OK, time to come clean.
Us Brits knew very little about Major League Soccer before old Goldenballs headed for the Galaxy, and we still know very little about it if this weekâ€™s stab-in-the-dark predictions are anything to go by (Gary Waller, you’re excused).
A cursory glance at the official MLS website (www.mlsnet.com), where East meets West, away teams are listed FIRST and proud parents are encouraged to submit home videos of their silky-skilled kids in the search for the next Freddy Adu (via Ghana, of course), Landon Donovan or the legendary (insert loud cough here) John Harkes reveals the sad and sorry truth.
A goalless draw for Chicago Fire at DC United? You must be joking! An unexpected 2-1 win for Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA (you know, not the Chivas in Mexico or China, nor the blended Scotch whisky)? Whoâ€™d have thought it? Iâ€™ll tell you who: Stateside resident and FC Camenaâ€™s very own Gabe Bevilacqua. If he doesnâ€™t know the score, nobody will.
â€œWot? The US Major Soccer League?â€ enquired Cheltenham Townâ€™s Rob Dimery as he stumbled across the fixtures. â€œWhat about the Principality Building Society Welsh Premier League, may I ask? Doesn’t that get a look-in?â€ After this horror show, I say bring on Caersws, Carmarthen and Caernarfon. That should flummox the Americans.
Emerging with his head held high after the MLS debacle is Q.P.R. fan Gary Waller, all the way from Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire (yes, a Brit!). Gary collected four points from three MLS games (including a spot-on 2-1 win for Becks’ LA Galaxy against Toronto FC) and helped himself to a laudable 10 points.
Two more of Garyâ€™s points came from Englandâ€™s 3-0 win over Estonia â€“ Englandâ€™s fifth successive 3-0 result in the qualifiers for next summerâ€™s European Championships. Itâ€™s a minor miracle only seven predictors spotted the eerie pattern.
Garyâ€™s meteoric rise up the table (to 20th) overshadows some respectable eights from defending champion Christine Butters, Rob Molloy, David Roberts, Ted Warland and Marion Waller, who, for this week only, is not Garyâ€™s better half.
A staggering 45% of this week’s 40 players went for Azerbaijan 0 Portugal 2, but there were some even more outlandish scores from four predictors who rode some stormy waves and lived to tell the tale after pushing their boats out a little too far. See below for further details.
Vacancy â€“ apply now! Unless any of you lot want to take up the post of Predictorship scribe, the leagueâ€™s weekly round-up on FC Camena goes on hiatus from now until the week commencing 19th November, when youâ€™ll be treated to an all-encompassing, bumper-sized review of the previous four weeks and the current weekâ€™s action. Your stat-utory rights are unaffected as youâ€™ll still get an updated league table each week to keep you in the picture.
European Championship Qualifying Results (Week 10): England 3-0 Estonia (7); Scotland 3-1 Ukraine (1); Cyprus 3-1 Wales (0); Republic of Ireland 0-0 Germany (1); Azerbaijan 0-2 Portugal (18); Faroe Islands 0-6 France (1); Denmark 1-3 Spain (1); Major League Soccer Results (Week 10): DC United 0-0 Chicago Fire (2); Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 Toronto FC (7); Chivas USA 1-2 Colorado Rapids (1).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.
Highest Score (Week 10): 10 â€“ Gary Waller.
Average Score (Week 10): 6.05.
Predictions of the Week (Week 10): Gabe Bevilacqua (Chivas USA 1-2 Colorado Rapids), Christine Butters (Scotland 3-1 Ukraine), Simon Gold (Denmark 1-3 Spain) and Matthew White (Faroe Islands 0-6 France) â€“ this weekâ€™s four fabulous unique predictions.
Top of the Table (Week 10):
1. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) â€“ 76 pts
2. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) â€“ 71 pts
3. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) â€“ 70 pts
4. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) â€“ 69 pts
5. Liverpool Reserves (Saleel Sathe) â€“ 66 pts
6. Philadelphia Eagles (Gabe Bevilacqua) â€“ 66 pts
7. Wycombe Wanderers (Stewart Newport) â€“ 66 pts
8. Millwall (John Collins) â€“ 66 pts
9. Seattle Gooners (Maziar Sattari) â€“ 65 pts
10. Crystal Palace (Dave McAleer) â€“ 65 pts