UPDATE: Great posts on 3rd Degree here and here.
Sorry, didn't catch this one either. What can I say, real life is actually more important than soccer (Shhhhh, don't tell anyone!).
Clube Atlético Paranaense ("CAP") has partnered with FC Dallas to share business and soccer practices and to help each other out in training. Many MLS clubs have such partnerships, but the FCD-CAP one is remarkably productive, in that the clubs actually seem to, well, do stuff. FCD has two players on loan from the Brazilian club, and the Hoops have spent time training at CAP's facility in Brazil each of the last two years, and FCD has returned the favor each of those years. In fact, two of FCD's players are actually on loan from CAP, and there is the near-promise of more to come in future years.
As part of the partnership, the teams play a home-and-away friendly series called the USA-Brazil Challenge, and give the winner a ridiculously large trophy. Yesterday's winning performance was the final leg, with FCD having won the first leg in Brazil two-to-nil with each FCD goal scored by one of the on-loan CAP players. FCD takes the cup with a 4-1 aggregate score, and the rest of MLS trembles in awe of the Hoops' preseason might -- or maybe not.
What made last night's game interesting was the fact that CAP finished the game with nine men after someone knocked over the ref while their whole team had surrounded him to protest an FCD goal off of a quick-kick. It was apparently pretty ugly, and while some fans are pretty angry at CAP's behavior, I think that since nobody got hurt, it just adds a little spice to a relationship that had been altogether too Kumbaya to make for really exciting soccer on the field. With some of their players having been such big babies, I feel more comfortable posting something like the below.