Sports Update: Valencia schooled Barcelona on Sunday night, 0-1, in the Camp Nou. Oliviera, Valencia's hot young forward, scored the only goal, bloasting a shot from outside the area that left Barca goalie Victor Valdes clavado. As usual Valencia played an excellent game strategically, led by the devastating pair of midfielders Baraja and Albelda, and deserved to win against a poor Barca squad. Xavi, who was supposed to replace Guardiola, is demonstrating that he's not that good and should maybe be playing for Sevilla or Celta or Malaga. Bring on Iniesta! He's Xavi's heir apparent and probably a better player. Gerard, his extremely overpaid partner on the pivot, is demonstrating that his one good season (with Valencia, of all teams) was a flash in the pan. Kluivert couldn't score with a tanked-up fat chick wearing a tube top in Bobby Baker's Lounge on Wornall Road in Kansas City at two-thirty AM on a Saturday night, much less actually put the ball in the goal. I'm worried that Marquez isn't as good as he was cracked up to be and that this may be why he doesn't play much. They also spent some dough to bring in Turkish international goalkeeper Rustu, who isn't playing at all. Quaresma isn't getting much playing time. Overmars is. Saviola isn't. Kluivert is. Ronaldinho plays every game but sometimes Rijkaard sticks him in weird positions like left wing, when he should be playing right behind the center-forwards and occasionally switch places with them just to confuse the defense. Rule Number One: Play the guy at the position you spent millions of Euros for him to play at. Do not move him around in order to somehow shoehorn Luis Enrique into the lineup. Anyway, give Valencia credit for beating, consecutively, Real Madrid and Barcelona in successive weeks of the season. Meanwhile, Barca's next game is against those damn Slovaks as part of the UEFA Cup playoffs.
Go Chiefs, as they hold Denver to 23 points. They'd have held them to about 42 with last year's defense. Denver put up a fight against KC's offense and actually managed to hold them to 17, but Dante Hall, of course, ran back another punt with nine minutes left in the fourth and the Chiefs win 24-23. The Chiefs are five-and-oh, something they've never done, and you have to figure them for a lock on the playoffs if they manage to go, say, 5-6 the rest of the season for a 10-6 record. They don't have any particularly difficult games coming up, so I don't see why they shouldn't do very well over the rest of the season, going maybe 7-4 for a final record of 12-4, enough for a bye in the playoffs. Well, there is one reason: Trent Green is receiving a good bit of criticism for being the weak link in the offensive machine. He is playing acceptably at best. He needs to start playing better or, if I were Dick Vermeil, I would begin scouting quarterbacks for the 2004 draft. Still, you can't give the Trentino too much grief, he has won every game he's quarterbacked so far this season.
Good thing I'm not a gambler; the line was something like Chiefs plus three and a half. The game wound up Chiefs plus one, so if you bet on KC you lost. The Chiefs didn't win by enough points.
As for Dante Hall, all I can say is they're going to start kicking so far away from him that he's not going to get anywhere near the ball. This will mean a lot of balls go out of bounds, normally netting the Chiefs decent field position.