Feet Fighters 

Follow the rocketing pelota

WED 3/24

When it comes to spectator sports, Mickey the Mook's taste buds are considered very international. He favors cycling, Formula One, and bullfighting, sniff, sniff. But nothing gets him salivating like a hearty futbol match. Consider tonight's match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Costa Rica's LD Alajuelense. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more exciting striker on the North American continent than San Jose's Landon Donovan, the 21-year-old phenom who led Team USA to the World Cup quarterfinals two years ago. Donovan, even drive-by soccer fans should know, is the curly-haired wunderkind who runs like a cheetah on fire and has an innate sense for finding the back of the net the way Michael Jordan had a sense for finding the bottom of it. When American soccer fans fill up stadiums in the years to come -- and they will -- he will be thanked the way Wayne Gretzky was for raising the stature of hockey. In other words, Mickey the M says your chance to witness greatness is n-o-w -- when Donovan's Quakes, two-time MLS champs, take on some well-footed foreign competition in LD Alajuelense. The teams are their country's respective numero unos, and after losing to Alajuelense 3-0 last week away, SJ has some work to do. 7:30 p.m., March 24, at Spartan Stadium in San Jose. Tickets available from www.sjearthquakes.com -- Justin Berton

SAT 3/27

Super Creek

Get down and dirty in Pinole

Attention nature lovers: This is a call to arms. Resist the Himalayan blackberry invasion! Pull those weeds! Free Pinole Creek! That's right, you are invited to the Pinole Creek Restoration & Garden Project Work Party this Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. Join Friends of the Pinole Creek Watershed at the Pinole Library (across from Pinole Valley High School, two blocks southeast of I-80) to help restore the creek for fish, wildlife, and human beings by yanking out invasive ivy and other nasty weeds (watch out for poison oak!). Tools, gloves, and snacks will be provided for all volunteers, and all ages and abilities are welcome. There are plenty of tasks for everyone. If you're under eighteen, e-mail Nicholle Fratus for a parental permission form: nicholle@aoinstitute.org. Info: 510-231-5784. -- Kelly Vance

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