Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SnowFest 2013

Scott Keeps a Watchful Eye on the USMNT, Even in the Snow
photo by abardwellvia PhotoRee

Before we move onto Mexico, Correspondent Scott had to go and revisit -- one last time -- SnowFest 2013:
I smiled with pride and called my family in to witness what was happening on TV. Sure, the US had won Snowfest 2013, but what I found much more important was the fact that, in the midst of first- round NCAA Tournament madness, the LEAD story on Sports Center was about soccer. Has the beautiful game finally arrived in the USA? Given that it took a blizzard, probably not completely yet, but it sure was nice to see anyway. My satisfaction was only slightly diminished by the sports anchor’s comparison of the snowy Denver environment to Minsk, Russia, apparently oblivious to 20-odd years of Belarusian independence.
And it didn’t stop there. After waxing geographically illiterate about USA v Costa Rica, they showed highlights of the Mexico v Honduras game! Bravo ESPN! Were it not for Florida Gulf Coast University’s beat down of Georgetown, we might have been treated to highlights from the other hexagonal game. As a side note, have you every phonetically read FGCU’s acronym? Tee hee.
By now, even non-soccerphiles know that Clint Dempsey tapped in a Jozy Altidore deflection in the 16th minute to give the Americans a lead to which they clung through the ensuing blizzard. And we also now know that Costa Rica’s protest to FIFA, in an attempt to nullify the result, has failed. Finally, we have FOF’s commentary of a few days ago to give us the highlights of the Whiteout. As such, herewith, find additional, incremental thoughts:
- How about somebody in the USA camp making a game-time audible on the sartorial situation. White uniforms in a snowstorm? Really?
- Damarcus Beasley at left back? Really?

- It seems both my questions were answered when the Beez played solidly, despite a solid head to the face in the 9th minute, and the home side’s camouflage paid dividends via intercepted passes.

- I love Ian Darke’s voice and commentary. Although, I occasionally have to fight the urge to grab a Wii remote and try to control the players running around on my TV.

- Despite Jermaine Jones picking the wrong day to grow his (then frosted) hair out, he was an effective, calming presence in the midfield, directing the USA’s overwhelming possession of the first half. We will miss him (sprained ankle) against Mexico.

- Costa Rica might have protested the ref’s decision to continue play, but the USA should have protested the unbelievable no-call on the clear trip on Dempsey in the penalty area in the 42nd minute. Especially because it was not as if this ref was letting everything go – just consider his calling another of 3 phantom pushes against the USA on set pieces, this one on the ensuing corner.
- It was interesting to see both teams adapt their play to the elements in the second half. The USA, especially, seemed to have been instructed to abandon playing the ball out of the back and, instead, simply clear it long every time.

- The game became less about possession and more about field position. Quite simply, you couldn’t give up a goal, by slipping or making some other mistake, when the ball wasn’t in front of your goal.

- Even the TV cameramen adapted to the situation, opting for more zoomed-in shots as it was difficult to see across the field with long-range shots.

- Around about the 87th minute, it seemed that, for the first time all game, play began to be seriously hampered by the snow. In fact, when Geoff Cameron was called for a foul on a clear 50/50 challenge, Costa Rica was literally unable to get the ball in the air on the resulting freekick.

- After that, and after watching Cameron help a shoveling grounds crew member off the field, five minutes of surreally snowy stoppage time capped a game that will be remembered for a long time.
What a game!
This is farlieonfootie for March 27.

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