Losses by the US and Mexico this weekend. I'm proud of the way the US team played. Stop allowing early goals and find a striker with the instincts to finish, and who knows? But still, the Yanks played some of the more exciting matches of the Cup, and I don't think that's just bias.
So, who now? Argentina and Germany impress me a lot. But it's hard to imagine how the Dutch or Brazil could be beaten.
Maddening, thrilling, heart-stopping, and in the end exhilarating. What a match this was. A fan can only hope that the USA does not miss so many good open chances at goals from here on out. The round of 16 will not be so forgiving.
But a brilliant goal to end it, and many many solid performances throughout--especially DeMint, without Onyewu in defense. Howard, Bradley, Altidore--and of course Donovan. Fantastic play.
8th Street downtown between Bannock and Idaho will be blocked off for the 4th annual RadioBoise Soulstice party. Music from BlackSmith, Spondee, and Wolfman Fever, with RadioBoise DJs spinning music before, after, and in between.
Starts about 5:30, ends about 11:30, and we'll have beer for sale with no orange-fence beer corral this year. Roam the block like an adult! Hear some great music! Get outside on this beautiful night! Hope to see you there.
There's so much to say about today's match, but I need a cooler head to say anything reasonable. We started crap, but we came around and played an inspired second half. A (proper) no-call on the US side's third goal completely changes the landscape of Group C.
We came back. They made us proud. But it wasn't enough.
We saw the far ends of the spectrum today. This morning's Portugal-Ivory Coast match was, on the Portugal side, a classic display of Portuguese floppery. Come within an inch of Ronaldo's cleat and he's rolling around grasping his "horrific shin injury," as The Onion put it.
Ivory Coast wasn't near as bad, but they were about at average among teams in the tournament. Some dives, plenty acting, nothing too blubbery.
And then there's the North Korea-Brazil match. This one's a clinic in the best of the game. Hard work, struggling through contact and even trips to stay upright and chase down the ball, more hard work. It's a physical match, but the players are helping each other up after knocking each other down.
Watching Cristiano Ronaldo play, you can see why lots of people in the US have only disdain for soccer. They're wrong, of course, but you can see it. But watching Brazil and N. Korea, you want to hold this match up as an example of what's so great about the sport. This, and I'm only at halftime, tied at nil. (Yeah, I got the DVR now.)
One other thing: TOTALLY impressed by this N. Korea side. Disciplined of course, but also quick, tough, tight on defense and seemingly explosive on offense. Great match so far.
Later: Final score Brazil 2-1. The PRK got deflated and complacent after Brazil scored their second, but late in the match regained their spark to apply legitimate pressure and punch in a gorgeous goal. Great match. And the sportsmanship persisted to the end.
From the NY Times:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A middle-aged American construction worker, on a self-proclaimed mission to help American troops, armed himself with a dagger, a pistol, a sword, Christian texts, hashish and night vision goggles and headed to the lawless tribal areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan to hunt down, single-handedly, Osama bin Laden.
Yeah, the US goal was a lucky one--that or Dempsey's got some magic spin on them rollers, or that new ball moves as crazy as everyone says it does--but the match was a good one and coach Bob Bradley should feel good about US prospects in this tournament based on how well they played the highly-touted England side.
And, thank goodness, Tim Howard, besides the early goal that he could have stopped only with the spectacular sort of save that we're hoping he's got in him--requiring him to have, actually--played brilliantly in the net.
We looked solid if a little pensive and uninspired, but that's the US style: Compact, conservative, looking for a good opportunity for an explosive counter attack.
The bottom line is that a draw against England puts us in a VERY good position to advance from group play. Great result today. USA! USA!
Whether the Blackhawks can take home the Stanley Cup after tonight's game 6--or indeed at all--depends largely on the performance of Finnish goalie Antti Niemi, who's looked both brilliant and somewhat disoriented at times during the series, though luckily mostly the former.
We'll need him at top level tonight, and I've no doubt he'll be there, even though the game's in Philly and so far the wins have all been to the home team. Time to break that cycle.