Saturday, February 10, 2007

US Soccer Update - 2/10/07 - Best Week Ever?


You gotta feel good for Jimmy Conrad. It is amazing that a world renown media icon can step onto a soccer pitch and have a man of the match performance! Conrad’s header and tremendous defense helped ensure the latest American triumph over our amigos. The first ten minutes of the match were terrible, with the balls spending more time out of bounds than in play. After settling down, the Mexicans set out to test Johnathan Boronstein who had trouble with the pressure early on, but gained his feet enough to discourage this tactic in the second half. A cause for concern is that BB the King, like his predecessor il Bruce, feels that Landon Donovan is a forward, but played him in Rolfe in what seemed to be a revolving 1-1, with both of them switching sides and patrolling the attacking mid space. After the initial 15 minutes, the Americans seemed to calm down and the teams went into the half level. However, the Americans got on the board with the aforementioned header in the 57th minute. The celebration was short lived as the Americans weathered attack after attack from El Tri. The Mexicans continued to be frustrated Tim Howard and the all for one American defense, which was shaky but resilient. Fruitless in their attempts against Boronstein, the Mexicans set out to exploit, a step slow Chris Albright leading to him giving way to Josh Gros. Just into extra time, the Red, White and Blue sealed the deal after an Mexican pass bounced off referee Mauricio into the path of Ricardo Clark who one touched a pass to Donovan in the center circle. Juking two Mexican defenders, My Captain was past the defense and one-on-one with the keeper Oswaldo Sanchez. Donovan calmly pushed the ball past Sanchez and then buried it in the back of the net. Overall, a tremendous result for a team badly in need of such a win. BB the King took another step toward the full time throne. It didn’t hurt that the game was a ratings smash that send Univision into the top five networks for the evening in certain demographics. Over 8 million Americans watched this so called friendly. My only contention with Bradley’s decisions is that I would have liked to seen Justin Mapp get some time in for a struggling Bobby Convey. That being said it is difficult to argue with the results.

REal Salt Lake - There to Stay!

Great news for all of us fans of REal Salt Lake! The Utah Governor steps in and rams a bill through the house a week after Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon seemingly deep sixed the stadium and the team. Very similar circumstances to the saga of the Chicago White Sox in the late 80's. One thing that is ALWAYS overlooked throughout this saga is that while the taxpayers are chipping in $50 all told, the team is making a private investment upwards of $70 million. Great vision by Utah lawmakers to guarantee that some of the tourist dollars I have at my disposal will be spent in Utah in the next few years. And WOW, what a stadium design!

Rapids still Rapids

Despite much speculation, the owners of the Colorado Rapids, Kronke Sports Entertainment, retain the clubs name and introduce some spiffy new uniforms. While forging a formal relationship with Arsenal, the club does not take their new partners names. While I am an outspoken proponent of the name Real Salt Lake, renaming a franchise and adopting a foreign team name is just sad and an attempted short cut to creating passion (NY Franchise I’m looking your way.) FC Dallas, was just a move to a more traditional soccer name. Not a problem, however Arsenal Colorado would have been a seven syllable embarrassment.

Rayna vs. Beckham – American Soccer

Add Ray Hudson to the list of those in the US Soccer establishment that are enamored with Captain Boredom. Ray was flailing around the American Soccer desk like John Belushi supporting Beckham over Reyna as “style over substance”. Hudson went on and on, claiming that Reyna will have a much larger impact on the RedBulls than Becks will have on the Gals. I almost fell over laughing. I’m not sure how great of a cheerleader Claudio is, but it will be difficult to have a great season from the IR. Between the artificial surfaces at Giants Stadium, Toronto and Gillette, I give Claudio four games. Further, I can recall exactly one game where Reyna had a significant positive impact on a match, USA v. Germany 2002. Beckham won the Ecuador game for England this summer, while Claudio ensured that Ghana got off to a 1-0 lead. Style and substance, that is Beckham. Another failed “soccer savior”, that is Reyna. What has benefited Reyna is that he hasn’t been the target of political power plays by his club and national team coaches. As I type, Becks fed Hudson and his coach Fabio Capello crow, tying the Real Sociadad match at one with a tremendous free kick.


Redemption of the Week:

Landon Donovan – Despite a poor first half that involved him chasing air balls sent into him and Chris Rolfe while being marked by much taller defenders, my Captain came charging back to have a hand in both goal to again topple Mexico 2-0. Often Donovan could be seen defending his own endline and was involved in every part of the match during the second frame.

Idiots of the Week:

The Mexican National Team – After a classless display during the game with GK Oswaldo Sanchez taking a swipe at Eddie Johnson after Donovans goal the Mexicans topped that by AGAIN refusing to shake hands and sulking off the field with their jerseys intact. The post game interviews with the team were no different. Almost to a man, the Tri felt they were the better team and deserved to win the match, yielding no respect to an American side that has held them scoreless for a decade on US soil.

The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis

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