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February 28, 2009

Ukrainian Premier League Clubs, 2008-’09 Season: Club Profiles.

Filed under: Ukraine — admin @ 6:43 pm

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For the other two pages of profiles of Ukrainian Football Clubs , click on the following…

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Thanks to the Ukrainian Soccer History site {click here}.      Thanks to the Switch Image Project site {click here}, for the Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk kits.    Thanks to World Soccer magazine {click here}.

February 25, 2009

2008-’09 Ukrainian Premier League, attendance map at the winter break.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Ukraine — admin @ 6:12 pm

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The Ukrainian Premier League is back from it’s long winter break,  with fixtures for the 18th week to be played between 27th February and 4th March.   The most noteworthy fixture is the match next Wednesday that sees league leaders Dynamo Kyiv visit Metalist Kharkiv,  who are in second place.

Meanwhile, three Ukrainian clubs are still alive in the 2008-’09 UEFA Cup…the Big 2 (Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk) and Metalist Kharkiv.

Ukrainian Premier League table {click here (Soccerway site)}.

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On the map I have shown the 18 clubs in the 08/09 Ukrainian Premier League,  with their logos sized to reflect their current average attendance.  On the right are the 18 clubs, with their founding dates;  their major titles (including USSR titles won before the fall of the Soviet Union,  in 1991);  and their total seasons spent in the Ukrainian Premier League [this is the league's 18th season]. 

Dynamo Kyiv seem to have put behind them the disorganization of their last season,  and have a 6 point lead on Metalist Kharkiv,  and more importantly for them,  a 12 point lead on their nemesis,  Shakhtar Donetsk.  Dynamo Kyiv’s top scorer is Ismaël Bangoura,  from the West African Republic of Guinea,  who leads the league with 12 goals.  Ukrainian international Artem Milevsky (who was born in Mazyr, Belarus) has 8 goals.  Here is an article on Dynamo Kyiv’s resurgence under former Lokomotiv Moscow and Dynamo Moscow manager Yuri Semin  {see this,  by Jonathan Wilson at the Guradian UK}.

Metalist Kharkiv have flown under the radar for years,  building a respectable academy and a loyal and somewhat sizeable fan base (they currently draw 14,150 per game).  But Metalist have won only one title,  the 1988 USSR Cup.   Their leading scorer is the Brazilian Jackson Coelho,  with 10 goals.   Here is their club profile on the Ukrainian Soccer.net site {click here}.  Their manager is Myron Markevych,  who left his hometown club Karpaty Lviv to take over at Metalist in 2005.  

Metalist Kharkiv are owned by industrialist Oleksandr Yaroslavsky,  who is bucking the current league trend of belt-tightening in the wake of the global financial crisis,  by vowing to spend to improve the squad.  This after Metalist defeated Benfica,  Galatasaray,  and Olympiacos in the UEFA Cup group stage.  Currently,  in the final phase of the UEFA Cup,  Metalist Kharkiv lead Sampdoria 1-0 (with the return leg Thursday the 26th at home in Ukraine).  The goal in Genoa was scored on a header by midfielder Denys Oliynyk {see this match report, from the Goal.com site}.  Oliynik was picked up from Dynamo Kyiv during the winter break,  so the owner’s promise to bring in talent has already reaped dividends.  Here is an interview with Oliynyk from ukrainiansoccer.com…{click here},  from 24th February.

Defending champions Shakhtar Donetsk are recovering from a poor league start,  as well as a nightmare scenario in the Champions League last September {see this, by David Hytner at the Guardian UK}.  Shakhtar are in real jeopardy of losing their accustomed place in the Champions League next fall,  as they sit 6 points off the coveted second-place-in-league/ Champions League 3rd round qualifier spot.  In the UEFA Cup,  Shakhtar have a 2-0 lead on Tottenham, with the second leg on Thursday in London.

With the aggregate at 1-1 (and the away goals rule in effect),  Dynamo Kyiv must get a winning result (or a draw result higher than 1-1) on Thursday,  to advance in the UEFA Cup,  when they go to Spain to play their second leg,  versus Valencia.

UEFA site {click here (set at UEFA Cup fixtures and results)}.

Below,  the current leading scorers in the Ukrainian Premier League.

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Thanks to World Soccer magazine for the article ‘Ukraine credit crunch bites deep’, by Oleg Zadernovsky,  from the February 2009 issue.    Thanks to the great site called UkrSoccerHistory.Com  {click here (set at Dynamo Kyiv page)}.  Thanks to http://www.ukrainiansoccer.net/ ,  a good site for Ukrainian football news and results.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages on Ukrainian football clubs at Wikipedia {click here, for the page on the Ukrainian Premier League’s 2008-’09 season}.

February 24, 2009

2008-’09 UEFA Champions League, Knockout Round.

Filed under: UEFA Champions League — admin @ 7:35 am

[Disclaimer: no new content on this post.]  Click on the following title for the map: championsleague08-09_knockout-round_r.gif .    UEFA site/ Champions League page, {click here}.

Thanks to the European Football Statistics site for the attendance figures {click here  (set to the page with 2008-2009 Champions League attendance figures}.   Thanks to http://www.switchimageproject.com/ and to http://www.colours-of-football.com/  ,  for the kits.

February 23, 2009

MLB Ball Clubs and their Minor League Affiliates: the Tampa Bay Rays.

Filed under: Baseball Clubs/Farm Teams — admin @ 4:49 pm

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Below: Tampa Bay Rays Auxiliary Chart, featuring selected logos and uniforms from the franchise’s history, established in 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-2007) / Tampa Bay Rays (2008-09).
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Tampa Bay Rays page at Sports E-Cylopedia {click here}.

Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logs Page {click here}.   Thanks to the MLB shop (click here}.   Thanks to MiLB shop {click here}.   Thanks to http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp .   Thanks to the contributors to the relevant pages at Wikipedia {click here {Tampa Bay Rays page) }.

February 20, 2009

NHL Eastern Conference, Northeast Division: Map and Team Profiles.

Filed under: Hockey-NHL, pre-realignm't — admin @ 10:27 am

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The National Hockey League’s Northeast Division features the two oldest professional hockey clubs still in existence…the Montreal Canadiens (founded in 1909),  and the Toronto Maple Leafs (founded in 1917).  One team in the division,  the Boston Bruins,  were formed as expansion team in 1924 (becoming the first American team in the league).   The Buffalo Sabres were formed as an expansion team in 1970;  and the second Ottawa Senators were formed as an expansion team in 1992,  marking a return of the NHL to Canada’s national capital,  after a 58-year absence.

The Montreal Canadiens are hands down the most storied and successful hockey team in the world.  The hockey club has won 24 Stanley Cup Titles;  their first Cup win actually predates the NHL.  This was in 1916,  when they represented the National Hockey Association (1910-1917).  The Canadiens defeated the Pacific Coast Hockey Association’s Portland Rosebuds to win the title.  The following year,  the NHA gave way to the NHL (basically to exclude the divisive Toronto Blueshirts ownership).  Les Canadiens  had become the de-facto club of the French-speaking population in the Montreal area;  while the Montreal Wanderers,  then the Montreal Maroons,  became the hockey club of the English-speaking citizens of the region. 

The Canadiens didn’t become a dominant force in the NHL initially,  though.  The club had “only” won 5 Stanley Cup Titles by 1946.   But they owned the post-war era…they won 5 straight Stanley Cups from 1956 to 1960;  they won 5 Stanley Cup Titles in the 1960′s,  and 6 Stanley Cup Titles in the 1970′s.  However,  since then the Canadiens have only won 2 Stanley Cup Titles,  in 1986,  and their last,  in 1993.   Surprisingly,  though,  the Montreal Canadiens have produced the second-most players in the Hockey Hall of Fame,  with 42  (Toronto has produced 54 players in the Hall of Fame,  which is in,  you guessed it,  Toronto).

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most famous sports team in the world that has a misspelling in their name,  as the plural of ’leaf’ is ‘leaves’.  They have not won a Stanley Cup Title since 1967,  which is pretty amazing,  when one considers the fact that the Leafs’ headquarters is in the same building that the NHL’s home office is.  That is not to say they are not a success,  though,  as they have a thirty-year success rate in keeping NHL hockey out of Hamilton, Ontario  (which is 50 miles west of Toronto),  for fear of actual competition for their fan base.  Here is an article about how the former owner,  Harold Ballard,  held the team back  {Click here}.  Currently,  the Toronto Maple Leafs are owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ltd.,  58% of which is controlled by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan  {see this}.  This makes the situation one in which “excessive” (read: competitive) expenditures for talent is avoided.  In other words,  the Maple Leafs ownership doesn’t want to “waste” money trying to spend to build a champiopnship-calibre team…why should they,  when:  A. the pensions of thousands of school teachers are riding on the financial stability of the hockey team,  and B. there is a captive,  hockey-hungry fan base in southern Ontario willing to go to games,  even if the Leafs have no chance of making the playoffs (which is again the situation this year),  and C. there is no relegation and promotion system,  like in  European,  and most of the world’s,  football (aka soccer) leagues. 

Basically,  the Ontario Teachers’ Union has latched on to a machine that prints money.  Because the Toronto NHL franchise’s games will always sell out,  no matter how bad the team is.  Good for education in this part of Canada,  bad for hockey.  Because it is a real problem for the state of pro hockey in North America if the sole team from the biggest city in Canada is institutionally unwilling to pursue a championship.

The Boston Bruins also have had a long layover since last hoisting the Stanley Cup in victory… 36 years.  And for some reason,  they have been drawing rather poorly in the last few years,  even this season,  when the team is doing very well. 

The Buffalo Sabres have never won the Stanley Cup (but don’t get me started on this,  which was the clearly illegitimate winning goal that the Dallas Stars’ Brett Hull scored on Buffalo in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals).  My love for the plucky Sabres is not diminished by the fact that management decided that their club would be best represented by a bison that seems to have been born without appendages,  resembling a horned bannana slug.

The Ottawa Senators are the newest team in the Northeast division,  having been formed in 1992.  They also have never won the Stanley Cup Title,  but they did make it to the Finals in 2007,  losing to the Anaheim Ducks in 5 games.   The Senators existence is important to hockey fans in Canada,  as it went against the trend (led by commissioner Gary Bettman) of putting hockey franchises where they don’t belong (ie, where it doesn’t snow).  And Ottawa’s ability to constantly sell out their arena stands in direct contrast to all these other new teams in the American south,  southwest,  and midwest.  Currently,  the Senators are playing to 106% capacity,  and this is an off-year for the hockey club,  both in terms of performance and gate figures.

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2008-2009 average attendances,  {Click here}.  First off,  Chicago’s figures are inflated via the outdoor game at Wrigley Field,  which drew 40, 818.  If you subtract that game from their average,  as of February 17th,  Chicago’s average attendance is 21,708 per game…amazingly,  still good enough for first.  Evidently,  there is a long-overdue hockey renaissance in the Windy City.  I remember seeing earlier this season (in SI magazine) the report that Blackhawks management had finally loosened their restrictions on local broadcasts of their home games.  This,  plus the buzz around the outdoor game,  plus,  of course,  the vast improvement in the Blackhawks squad,  have all contributed to the huge increase in home crowds…an increase of around 4,900 per game (up from 16,814 per game in 2007-2008,  which was 19th best).

Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page  {Click here}.   Thanks to the NHL shop  {Click here}.   Thanks to Logo Shak  {Click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the relevant pages at Wikipedia  {Click here,  for the page on the NHL}.   Thanks to my cousin Gary,  for cluing me in on the ownership structure of the Toronto Maple Leafs.   Thanks to the JerseyDatabase site {click here}.

February 17, 2009

2008-2009 UEFA Cup, Final phase/ Round of 32: Map, with club attendances.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,UEFA Cup / Europa League — admin @ 9:22 am

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The 2008-2009 UEFA Cup begins the Final phase/ Round of 32 on Wednesday, 18th February. 

The two-legged match-ups can be seen {here (UEFA site) }.

UEFA site/ UEFA Cup page, latest news {click here}.   ‘Ten to watch in the UEFA Cup’, from 16th February {click here}.

2008-’09 UEFA Cup at Wikipedia {click here}.

Thanks to European Football Statistics {click here}.

February 15, 2009

MLB Ball Clubs and their Minor League Affiliates: the Texas Rangers.

Filed under: Baseball Clubs/Farm Teams — admin @ 12:00 pm

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Below:  Texas Rangers Auxillary Chart,  featuring selected uniforms and logos from the franchise’s history: Washington Senators (II) 1961-1971/ Texas Rangers (1972-2009).

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Texas Rangers page at Sports E-Cyclopedia {click here}.

Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page {Click here}.   Thanks to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame’s Dressed To The Nines site, featuring baseball uniforms templates drawn by Marc Okkonen, {Click here}.   Thanks to MLB shop {Click here}.    Thanks to Joe’s Sports.com {Click here}.   Thanks to http://www.sportsunlimited.com .   Thanks to  http://www.baseballpilgrimages.com/throwbackjerseys.html .   Thanks to the contributors to the Wikipedia page on Texas Rangers (baseball) {Click here}.

February 13, 2009

2008-2009 FA Cup, Fifth Round: Map of 17 clubs still alive, with club profiles and match-ups.

Filed under: 2008-09 FA Cup — admin @ 10:27 am

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To best view the Cup Ties/Club Profiles chart to the the left of the main map,  1. click on the above image,   2. click on the upper left-hand side to maginify (ie, at Arsenal v. Cardiff City),  3. then magnify the screen 4 or 5 times (via pressing “Shift” key and “+/=” key simultaneously).   That makes the type in each club’s profile box more readable without squinting.  Then you can scroll down to see all the match-ups. [One note:  I listed seasons spent in the 2nd Level for those Premier League clubs that have no major titles (Fulham and Middlesbrough).]

Thanks to the Historical Football Kits site,  for the kits  {Click here}.

FA site,  at the FA Cup page,  {Click here}.

BBC/ FA Cup,  {Click here}.

February 10, 2009

2009 Copa Libertadores, Group Stage (Map of all 32 clubs, with brief profiles).

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 11:31 am

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2009 Copa Libertadores Group Stage.  {Wikipedia’s page on 2009 Copa Libertadores,  click here}.

Game highlights from 12th Februaruy (via 101 Great Goals site) …

Nacional de Montevideo (Uru.) 2- 1 Universidad San Martin de Porres (Peru).  {click here    [Check out the overflowing crowd in the nice compact stadiumi n the Uruguayan capital;   free kick goal by Nacional's Federico Dominguez at 0:01;   stunning full-stride volley at 2:00, by San Martin's Martin Arzuaga;   injury-time winner by Nicolas Lodeiro at 2:35.]

Universitario de Sucre (Bol.) 1-1 Deportivo Quito (Ecu.) {click here  [In the cavernous 2/3-empty bowl up in the high altitude of Bolivia,  goals at 0:10, by the home side's Marcelo Gomes;  and by the visitor's Mauricio Donoso at 0:30.]

River Plate (Arg.) 1-0 Nacional (Par.).  {click here   [With River's giant El Monumental filled to a respectable crowd level,  the winner came in injury time, at 2:44 on the video, by River Plate's talismanic,  5 ft.-2 in. striker Diego Buonanotte .]

The 32 Clubs, by country…

Written by Sam Kelly.  [Sam at Hasta El Gol Siempre,  {Click here};  at ESPN Soccernet/ Sam Kelly archive, {Click here}.]

Argentina.   Boca Juniors.  Founded 1905.  The second most successful side domestically in Argentina,  and the most popularly supported.  They’re also the most successful side in this year’s Copa,  a win will draw them level (on seven titles) with their fellow Argentines Independiente.

Estudiantes.  [see previous Copa Libertadores post, from 27th January, 2009...Click here].

Lanus.  Founded 1915. [Lanus is a southern suburb of Buenos Aires.]  One of the revelations of recent years in Argentina,  winning their first title in the 2007 Apertura to qualify for this year’s Copa,  they play some of the most attractive football in the country.  They won the 1996 CONMEBOL (a forerunner of the Copa Sudamericana).  

River Plate.  Founded 1901.  Top of CONMEBOL’s recently revised all-time Copa Libertadores standings (which award points-per-game won),  largely thanks to have participated in the Copa more times than any other Argentine side.  They’ve also won more domestic titles than any one else,  but have only won the Copa twice,  and finished bottom of the 2008 Apertura. 

San Lorenzo de Almagro.  Founded 1908.  The only one of Argentina’s ‘Big Five’ never to have won the Copa,  San Lorenzo’s most recent domestic title came in the 2007 Clausura,  but they went to a three-way playoff with Boca and minnows Tigre to decide last year’s Apertura.  Have 10 professional titles in Argentina,  and will be desperate to break their Copa duck.

Bolivia.   Club Aurora.  Founded 1935.  The current champions of Bolivia after claiming their first professional title with last year’s Clausura,  but also won a semi-pro title in 1963.  Their one previous Copa appearance was in 1964,  with a first round exit.

Club Universitario.  Founded 1962.  Last year’s Torneo Apertura was their first domestic title,  after winning promotion to the top flight in 2005.  They’re making their Copa Libertadores debut this year,  but appeared in the Copa Sudamericana in 2006,  with a first round exit.

Brazil.   Cruziero.  Founded 1921.  The club that launched Ronaldo’s career,  two-times Copa Libertadores winners [1976 and '77] and once Brazillian champions (in 2003),  the Belo Horizonte team finished third in last year’s Brasileiro.

Gremio.  Founded 1903 [in the southern city of Porto Allegre].  Have won two Copas [1983, 1995] and two national titles,  enjoying their most successful era under just-sacked Chelsea manager Luis Felipe Scolari,  and have produced players like Ronaldinho and Manchester United’s Anderson through their academy.  Lost the 2007 Copa final by a landslide against a Juan Roman Riquelme-inspired Boca Juniors.   

Palmeiras.  {see previous Copa Libertadores post, here}.  [1 Copa Libertadores title,  in 1999.]

Sao Paulo.  Founded 1930.  One of Brazil’s giants,  their 2008 league win made them the first side to win the Brazilian title three times running.  They’ve also won three Copa Libertadores titles and have been crowned world champions [FIFA Club World Cup] thrice. 

Sport Recife.  Founded 1905.  Eleventh in last year’s first division,  they qualified for the Copa by virtue of winning the Copa do Brasil,  but have made only one previous appearance,  in 1988,  when they were eliminated in the group stage.

Chile.   Colo Colo.  Founded 1925.  One of eight founder clubs of the Chilean first division in 1933,  they’re the only club to have never been relegated,  and with 28 titles (including five in the last 6 championships) are the most successful trophy-wise,  too.  Having won the 1991 Copa Libertadores,  they’re also the only Chilean side to have been crowned South American champions.  

Everton (de Vina del Mar).  Founded 1909 by an Englishman,  David Foxley,  and named after a rather more famous club in his home country.  The second most successful of the clubs outside the Chilean capital Santiago,  with four national titles,  most recently in June last year when they claimed the Apertura title.  Previously knocked out in the first round of the 1977 Copa,  their only other appearance. 

Universidad de Chile.  {see previous post,  here}.

Colombia.   América de Cali.  Founded 1918 or 1927,  depending who you ask.  The joint most successful club (along with Millonarios of Bogotá) in the history of the Colombian league,  América have been in financial turmoil for some time and frequently have transfer negotiations affected by their controversial inclusion on the ‘Clinton List’  [see this].  Reached three straight Copa finals in the mid-1980s,  and were there again in 1996,  but have never managed to get their hands on the trophy.

Boyacá Chicó.  Founded 2002  [in the capital,  Bogotá,  but in 2004,  moved to the city of Tunja in the province of Boyacá] .  One of several relatively new clubs in Colombia to have enjoyed success early on in their history,  after beating the domestic giants of América de Cali in the final of last year’s Torneo Apertura.  They went out in the qualifying round of last year’s Copa,  so will be hoping to prove they can do the business in this year’s group stage.

Independiente Medellin.  {see this}.

Ecuador.   Deportivo Cuenca.  {see this}.

Deportivo Quito.  Founded 1940 as Sociedad Deportiva Argentina,  and changed their name to the current Sociedad Deportivo Quito in 1955.  Spoiled their cross-city rivals’ post-Copa celebrations somewhat by beating Liga to the Ecuadorian title last year to claim their third national title.  This is their sixth Copa,  and they’ve only made it beyond he first round once,  in 1989,  when they reached the second round.

LDU de Quito.  Founded 1930.  The defending Copa Libertadores champions after shocking all comers on their way to last year’s final before beating fellow first-time-finalists Fluminese of Brazil on penalties to become the first Equadorian side to win the Copa.  Have recently changed managers after Edgardo Bauza’s resignation,  but whilst few expect lightning to strike twice,  they’ll at least want to show last year wasn’t a fluke.

Mexico.   CD Guadalajara (“Chivas”).  Founded 1906.  Mexico’s most widely-supported club,  in no small part by virtue of their policy of fielding only Mexican players.  They’ve come as close as any to winning the Copa Libertadores,  having reached back-to-back semi-finals in 2005 and 2006,  but their most notable trophies are their [record] 11 Mexican national titles,  most recently the 2006 Apertura.  ["Chivas" ('Goats') nickname was applied as an insult by a journalist in 1948,  picked up by opposing fans,  and eventually adopted by the club's supporters themselves with pride {thanks to Albion Road, here, site for that}.]

San Luis FC.  Founded 1957.  Avoided relegation by the skins of their teeth at the end of the 2006 Apertura,  but are making their Copa debut this term by virtue of an impressive performance in the regular season of last year’s Apertura.

Paraguay.  Guarani.  Founded 1903 [named for the indigenous people of the region, the Guarani;  uniforms with black and yellow vertical stripes are in reference to Uruguayan giants Penarol].  Have won nine championships,  most recently in 1984,  and were runners-up to Libertad last year.  Reached the Copa semi-final in in 1966,  but haven’t been beyond the first round in two attempts this century.

Libertad.  Founded 1905.  With 14 titles,  they’re the third most decorated club in Paraguayan football,  and have nine Copa participations to their name,  with semi-final appearances in 1977 and 2006,  and a quarter-final in 2007.  

Nacional.  {see this}.

Peru.   Universidad San Martin de Porres.  Founded 2004,  and have already won two titles- in 2007 and 2008- after beginning life in the second division,  by ‘buying’ their first division place from Sport Coopsol,  and improving rapidly.  The first Peruvian club to be founded as a Joint Stock Company,  they beat River Plate of Argentina 2-0 in their first ever Libertadores match last year,  but were eliminated at the end of the group stage.

Univeritario.  Founded 1962 [are the most popular club in Peru].  Have never been relegated from Peru’s top flight,  and have won more more Peruvian tiles (24) than any other club,  and were the first Peruvian club to reach the final of the Copa,  in 1972,  but have won no national championships since 2000.

Venezuela.  Caracas FC.  Founded 1967.  Nine national titles make them the most-crowned team in Venezuela,  and they became the first Venezuelan side to ever win in Argentina when beating River Plate two years ago.  Finished second last season,  and have never been beyond the round of sixteen [2nd round],  which they reached in 2007.

Táchira.  Founded 1974.  They’ve won six first division titles,  most recently last season,  and reached the quarter-finals of the 2004 Copa before losing a match.  [From San Cristóbal, Tachira state,  in the far west of Venezuela near the Columbian border.]

Much thanks to Sam Kelly for the fine write-up.  Check out his great Hasta El Gol Siempre site,  the place to go for English-language news and insight into the Argentinian game: http://hastaelgolsiempre.com/.    

February 9, 2009

NCAA Basketball: AP Poll, Top 25, from February 9, 2009.

Filed under: NCAA Men's Basketball — admin @ 4:57 pm

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For the second straight week,  UConn is #1. – AP Poll, from February 9, 2009  {Click here}.

Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page  {Click here}.

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