Friday, June 29, 2007

Argentina 4, USA .... 1

A brilliant beginning.

60 minutes of inspired play.

We actually LED for two whole minutes.

And somewhere, around minute 62, things went to h-e-double toothpicks in a handbasket. Was it the subs? The heat? The humidity?

Nah. It was the stripes. The butt-ugly pinstripes. The last time we wore these with the white shorts: a friendly with Guatemala in March, which was possibly the ugliest, least interesting, most depressing game ever with Mostest and Feilhaber in the starting XI.

But, in the end, it's not whether you win or lose, but what you discover about your players that's important. Just keep saying to yourself 'it's a four year master plan, it's a four year master plan.' All will be well in the end.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Things Could Get Interesting

at the Copa America.

Mexico 2, Brazil 0. WTF?

Beautiful goal from Nery Castillo - and those are hard words to write.

We beat Mexico. Mexico beat Brazil. Ergo, we are better than Brazil.

It's logic, baby. ;)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sure, It's Ugly, But It's Ours.

And these guys seem pretty happy about it. USA 2, Mexico 1. Landon Donovan's veins are filled with ice water - how can you be that collected with Osvaldo Sanchez blowing kisses to you? And curly-haired Mexican player #18 (who may or may not be Guardado) also had some words of advice to give him while LD was doing his voodoo.

Seriously, is that supposed to be one of those minimalist masterpieces?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Saturday Soccer Madness

It's an all day show, peeps. Well, most of the day. The best part of the day, how 'bout that?

First up, Team America versus Panama, 4:00 PM, live from Foxboro, Mass. I have some trepidation about this one for some reason. Soccer angst, I suppose. Or perhaps they'll be out for revenge against me after my wish for a Mexican miracle in their last game. Panama will be missing two key players due to red cards from that brouhaha, but they are a speedy bunch.

Break a leg, USA.
Kenny Cooper says hey, hey
Win this one so we can go
win it all in Chicago!

thank you, thank you, thank you.

Next game: back to Foxboro (there's a song there - don't go back to Foxbro and waste another game...) for what I hope will be a so-hungry-they're-salivating Columbus Crew eating the Revolution for breakfast/lunch/AND dinner. Wanna see the Gaven and Guille show. And lots of Crew goals. They will actually be playing on grass, since they covered up Gillette's lovely lovely astroturf for the Gold Cup games played earlier. So, in an ironic twist worthy of O. Henry, the visiting Crew will technically have home field advantage.

Last game: those fabulous New York Red Bulls (hopefully) smacking down the Eddie Johnson-deprived KC Wizards. This is either #2 v. #1, or #3 v. #1, or alternatively, #1 v. #2 depending on whose rankings you subscribe to. Wanna see Mathis shine.

insert gratuitous soccer hottie here
Now, don't YOU feel like a winner too?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

If I'm going to have a stupid moment

chances are, it won't go unnoticed.

Take last night, for instance. I settled down in the den with the Austinator to watch the first match of the Copa Libertadores final. Boca Juniors versus Gremio at La Bombonera. See these fans? Incredibly enthusiastic.

I had wanted to see the Mexico/Panama Gold Cup game, but could not find it on the 1000 + channels Directv claims to air. So, we tuned in to FSE to watch Guillermo Barros Schelotto's old team. FSE is broadcast in Spanish. I know this. And still, when I tuned in and couldn't understand a word, I did the only sensible thing.

I turned it up.

Which provided Austin with the best laugh he's had since the Spongebob P.O.O.P. episode.

It seemed like the logical thing to do at the time. I have noticed that people tend to speak louder when they're trying to communicate with someone who speaks another language. So, following that train of thought, if I just listened harder, I would understand better.

And part of me actually believed that.

I've been a mad juggler the last few years anyway, trying to keep my Balls of Knowledge and Experience in the air so my kids will keep believing I'm invincible and omnipotent. They already know I can't kiss the boo-boos away. I was hoping for a few more years of quasi-respect and awe.

Bribery or threats? Money or military school? You decide.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On to the quarterfinals

And looking pretty darn happy about it. USA 4 (which, again, should have been 6), El Salvador nada. 3 shutouts, 7 goals, 9 points. Maybe we are finally living up to our Gold Cup potential. We have certainly been playing down to our opponents.

Last night's highlights: Landon Donovan's composure after having the pk saved, scoring on the rebound and having the referee call it back because the keeper came off his line too soon, and then burying the second one; DaMarcus Beasley's 2 goal joy; Dempsey's no-look/then-look-hard-just-to-be-sure pass to Twellman (could it have been to somebody else, please?).

Last night's lowlights: Brian Ching's speed, which hovered around lollygag/saunter most of his playing time; Oguchi Onyewu's hesitation - clearly his 2-yellows-gets-you-a-red Guatemalan adventure was on his mind; Benny Feilhaber - are you color blind? not in the I'm-no-racist sense, but in the real can-you-tell-blue-from-white-for-god's-sake sense?

Dilemma: Mexico plays tonight. If they lose, we play them Saturday (I think - the permutations are really freakin' complicated), which is too soon. I want to kick their asses in a semi or even a final. So, here I am hoping Mexico can ... win.

Unclean! Unclean! These thoughts are troubling and unclean!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Landon Donovan: Young, Gifted and

apparently portable.

USA 2, Trinidad & Tobago 0. Goals by Brian Ching (off a sweet Justin Mapp cross) and Eddie Johnson, who was gifted by Donovan, thus the photo above. My question is, was LD deliberate in giving EJ a big international confidence boost or was that simply the best play? I can see him going either way, and both ways are good. Against a rented T&T team, we should have had at least four more goals.

UPDATE: Landon answers, via the much more informed and articulate Sideline Views.

But that was the way of my soccering this weekend.

Red Bulls 2, DC 4. Ben Olsen gets a hat trick? BEN OLSEN gets a hat trick? I'm glad I couldn't watch it, thanks Telefutura.

But I did see Columbus lose to the Dynamo (the artists formerly known as the Earthquakes AND Houston 1836) on an own goal. Sparks and desolation. Sparks and desolation.

Tomorrow night, USA v. El Salvador. I wanna see a 8-0 scoreline.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Gold Cup 2007: USA 1, Guatemala 0

One up. Clint Dempsey (a/k/a The Mostest from Nacogdoches) scored in the 26th minute to give Team USA its winning (and only) goal.
One down. The Hotness His-izzle, Oguchi Onyewu, was ejected in the 73rd minute, leaving ten men to defend that lead. Seen here providing a scoreline update to the Guatemalan fans.

Frankie Hejduk makes friends with Jose Contreras shortly before receiving a yellow card.

Much better game than the friendly in March. Quite entertaining overall. Question for the world at large: wtf happened with Donovan and Ruiz?

Bring on Trinidad & Tobago.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

JPA (a/k/a Juan Pablo Angel)

is Mr. May. So, he looks a little like a Dumb and Dumberer extra here. He's my second favorite use of the word Colombian.


I was thinking coffee!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Quite possibly

the best looking team we've ever fielded. How anybody in their right mind could confuse Gooch (first from left) and Beasley (facing the team) is quite outside the realm of reason. That's like the soccer equivalent of confusing the Skipper with his Little Buddy (referencing relative size disparity only of course).

Guatemala on Thursday. Hope it's better than the last meeting, which epitomized the word turgid.

Monday, June 04, 2007

This Weekend in Soccer

These guys made me LOL right there in my living room. Big ups to Benny Feilhaber for his first national team goal and bigger ups to Sacha Kljestan for teaching Benny a few steps in the down time. USA 4, China 1. Besides Feilhaber, it was Beasley on the PK, Dempsey (sedate elder statesman - whoda thunk it?) and Oguchi Onyewu.

In MLS, the Red Bulls lost to the center ref and Kansas City. Good to see Eddie Johnson on a scoring bender right before the Gold Cup. Bad to see him get his 2nd hat trick IN A ROW off the Red Bulls. Clint Mathis: 8 games, 4 goals, 2 ejections, 1 assist. Still cute.

As for the beleagured, beloved Columbus Crew...

How 'bout them Cavs?