The English Premier League is mediocre and fourth-rate. (R for continental championships)

That's the sort of thing very few people say anymore, especially now that Moscow is going to be invaded by the English. (Not sure why Russian fans...assuming any get into the place...would necessarily support Chelsea. The San Jose Earthquakes are owned by an American, and I don't support them.)

Here's the most important question about this match. Why is it "Chel$ki?" Why isn't it "Che£ski," or "Ch€lski?" Is it simply the pro-American bias of the computer keyboard industry? I understand why "Chepy6ski" would be unworkably silly.

I was hoping to bring forth some particularly enlightened contrast between all-or-nothing games in London and Pachuca de Soto, but "Gee, those were pretty exciting, especially towards the end there" is still my main reaction. I'm a strong believer in MLS keeping its calendar oriented towards not playing in four feet of snow, but even the world's biggest MLS honk has to admit that tonight's ESPN2 game is going to seem just a little less intense than yesterday's.

The other thing that never fails to blow my mind when I see a game at this level is the invariable presence of some all-time legend on the bench, acquired that year but completely failing to adjust to the new team. Shevchenko, Henry, Florent Malouda being introduced towards the end as "Player of the year in France last year, now he cleans the tile grout in Stamford Bridge." Peter Crouch, plays for England and sits for Liverpool. (I know, that's not new for Liverpool.)

The games pretty much spoke for themselves, and despite the final featuring probably the two most hilariously unlikeable teams on the planet that don't have David Beckham on the roster, I don't think any of us plan to miss the final. At least Suggs McPherson is happy.

Pachuca looked awfully good against Chivas Costa Rica. I was all set to mock Saprissa for folding after depending on home cooking to get that far...but the equalizer in the first game didn't have a single thing wrong with it. I'm going to chalk up Pachuca's struggling in the Clausura to the distraction of trying to win another North American championship...oh, both European finalists didn't wreck their domestic campaigns getting to the continental final? Er, uh, yeah.

Until my pal The Hammer posts again - he's the biggest Tuzos expert I know, so bang on his door and demand that he update - you can enjoy this analysis of Pachuca, which completely by coincidence spends a lot of time using them to explain why El Tri isn't any good. I read that article in a spirit of intellectual scholarship, I assure you.