the pace is the thing, wherein you’ll score the winning goal

So, I feel like I’ve talked about penalty kicks a lot recently… maybe a just watch too much football (soccer)…

Liverpool out played Manchester United for the first half of the game (even after they lost one of their players to a deserved red card – deserved on recklessness if not intent).  Gerrard put Liverpool into the lead shortly after the break.  As much as I hate to say it, it was a good goal.

Back stormed United.  Good interplay between Robin Van Persie and Rafael and then a beautiful far post curling effort from the United right back drew the teams level.  While Liverpool continued to dominate possession United was finally starting to get some better chances…

Then Valencia, with a burst of speed to split between two challenging Liverpool players (the resulting collision resulted in Daniel Agger needing to be subbed), charged into the box and was tackled from behind.  The ref pointed to the spot and up stepped Van Persie.

United has missed a penalty kick in each of their last three games.

Due to the injury to Agger the game was delayed for 4 minutes while they got the Liverpool man stretchered off.

Nerves!  Nerves for the keeper and nerves for the striker.  Whose would hold and whose would give?

Did Van Persie go for another showboat PK?  Did he try to get Pepe Reina to dive before trickling the ball over the line?  No.  He smashed it.  Reina guessed right but the dutch man had fired the shot with such pace that Liverpool’s keeper couldn’t stop it from bulging the back of his net.

And United took (stole) all 3 points.

Liverpool were probably the better team on the day but, as United often do, the Red Devils found a way to scrap together the victory.


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.

Hope to the rescue

Was anyone else counting to six seconds every time Hope Solo came in possession of the ball yesterday?


Carli Lloyd, wow.  That pretty much sums it up.  She looked up for the game from the opening whistle to the final seconds and her second goal was phenomenal.  She’d given the Japanese a few warnings with runs that were nearly identical to the one she finally scored on but they failed to see the threat in time and she slotted home such a brilliantly sweet shot capping off a good run that if you haven’t seen it you should stop reading this and go find it and watch it right now. 

I’ll state the obvious, their were some dubious calls in yesterday’s game for sure – at least one hand ball, Buehler full on tackling a player in the box, etc…  Would the calls and free kicks that should have gone with those instances changed the outcome of the game?  Based on the Canada game I’d say the US Women would have found away to persavere anyway.

Normally I would have said, “Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, and Alex Morgan were the game’s outstanding players (for the US).”  However, their efforts, good passing, good hold up play, etc… would have all been for naught without the goalkeeping heroics of Hope Solo.  She was my player of the game.  Without her between the sticks Japan would have won for sure.  Once again, if you haven’t seen the saves she made, go watch, and go watch now!

I am glad that Japan scored a goal.  They certainly deserved at least one based on their performance.  Their skill and threat were on display again last night making it easy to see how they won the world cup last year.

I was a little disappointed that Abby Wambach didn’t score (to finish off with a goal in every game of the tournament).  She had some chances, half chances, in the final moments of the game and it just felt like she could have finished one of them…  Then again, if the game was on the line, I bet she would have.

So, congratulations to the USWNT on their Olympics gold.  Congratulations to Japan on the silver and to Canada on the bronze (I feel like I called that).  It was a beautiful tournament for the beautiful game.  (Yes, there was some questionable refering and some chippyness in a few of the games but I’m choosing to over look those and focus on the majority of the play which was all top class.)

I wish the US Men’s team had made it into the tournament, but as a soccer/football fan in the US I’ll take whatever content I can.  In the meantime, I can hang onto some hope for the next tournament.

Did you see what I did there?