less beautiful

Oh, what a Cup it has been.  Upsets.  Goals.  Drama.  Highs.  Lows.  It has been a testament to what the game should be.  Interest has peaked in places it normally doesn’t.  The whole world is watching.

It has been beautiful.

Enter Luis Suarez…

I hope the proper authorities are reviewing the footage.  And, if it is found that he did in fact bite Giorgio Chiellini, I hope he is banned from the game for life.

Bite a player once, and apologize, okay fine.  I don’t understand it, but, maybe it can be forgiven.

Bite a player twice…  Well, I can’t really explain how you are still playing.  But, benefit of the doubt, sure… Okay.  We’ll give you one more chance.

Bite a player three times…

Please, FIFA, ban him for life.  Make the game beautiful again.

 

thank you, sir, may I have another

This, in front of me, is my plate of crow.  I will eat it.  And, I will happily eat another plate of the same should the occasion arise…

Saturday morning (PST), Robin van Persie scored a beautiful goal in his first start for Manchester United.  It was the same type of “how in the world did he do that?” goal that he was scoring all last season for Arsenal.  It was exactly the type of goal I thought he wouldn’t be scoring for the Red Devils.  So, I was wrong.  I hope I continue to be wrong.

It was troubling that aside from the odd bit of good hold up play, a few good crosses, and some good linking passes he was otherwise incognito for the rest of the game. 

It was even more troubling to see Wayne Rooney stretchered off with that gash in his leg…  Even with the significant amount of firepower at our disposal, Rooney is our talisman, and without him on the field we seem to be lacking something. 

Then again, we did just fine without him for most of the game on Saturday so it’s very likely I have no idea what I’m talking about. 

Cleverly and Kagawa both put in good performances.  Rafael played like he normally does: brilliant one minute and hapless the next.  This time out though at least his moment of brilliance awarded him with a goal.  Despite our nervy start in this fledgling season I still think once we gel we will be a side to recon with.  Of course, until we gel, there will probably be the odd bit of nail-biting and cringing.

In related news, the own goal was comical – if you haven’t seen it, go check it out.

In other news, Swansea was on top of the league again for a couple hours on Saturday before Chelsea played their game and leap frogged back to the top spot.  8 goals scored and zero conceded…  that’s a fairly good start to the campaign for them even considering who their opposition was in those games.

In news closer to home, for me, congratulations to the Galaxy on their victory over FC Dallas.  I didn’t get a chance to watch the game unfortunately so I don’t have any of real substance to add.  I do enjoy watching them climb of their conference table though.  We are seeming more and more likely of securing a spot in the playoffs.  Go Galaxy!

 

Seeing red

Congratulations to the LA Galaxy on their 5 – 2 victory over El Salvador’s Isidro Metapan yesterday.  An own goal caused by a dangerous Beckham cross, a Robbie Keane header from a David Beckham cross, a goal from a corner by Beckham (that should probably count as an own goal against Metapan’s keeper), and two goals from Juninho after great interplay passing with Michael Stephens and Mike Magee.  (Yes, that is the one and only Mike Magee of #MikeMageeFacts twitter fame.)

The galaxy played as a team, good passing, good vision, and took (most of) their opportunities well.  They were the more dangerous of the two sides and deserved the win.  They didn’t deserve to be playing a large portion of the second half with only 10 men though.

In the 70th minute, Keane did very well to cause some havoc along Metapan’s back line and while slipping the ball through the last two defenders he went to ground.  It looked like a foul on first glance.  The slow motion replays clearly show the Metapan defender first clipping Keane’s right leg and then stepping on Keane’s left foot without getting any piece of the ball.  Somehow, though, the referee missed all of that completely and booked Keane for diving.

Okay, fine, that happens.  The ref missed a call.  That’s part of the game.  And, I have no problem with a ref showing a yellow card when he thinks a player has dived.  Good!  Let’s clean up the game and make it beautiful again.  What happened next was as far from beautiful as I can fathom.

Robbie Keane was incensed.  He knew he had been fouled and somehow the ref had decided to book him for diving.  He got up, looked to the sidelines, and made the twirling gesture with his hands to signify he wanted to be subbed out.  The ref took that as decent and booked him again, sending him to the showers early, forcing the Galaxy to plan a man down for the remaining twenty minutes, and making Keane ineligible for the Galaxy’s next Concacaf Champions League game next week. 

Was it decent?  Questionable.  Did it deserve a red card?  Absolutely not. 

Am I alone in wondering about the string of questionable calls American teams seem to have go against them in international competitions?  These questionable calls were very obvious during the South Africa World Cup but have been a consistent problem for a very long time.  Why is that?

On top of suspect officiating, their seem to be additional problems with the tournament.  The Metapan team were without several players for the game yesterday because they weren’t able to get the proper visas to enter the country.  How does that happen?  Can you imagine the uproar if starting players for Barcelona, Manchester United, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Porto, Ajax, etc…, etc… missed a UEFA Chamions League group game because they weren’t allowed to enter the country?

Community

If this weekends FA Community Shield match between Chelsea and Manchester City is any indication of the coming Premier League season then we should be set for another good one: lots of goals, lots of drama, lots of good football.

Then again, considering that last year’s seasons was decided on the final day, in stoppage time, it is going to be hard to top that.

I don’t have any real comments about the Community Shield game: City had some good passing moves and scored three good goals.  Would have been interesting to see the end result if Chelsea hadn’t lost a man in the first half but I’m not going to play the “what if” game.  Torres scored a goal for Chelsea and as much as I am not a Chelsea fan (glory, glory Man United), I didn’t enjoy watching him struggle for form last year.

I guess, in the end, I’m just a fan of the beautiful game and I want players to perform at the ability they are capable of.  I want Torres to score the goals the whole world knows he can.  I even want Tevez to do well… and it hurts, physically and mentally, to say that. 

….

Switching gears a little bit, I want to say congratulations to the LA Galaxy for their victory last night against Chivas USA: a resounding 4 – 0 win, with Landon Donavon notching an assist on each of the goals. 

Was it the massive defeat against Seattle the prior weekend that got the Galaxy all fired up for yesterday’s game?  Was it just that Chivas didn’t really show up for the match?  Or, was it that without Beckham’s passing to rely on the Galaxy finally is figuring out how to pass and move as a team?

Whatever the reason, it was good to see the Galaxy playing to the level we all know they are capable of.  I just have to hope they will keep it up on the run in and find themselves in a playoff spot…  The last couple of seasons I’ve said that the cup doesn’t matter and it is the Supporter’s Shield (best regular season points total – how most leagues around the world are decided) I care about most.  But, this season since that goal is beyond our reach I have to hope we get to the playoffs and make a long run.  I don’t necessarily care about the trophy at the end (though that would be nice) I just want that many more opportunities to watch them play good football. 

Because, as I said earlier, I am just a fan of the beautiful game.