Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things

November 16, 2004

New Aussie Soccer Blog

by @ 6:18 pm.
Filed under The International Game

I’m happy to add Stephen’s A-League blog to the links list . Beginning in August the A-League, sponsored by Hyundai, will be the new First Division league down under.

November 15, 2004

Football Notes

by @ 3:50 pm.
Filed under Miscellany


by @ 3:44 pm.
Filed under Stream Of Consciousness

If not for the Sauron-like presence of Dema Kovalenko, I’d be rooting unreservedly for United today. As it is, I can only muster the hope that DC will win while Dema finds himself shamed by an early red-card. Which, for that whack-job, is always a distinct possibility.

JP Dellacamera opined that the presence of Adidas uniforms on both teams was part of the 10 year deal with MLS. I’m pretty sure, however, that both teams were already wearing Adidas before the MLS signed the deal with them. Unless of course he meant that the presence of both teams at MLS Cup was fixed beforehand as part of the terms of the agreement. In which case, he probably wasn’t supposed to mention that, do you think?

Kansas City’s Jose Burciaga fires a GOLAZO from about 25 yards out to open the scoring! Good time to score your first of the year, kid. Wow.

As far as the game itself goes, however, this could be disaster. Given Bunker Bob Gansler’s reputation, this could be the last time we see more than one KC player leave their own side of the field for the next 83 minutes. Perhaps the deal with Adidas stipulates that you have to actually try to score goals, even when leading. Now that would be progress for the league.

One of my favorite all time goalkeepers is playing for Kansas City. No, not Tony Meola. Bo Ohsoniyi used to be the #1 for Columbus in the early years of the league, then he fell out of favor and played A-league for a few years, then became Meola’s understudy a few years ago. A terrific player who couldn’t quite find a starting gig for a while, he’s been stellar since Meola picked up an injury a few months ago. I saw him at the Cotton Bowl against the Burn in 1996, and I swear he threw a soccer ball further than most keepers can punt one. At least 60 yards. It was stunning. I’m glad to see him getting some time in the spotlight.

The crowd at the Home Depot Center is pretty good, but I’m a bit dismayed to see it isn’t a sellout. Both teams seem to have a lot of supporters out in force, however, and that’s good sign, given the distances to be traveled.

Alecko Eskandarian just absolutely torched Nick Garcia with a top-of-the-eighteen-turn-dribble-shoot move to make the score 1-1. Esky’s Dad, Andranik Eskandarian, used to do the same thing in the Meadowlands years ago for the Cosmos. I think Hank Williams Jr. wrote a song about that once upon a time; something about family traditions?

And, as I type those words, Eskandarian picks off Jimmy Conrad’s rather unfortunate clearance and beats Bo again. 2-1, United. He probably got away with a handball on the steal, but hey, that’s football, isn’t it? For a team that used rock-solid defense to get to this game, the Wizards have given up two utterly avoidable goals.

Holy Schnikes. 3-1 DCU in the 26th minute! Own goal by Alex Zotinca. Had he not knocked it in, Eskandarian would’ve surely had the hat-trick, as he was sitting on the doorstep.

I’d say the game was effectively over, but the Wizards don’t have an ounce of quit in them; they’ve made some stunning comebacks this year to get to this point. It’s going to be an interesting game, especially if DC take their collective foot off the gas. Not that it’s likely Peter Nowak will allow that to happen, even if the score reaches 6-1.

It’s 35 minutes in, and I’m not sure Josh Wolff has had a touch on the ball. I wasn’t aware he was even on the field. That’s a disaster for KC.

3-1 at the half. Looks bad for Kansas City. Maybe Preki will make a surprise appearance and save the day. Otherwise, things look pretty grim.

I think I’ll be skipping the halftime festivities. I’ve never even heard of the band that’s supposed to be performing, but even if I had, will anything be able to top Christina Aguilera’s All-Star game performance of a few years back? I think not.

Simutenkov comes in for Khari Stephenson for the second half. Why he wasn’t in the starting lineup, I can’t say. I don’t follow KC closely enough to know anything about his recent form, but I know that he’s been one of their most prolific scorers over the long haul. Greg Andrulis must’ve called Bob Gansler and made the suggestion (apologies to Lee Smith, Dr. Chuck and all my other Crew-fan friends for that gratuitous piling on. It’s a sickness, and I’m going to meetings).

What a break for Kansas City. Somebody saved a shot by Conrad off the line by swatting it away with their hand, and it definitely wasn’t Nick Rimando. I thought initially the ref was going to miss the call, but the linesman made sure he didn’t. Wolff’s first touch turns out to be the PK, which he calmly puts past Rimando. 3-2, and we got us a ballgame.

But wait . . . someone is getting a red card for that handball . . . who could it be?

[cue five minutes of explosive maniacal laughter, which, if typed out, would come out something like “BWAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!” for 10 straight pages]

Buh-bye, Dema Kovalenko. Buh. Bye.

Hit the road. take a shower. Make like Elvis and leave the building. Oh, and by the way, congratulations on being the first player in the HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE TO BE SENT OFF IN THE MLS CUP FINAL, YOU PSYCHOHACKAZOIDFREAKBOY!

Somewhere, Ronnie O’Brien is cracking open a Guinness and toasting your departure. And rightly so.

Schadenfreude, thy name is Dema.

Back to the game (reluctantly; I could go on about this all day).

Eskandarian goes to the sideline injured. Freddy Adu enters the game. It was only the blossoming of Eskandarian as a top level goal scorer that kept Adu from being a starter in his rookie season. He’d have been the only starter in the history of MLS who had to have his Mom drive him to the games.

If you’ve followed MLS this season, you’ll appreciate how hugely ironic it is that the final quarter-hour of this game is consisting of Kansas City attacking with everything they have, while DC bunkers in, desperately trying not to give up the tying goal. I love this game.

And to be sure, Kansas City really did pour it on. Chances galore, but nothing but could get past the density laden DC’s back four, errr, six, no, 10. I can’t tell you how many times this season KC has pulled off a comeback just like this right at the death. Usually it’s Jack Jewsbury or Davy Arnaud scoring deep into injury time. I don’t think it’s in the cards today though.

Well, hold the phone, there are SIX minutes of injury time. That’s gotta be a record. Peter Nowak’s teeth must be grinding themselves into dust.

No, that’s it. DC United win their 4th MLS CUP, 3-2 over Kansas City.

Unbelievable, really. Did anyone, even the most dedicated DC supporter, seriously predict this at the beginning of the season? I think we all knew Peter Nowak would win with DC eventually, but this is just nuts. Congrats to all you maniacs who go to RFK every home game and make the place shake. You are without a doubt the most loyal fans in MLS, and you deserve this.

Quite a game. Hard, clean play, good goals, controversy on some of the calls/no calls, and Dema got tossed. What more could you ask for in a final, other than FC Dallas being in it?

Speaking of which, MLS Cup ’06 is being played at the new Frisco Stadium, or as we like to call it, Uncle Lamar’s House of Whoopass. I am SO THERE.

It’s been quite a season. See you in the Spring.

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