Oh fiddlesticks in the meadow with the cows as they're coming home, it's 5 am and I can't sleep and I wager my son will wake up by the time I finish this poor excuse for a post and I have to be at church in 4 hours and woohoo! fatherhood!
Much of this may not make any sense. Also: Apologist may be posting on the heels of this, so with any luck barely anyone will read it. Also also: I do not intend to use impeccable punctuation, grammar or spelling. So be sure to hop on the comments to make yourself feel better by pointing out my errors. Only pimple-faced trolls make it a habit of starting fights on the internet, anyway.... /ignores clear hypocrisy of that statement /takes yet another bite of now stale baptismal cake from last week /gulps down half glass of milk mixed with my vanishing integrity
The world of world football marches on, despite my wish that it would take a slight break while I try to get some fucking rest, and this week was chock full of action and, happily, not the typical slate of depressing results. There are a couple of games to still happen this morning -- Roma plays, I believe, which would satisfy lingering Michael Bradley lust if I hadn't just watched Mr. Clean in USMNT action; and QPR is at home to surprisingly strong, but waiting for the other shoe to drop, Everton. Neither of these matches I will watch, though if anything all that interesting happens, I reserve the right to usurp Aps' post with a hastily slapped together update with some bad jokes about Italians and/or some BonerJamz references to my love for Timmy Howard.
On to the hot takes!!*
This match had playoff implications, which I'll rant/rave about in a few seconds, but first --- anytime the Red Bulls want to start scoring again, that would be great. This is a squad that was scoring in bunches early in the season, with both Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper both fighting for the league scoring lead through May and early June. That could be a made up statistic, but fuck it. Their first 10 games? 20 goals for the team. Their most recent 10 before last night? 16 goals... wait. That stat did not jibe with my gut feelings about a squad that clearly can't finish. My heart says it should be a much bigger difference, and one would think I'd alter my take to comport with reality, but as Jeremy White knows I don't give no shits 'bout no reality.
The difference, somewhat supporting that often wrong gut feeling, is the goal differential - the team's first 10 games it was +6, the last 10 it was +2 - which has translated to a milquetoast finish to the campaign despite 6 of those 10 games being at home where, up until their September 19th loss to SKC, they were undefeated this year. Oh, and since that loss, they lost another one at home to Chicago. Get worse.
That all said, you could easily be happy with the effort last night when they hosted Sporting KC again, especially if you don't give a shit about clinical finishing and choosing your own destiny for playoff qualification. The Red Bulls were stymied throughout by great play by KC keeper Jimmy "Koga Shuko" Nielsen and, in no small part, their failure to place balls to the corners of the net. I say this as if it is an easy thing, which I know it is not always, but the Red Bulls had their chances and more often than not made Koga Shuko's job too easy. It was a wasted opportunity in the end, made especially frustrating by the fact that the Red Bulls defense played out of their tits and managed to put together the best game I'd seen from them in a month or so.
I'd be madder, but fuck me I don't care because
DC United Win! ... and in the process do the Red Bulls a SOLID.
The year was 2005. I think. I was visiting some friends down in DC, all of whom I had met while abroad in Bath, England. Part of the visit included a bar crawl with one of the professors from that abroad program, who just so happened to be in DC as part of a recruitment trip. At bar #1, I got in quickly and, refined beer drinker that I was at the time, ordered a shitty pint of shitty Magic Hat shitty Number 9. It very well may have been the best beer they had on tap, and it was certainly the one that I thought made me appear like I knew what I was talking about even if it did taste like old Tang mixed with cat piss. In any event, our 40 year old British professor, having left his passport at his hotel and having no other ID on him, was turned away at the door. I was told to finish my Tang/cat piss beer, so I did. LIKE A CHAMP. I walked quickly out of the bar, went to the next one, ordered four consecutive Jack and Cokes because fuck it that Tang/Cat Piss beer was awful, went to another bar called Reef and ordered two consecutive Long Island Ice Teas and then proceeded to feel not so good. SURPRISING, right? So as the spew is coming out, I am able to hold some back before I unleash all of it on the floor in front of those fluorescent lit fish tanks with poorly fed marine life, I start beelining it to the bathroom, wiping the puke from my face as I go, and by the time I get there I realize - nope. All of that vomit actually did get on the floor.
When the bouncers found me in the bathroom, they figured I had done it all there and just politely asked me to leave. They didn't know about the mess I left behind as if it were a second grader struggling under Margaret Spellings' Orwellian-named and Machiavellian-inspired public education policy. I walked outside, where my friends joined me, and we all got outstandingly over-sized pizza slices which I proceeded to wash down with light beer (smart move) and more bad decisions.
DC United also makes me vomit, but they won, thereby ensuring that Columbus would not usurp RBNY in the rankings. So hooray for DC! Eat a dick, Mitt Romney!
Also: I am still awake and this is crazy. If I were awake AND drunk, I might get into the second awesome thing from that trip, but alas. I have a little thing called professional integrity. /farts /surfs porn
I don't know what to think about this team. Still. I want to be happy about their first home league win of the season. I really do. And I want to be happy about Raheem Sterling's first goal in the premiership. This, for what it's worth, is a much easier task.
But all I have to do is look at the list of home results - losses to Manchester United, Arsenal and West Brom (still hurts), and draws to Man City, Sunderland and Stoke - and I have a hard time getting excited about a 1-0 win over recently promoted and still winless Reading. Especially when it's only the second win of an eight games long season thus far. Fuck my nuts, that's depressing to write.
Liverpool boss Brendan "I'll be with you in just a second after I finish scribbling this note" Rodgers stated that the team will be "flying" once they've secured their first home win. As much as I want to believe that, they still need a striker, have an injured starting goalkeeper and a beleaguered back 4, and are in the process of implementing a style of play that will probably require a full season (and another transfer window or two) to really take hold.
Put another way...
Liverpool head across town to Goodison Park for the first of the Merseyside Derbies this year. I want to hate Everton, but after years of them being kind of garbage and now sitting in 4th place, backstopped by USMNT god amongst insects Tim Howard, I can't hate too much. Despite Everton not having won against Liverpool since 2010, you have to like the Blues' chances this year. Expect many tears next week as Yachtsman and I drown the loss in a billion craft beers.
HOLY SHIT IS IT REALLY 6:30???
Well, fuck me in the back of a white van and call me a Buffalo News subscriber! Ooof.
Manchester City also won, though they were away to West Brom and good teams win at The Hawthorns. Edin Dzeko had both City goals and just like that this guy is right back in the running for top goal scorer in the league, just as he was early last year. I fully expect him to start shitting himself and missing chances on the regular any day now.
And, finally, in the games I care about, Chelsea traveled to Tottenham and came away with all three points at White Hart Lane. Hahahahaa. This makes me unreasonably happy. I have this theory about Tottenham fans, since I know a few, which is that most of these guys started following the Spurs around the time of the last World Cup or just after. As was explained to me by one Spurs fan, they were just a great, young squad with exciting players and blah blah blah. This same Spurs fan asked me, incredulously, why I followed Liverpool, and I explained about history and the process of meeting fans in England. Fans who welcomed me into their pubs and taught me about Bill Shankly and Ian Rush and King Kenny Dalglish. None of which is to say that following the Spurs is a bad idea, or that all their American fans hopped onto a seemingly attractive (but not too attractive, like ManU) bandwagon when they decided to pick an EPL side around the time of the 2010 World Cup. But just that, after watching my squad get smoked by them last year and with full expectation that such will happen again this year, I enjoy watching the misery of others.
And, that, dear readers is that. I'd talk about the US Men's National Team, but my thoughts were generally and briefly summed up in the CrapTastiCast so make sure to just listen to that. The real games for them start in the Hex, and even though it was way more difficult to get there than it should have been, I'll reserve judgment until I see what Klinsmann does against the true quality of CONCACAF.
Oh, and of course, Go Bills.