sleepless in seattle

seattle sounders

Sorry for the lack of updates in the last few days, loyal readers, but I have been traveling around the great pacific northwest. I have to say, this trip has actually confirmed my thought that football is finally gaining widespread acceptance in this country. Every bar in every airport, every lobby hotel bar, every sports bar– they have all been showing the European matches. This is THE MOST beneficial thing for the development of our own talent pool. Growing up we didn’t have such coverage, and so we never saw the game played at its highest level. Now all the American kids are growing up watching the Premiership and the Euro as easily as they watch the World Series. There is no better way for young players to learn how the game is supposed to be played.

Apparently the US Nashitnal team beat Barbados 8-0 the other day. Of course, this is after the Barbados national side took out ads looking for players (see quote). Damn, CONCACAF is the toughest qualifying group in the world. Why don’t the Europeans give it the respect it deserves?

ARE YOU BARBADIAN BY BIRTH,

NATIONALITY, OR DESCENT?
LET US CHECK IT OUT FOR YOU
DO YOU PLAY FOOTBALL PROFESSIONALLY?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BECOME A MEMBER OF BARBADOS’ NATIONAL FOOTBALL PROGRAMME? Seniors, Youth, Women.
SEND US A NOTE AT bdosfootball@caribsurf.com
or ronalddac@yahoo.com.

By the way, I have totally abandoned the fantasy leagues I’m in for Euro 2008, since I don’t understand the rules and can’t be bothered to make changes to my team when I don’t even know if they’ll count. My rivals, Saint and Bangers, are sure to rub salt in my wounds– removing myself and considering my $20 lost is the surest way to diffuse their gloating.

I’m watching the France-Italy match and the news that Huntelaar put the Dutch up over Romania just came through. Damn, I’d love to see both France and Italy fall out. These teams are terrible to watch, as opposed to the brilliant Oranje, who I will be posting on directly.

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Saint and Bangers on the Oranje march

Bangers:

i love that they went up 1-0 vs the frogs, and then they put in van persie and robben. the french rightly crapped themselves. i also saw on espn that there is a player named ruud van persie. surely if there was such a person he would win the tournament singlehandedly while gropping austrian whores at the same time

Saint:

Nastiest team I've seen in a long time - maybe ever - offensively anyway - ridiculous what thwy did to two of the best in the world

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Tommy Smyth: a blight

Tommy Smyth, the antichristYesterday saw an amazing team performance by Spain and perhaps one of the most well-struck balls I’ve ever seen from Ibrahimovich, but my enjoyment of the Spain-Russia match was tempered by the incessant drivel coming out of that leprachaun Tommy Smyth. The following is an actual quote from this pimple on the ass of ESPN’s coverage:

“You can see him [Torres] a little bit isolated right there,
though there are other players around him.”

I kept rewinding and playing it over because I couldn’t believe he actually said it, but there you go. This is in sharp contrast to the brilliant commentary of Andy Gray, who gives praise where its merited and criticism where warranted. Could you imagine him saying anything like the above?

The ESPN Soccernet fantasy league my dreaded rival Bangers&Mash signed us up for is a farce. The rules are totally unlike any fantasy game I’ve ever paticipated in. Points for the people on your bench??? WHere the hell did it say that in the rules? This is another blatant example of Bangers&Mash looking to squeeze any dime he can out of those will less information than he has. What a cheap, sniveling bitch. At least I’m better than him at golf…

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euro, day 3: what a difference 2 years makes

Thank god I didn’t watch that France-Romania match, but the Netherlands-Italy game was a sight.  The Dutch looked great, but the Italians looked dreadful.  A bunch of old men chasing the ball. Reminds me of the Arsenal-Milan Champions League tie this season.  Arsenal/Holland passing and moving and running around a bunch of uomi vechii.   Their league is crap now, their national team is crap now.  Excuse me if I don’t weep.;

I have fond memories of throwing plastic, half-full Bud Light bottles at Donadoni when he came to play DC United during his brief stint at the NY MetroStars.  At the time, the message was “welcome to America, good choice to come and play here. Crap football and drunken surly fans.   Enjoy”.  Now it’s Italy who are wondering what the hell he’s doing there.  They’ll be calling for his head after this one.

Time to see what Spain can do tomorrow.  My fantasy team, if put together on an actual pitch at one time, would surely be the worst side in the tournament.

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nashitnal team 0, argentina 0

well, i have to admit the US looked much better tonight, though in the interest of full disclosure I only saw the second half.

these friendlies are always tough to get a good read on. Argentina is unquestionably 1000 times better than the US, but at least on this night the US held their own. Of course, Argentina is already in the middle of their world cup qualifying campaign so couldn’t really go full out, but the team they brought to Giants Stadium was no joke. The only two big absences were Riquelme and Tevez– big players, to be sure, but its not like the top-ranked team in the world lacks for depth.

So without reading too much into the match itself, it seems the US has learned a bit from its recent matches and is willing to play attacking football rather than just watch as more skilled teams run around them. Howard had an amazing game, which is essential whenever our nashitnal team comes up against anyone of quality. The US has a tradition of good keepers–after all, they get a lot of practice stopping shots in all of their non-Concacaf matches.

Next week is when the “real” matches begin, as we take on the mighty Barbados in Los Angeles. Barbados. If we can win that match, then I really don’t think there’s a team in the world that can stop us. They’re only a hair below San Marino in terms of quality.

As i admitted before, i only saw the second half, but I was thrilled not to see Carlos Blackmouth on the field. did he play the first half? I’m going to assume he didn’t, as the score was 0-0.

In other news, the Euro was entertaining this weekend, even though a few of the matches were pretty dull. Germany looked NASTY, especially in the first half, though Poland did have a few good chances. Podolski’s second goal was absurd. I’m really pissed off that I followed the advice of the espn soccernet commentators, though, who said Podolski wasn’t going to play. i had him on my team and then dropped him after looking at their anticipated line-ups. Instead, I picked Pigfarmer, who came on in the second half and got a quick booking. He totally set up the second goal, though Klose got in the way and I’m sure he was actually credited with the assist.

Back to work tomorrow and the horrible feeling of working while the group of death faces off. I am of course tivo-ing the matches, but its not the same. I’ll probably follow the games on http:.//football.guardian.com and then fast forward the matches later to see the goals. I hate that I do it, but there you go.

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1-0 loth to thpain (US:0, Spain 1)

Well, we certainly looked better today, but still not very good. Spain looked like they couldn’t be bothered,  while the US looked scrappy and disorganized. Still, it was nice to see Freddy Adu playing so well. We need him to have a good 3-5 year run. This is a player who’s not going to last a long time, given his diminutive size and reliance on quickness.  A few years of professional fouls will cost him half a step.

Adu aside, there were few highlights from the US side.  Spain’s goal was well taken by Xavi, but resulted from a total breakdown in the US defence. He beat 5 of our players on that.  5.  that’s absurd.  Of course I was happy Fabregas engineered the goal, and Spain is still my pick to win the Euro, though I have a 100% track record of picking these tournaments incorrectly.

In other news, Josey Altidor is apparently going to Villareal.  Well done, Josey.  Playing for a top Spanish side- even if he rarely makes it off the reserves- will improve his game dramatically.  With any luck he will do well and we won’t see him back in an MLS jersey until he’s in his mid-thirties. Plus I love the idea that he’ll be playing alongside Pires and Riquelme.

In other news, I think I’ve got my fantasy team picked for Euro 2008, teamname: Latveria.  I’m coming off the heels of an amazing, Fulham-like run at the end of my fantasy premiership league to leapfrog the hated Bangers&Mash and escape the drop.  My nemesis just had his third baby, so will either be distracted or intently focused on the tournament in order to avoid thinking about the grim realities of his real life.  If I can nudge him that much closer to complete and utter misery it will have been a successful campaign.

By the way, is Harkes a bad commentator, or the worst commentator ever?  Where is Eric Wynalda? He was the best thing to ever happen to US soccer coverage.  He was opinionated and passionate and real.  We miss you.

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euro 2008 fantasy

as a yank who talks a lot of shit in London bars about how not everyone here in ‘merica is a dumb hick when it comes to football, I find myself struggling with my Euro 2008 fantasy league picks. Unless they played in the premiership or appeared with their clubs in the latter rounds of the Champs League I know almost nothing about them. I’m picking Spain to win it with Torres as player of the tournament, which goes to show you how little I know about international football. I’m sure Spain will lose in the semi-final after having a goal disallowed for an obviously incorrect offsides decision.

Anyway, while I struggle with my selections I have the US Nashitnal Team’s match against Spain tomorrow to look forward to. Carlos Blackmouth vs. the Bull. If this were a real match we’d have no chance. Hell, even in a preamble we have no chance. Spain 1: US: 0.

Lots of thoughts about the nashitnal team, the Euro, and my ongoing disappointment in myself for not supporting MLS more in the days to come.

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