Welp. Hurricane Sandy is upon us, I’m holed up in Central Massachusetts in probably the first of many moments of overprotective parenting, The Scizz is ragestorming at the flippancy of twitter in a time of potential crisis, Yachtsman and Apologist are playing video games like the two brave burnouts they are, Outlander is cursing the fact he had to work and remain in close proximity to certified morons, and The Continental is currently cruising the aisles at her local supermarket in the hopes of bedding some hurricane tail.
Just so we’re all clear about the current state of things.
Don't Worry. I'm Here To Help.
On top of the events on the pitches of the footballing world, news has come out that NBC Universal has successfully obtained the American television rights for the English Premier League, and their announcement has made it clear that American fans should expect expanding coverage and, more importantly, options to watch all games in real time. While the skeptic in me reigns supreme, especially after the coverage fails during the Summer Olympics, I’m looking forward to what this might look like next year.
And, as Grant Wahl mentioned on Twitter today, this deal may spell bad things for the NHL’s market share if they don’t fucking get their act together. Interesting stuff, in any event.
On to the steaming hot takes!!
As a documented asshole, I love to make fun of Freddy Adu whenever his name comes up. It’s more than unfair, of course, that I and other fans poke fun at the previously-touted Wunderkind as he languishes in relative obscurity with one of the shittier clubs in a still kind of shitty league. He's still a professional soccer player (barely), and it's not his fault that the American sports media often salivates over the next thing they expect to bring US soccer into national and international prominence. But, when the guy doesn’t even dress for the final two matches of the season – one in which he managed only five goals and one assist in 24 games played - I think it’s fair to call him out for being a goat, especially since I was very much looking forward to yelling at my TV screen as Thierry Henry made him look like a world class chump. There is, apparently, a reason Benfica let him go on a free transfer.
Heckling losses aside, this was the kind of game I was looking for from the Red Bulls before they started the playoffs. In the end, it was crucial that they locked in the full three points, since it ensured that they avoid the wild card play-in game between the 4th and 5th seeds in the east. The game itself was not a surprising result, but it did include two very pretty goals (and one pretty standard PK) from the striker pairing of Cooper and Henry.
On the back end, after defensive lapses over the past few games, it was good to see them lock it down with a clean sheet. I still feel nauseous over the goalkeeping situation with Luis Robles in net, but I’m hoping he proves me wrong when the games really matter. Again, I refer you to Exhibit MyTeamsBlow as a reference on this point.
Elsewhere, DC clinches second place, Wondo ties the MLS goal scoring record and a fan base of smelly hispters goes back to not caring about sports.
I casually watched these two games – the first because it had direct implications for the playoff picture for the Red Bulls, the second because it was in Portland and could’ve meant the end of Roy Lassiter’s single season scoring record. It didn’t, but more on that in a second.
Apart from the fact that it ensured a first round playoff matchup between fierce rivals in NY and DC, the United/Fire match was only really exciting as a further testament to how scary DC remains even after losing their best player to a season-ending knee injury. When Dwayne De Rosario went down last month, the callous dickhead in me (i.e. my entire self) cheered, since it surely should have meant that DC’s postseason hopes would die in a delicious fire of despair fueled by excess lard from Chris Christie’s last back-fat-eotomy. Yet, here they are, unbeaten in seven straight games and looking as strong as ever. I’d blame myself if I believed in the superstitions of sport… which I clearly do, so fuck me I guess.
The DC/NY playoff round starts this Saturday and since I will be in the 716 at that time, I’ll sadly be missing the chance to see it live at Red Bull Arena. That said, I will be a drunken mess that night, so twitter will be ablaze with inappropriate levels of joy and/or sadness. As for the away leg down at RFK, plans are being hatched to smuggle me down to DC on the 7th. I’ve never been privy to a human trafficking ring before, much less been the human trafficked, but I’m really looking forward to it.
Out of the four English clubs in the UCL this year, only Manchester United managed a win in this week’s action. If given a choice, I obviously would’ve chosen them to lose and Manchester City to win, but you can’t always get the perfect scenario of other people’s sadness to play out as you’d like.
The crown jewel of failure was, deliciously, Arsenal’s 0-2 home loss to Schalke. This is the first competitive win in England for Schalke, and the fact that it happened at the Emirates makes my heart sing with a chorus of angelic Liverbirds. Fuck Arsenal. And fuck Arsene Wenger.
Manchester City was hard hit by its loss at Ajax, particularly in light of the fact that it puts them at the bottom of their group with only one point through three games. The upside is that their two losses came away, so if they manage to win their two remaining home fixtures and take a point away to Dortmund (not an easy task), they might have a chance to advance. This is what happens, apparently, when you’re in the Group of Death.
Funny, I always thought "Group of Death" referred to the support group founded by Ray Lewis and Dany Heatley.
Of course, there is Champions League beyond the English clubs, but after the general malaise of failure that dominated the play of Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea, I’m too happy to care… except to just point out that Christiano Ronaldo is averaging 1.67 goals a game in this phase of the competition and that is bonkers. Especially against the likes of Dortmund, Man City and Ajax. Enormous cockbag and pretty nancy boy he may be, but fuck he can kick a ball.
And, finally, Liverpool…. Why the fuck do I keep doing this to myself?
Unsurprisingly, this is where the happiness stops.
Sunday’s Merseyside Derby – a cross-town clash akin to Yankees/Mets if the Mets were any good and Yankee fans far less douchey – had the makings of a great game for Liverpool fans like myself after the Reds went up 2-0 early. Too early, really. Everton stormed back and took advantage of defensive lapses in the first half. Halftime adjustments from Brendan Rodgers were excellent, though, and in the end Liverpool should’ve taken all three points, but for another episode in dumb-as-fucking-nails officiating from the FA’s finest.
Seriously, though, Resident Evil blows. Fuck, I know Fifth Element was also awful, but at least we get to see Milla’s titties and a hilariously awkward Gary Oldman villain.
Non-titty related silver linings: Liverpool got an away point to the fourth place team, Luis Suarez remains the bee’s knees, and the kids playing under Brendan Rodgers are impressing against guys who have ten years on them. These are the things that I must concentrate on until I can bust out of the confines of my in-laws’ house and drown my liver in some cheap whiskey.
In the meantime, stay safe kiddos, and enjoy some nauseatingly trendy indie pop while you drink yourselves through this godforsaken storm.