Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spain v Argentina friendly.

There's no question that on a given day and a given pitch,  football is a game that can provide surprises.   And that was the emotion I felt on logging on to the international friendly between Spain and Argentina and discovering that Spain, with fifteen minutes left, was down 3-0.  I watched with puzzlement,  particularly as the Spaniards seemed to be playing with their typical measured pace and,  as I watched,  scored a nice goal.   So there was a sense of the surreal.   I guessed that the Argentines,  stinging after South Africa,  felt they had something to prove in front of their home fans.   I guessed as well that Spain rested some of their best players and perhaps arrived somewhat complacently.  And then, as I continued to watch,  the South Americans scored yet another goal making the final score 4-1.   Regardless of the reasons,  it is a stinging slap to Spain which has lost only two matches in recent years.   

Last evening I also saw that our crew,  the Timbers, have clinched a playoff spot in USL.  I've heard that playoff matches are likely to be held in Hillsboro Stadium.  If so, that's going to be an interesting logistics challenge.   The team's been pulling nearly 16,000 fans a game.   And the stadium only holds 7,000.   Maybe a few more with temporary seating.  But it will still be a challenge.   Perhaps they can put up big screen televisions downtown and let people watch as they did for the MLS unveiling during World Cup.   I plan on being at the games myself.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Have another cuppa?

The football landscape is such a rich environment for the soccer junkie.   If you can't do anything else, you can always find game somewhere out there in the world.   After spending an hour and a half on the grassy sward we call our practice field Wednesday night,  I was willing to resign myself to staying inside and streaming some soccer on screen.   The number of mosquitos per player at the practice made breathing difficult without sucking a few morsels down the windpipe.  
So I turned my attention to the opening round of qualifiers for Euro 2012 which are unfolding and can be screened,  mostly live, on ESPN3   On Thursday I was forced to stay close to the computer as I was scanning a large batch of images,  so I chimed into different parts of Spain clobbering Lichtenstein.   Where it was interesting to see Chevrolet turning on the ad boards in Lichtenstein's 6,000 something seat stadium.   I also checked out, for sentimental reasons,  Greece's tie with Georgia and Ireland's rough win over a scrappy Armenian team.  Where would Ireland be without Seamus "Shay" Given in the nets?   Regardless,  there's a fair amount of fun watching available there.  All free! 
I'm a longtime fan of the Lamar Hunt Cup,  even if the little guys rarely get far enough in the competition to qualify as a 'giant killers'.   The Seattle Sounders are back this year to defend their title in the cup and will be playing that all out in October.  The Sounders hope to repeat and join the ranks of MLS teams who have won more than one Open Cup. Up against the Columbus Crew, they're still going to be a ways away from the real champs,  teams that held the cup five times.  Bethlehem Steel,  back in the early part of the Twentieth Century, and Maccabi Los Angeles, who made their run half a century later starting in the Seventies,  achieved that status.  The modern team who's come closest is the Chicago Fire with four wins.  I'm still waiting for the day that another team of unknowns,  little guys,  a team with a 'natural' and a lotta heart can pluck that championship off the shelf and take it home.