18 August 2008

Football Weekend In Review - 16/17 August 2008

This weekend was certainly packed with really exciting games and I am here to offer my thoughts on the ones that I watched.

The Blackburn/Everton game was certainly the most exciting of the weekend in my opinion. Blackburn looked very strong in the first half and Everton was lucky not to have given up more than one goal. With the amazing goal by Everton to tie the game and end the first half it seemed like this game would go until the end and that it did. Blackburn seemed to come out of the second half disheartened after giving up their lead and fell behind. However, by a miraculous resurgence they rallied to field two goals with the final coming minutes before the game ended. A strong finish from a club that will be one to watch in the coming season.

The Boro/Tottenham game was next up and what an interesting game that turned out to be. Tottenham came out strong in the beginning of the game, but without their strikers could not net a goal to save their lives. First half ended 0-0. Boro quickly controlled the second half and got the lead before Berbatov was subbed in. Boro then went up 2-0 and would have ended the game there if Spurs hadn't got a lucky own goal for the game to end 2-1. Spurs definitely need a finisher up front to get the club into a good finish which is why they are so reluctant to send Berbatov over to Manchester.

I caught the replay of the West Ham/Wigan game enough to see the fabulous goals by Dean Ashton. For a club I was unsure of after seeing them play against the MLS All Stars I have high hopes if they can keep all of their players until the trade deadline passes. Ashton looks to be one of the top strikers in the league this year and I hope he can help the Hammers improve on a disappointing end to last season.

The Liverpool/Sunderland game was pretty boring so I only caught bits and pieces of it. Sunderland's new pick ups seem to give them a fierce tenacity I was not expecting. Keane didn't seem to be all that strong in his first match with his new team and looks like some chemistry is still to develop. Torres threw in his hat to the Player of the Year race early with a spectacular strike that Sunderland's goalie had no chance with. Absolutely spectacular.

Saturday night is MLS night and that means DC United time. I was pretty worried seeing as Chicago and DC have a very heated rivalry and after the trouncing United received last week from NY I didn't have very high expectations. That all changed when Louis "Two Hands" Crayton took the net over former starter Zach Wells. (The nick name was created in the pub with all the supporters drinking so take it with a grain of salt.) The team gelled perfectly and scored on an amazing corner that was put away by Fred, a player that hadn't had a ball go even close to the goal posts in a very long time. Two things that was saddened to see though was all the diving by Chicago, especially by Mapp, and the terrible finishing by United in the last 20 minutes of the second half. It always seems to plague United that they get content with a lead and won't pressure the last 20% of the field. Something to work on before Wednesday against New England.

Speaking of New England after the DC United Match was the New England/San Jose match. Not much to say about this other than it was already 1-0 when I started watching it and left with 5 minutes left and still managed to miss a goal by San Jose. I don't think New England has lost by 4 goals all season and to be beaten like that by the last place team in the MLS must sting. Playing without Joseph, but with Twellman and Nyassi the Revs seemed to be in full strength for the most part, but could not seem to do anything right. I didn't have any audio where I was so I don't know why Matt Reis was taken out of goal, but New England's back-up goalie is absolutely abysmal. The Revs must not ask him to tend net very often and who can blame them when they have the best keeper in the MLS. That isn't to say that the Quakes weren't playing a stellar game, because they really were. Ive always held a certain affinity for them as I'm not a fan of anyone else in the west and I hope they prove everyone wrong, including myself, and make the playoffs.

By Sunday I was getting a bit saturated by soccer, but I had to see how the other United would play with a very depleted roster against a sure to be resurging Newcastle squad. What I was not expecting was how well the Magpies' goalie and defense would play against the returning EPL champions. They seemed to be playing for the tie after the 70th minute ticked by and who could blame them. Try as they might the Red Devils couldn't penetrate the net, or Martins' face, a second time and the game ended 1-1.

Later that day I watched about 30 minutes of the NY Redbulls/Toronto FC match before turning it off at halftime. It was enough to be throughly disgusted with the field they were playing on (faded soccer lines, bright white NFL lines) and how poorly each team played. The Redbulls went ahead 1-0 by an amazing pass and run with a superb finish and apparently ended the game up 2-0.

Now to get ready for this week's upcoming soccer matches which include 2 DC United games, an exhibition Viriginia Tech match (that I will be attending live) and countless EPL matches with the possibility of a Championship match.

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