young superstar midfielder Christian Pulisic as he turned 18 years old. It’s been quite a whirlwind for the Pennsylvania native as he has broken numerous records for the U.S. national team (in terms of youngest to score a goal and record an assist) while also regularly starting for Borussia Dortmund (the 2nd best German club) and even notching points in their Champions League matches. I’ve heard it been said that he’s the top American prospect since Landon Donovan (who conveniently just came out of retirement for the LA Galaxy) but I think that’s selling him short (no pun intended) since he’s already done plenty of things that Donovan never accomplished.
Cavani Turns In What Will Likely Be the Best Game of 2016-17 Season
When people think of Uruguay, the first name you associate with their high-powered men’s national team is of course Barcelona’s polarizing striker Luis Suarez. However, one of his fellow countrymen-Edinson Cavani-had a performance on Friday for his club team (PSG of France) that you would only dream about seeing happen on FIFA ’17. The 29-year-old striker scored four goals in a 34-minute span of the first half as Paris St. Germain (3-1-1) blasted SM Caen (2-0-3) 6-0 at Stade Michel-d’Ornano (Caen’s home stadium).
Real Madrid Ties Barcelona’s Record 16-Game La Liga Win-Streak
I’ve always maintained the last few years that the best rivalry in club soccer is Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. Not only do these Spanish giants win at an insane clip but they also play an extremely appealing version of soccer rarely seen these days (it helps that they employ the two best players in the world: Lionel Messi on Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo on Real Madrid). Barcelona (3-0-1) seems to get more love worldwide but with Real Madrid’s (4-0-0) 2-0 shutout of host Espanyol (0-2-2) on Sunday at RCDE Stadium, the defending Champions League winner has now come out on top in 16 straight La Liga matches dating back to last season.
Follow Metro soccer writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate