Sunday, October 10, 2010

Finally, a Match

photo by notsogoodphotographyvia PhotoRee

He's Good, But is He That Good?!  Ryan Giggs came out recently and said that Nani has become the new Cristiano Ronaldo, filling a void that United has felt since CR7's departure two years ago. Based on current playing form, Nani may indeed be able to hit Giggs' formidable target of 20 goals scored and 20 more created, although by my reckoning those two totals combined would still fall short of Ronnie's record 42 goal haul a few years back. I agree with Giggs' overall sentiment, though, and if Nani can become more clinical in the final third of the pitch, there may be no stopping him.

So Charlie Davies May Not Actually Be a Speed Merchant, Just a Liar.  I don't know which makes you want to question this guy's judgment more: that Charlie Davies was caught speeding 125 MPH last week in France a year after almost dying in a car crash that seriously derailed his soccer career, or that Davies now says a teammate was driving the car that got pulled over, and he switched places with him at the last minute so his teammate could avoid the infraction. If this latter story is true, it's even more amazing, as Davies was a passenger in the car that wrecked outside DC last October, so you'd think he'd be even more sensitive to riding shotgun in a car streaking through France at roughly the speed of light. Guess again. If you're the coach (are you reading this Bob Bradley?), one would think you would seriously question this guy's decision making process.

Speaking of Coach Bradley and the US Mens' National Team, they were in action last night in Chicago, playing the Polish National Team (hold your jokes), and drawing 2-2. Although I only managed to eke out second half viewing, several thoughts jumped out at me while watching:

Jermaine Jones Could Be Good.  Very good, in fact. Although he previously played some friendlies for the German National Team, because he was never capped in a true international Jones was allowed to switch his allegiance to his mother country from der faterland and join the Stars and Stripes. Based on his perfomance last night, the move agrees with him. Jones' sharp, incisive, and often long, pinpoint passes, which the US has lacked in recent years (let's be honest: forever), led to several scoring opportunities and at leat one goal. Well done, Jermaine.

Jozy Altidore is Not Sharp Right Now, But it's Not His Fault. Altidore did a nice job holding up the ball and imposing his physical style on the Pole's central defense, but he missed finishing several clear cut chances in front of goal. Unfortunately for the USMNT, Altidore is not appearing regularly (in fact, I think that's stretching the truth: I don't think he's appeared at all in La Liga) for Valencia, so he can't expect to be clinical with his finishing right now.  The chances last night were probably some of the first real "game condition" opportunities he's had since the World Cup. Playing in Europe may be great for Altidore's development IF HE ACTUALLY PLAYED, but if he's not in a regular lineup he should seriously consider coming back to the US and playing over here. At least he'd know what to do with the ball when he gets it.

Maurice Edu Played Out of Position Last Night, But Still Managed to Look Impressive. His regular football with Rangers in the Scottish Premier League must be helping, as Edu's fine World Cup form seems to have carried over into the Fall. I still look back in disbelief that Bradley started Ricardo Clark (are you kidding me?) over Edu in the fatal game against Ghana last June. For that mistake alone he probably should have lost his job.

Stu Holden Had a Nice Game. In addition to being a regular Tweeter (@stuholden), Stu has developed into a nice taker of US corner kicks. The second goal last night resulted from a dangerous Holden kick into the box, and he almost repeated the feat in the game's dying seconds. With deleiveries like that, did we miss @LandonDonovan last night?  Methinks not too much.

And finally, there's this bit of news:

Wayne Rooney Wants a Mid-Winter Break in the Premier League. And he probably wants it right now, so he can avoid the media spotlight a bit longer.

A glare that I'll gladly take from him. And that's farlieonfootie for October 10.

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