Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Belated Random Thoughts on the US-Mexico Game

• Don’t you just love when the Nats play a good possession team like Mexico? God, I miss Reyna in his prime. Even then we had problems keeping the ball but this was awful.
• I was impressed with Bradley Jr’s goal scoring. Mr 3D kept repeating Dutch League, Dutch League. Dutch League. I thought, a helluva lot of fantastic players played and play in Holland. After watching Bradley turn over the ball time and time again, I have to tip my hat to Mr 3D and hope that jet lag or food poisoning had something to do with it.
• Worst part of the match- the behavior of several Sam’s Army cats in front of us. Having fun is one thing, making a point of inciting stupidity is another. The signs saying we were continuing a tradition of beating Mexico since 1836 was in poor taste. I’m not talking political correctness. Fuck, I paid good money to see a soccer game- not jackasses like the guy who wore his American flag bandana over his face like a terrorist and flipped the upper tier crowd off during half-time. Thanks a lot dude, you made sure the upper tier Pro-Mexico crowd dumped beer on our heads at the final whistle- just because they couldn’t reach you. I hope nobody got jumped because they were wearing the wrong kit due to your antics. @ Euro '98, Holland and Ireland won the best Tourney fan awards- they basically got drunk, sang, chanted, and laughed with their counterparts no matter what the score. Let's let the stands mirror the Beautiful Game- not act like friggin' Ultras.
• To the Mexican crowd- if you’re gonna do pay-backs, make sure you get the people you pissed you off, not the undeserving innocents. Everytime I saw a cop on the drive home (there were lots), I dreaded being pulled over, reeking of beer.
• Drew Moor- ouch and double ouch. El Tri went at him all night. Subsequently, I watched Moor and whoever he marked on every Mexican corner, throw-in, and quick counter. Watching only made the night more painful.
• Gooch- better performance though definitely some silly errors. Still, the best defensive performance- despite a few times when he lost his man- I’ve seen in a few years. Lovely header for the goal.
• Dempsey- Mr. No Fear used to go one on one at the most inopportune moments. Since going to Fulham, he now has the ability to succeed at the most improbable moments. When he’s on, when has a US player been so fun to watch?
• Howard- Wow! He was great! Without him the score would have been embarrassing. He WAS the jinx that night.
• Altidore- Beautiful goal but everything else I saw said needs more work and at least another MLS season. Too many unforced errors and losses of possession. Without the goal, I would say not ready for prime time. I know this goes against what nearly everyone else is saying but he is another product of the Mythical US Quest for a Soccer Savior. Eddie Johnson was it after scoring so many goals in qualifying against minnows. Adidas anointed Adu with that role and it never fit. Donovan, despite leading the National Team in all time goals at a young age, is derided for not making the USMN into a Superpower. Now the buzz is about Jose. So far, such buzz has not helped any of these players’ games.
• Convey and Corrales- the less said, the better, despite Corrales assist.
• Donovan (or Lando or Landycakes)- this was the best I’ve seen him in a long time. He got little service but when he did, he made things happen or at the least, drew defenders like flies. Even better, Landon played both ways, lowering his head and making several tackles. I haven’t seen this kind of work rate from Landon since he was given savior status. I have always thought Donovan fades with tight marking. While I still believe this somewhat, I was impressed by his toughness. Unfortunately, merely getting an assist does not live up to the incredible expectations he has been given. Also, too many of his set pieces are still found wanting, especially those that don’t make it past the 1st defender (GRRRR!).
• The dome soccer experience was very weird. I hate pregame commercials when I buy tickets to the venues- please let the Dynamo get rid of the Brave Heart shit (wishful thinking).

Funny joke that I never got to blogging on but just discovered was still there- Nick Webster on Fox Soccer naming Bob Bradley as his 2007 Manager of the Year and Golden Balls as the Transfer of the Year. Huh? I like Bradley the World's Best? Geez. As far as Becks, he has a point regarding promotion but i thought that football had at least something to do with a ball, a pitch, and 22 players. Maybe it's just me.

Despite Waldo's ten million faults and hardly ever talking about the game when doing color commentary for ESPN, I already miss him. It was refreshing to hear someone from the US soccer community being frank. Too bad it played out the way it did. Cheers, Eric. Hope you get a better gig.

Nuff said, thanks for reading.


The Manly Ferry said...

Great rundown. I don't agree with all of it, but....isn't that the point?

But two things in here struck me in particular:

1) Screw "the ultras." If you're going to pick a fight, do it on your own time and don't drag in everyone else. There aren't rules for enjoying the game.

2) Great observation on Jozy and the hype/pressure U.S. fans seemingly love laying on the Next Big Thing. Jozy's good, he's better than raw, but he's not The Answer - not yet and, conceivably, not ever. If he gets there, you'll know it. Where's the virtue in being the first to say it?

playtherapy said...

Hi Jeff, thanks for the look. Yup, differing opinions make the world go around. We do agree on Josie- the latest of the Adu, Johnson, Donovan, Reyna, McBride, Cletus(?), et al- Great Hopes- may be not be ready to assume a rather preposterous mantle. Hope the hype doesn't hurt his progress.

I missed the open air of a stadium that night though the energy was electric. There wasn't even Martek's/Keano's "prawn sandwich crowd culture- we stood the whole game to no complaints (unlike Dynamo games). My voice has just recovered- I no longer sound like a squeaky adolescent or a Kim Carnes impersonator.