We didn’t expect you to skip Mockingjay. Nobody else did. Them Hungry Games is a great franchise, and even though Friday’s release was just a set-up for the finale, how can you be expected to skip it to watch soccer? After all, what’s soccer done for you that Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, and Donald Sutherland haven’t (in fairness, the answer here is “nothing”).
More generally, it’s insane to expect people to stay chained to their televisions and laptops, consuming every minute of game time available to them. So because you’ve been loyal enough to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder, we’re willing to help.
Here are the 10 Things You Missed This Weekend from the soccer world. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Lionel Messi is La Liga’s all-time leading scorer
There’s some debate about how many goals Telmo Zarra actually scored, but the generally acknowledged number is 251.
Well, was 251. As of Saturday, Lionel Messi is now that standard, and in typical Messi fashion, he didn’t stop at a modest 252. As if intent on ending lingering speculation of how productive he can be under Luis Enrique, Spain’s new all-time league scorer scored three times against Sevilla, raising his career total to 253 league goals as Barcelona downed Sevilla, 5-1.
MORE: Messi’s record day
Bayern remains the one thing outside of Spain worth watching
Rather than screw up these goals with more words, allow us to get out of the way. Here’s how Bayern cruises to a 4-0 win, this time over Hoffenheim.
Via Mario Götze …
… Bob Lewy …
.. Arjen Robben …
… and Sebastian Rode.
Bayern versus El Real on June 6 in Berlin. Who is the uncompromising homer that doesn’t want to see this (we ask, rhetorically)?
Arsenal has gone full Arsenal
“Arsenal is Arsenaling ahead of schedule,” Brent Maximin wrote on Friday, an aside in a piece detailing the injury problems that created Manchester United’s “crisis” ahead of Saturday’s showdown. Perhaps predictably, Arsenal faltered in the face of that challenge, falling 2-1 to a United team that started Patrick McNair, Chris Smalling, and Tyler Blackett in a three-man defense and only managed one shot on target.
“When you run the numbers through a sophisticated algorithm and do several jumping jacks, you’ll see that Manchester United, on the back of a 2-1 win at the Emirates, is now in fourth place, with one hand on the Wenger Trophy. There’s a lot of season left, which means there are more injuries to be had, more slumps to endure, and the possibility of final-day food poisoning. But as it stands, Manchester United is about to snatch the only prize that Arsenal has been able to capture consistently over the last nine years. That has to be causing a great deal of sadness in North London.”
Meanwhile, United has weathered its City-Chelsea-Arsenal stretch, taking four points while maintaining a top four spot. Louis van Gaal’s team is still a confounding shade of “not very good,” but in England thus far, that’s good enough to represent the league in next season’s Champions League. Quite the greatest league in the world you have going there.
When Luka Modric was injured over international break, Spanish papers speculated that Asier Illarramendi or Sami Khedira might start next to Toni Kroos in midfield. You know, for balance and all.
Instead, Carlo Ancelotti went with a different time-honored rule: Eh, why not? In this case, ‘why not’ meant stacking Isco and James on top of Kroos in a three-man midfield, a trio that played behind an attack of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Karim Benzema.
How’d that turn out?
It was the first of four as a Real Madrid team that held just under 60 percent possession won at Eibar, 4-0.
Like Mario Götze and Wu Tang, Real Madrid may be for the children, but once those children wise up, they’re going to be scared of how much … everything this team has to offer. How much talent, how much money, how much disregard for modest teams like Eibar, who have no pretense of competing with a team with a new “start only $40 million purchases” policy.
Wait, that policy’s not new. Carry on then, Carlo.
Liverpool gave up three more goals to Crystal Palace
Only unlike this spring’s heartbreaker at Selhurst Park, a game where a title-chasing Liverpool fell-from-ahead against goal-starved Palace, Sunday’s game saw the Reds leave Croydon completely empty-handed.
Mile Jedinak had the game-sealing goal …
… leaving Liverpool with only silver linings; and faint ones, at that:
Nit-pick at United and Arsenal all you want, but Liverpool’s in 12th, having lost half of its matches.
Before we write them off, though, remember: This is a team that won 11-in-a-row at one point last season. But that was with Luis Suárez, and as each game passes, a related reminder starts to take hold — last season may not be applicable, anymore.
Joel Obi salvages Roberto Mancini’s return
Pippo Inzaghi had the foresight to bring “Good Jeremy Menez” to the San Siro on Sunday, and we were all thankful for it:
The French attacker gave the Rossoneri an early lead in Sunday’s Milan Derby, a match that also served as the return of Roberto Mancini, who replaced Walter Mazzarri as Nerrazzurri boss over the break.
Thankfully for il Mancio, Joel Obi offset Jeremy’s Menez-ness in the second half, preserving a draw for Inter:
Two weeks ago, the Milan Derby looked looked ready to be a drab one, with two struggling teams set to return from international break to remind us of their (and, Serie A’s) waning significance. But for one game, Mancini’s appointment rekindled a time when titles were a regular occasion at the San Siro.
Unfortunately, the match didn’t quite live up to those hopes, and the shared points leave Milan in seventh, Inter in ninth.
A ton of people showed up to a friendly in England
That wouldn’t be news if it was England and Germany on the men’s side. That the women were playing at Wembley Stadium and a record 45,619 showed up gives soccer fans reason to hope: England may finally be interested in women playing sports.
Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Unfortunately for centurion Karen Carney, former Breakers stars Lianne Sanderson and Alex Scott (there are only former Breakers, now) and captain Steph Houghton, Germany showed again why it may be the favorite going into Canada 2015. Thanks to two goals from Celia “Wow, my name is boring, now” Šašić, Silvia Neid’s team cruised to a 3-0 win.
MORE: Michael Cox broke the game down for The Guardian.
Jermaine Jones was being a jerk face, again
At least, that’s what New York Red Bulls fans are telling themselves today after the U.S. international was his typical annoying, game-changing self in leg one for New England on Sunday.
Sure, he assisted on this peach from Teal Bunbury, …
… but he also scored the late game winner …
… and engaged in some “extra-sporting behaviors” on Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty.
All in a day’s work for somebody who’s quickly become the most influential player in Major League Soccer. The Revolution are up, 2-1, ahead of Saturday’s decider in Foxborough, Mass.
Stefan Frei’s hair
Wins, draws, and losses all have one. Goals scored and goal allowed do, too. Thankfully for Seattle and goalkeeper Stefan Frei, there is no column in the standings that reflect “Personal Grooming Choices,” because this has to stop:
And hopefully, it will before the teams meet again on Sunday in Seattle for the second leg of MLS’s Western Conference finals. In the interim, Frei’s pygmy ponytail is something you were lucky to avoid, even if that meant missing the LA Galaxy’s 1-0, first leg win over the Sounders on Sunday night.
And this …
From last night’s Miami Dolphins-Denver Broncos game, where placekicker Caleb Sturgis brought out his inner-Lamela for an onside kick, going with a rabona as Miami tried to come back against the Broncos. If soccer is going to change the world, whimsy may be the best way to do it.