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.
Looking to rebound from the predictably disappointing scoreline yet hearterning effort we saw against Man U, the Reds were back at the Hawthorns against West Brom this week for their first match in the League Cup. LFC, defending champions of the competition started their week with a Baby Reds squad against West Brom in a rematch of that Week 1 diarrhea fajita. I'd have been surprised by the lineup, but - if nothing else - their baby boots have acclimated to Brendan Rodgers' new tactical style better than some of the supposedly entrenched first team players (see Jose Enrique and Stewart Downing). The day belonged to Nuri Sahin, recently acquired during the summer transfer window, as he netted both Liverpool goals. The more that guys like Sahin - emblematic of the influence Rodgers has been permitted to have on the squad (limited as it may be) - can score, the better I'll feel about whether I have any hope of avoiding heartaches against the EPL's bottom feeders in the future.
Again, though, the story for Liverpool remains that they look amazing against lesser squads (and, then, not even all the time), and that continued again with Saturday's league fixture at Norwich - not that, for now, I'm really complaining. Last season, Luis Suarez completely douched all over the Canaries with a hat trick when LFC traveled to Norwich. Given his seeming (lack of) form and touch for goal, it would have been foolish to suppose a similar effort this time around, but there he was again, giving a good old Uraguayan "fuck you" to the home fans who deigned to taunt him when he missed an easy chance to get his second of the day. Suarez's boot was suddenly striking true, due in no small part to Norwich giving his skills on the ball an enormous amount of respect and an enormous amount of space to curl his strikes around defenders and into the far post. Because the EPL is more protective of its copyright than any other league I know, you might not be able to find highlights online, so instead just imagine the prettiest thing you've ever seen -- that was Suarez on Saturday (or go here while it's still working?). The 5-2 scoreline suggests that it was actually closer than it was, though these days Pepe Reina is probably cleansheet-proof -- my money is on "we need Lucas back" as the go-to explanation, again, for that particular phenomenon. Not that that's wrong.
Yes, it was against a shitty side who very well may not be in the Premier League next season, but the latest win gave yet another glimpse of what this new Brendan Rodgers-led "Liverpool Way" could be if John W. Henry and FSG can stop being complete stupid assholes for just a few consecutive seconds. And, more to the point, it brought Liverpool their first league win of the season - and on the road - and lifted them out of the relegation zone. Beggars cannot be choosers, LFC fans. I've seen enough utterly terrible teams of mine spiral into oblivion, and it's nice to know - for now - that such a complete spiral does not appear to be Liverpool's destiny this year.
So when they took on the Hotspur Saturday, prompting me to choose who to cheer for, I obviously prayed that Gareth Bale and Robin Van Persie would collide with each other with such force that, apart from knocking them both out for the year, the universe collapsed on itself and neither of these dick nosed squads would take away any points from the fixture. And, if the universe couldn't be bothered to do me a solid like that, I hoped for a draw.
Unsurprisingly, the day panned out different and I was left with the third best option - not dissimilar to the homely chick with inexplicable bedroom skills, left behind at the bar by her impossibly good looking friends who peaced out with brothers from Alpha Beta: a Man U loss at home against Spurs for the first time since 1989, with a game winning goal scored by a Real American Hero and Sir Alex whining about the injustice of officiating.
In the end, simply delightful.
Fuck United. Lambda Lambda Lambda til I die.
While Clint Dempsey provides at least some patriotic justification to stomach a Spurs win on any given weekend, when Chelsea and Arsenal play there is no silver lining. Arsene Wenger is annually the most histrionic of Premier League managers - as if Luis Suarez's penchant for diving (SAID IT) had taken hold in an octogenarian flailing about on the sideline. Whereas a guy like José Mourinho at least looks inarguably handsome when he's making broad gestures in front of the bench, Wenger looks like a sad, wet beaver. Fuck Arsene Wenger.
That said, the true story of this match, which I only caught a glimpse of, is that the world was a much happier place when Fernando Torres was not scoring goals. The world does not exist anymore, sadly. It's as if someone has told me that Santa isn't real, my puppy has died and Mike Harrington has won a Pulitzer, all on the same day. Fuck Fernando Torres.
Chelsea won 2-1. Vomit.
This was another RBNY game I caught on tape delay due to my selfish child and his myriad of human needs. I know. It's really getting despicable at this point. I may need to talk to my lawyer. Or psychiatrist. Or both.
After last weekend's late collapse against New England (FUCK TOM BRADY, amirite?), the Red Bulls were back at home against Toronto FC. Surely they would get full points against the worst team in the East... though an early goal from a scorcher of a shot by Toronto's Ryan Johnson made me wonder if I should just fast forward through the rest of the match, take thee consecutive shots of moonshine and call it a day. The Red Bulls fought back quick, however, and Thierry Henry was at the predictable core of the night's efforts. His first half corner kick, placed well onto the head of Markus Holgersson, evened the score, Henry's vision to see Kenny Cooper for both the second and third goals put the Red Bulls in front, and the Frenchman's late chip shot was the final nail. Christ, it doesn't even look like this guy is trying most nights.
Since the MLS has no business being protective of their copyrights, check out the video highlights of the match below. #BonerJamzRBNY (cue to 1:30, 2:15, 4:10, 6:45 and 8:00 for all of the goals)
With the kinds of injuries this team has faced - seemingly a new one every week - it has been a really weird season. We're now on our third goalkeeper of the season, Ryan Meara having gone down with a hip injury, and Bill Gaudette suffering a back injury, leaving recently signed Luis Robles to hold down the fort. He did just fine, in the end, though I'd rather have Gaudette back sooner rather than later. Either way, so long as Henry and Cooper stay healthy, you have to feel good about their chances to put at least two or three goals in each match and then just hope the defense holds up.
Because I can shoehorn Bills talk into an unrelated piece, too!!
Not that I have much analysis to give apart from excitement that - according to Tim Graham this morning - Fred Jackson will play today and CJ Spiller remains hopeful and maybe, just MAYBE, the Bills can pull off another huge upset against New England in Orchard Park this year. Honestly, I don't know if Bills fans can take another 3-1 team, knowing that we're still destined as always for a milquetoast, injury-rplagued, 6-10 finish to the season (#becauseitsbuffalo), but as I talked about in the CrapTastiCast, there's something special in the air following the birth of my Viking Child, the Scion. So, fuck it. I'm dreaming big, as foolish as it is.
Bills 42, Pats 34.