The quality may be grainy, but the authenticity comes through crystal clear. Check out the lead up to Donovan’s goal and the crowd chanting “U-S-A.” at 36 mins and then head to 37:10 for Howard’s exaltation.
3-1 EVERTON – TWEET: Goodison all a-song as the game closes
• Donovan fades down the stretch….missed in the box…but as ESPN said (and so does TSG), “It was not an easy chance”
• Moyes outmanages Sir Alex. Ferguson introduces Scholes and Obertan and Everton counters by going with youth…and more importantly speed…proves to be the difference down the stretch.
• Wayne Rooney played a “contained” game…some poor service to him…the only thing consistent today offensively after the 1st half was Gary Neville’s service.
• While Howard’s corner defenders were average to below average, Heitinga and Distin manned capably in the middle…Distin looking younger than his 30 years.
91st min: David Moyes has sent an assistant to look for Landon…oops he’s still on the pitch…Van Dar Saar joins the outfield as Everton were about to break…convincing day for the Toffees.
90th min: It’s youngsters day! Jack Rodwell GOAL. The first EPL goal for the 18-year-old Rodwell as his pace takes him right passed Johnny Evans on an Arteta service, 3-1 …put it in the books.
89th min: Everton proving up to the challenge as the fouls start to rack up.
87th min: This is where Howard makes his money…Rooney attempting a free kick from above the 18 and directly in the center….England vs. US and Rooney fires wide …Howard was beaten…(I know didn’t want to write that but it’s true)…Howard saved by Rooney’s poor placement…another U-2o player (Jack Rodwell) introduced for Pienaar.
86th min: Rooney draws a foul; Leon Osman is bestowed a yellow on the play.
85th min: Distin clears for the 324th time as Dan Gosling breaks for Everton and knocks into the left corner where Saha pulls up the attack…Everton goes around the horn with it as they waste time….
Update 01/15: Add Jozy Altidore and his quake-stricken homeland of Haiti to the adversity…..
TSG contributor Kurt emailed us in December pondering that we do a piece on the personal struggles for the USMNT.
Will we see CD9 sooner than we think?
Kurt’s thesis? That the American team has faced quite a deal of personal adversity that is then exemplified by their never-say-die attitude.
As we ruminated back and forth on email, the piece resonated with us more, specifically a theme of “resilency.” In fact we had no idea the amount of adversity that many of the players faced in getting to where they are in their careers.
These achievements may pale in comparison to say, playing for the Iraqi National Team or making the trip from North Korea to South Africa, but on an individual-by-individual basis, they are no less impressive.
While all of face adversity in our life, the players on the USMNT may didn’t lead the charmed life to national team caps that might seem apparent.
Let’s take a look at what the team members individually overcame to get where they are today.
The You Can’ts
• The first player no doubt here is USMNT stalwart and top 10 international goalie Tim Howard. Tim Howard has only overcome his bout with Tourette’s syndrome, he’s exploded the stereotype. Think about it, a soccer goalie with Tourette’s–probably the fodder for cruel jokes (as did happen for Howard upon his introduction into the EPL.)
To the brothers TSG, Christmas is all about giving, not receiving. Matthew and I are notorious among our family for spending too much time trying to find the right gift for people. However, we have a fairly high conversion rate on those gifts.
So, in the spirit of the season and the TSG way, we are eschewing the conventional “soccer gifts I want for Christmas” piece. In its stead TSG is playing Santa and handing out* gifts to some of our favorite USMNTers.
If any of our readers received any soccer-related gifts this year tell us about them in the comment section.
For Stu Holden…A Magic Eight Ball It seems like Iceman is in need of some decision-making help. What could be better than the most popular tool in the solar system when one has trouble making a decision? (Will Stu Holden stay with Dynamo?…”Outlook not so good.”)
For Landon Donovan…Billabong Marius Snowboard Jacket Congratulations on the Everton loan. Perhaps it is the right move from a soccer perspective, but trading in the paradise that is Manhattan Beach, CA for the much cooler temps of Liverpool during the winter months was a bit short-sighted. TSG specifically chose the Marius for its bright colors as we recommend taking every precaution to ensure you come out of the Everton Experiment in fine working order.
For Benny Feilhaber…Eagle Creek Comfort Plus Neck Pillow “Comfort Plus” that’s what the official unofficial favorite player of TSG provides for the USMNT when he is on the pitch. More importantly, TSG wants Benny! to travel in style and comfort in 2010 so he is primed and ready to go following long trips to Camp Cupcake and South Africa.
For Tim Howard…Bubble Wrap and a Defender Timmy keeps getting hammered in Everton and could use a little extra protection in front of him and (literally) on his body.
For Coach Bob Bradley…A World Atlas After seeing Bradley’s predilection for MLS players throughout 2009, TSG wants to make sure that Bob-O is aware that there are other countries outside of the United States where Americans play soccer.
* “Handing out” is used metaphorically as we couldn’t find a box big enough to fit Dolf Lundgren (See “Defender” link.)
The finalists for each award were nominated on the basis of: a) competing and excelling at the highest level (both at the national team and professional level) during the calendar year; b) exhibiting decorum on and off the field that reflects well on U.S. Soccer; and c) contributing toward the growth, development, credibility and popularization of soccer in the USA.
Another piece of hardware for Donovan's already crowded 2009 trophy case?
With all of his accolades and press this year, one would expect Landon Donovan to take this one in a walk. The criteria of club play adds an interesting wrinkle as Donovan clearly isn’t “competing and excelling at the highest level” playing his club ball stateside. However, Lando has been the best performer on the national team this year.
Weighing club play more heavily…
Clint Dempsey should get a boost in his bid for the award as a regular starter and current dangerous striker for Fulham in the EPL. Tim Howard and Oguchi Onyewu had stellar first halves of 2009 for Everton and Standard Liège, respectively. However, Howard has had a statistically poor ’09-’10 campaign behind a suspect Toffee defense while Onyewu’s much ballyhooed transfer to AC Milan resulted in little playing time before his October injury.
I’ll let you folks can chime in on who has or has not been true to criteria “b” above. And of the five finalists, Onyewu probably comes out on top for criteria “c” as his transfer to AC Milan from Standard Liège was viewed and celebrated as a big step forward for American soccer, regardless of his lack of playing time.
The winner will be crowned through voting by fans on US Soccer.com (50%) and media members and US Soccer representatives (collectively, 50%). One can assume that Bob-O can’t vote for Junior, right?
Who are you guys voting for?
Fan voting will be open through December 13th along with all of the Best of 2009 awards, like Best Soccer Blog. (hint…hint.)