Wednesday, March 22, 2006

USA / Germany - A Running Diary

2:29pm - I'm all set. Mountain Dew in hand and the TV tuned to ESPN2. The teams are coming out onto the field. The US starters:

GK: Keller
D: Berhalter, Gibbs, Conrad
M: Convey(LM), Zavagnin(DM), Mastroeni(DM), Cherundolo(RM), Wolff (CAM)
F: Ching, Johnson

A 3-5-2 for the Stars and Stripes. I like Cherundolo at right half. He's good attacking out of the back and won't likely forget his defensive responsibilities. Kerry Zavagnin needs to impress me.

2:34 - ESPN2 just showed the Torsten Frings handball against the US in 2002. I feel venom rising inside of me. USA! USA!

2:35 - The temperature is 35 degrees. Berhalter's the only US starter in short sleeves. Did somebody forget to remind him? We have kickoff!

2:36 - Berhalter just gave the ball away to Miroslav Klose. Then he turned and screamed "That'll teach you to change on me!" to his team. Just kidding about that last part.

2:38 - German fans are shouting for a handball on Cherundolo. I don't think so, cheaters.

2:39 - According to the bottom line, Claudio Reyna will be out (shoulder) for 3-4 weeks. Can't he ever stay healthy? Meantime, Josh Wolff is slow getting up - I guess they need to let Claudio know they're thinking about him. Corner for the States.

2:41 - Seriously, how many black Germans do you know? Wolff is off getting attention, US with 10 men. Germans are controlling play

2:46 - The Germans still look more dangerous...

2:47 - ...and nearly put one in. Podulsky shoots it wide but Keller had the post covered. Time to wake up, guys.

2:48 - The defense must've hit the snooze as Friedrich crosses to Ballack who heads it just wide. This doesn't bode well.

2:49 - Convey gets deep, drops to Gibbs who shoots and Wolff's deflection goes wide. More of that would be good. I've just noticed the "ROAD TO GERMANY" under the score graphic at the top of the screen. Um... guys? Aren't we already here?

2:51 - GO PABLO GO!

2:52 - Chris Klein on for Josh Wolff. Klein goes wide, I suppose, but who slides into the center of the midfield?

2:55 - Nevermind. Marcelo Balboa says that we've gone to a 4-4-2 with Klein in the back. The play-by-play guy (I don't know who he is) says Wolff has a mild concussion. Say it with me now: "what's mild about a concussion?"

3:00 - Corey Gibbs has been doing well on Gerald Asamoah (Ah-sah-moe-uh). He's not looking very Asam right now. [badumching] Bobby looks almost like he's playing in the middle, with Cherundolo dropping to right back and Klein moving up to right half.

3:03 - Late tackle by Zavagnin draws a yellow card. That's so not impressing me.

3:04 - Friedrich cleats Johnson on a late tackle. No card for that one...

3:12 - Best chance for the States. A Cherundolo free kick fom 25 and left of goal that gets flicked on by Johnson and bobbled by Kahn. Great ball by Steve.

3:17 - Great individual work by Convey on a long run after an outlet pass from Berhalter leads to a corner. Kahn has to dive and punch the cross away

3:21 - Halftime. Bobby's looked dangerous, Gibbs looks solid in the back, and I'm going to the bathroom.

3:38 - And we're back for the 2nd half. No changes for the US as I sit here hoping -- before I could finish writing this, Miroslav Klose scores to make it 1-0 for Handball FC. Looking for Bruce to make some changes now...

3:40 - I forgot I heated up the leftover Domino's cheesey bread...

3:42 - The goal goes to Bastian Schweinsteiger, Klose never touched it.

3:44 - I just checked. We still won World War 2.

3:50 - Taylor Twellman's warming up. For Ching?

3:52 - Yup. Twellman for Ching as Balboa says "not a great performance". I agree, he was almost invisible.

3:57 - The play-by-play guy just said Bobby was "continuing to rise his stock". Right.

3:58 - Kahn robs Eddie Johnson of the equalizer on a header off of a cross. Huge play.


4:05 - Indecision in the back leads to an Oliver Neuville goal and a peeved Bruce Arena who looks like he just came home to a burned down house. Two defenders hesitated and let a ball bounce between them and a pass to Neuville led to a looping shot over Keller. Not his fault.

4:07 - DC United sighting! Ben Olsen for Pablo Mastroeni

4:08 - 3-0 Germany. Miroslav Klose. I'm about to turn off the TV. Credit that one to Berhalter, who was also part of the hesitation on the 2nd goal.

4:09 - Heath Pearce for Corey Gibbs.

4:11 - Michael Ballack makes it 4-0 for Germany. I don't think Bruce Arena's moved or changed his facial expression. Terrible defensive lapses here.

4:12 - Cherundolo tests Kahn but is steered aside. Cherundolo's played well.

4:17 - Keller triggers a counter-attack with a toss to Cherundolo who sent a ball high and long to Johnson. Kahn came for it and Johnson slipped and fell and took out a leaping Kahn as the ball trickled into the net. 4-1 Germany.

4:25 - Mercifully it ends. I almost would've rather been at work.

The Yanks Are Coming

Today is the friendly between the US and Handball FC. The Germans are still smarting from a 4-1 whooping put on them by the Azzuri (Italy) and there is tons of public pressure on Germany to perform well today for two reasons:

1) Because they are supposed to be an international power, and losing 4-1 to anyone is unacceptable

2) We're Americans, and losing to us is on the soccer field without the aide of Sly or Pele is even more unacceptable

We're not taking a full-strength side over there, and they aren't showing us a full-strength side themselves. I'm saturated by anticipation of the 2:30pm kickoff, and I hope all you footy freaks out there are going to be watching.

Prediction: 2-1 Stars and Stripes, and Sam's Army sings into the night...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sad day...

So long, Tags.

I read this and groaned.

Paul Tagliabue guided the NFL to its current position as the nation's number one professional sport and America's Pastime (sorry, baseball, you're riding shotgun these days). Here's hoping the next commish can keep the ship afloat.

Evil is as evil does

Upon hearing that Terrell Owens has gone to Dallas, I called Deep Cover and left the following voicemail:

"Does Terrell Owens becoming a Cowboy make Owens more evil? Or does it make Dallas more evil? Or is it both? I think it's both."

What say you?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Stop me if I start to care

For a few years prior to 2005, I was far from a baseball fan. I declared the Baltimore Orioles not to be my home team -- because they're from Baltimore. I hated (and still do) Peter Angelos for trying to keep baseball out of DC. I didn't watch baseball highlights. I didn't watch baseball games until the playoffs.

Then the Washington Nationals arrived. I now had a reason to watch, and an actual team for which to root. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a die hard baseball fan now by any stretch of the imagination. Why? Because I wipe my ass with the World Baseball Classic.

I can't watch this. Some of the best players were pulling out of the competition as if there were some sort of condom shortage. Buck Martinez bought an overturn of a call by talking to the home plate ump against Japan. Oh, and Pay-Rod plays for the USA. American or not, under no circumstances can I root for him.

Wake me when you're through, World Baseball Classic. I've got NFL free agency and the NFL mock drafts to pay attention to.

Monday, March 13, 2006

September 4th comes early this year

Now that there is labor peace again in the NFL, free agency has been jumpin. What have we here?

- Antwaan Randle El a Redskin: I'm a tad skeptical of the amount of money Dan Snyder threw at him, (27 over 6) but he's a game changer. He's big in the return game, and pretty versatile. Let's hope Al Saunders knows how to use him. Brandon Lloyd as a 3 isn't a bad addition either, especially for a 3 this year and a 4 next.

- Edgerrin James to Arizona: Big news. First because the Cards can finally improve on their 71 rushing yards per game average from last year. Second because now the Colts need desperately to find a tailback. Draft? Free agency?

- Mike Anderson to Denver: When will people learn that it's more the system in Denver than the back? See Olandis Gary, and all those TDs Reuben Droughns got last year in Cleveland.

- Will Witherspoon, Ram tough: I'd hoped the Skins would get in on Witherspoon to replace LaVar. No dice, but a good pull by Saint Louis.

- Cleveland rocks: In the time it takes to write this, Cleveland will have added another free agent. Okay, maybe not, but the biggest move for me was getting Jurevicius and keeping him out of lame New England.

- The last thing I'll touch on here is the run made at Drew Brees by the Saints. If they land him before Miami can, will they trade their pick? Draft Leinart anyway? (deja vu for Drew) I'd bet on the former. Someone'll pay a lot to move up... Dallas?


AR-chu-LET-a! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Quote of the day

"Adrian is a hammer. He kicks anything that moves and has an efficient grace with the ball. We needed some ferocity and bite in our midfield to compliment the 'artistic' side and we think Adrian is just what the doctor ordered. My only concern is finding someone who can translate Canadian." - Metros GM Alexi Lalas after they acquired Adrian Serioux, a Canadian.

Here and there...

- The Owners' vote on the latest CBA proposal looms. I'm not holding my breath, but I am anxious. 24 votes needed, right? PLEASE get 24...

- Houston Dynamo? Seriously?! That's awful. Certainly you could have come up with something less cookie-cutter.

- Arrington's departure does not a happy me make. I will be even less happy if he goes to the Giants. ESPN writes that, should Arrington go to New York, he'll be reunited with former teammate Aaron Pierce. I'm pretty sure that they mean Antonio, unless Antonio's changed his name, aged more than 10 years, and became a tight end.

- Congratulations Lady Vols. May the SEC title not be your only one this March.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I took a glance at the Top 25 on .com today and everything looked alright. I noticed one very strange thing. Take a look below at the Top 10 and see if you can pick it out...

What former Tar Heel voted UNC #1 for beating Duke? Seriously? Was that totally necessary? I hate Duke, don't get me wrong, but doesn't that seem a little contrary? Then again, beating Duke at Cameron on JJ Redick's senior night is pretty damn enjoyable...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Duck Fook

I don't have much to offer on the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement crisis. I'm really just holding out hope that the big market owners and small market owners can stop fighting eachother and get something hashed out. I love my football and a looming labor stoppage gives me nightmares. I'll just sit in silence in hopes that they get their heads on straight before the deadline.

In other news...

Yeah. Eat it, Dook.