Lightning to Strike; Anarchists to Benefit; Europeans About Done

Just four games into a 16-game season, a very young Austin Lightning squad faces a big test this weekend, hosting the top two teams in their PDL Mid-South Division. A tough loss last weekend in Dallas knocked the Lightning out of U.S. Open Cup qualifying; now it's time to concentrate on the league race, as they host the Laredo Heat on Friday, and the El Paso Patriots on Saturday, both games at 7:30pm at House Park, Lamar & 12th, $5, $3 kids (free for children under 8).

Austin Anarchist Soccer is having a benefit Saturday to establish a scholarship fund to send players to the Anti-Racist World Cup in Italy in July.

And there are European results below, as well …

Austin Anarchist Soccer is having a benefit Saturday to establish a scholarship fund to send players to the Anti-Racist World Cup in Italy in July. The Austin team that went last year was the first North American team to play in the tournament's 10-year history. The benefit's at the Rhizome Collective, 300 Allen, in East Austin, Saturday, May 26, 10pm-2am: bands, beer, Zapatista coffee, T-shirts, a raffle, and movies. www.mondialiantirazzisti.org for more on the A-RWC.

Chelsea nipped Manchester United, 1-0, in the FA Cup final on a very late goal by Premiership top scorer Didier Drogba, gaining some consolation from Premiership champion Man U and their player-of-the-year Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a largely uninspired display; is that the best the vaunted English league has to offer?

That's not a purely rhetorical question, and it may be that Liverpool had an answer to it Wednesday night in the Champions League final against AC Milan. But I don't know, because I chose to tape the game to watch after we go to press. You probably already know who won, anyway.

And thus the European season draws to a close. Stuttgart won the German Bundeslige on Saturday, with a come-from-behind win at home – 2-1 over Energie Cottbus – to hold off Schalke for the title. They'll try to complete the double in a Cup final this Saturday against Nurnberg. There's one more week to play in France and Italy – a victory lap for already-crowned Lyon and Inter Milan – leaving Spain as the only race still alive, with Barcelona and Real Madrid still tied with three weeks to play.

Notable in the lower divisions: Juventus Torino will be back with the big boys next year, having cruised to the Italian second division title following their match-fixing demotion. Heading the other direction: Once proud Leeds finished dead last in the English second division, quaintly known as the Championship, and will spend next year in the third division, known as League One. And there'll always be an England.

Colombian champs Cucuta became the first team to clinch a spot in the Copa Libertadores semifinals. Mexico's Club America is still alive as well; they're playing Santos in Sao Paulo as we go to press Wednesday; then they face Pachuca in the Mexican League championship finals this Friday and Sunday, before the Libertadores semifinals start next Wednesday. But then, they've been on the three-a-week schedule for a while now, beating first Atlas, and then Chivas of Guadalajara on the last two Thursdays and Sundays, and playing Copa Lib matches every Wednesday, dispatching countrymates Atlas, and Chilean champ Colo Colo.

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