comin at ya, sucka emcees
With the Deeg fully ensconced in the game of American Throw, Catch & Run Ball, and with fatherly duties perhaps keeping me away from my obviously more important duties here at the Deeg, it would be easy to coast a little bit with my contributions. Yet, if last Saturday night's "live" blog and the subsequent opportunities to watch a little more soccer than usual while on a slice of paternity leave, it's that I fucking love this sport. Sure, the NFL is tons of capitalist fun, but good Christ - there is little in the world that compares to watching the uninterrupted action of a game of soccer played at the highest levels of the sport.
So, for those of you who share that love or who like what I write enough to suffer through posts about one of your least favorite sports, I'll be trying to re-settle into a niche here at the Deeg while everyone else is talking about CJ "Blue Jesus" Spiller and the Bills' two lines of monster football players who remind us all (a little bit too much, probably) of what went down in Orchard Park about 20 years ago. (Not that this will keep me from chiming in on the Bills, since it is game day...)
The format for these forays into footy, if you give a shit, will be a breakdown of the handful of games that I got a chance to watch or follow closely over the course of the last week, followed by a sprinkle of quick thoughts about the squads that matter to me, whether it be Liverpool, the Red Bulls, (mostly because I love Michael Bradley) Roma or the US Senior National Teams. With the kiddo and my waning attention span, your guess is as good as mine as to how long I keep at this with any frequency. Finger crossing, as with all things, is encouraged.
Click "Read More" to, you guessed it! -- READ MORE.
Sad. And adorable.
The Barrister & The Scizz
It was a rainy, misty, shitty day in New York City on Thursday. The perfect setting for our second installment of Infinite Sadness, one of the peripheral cogs in the Deeg Podcast Industries. Scizz, still sitting in the solitude of his sobriety, and I, still sitting in my own sweat and overworked misery, got together via Skype to discuss some of the more recent sports news that makes us infinitely sad.
While the arc of our conversation is often tangential, we touch on the NHL playoffs and how it's been to watch hockey suddenly get big in the big market of NYC, and then have a reflective discussion on how unsurprised we are to see that the Buffalo Sabres have not invited us and our stockpile of dick jokes to attend next month's Blogger Summit. Hint: It's Scizz's fault. Second Hint: It's also Alex Sulzer's fault.
This was a ton of fun to make, as always, and includes musical interludes from Incubus, Ben Folds Five and Biggie Smalls. Enjoy by streaming or downloading below.
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Hoping for a big return tonight.
As frustrated as I've been about the prospects of a successful Liverpool Football Club, and as skeptical I've been of the seemingly "hanging by a wire" success of the New York Metropolitans, it's probably a little absurd that I've been as quiet as I have about the legit - and I mean LEGIT - success of the New York Red Bulls this year. Having purchased a pair of seats for tonight's match against Chivas USA, getting me out to Red Bull Arena for one last look at the team before MLS breaks for the Euros, my attention has certainly piqued.
When Thierry Henry went down with a hamstring injury last month, things looked plenty bleak for the club. They were coming off a stinging 4-1 loss down in D.C., and it didn't help to lose their (and the MLS's) leading goal scorer. The five match winning streak that followed, which they take into the match tonight, was certainly unexpected and has left them sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings with games in hand over the teams nipping at their heels. Henry has not been the only missing starter during this streak, either. Rafa Marquez
, one of the key componets of the Red Bulls' back four, has missed significant time due to a three game ban
(for breaking the collar bone of another player!!) and more recent Achilles tendon soreness that kept him off the pitch for this past weekend's game in Monreal. Wilman Conde, another starter in the back four, had missed time due to his own injury problems, found his return to the lineup further delayed by an arrest for aggravated assault on a police
But none of this has appeared to matter all that much to the players who've taken the field over the last five fixtures. Starting with three straight shutouts following that DC game, the defense has shown itself to be more than capable of carrying the load while the supposed stars of the back four deal with their off-the-field bullshit. Key message for the kiddies: Even if you're hot shit on the pitch, if you break another player's collar bone, or perhaps assault a cop, you risk being challenged for your starting spot. Even in the MLS.
Violence is not a laughing matter.
Flippancy aside, there's no denying the surprising play of the defense. Goalkeeper Ryan Meara, recent call-up to Ireland's U-21 roster, has been at the center of this - his rookie campaign has included 3 clean sheets (all during this last streak), a 1.41 GAA and 48 saves (which, over 12 games, is a pretty decent clip in soccer, if you can believe it). Awful haircut notwithstanding
, he's been perhaps the biggest reason why the team is still afloat, not to mention leading the East. Added to this, the Red Bulls similarly youthful defense, including Connor Lade, Tyler Ruthven and Brandon Barklage, have locked it down while awaiting the return of NYRB's top flight fullback talent.
This context makes tonight's match an interesting one - Conde and Marquez will both be available, and it is suspected that Marquez will start. Assuming he does, and that Heath Pearce - recently acquired in the trade that saw Juan Agudelo head to Chivas USA - starts at fullback against his former club, this will leave both Lade and Ruthven on the bench. It's anyone's guess whether the defensive quality that we've seen over the past month will continue or whether there will be a settling in period for the new mixture of players at fullback.
Up top, assuming Henry starts or at least play some
, I expect that the Red Bulls will only get better. Kenny Cooper, who now leads the team with 10 goals on the year, has been a force this year and is much of the reason why the team was so willing to part with Agudelo last week. His striking partnership with Henry was stupid good before Henry went down last month, and I imagine that any issues on the back end may be covered up a bit if the offense can pick it up a little bit with Henry's return.
Of course, if I was an actual expert on the team, I'd mention something about the midfield at this point. But, let's be honest - I've already worked well past this "lunch break" of mine and you've already toughed it out through enough of my world class analysis.
As for the Deeg-related angle of tonight's festivities, I'll be hitting Red Bull Arena with aspiring soccer enthusiast, The Apologist. Sure, Aps is really more of a typical hockey, football, baseball, basketball guy, but he really wants
to like soccer. He really does. I think this is Aps' second trip to RBA, having made the trip last year for the USMNT friendly vs Ecuador. And I think he really enjoyed it last time, especially when the Ecuadorian fan base started singing those songs about Darwin and extraordinarily niched finches. ♪♫ O, pinzones hermosos! Su adaptabilidad es asombrosa!
Since this is the first time Apologist have gotten together to watch a proper sporting event since the end of the hockey season, we'll be dusting off our iPhones to record another episode of the Legal Limit
. Since we'll be at least three or four beers deep for that adventure, you'll want to check back here later this week when the episode is posted so you can revel in our asshattery. You know you love it.Updated 5/24/2012: Apologist and I were not nearly as successful with our Red Bull Arena podcasting as we had hoped. A combination of exhaustion and, for Aps, relative apathy kept things pretty difficult. The game ended pretty well, a 1-1 draw, including Kenny Cooper's 11th of the year. Our attempt an post-game analysis, however, was forced, at best, and we shant be posting it later this week. You're welcome.