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Petter Villegas is alive and well and living in midfield in Puerto Rico

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The things you learn watching FSC on Friday nights!

Sadly (and surprisingly), no video of Petter's (the extra "t" is for "too much dribbling") stupendous golden goal against Tampa Bay in 2000 was found. To this day, that 30 yard bullet to the top corner to win the game is one of the great phantom punches I've seen in my sports-watching life (Villegas scored a few goals, as that clip shows, but they were not of the Riise ilk). What compares? I remember Islanders goon Mick Vukota scoring a hat trick once in an NHL game. The man could barely skate, yet he somehow found himself on the doorstep for tap-ins three times. As catching lightning in a bottle goes, it's on that level.

In between the FSC EPL games, let's take a look at two Metro-related stadium stories coming out, both of which rhyme with the word "dusterbuck."

Would you like to start off with the news that as of this weekend, Giants Stadium is getting more difficult, more time-consuming, and more expensive to reach? This is like saying that the ball is developing even more roundness, that Rob Stone is becoming even more puerile, that hard-working scientists have figured out a way to make a kick to the nuts even more painful.

Key quote:

"Welcome to the brave new world of parking, Meadowlands-style, where the rules of the game at Giants Stadium have just changed after 31 years.

The reason is construction of a $1.5 billion stadium in the parking lots just north and east of Giants Stadium, with the loss of 5,000 spaces creating a parking crunch that will last until the new corporately named stadium opens in 2010."

No one really seems to know what this means for soccer. But let's just jump the gun anyway; oh my God, can we wait for the stories to come out of this after the Beckham game next weekend! No, we can not. It has all the makings of a logistical disaster, on par with the legendary Metros-Ecuador (I believe) doubleheader years ago, which saw scads of fans arriving via PA bus halfway through the second game. This game will actually draw a sizeable crowd, testing the organization's ability to direct and guide tens of thousands of people - many of whom probably have never been to lovely East Rutherford and environs - out to Lyndhurst, over on shuttle buses, and back. Oh, and by the way that'll be double the normal parking fee, please.
Of course I have utter faith in RB.

I'm not sure this is going to be such a hassle for the regular RB crowd, since the 6-8000 coming out week after week probably won't fill up the available lots and arena garage anyway. I could end up wrong on that. Regardless, it really is a gut-punch to anyone thinking the team is going to sop up lots of casual Beckham consumers, barring an absolutely scintillating game (and really, it's the Galaxy and an ill-conceived Metro side - you banking on that?) Look, it's your first time out for the MLS experience, or your first time back in years for that matter; you drive out to Jersey, get shunted around the mulberry bush AND you drop at least twenty bucks on parking? And don't you dare think about taking that grill out when you do find a spot. It doesn't matter if MLS and the team aren't really at fault here - how many of those first-timers and flinty Europhiles are coming away pie-eyed with the romance and spectacle of soccer in the Swamp?

But, you say, at least they'll have a stadium of their own in 2008 2009ish. Being of such a sunny disposition, you'd rather go right to Matthew Futterman's Star-Ledger story on the interminable efforts to unearth what appears to be an buried, toxin-ridden Parthenon or something.

Key quotes:
"the stadium has become the project public officials no longer want to brag about."


Kevin Tartaglione, Advance's chief operating officer, said his workers are encountering the same obstacles workers on the stadium site have found.

Advance plans to build apartments, dozens of stores and restaurants, a hotel and small office complex at the site.

Tartaglione said, unlike the soccer franchise, he anticipated the environmental and excavation issues....

"We were actually thinking it would be later than that based on the scope of the work that needs to be completed," Tartaglione said. "I haven't confirmed that with Red Bull or AEG. I know they are discussing it, but we are following our own course of action."

Read carefully. RB seems to be leave that Spring 2009 opening date out there without really committing to it, and there's a decent hint as to why.

So, believe who you want to believe about the stadium opening in 2008 early 09; the construction guys who seem to know what they're talking about and have planned for it, or the soda pimps who, well, don't bother to tell anyone about what's going on if they can avoid it.

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