Sunday, September 24, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I couldn't see the game, but I had a dream. United came out sharp and controlled possession, scored a deserved goal midway through the first half and came close but couldn't put in a second even though they dominated play the entire half. Second half, up 0-1, United presses early, but pab Dempsey pabs a sitter sometime around 60-65 minutes, and DCU struggles to maintain composure (and energy) for the remainder of the game against a fired-up Ningland, settling for a 1-1 tie.
How'd I do? Close? Well, it's not like I haven't seen this movie before.
Normally a point on the road against the team I would have predicted would be United's main rival for everything this year wouldn't satisfy, but it wouldn't disappoint. I can't say I'm any more pessimistic today than I was about United's end of season prospects yesterday, but I can say I'm certainly not more optimistic. The goals are not coming, and this whole score one and scramble desperately on defense ain't going to get it done.
I realize I'm the Knez of Hyperbole, but I'm thinking this Saturday in Chicago could be the crux of the season.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
United plays in Ningland tonight, rescheduled from earlier for (I think) the Madrid game. Here's the Post article, which features a bio of deRoux and, way down at the bottom, the news that Eskandarian didn't make the trip because of injury. United's website says the game is on MLS Live, and it says that it isn't. Doesn't really matter as MLS Live, for whatever reason, makes my home pc puke.
Gomez, Gros, Boswell return, and while I won't call this game critical (though I would if I were a Ningland fan), these will be easier points than this Saturday in Chicago (which I just might call a critical game). I've a decent hunch about this game, and I'm guessing they'll play well. Whether they get points is another matter, but I think the intensity and urgency will be there.
Bruce Arena interviewed in the New York Times.
In this week's NYT soccer column, a couple of paragraphs on why Barca is the morally superior monster club in the world - they gave a contribution to UNICEF to make UNICEF the first ad on their uniform. Barca v Chelsea? I know who I'm rooting for. Plus other notes.
The Guardian on world rankings.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
A blurb rather than an article in today's Washington Post on DCU raising ticket prices for next season. You won't hear me complain, and not only because I'm locked in at this year's prices (I was given the option of making deposits on our season tickets this year AND next year back when). A $2 increase is more than reasonable, and
Although season ticket prices will go up, club officials said they would allow current plan holders until Oct. 20 to purchase seats at 2006 prices
so there you go.
Mention is also made of DCU's possible signing of
United technical director Dave Kasper said Ugandan forward Robert Ssejjemba is among four players being considered for a late-season roster spot.
Ssejjemba, 26, scored 17 goals in 19 games to help the minor league Richmond Kickers win the United Soccer Leagues' second division title this season. On Sunday, as a guest player for United's reserve squad, he had three goals during a 4-1 victory over Real Salt Lake. Ssejjemba played at Virginia Intermont, an NAIA program in Bristol, and has represented Uganda's national team.
Not quite KABOOM! news, but it does signal that DCU management has concerns with Eskandarian's health and productivity, Moreno's health, Walker's clubfootedness, and an overall need for something, anything, fresh.
Now's as good a time to announce this as any, what with blogger eating John Steed not only for no apparent reason but with no apparent explanation. I'm moving to typepad, and have begun cross-posting now. I will continue posting on blogger through mid-October, and will maintain an archive of what's been posted here. The new site is still being tweaked, so what it looks like now may not be what it looks like a month from now, but it's close.
I've two primary motives. I've got letters saying some combination of (a) I like the politics but hate the.... (b) I like the music but hate the.... (c) I like the soccer but I hate the.... (d) I like any various combination but..... Typepad allows me to categorize the posts, so those of you who just want music can have just music, soccer soccer, etc etc.
Beyond that, typepad is just a vastly superior product than blogger, easier to use, smarter, faster, neater, more intuitive, more flexible, more generous. It comes down to this: If I ask myself, would you pay, when sitting down to post, a quarter a day to use typepad rather than blogger, would you? Every single day. Happily.
The new site is www.bdr.typepad.com. If you've been kind enough to bookmark this page, I hope you'll bookmark the new one.
Monday, September 11, 2006
"They can't beat us in a stand-up fight -- they never have -- but they're absolutely convinced they can break our will, [that] the American people don't have the stomach for the fight," Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press."Lead article in Sunday's Washington Post (and background here):
Republicans are planning to spend the vast majority of their sizable financial war chest over the final 60 days of the campaign attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies, GOP officials said.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
I truly feared a disastrous result - not just a loss, but an embarassing result - and if the tie is disappointing, still, DCU did not implode. There were signs that they could (I'll get to the refereeing), but United came out urgent and focused. If the regulars had played and that team had played with the go that last night's played, they'd have won this game easily.
Forced by MLS rules to start an alliterative line-up if three starters are out for disciple, Nowak chose Dyachenko and deRoux and Donnet, and all three played admirably. No doubt many are going to wonder where deRoux has been and why he hasn't been on the field and why now he needs his minutes, and I confess he won my heart by two runs into the box early in the game and actually SHOOTING THE BALL. He was out of gas by halftime, but perhaps he's earned himself some second-half substitution time when his speed on the wings against a tired defense might spring a goal. Dyachenko's going to be good. He still stands too long over the ball, completely forgivable considering his inexperience. Donnet made some beautiful touches, but he's still learning the offense and his teammates. I'd wish DCU had worked the ball over to his side more to give him more touches - he had acres of space on the right - and he was gassed at 60, but I like what I've seen. Moreno and Adu up top, Gros, Gomez, Donnet next line, then Carroll and Olsen? That could work. Better than Eskandarian or Walker up top next to Moreno.
The refereeing: Look, MLS referees suck. Besides the alliteration rule, Real Salt Lake got a special dispensation that allowed them to use their arms to handle the ball last night. It happens. MLS referees have always sucked, but that doesn't mean that DCU needs to amass multiple yellow cards for dissent in every game. Benny, I love you, I wear your shirt, you worked your ass off, but please, I'm begging you, STFU. Brandon, nice to have you back, you played well, and yes, Jeff Cunningham is a diving pab, but STFU. All the barking and whining, it's starting to remind me of the last Stoitchkov year (which didn't end well). MLS refs suck. DEAL with it. If you're thinking about the ref you're not thinking about the opponent. STFU and play. And if refs come in expecting United to bitch, they're going to pull out those yellows earlier and for less bitch. STFU and play.
THIS is the week we find out about United. Wednesday night (NO TELEVISION, NOT EVEN MLS LIVE?!?!?!?) at New England then Sunday at Chicago. It'd have been nice to win last night, but any sweeping evaluation of the team means nothing until NEXT Monday. All could be settled, all could be unsettled.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Circumspect Friday, Gauze Friday
Said the Gramophone, which you need to bookmark, posted a Julie Doiron tune, which pleased me to hear and reminded me to remember her more often. Here's a favorite, Gone, Gone, and here's her website where she's generously posted many mp3.
I know, you can't help think Nick Drake when Alexi Murdoch sings, but don't let that stop you listening to Murdoch's music. And here's NPR's recording of Murdoch in concert.
And Damien Jurado. The wondrous return of Sparklehorse. And Mojave 3.
Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars
And, Happy Birthday, M:
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Didn't see it. Couldn't see it.
The Post says Donnet scored a goal that was disallowed for unexplained reasons, while MLSnet says Dyachenko scored a goal that was disallowed for an "apparent" offsides. Nowak was quoted in the Post piece saying
"The officials today won the game for the Fire," Nowak said. "Instead of 1-1, we had 2-0 and the game changed considerably after that."which is loser talk. And while I can't comment on what I didn't see in terms of this specific game, I think I can safely say that Chicago is the one team that's inside United's head, and with two regular season games left and perhaps an Eastern Conference final at RFK between the two teams, United had better figure out how to attack Chicago's thuggy defense AND how to win - or at least draw - the mental game.
Giving up a goal within seconds of having a goal disallowed, then taking reds and yellows for retaliatory and frustrated fouls? The head coach bitching about the refereeing in a game lost by three goals? These are signs of a team perhaps dangerously close to collapse.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Karl Rove has built his reputation by identifying his opponents' strengths and attacking them. Rather than diddle with perceived weaknesses, spending time and money on what others emphasize for free, Rove focuses relentlessly at undermining just those assets the opponents think give them an edge. Think of John Kerry, whose military service (with medals to verify) should have given him a decided advantage over the callow, shallow frat boy whose privileged upbringing allowed him to drink away his Reserve stint. Rove zeroed in on Kerry's heroism and made Kerry pay for those bullets he took for his country. Brilliant!
Now, in a move of groundbreaking political strategy (necessitated as all great innovations are by desperation), Rove is taking his own candidate and, in a jujitsu of logic, is running that campaign not by attacking the opponents' strengths but by emphasizing his own candidate's screaming weaknesses!
Bush today admits that, nevermind what he said before, there ARE secret CIA prisons. In a speech yesterday, Bush repeatedly evoked the words of Osama bin Laden, reminding Americans that he has failed miserably to catch or kill the man he's sworn to capture or kill AND giving OBL valuable PR-love in the US-hating world. Bush has said that as long as he's president the US is no-way no-how leaving Iraq. Why, I can hardly think of better reasons to vote Democrat come November.
Rove's campaign strategy: Admit we're incompetent, gladly loudly often. Admit, gladly loudly often, that enemy number one is still out there taunting us, scheming against us. Admit we lied about secret prisons and torture, gladly loudly often. Admit we don't have a plan for success in Iraq, and will continue to sacrifice American blood and treasure in a low-grade civil war for the endless future, gladly loudly often. Admit we're further from winning the war on terror than we were on 911, gladly loudly often. Admit that all they got - all they got - is a promise that Bush will be an even bigger incompetent, bigger liar, bigger dullard than he's already been, but more than that, he's going to be a bigger and badder asshole than ever before, really gladly, really loudly, really often.
That's the plan. If Rove pulls this one off, his genius tag will be truly legendary.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Maybe, if United captures the Supporters Shield and runs deep in the playoffs, maybe winning the MLS Cup, maybe people will look back at the thirty seconds between Chivas' penalty kick and Gomez' brilliant run and goal and say those thirty seconds saved the season.
The last 20 minutes felt like a Chivas goal was coming, what with Moreno and Gomez out with a tweaked knee and severe cramps respectively and a pretty good (!) Chivas team attacking and a referee who couldn't seem to find yellow except to show it to United. I thought DCU would need a third to get the points (which Gomez almost got twice), and a tie would have felt like a loss, chippy as the game was. The defense looked full of holes, even with Gros pulled back, and without anyone confident on the ball United couldn't hold possession. (And Chivas, in the 59th, had a two-on-goalie, breaking the offside trap, and jamilwalkered it.)
But DCU got the three points, particularly crucial since Boswell and Eskandarian and Gros and Gomez have been yellowed and (Gros) redded out of next Saturday's game v RSL. Adu looked hurt, tentative and ineffective, and Donnet (pronounced Daw-NETT by the announcers) looked as lost on the field as you'd expect a newbie to look, so if Moreno's knee is significantly sore, who will run what offense next Saturday? That game suddenly looks more dangerous than I'd ever have imagined.
It's especially a shame that Gomez yellows out now, just when it looked like he was ready to claim this as his team. The best performance by a DCU player in I can't remember how long. He was urgent, passionate, inspired. He looked like he took personal responsibility for winning the game. That's why he's the MVP of this team and a top MVP candidate in the league. It doesn't matter that the second goal should have been stopped by Burpo Chivas - Gomez made the run and took the shot. I can't count how many times this year I've shouted, Shoot the effing ball! Gomez took it on himself and shot.
No corners have been turned. Any assumptions that this victory marks a return to form are misguided and wishful thinking. Chivas ran crosses against the defense all day, and Perkins, not the defense (especially Freddy v Garcia in the first half), kept it to one goal. The last twenty minutes were dreadful, offensively; DCU could not string passes together when they desperately needed to maintain possession.
But it was a gutty win against a decent if dirty team at a time DCU needed a gutty win. A tie would have reopened old wounds. A loss would have inflicted new ones. DCU desperately needed an effort like they produced, and that the game was nasty and chippy AND they got the three can only help the refocusing of energy and urgency they need to achieve their goals.
And lastly, a note to Facundo Erpen - if you're going to kick punkassbitch Ante Razov in the head, KICK! him in the head so he doesn't get back up.
No, wait, one more note: it's going to be very very easy to hate Chivas very very soon.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
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UPDATE: Reader KKG emailed to tell me that this post had screwed up Blogger's appearance in Internet Explorer, and sure enough. I've known this to be a problem with big images in the past, but I've neglected to doublecheck since I use Firefox for everything and thought I'd been careful. Therefore, the reposting.Which helps but doesn't totally fix the appearance in IE. I've lots of issues with Blogger, issues I've not resolved but sidestepped by reminding myself what I'm paying for Blogger and that I'm getting what I pay for. A look at the Blogger help board shows that this problem - amongst many - is endemic to Blogger. I'll see what I can do.
And if any you wants to sing the praises of typepad to me, please do via email. I'll listen.