Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things

May 28, 2005


by @ 4:54 pm.
Filed under Uncategorized

So, we give up a goal in the 4th minute. No big deal. I bet Bruce is smiling inwardly, even. We need to see how tough the boys are right now, going into the next round of qualifiers. What better way to find out than to go down a goal early?

It was a beautiful free kick goal by Kieran Richardson, in his first ever start for England. He was a big part of West Brom’s survival in the Permiership this year. The kid’s only 20 years old, to boot. Sven’s looking like a genius right off the bat.

Wolff misses a close half-volley chance right after England’s goal. He hasn’t missed many this season in Kansas City, which is why he’s getting a start today. He’s also gotten a couple of good runs on the right wing, but has muffed the crosses. Nerves, I’m guessing.

Somebody needs to tackle Alan Smith, but hard. He’s a talented forward, but a bit of a thug. Vanney needs to welcome him to the New World by making him kiss the turf before the half is over, methinks.

The play is fairly even after fifteen minutes, the goal notwithstanding. The days of an American team being awestruck or intimidated by the mere sight of an English jersey are way behind us. Even if the English don’t exactly agree to a man, the truth is we’re in a game with our peers, not our betters, today.

Ooooooooooh! Landon hits a long free kick from the left side and beats David James. Unfortunately, he didn’t beat the left post, but it was still very nicely struck.

Kasey comes a good 10 yards out of the penalty area and heads a long ball clear. Moments later he robs Joe Cole with a nice diving save. Cole struck it hard and on target from 20 yards out. A healthy Kasey is key for our World Cup hopes. Not that our country is short on quality goalkeepers; we’re deeper than the Marianas Trench at that position. But Kasey is well nigh unbeatable when playing internationally. Ask Romario.

Zavagnin misses just high. That would have been great for his international career. I like that guy. Always have. Quiet but solid. I know the Wizards are glad he didn’t catch on in England over the winter.

Donavan again just missing. Hit it wide left off a perfectly headed ball from Josh Wolff. I can’t see the English shutting us out today. How many we get, or how many give up I don’t know; but I just don’t see us staying off the board.

There is a huge Sam’s Army section right behind David James’ goal. I’d love to hear what kind of smack they’re yelling at him. Good job by the Guys (and girls) in red today.

Richardson strikes again just before halftime. Nicely worked goal by Eng-er-land. Pope uncharacteristically misplayed the ball, allowing Joe Cole to run right up the the 18 and hit an umarked Richardson. Nice finish. He may be this year’s Shrek, uh, I mean, this year’s Wayne Rooney. Sorry.

So we’re down 2-0 at halftime. Still no worries. The second goal was the only really bad bit of football we played. Crisper finishing was called for, to be sure, but we did create chances. Possession was about even, and but for the previously mentioned goal, defensively we were okay.

That buzzing sound you hear, however, is the cumulative sound of BigSoccer posters on their keyboards, calling for Bruce Arena’s head on a silver cyber-platter. So, please, go ahead and roll your eyes now, and save yourself some time, okay?

Five minutes in to the second half, and we’ve had most of the attack. Once again, finishing is the problem, not creating chances.

Normally, I’m a big fan of defenders pushing up and taking long distance shots. But our defenders today . . . well, suffice to say I’m rethinking that position.

Unless he comes up with a goal, Josh Wolff is going to regret this cap. He’s showing the exact opposite form he’s showed in MLS this year. Only the harshest fan, though, wouldn’t forgive all if he scores. I know I would.

Kieran Richardson goes off in the 59th minute for Phil Neville. This shows two things. First, Richardson picked up a knock, because there is no way he’s tired and he’s scored twice. Second, Sven is going to drop back and protect his two goal lead. Yeah, that worked really well for AC Milan last week, didn’t it? The best way to protect a two goal lead is to make it a three goal lead. Playing defensively is a bad idea, even if it just so happens to work once in a while.

Well, I may be wrong about that. Looks like Neville has taken Richardson’s midfield spot instead of going to the back. Good for you Sven.

Better attacking from USA now, here around the 70 minute mark. Zat Knight got away with a handball in the box for England, at least according to the crowd noise index. Wolff is doing slightly better on the left side. Dempsey seems to be a bit out of his element today, however. I’m not worried about that kid, though. He’s going to be big for us soon enough.

We get a good free kick chance just outside the box in the 72nd. Wolff fails to get his redeeming goal, but does get a corner, but to no avail.

Pope comes off for Boca. Pope had a terrible game, as much as I hate to say it. Convey comes on for Stevie Ralston, who was uncharcteristically uninvolved today.

Another free kick chance in the 77th. Nada. We look like a rec team compared to England in this area of the game. But only in this area.



Bocanegra nearly scores off the long service from the left side, but David James comes up with the save only to have Clint head it down and in for his first international goal. Sweet sweet sweet. Did I tell you Clint was gonna be big for us? DID I TELL YOU?!

Ten minutes remaining.

Conor Casey almost ties it up right after coming on the field for Brian McBride. Vanney gets a shot from the rebound, but boots it into Lake Michigan.

Fast and furious attack from the boys, This is the intensity we lacked in the first half. Wolff is continuing to improve as well.

Only 1:30 left. Come on boys. Come on.

Two minutes stoppage. David James spills one in the box, but no one was close enough to make anything of it.

Full time. A spirited 2-1 loss to the Mother Country.

It’s okay. We beat ‘em when it counted. YEAH WASHINGTON! IN YOUR FACE CORNWALLIS! USA! USA!!


Don’t listen to the doom-sayers. This was a good tune up for the upcoming qualifiers. Panama and Los Ticos will seem like high school squads compared to this match.

All is well in Nats land, kids. We’re on track. Don’t sweat it at all.


  1. Brian Says:

    Thanks for the recap. I agree, no need to worry about the Nats as of yet.

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