Archive for April, 2010

A Statesman To The Europa Final?

Some Thursday bullets: (Root canalitis is making us less than heady on a lengthy, researched column–witness yesterday’s grammar-less Liverpool post)

Standing in Dempsey's way...

• We’re almost there for Clint Dempsey and Fulham to Europa Finals. A big one today at the Craven Cottage for the McBrides. A 0-0 tie last week at Hamburg essentially means winner take all on Thursday. Wouldn’t it be nice for the Deuce to go Juventus on us?

Want to learn more about how Fulham excelled this year? An excellent column here by the Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson on how former Inter Milan manager Roy Hodgson has got Fulham firing on all cylinders.

Oh…you wanted to see that Deuce strike again before today’s game:

• TSG reader Antonio made a great comment comparing yesterday Inter v. Barca thriller to the U.S. v. Spain Confederation’s Cup match. For my part, I loved the match. I’m a fan of defensive soccer–probably through my own upbringing of playing wide in the back.

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Our Gooch Watch…Is Back On!

One Oguchialu Chijioke Onyewu is now back.

Goin' old skool because the snapshot says it all...

Gooch via Twitter this morning.

The kid is back!!!! Normal training from here on out, no restrictions…. Bless!!! God is Great!!!

Welcome back Go0ch.

For all you non-Serie A fans, AC Milan is out of the run for the Scudetto, which means that they by-all-rights should see what they have on their roster. Especially in central defense where Alessandro Nesta can’t man the interior forever.

Three more games for the Rossoneri:

This weekend: Home against Fiorentina

Next weekend: Away at Genoa

May 16th: Home against Juventus

Ready The Rumble: Inter Milan v. Barcelona

People do love the special o

94:00 - Corner for Barca…nothing happens and TWEET TWEET TWEET GAME OVER. Inter celebrate, Mourinho goes wild, Valdez tries and stops him…a forgetful game until the last 10 minutes. Mourinho versus Van Gaal, Inter Milan versus Bayern Munich in a few weeks…wow. In Madrid, Real fans are celebrating!

4 minutes added. At this rate that’s 6 more attacking chances for Barca. Bojan sends the ball into the back of the net but the ball hit Yaya Toure’s hand right before. Unlucky for the Catalans.

89:00 – Barcelona fans are in full voice as they cheer their team on. Inter taking their time on kicks but as soon as they kick it Barca come back and attack. How many minutes of stoppage will there be?

87:00 – Xavi sends in a rasping shot that is well saved by Cesar. That’s followed by a Messi shot that Cesar claims well… The onslaught is amazing to watch!

84:00 – GOOOAL…. Pique. The little passing system breaks through the Inter backline and Pique who looked a touch offside gets the ball, spins around, fooling everyone and sends a shot into the back of the net…and exciting 6 plus minutes are left!!!!!

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EJ Nets Brace Over In Greeceland

Two deposited today by Eddie Johnson in Aris’s 2-0 win over Olympiakos.

Freddy Adu assisted on the first and Johnson charlie hustled the 2nd all by himself.

It Was Only Five Years Ago…

Better days...

You know, that wasn’t the original title of this column…..

First it was, “Oh how the mighty have fallen…,”

AC Milan and Liverpool tangled in one of the best Champion’s League finals I can recall in recent memory, but they are also the answer to this question: What two perennial Champ’s League finalists are in the most disarray?

Back to the game…

It was one of the most dramatic soccer games I’ve ever witnessed. Will today’s Barcelona-Inter Milan semi’s match-up rival it?

The 2005 Champion’s League Final was, in short, one of those great games that even those who were not rooting for one of the sides recollect the environment where they watched it.

I remember watching the game in a rickety taco shack in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco. The crappy tables offset–oddly–by a gorgeous new HD television. I remember the incredulous final score (and victors) and emailing Shaun–a Liverpool fan–right afterward to ask him if his heart was still beating.

The final, a classic. AC Milan versus Liverpool in Istanbul, Turkey of all places.

The storyline? An improbable 3-2 penalties win after a 3-3 deadlock for perennial the bridesmaids from Liverpool. The Reds hadn’t won a major championship in nearly 20 years before that one.

Gerrard's goal should probably just be known in Champion's League lore as: "The Header"

However, as the storyline goes, it couldn’t have begun much worse for the team from Anfield. Just a minute in, Rafa and company found themselves on the wrong side of 1-0 on a goal by all-century Milan captain Paolo Maldini. The score then drooped to 2-0 for the English side and finally 3-0 before the break.

The trophy all but being etched permanently with victory for the Rossoneri.

But it was Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard in a game that at once created and stamped his legacy anew who notched a goal and a foul suffered to bring the team back and swap the scrawl on the trophy and history.

Take a moment to check out the clip below if you’re new to Champ’s League ball.

What’s immediately odd now about this all-time classic is the juxtaposition of the crumbling of Milan and Liverpool in 2010.

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Open Cupper: NY Red Bull v. Philly Union

TSG had our man GeorgeCross on the ground for the rather tepid affair between New York and Philadelphia last night.
I cannot confirm that GeorgeCross had a section all to himself.

Shep...looking for a better line...

What I can confirm is that Shep Missing was at the “top” of his game for this one. For all those watching the live stream at home–New York Red Bull can certainly do customer service–we were subjected some absolute dandies on the play calls that TSG tweeted about:

• Yogi Berra announcing for Red Bull: “A set piece is the best way to get back in the game when you’re not getting it done in the run of play”
• “I love goals that come from the run of play when you deserve it” might be the most awkward goal call of all-time.
In fact, this nugget I will be trying to use as often as possible.
Sheer good fun from the anti-Ray Hudson.

On to the game:
Compared to Saturday’s game, this really was a low quality encounter.  It was basically a run-out for the B-team.
First half started very scrappy, as neither team were able to get the ball down and string a few passes together.
I am not sure if it was nerves, but first touch was appalling, and any ball retention was non-existent.  The heavily sanded pitch probably didn’t help either.

Conor Chinn skating on by....

Once the game settle down, the Union actually started to play a little, but it was in the middle third.  They were not able to penetrate or get behind RBs.

RBs seemed to open up PU along the left flank with Neisen, but his final ball was awful, a combination of not missing the first defender or just bad decision making.  Either way, RBs had opportunities had his delivery been good.
Union seemed to have sprang RBs offside trap but it was called offside – looked a little suspect to me to be honest.
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