Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Sunday, November 13, 2005
  Moving Sucks
As if taking the GMAT this week wasn’t enough…I’m leaving the Rockies and moving to Hooserville next week.  So, I really have not had the chance to get online much lately.  But I’ve still found time to have some games on while the wife has me cleaning everything before getting someone in to clean the place—I’ll never understand my wife’s logic there.

So, last week I was among about 20 Galaxy fans at Invesco braving the cold to witness what none of us thought possible—at least nothing I’d voice in public—making it to the MLS Cup Final.  Personally, I’m still not convinced Steve Sampson is a great coach.  However, I can’t fault him in the last two matches.  Last Saturday’s game plan may not have been the most attractive soccer, but LA did what they had to, win.  Even more impressive they won on the road in freezing conditions (I had snow at my house that morning—hardly conditions SoCalers enjoy).  LA won the match thanks to some great defense.  Ty Marshall was every bit as key to LA’s success as Donovan.  Marshall was obviously missed in the first match against San Jose, but he’s been key in the two matches he’s played.  Of course Donovan’s goals, the second in particular, were what put things over the top.  After the second one went in, I know I went crazy.  The improbable was happening; LA had booked its ticket to Dallas.

I have a theory which I think explains why LA has had the success they’ve had.  It’s tough for a team to be successful in both League (regular season) and Cup (playoffs or, well…the Cup).  Look at leagues around the world.  You’ll hardly ever see teams able to win both.  Some teams are better able to be successful over the long haul (the entire season) and others are better at winning over 90 or 180 minutes.  Just look at Liverpool last season.  They won the Champions Cup, but weren’t able to do well enough in their domestic competition to qualify (without a bunch of politics) for this season in order to defend their title.

On Sunday, I got to thaw-out while watching the lively NE-Chicago match.  What an entertaining match it was too.  You have to love the drama a match like that creates.  BTW, if you haven’t see “MLS Pictures” documentary they are showing on FSC, do it.  The match seems even more intense with background NFL Films type narration.  Anyway, congrats to the Revs for holding on (they did seem to bunker down a bit early) and earn the right to face LA this afternoon.  Should be a good match.  I’ll be happy to take the score the two teams had the last time they met in the final.

It does seem odd that MLS would schedule the final on the same weekend as the World Cup Qualifying playoffs.  Thankfully, neither of the MLS teams in today’s match had players involved in those playoffs.

I enjoyed what I was able to see of the Scotland-US match yesterday.  Both coaches were using the match to look at some new players so the result wasn’t ever going to prove much.  But it’s always fun to see a bunch of players fighting for future consideration.  I thought both teams played well.  For the US, Wolff and Spector seemed to help their case for inclusion in Arena’s squad next summer.  Beasley also proved—in my eyes—he is probably the most dangerous field player we currently have.  In the end, it was a fair result and I enjoyed the football.  Oh, and FSC’s prematch coverage was pretty sweet as well.  Interesting they had a Scot in the studio and another—well, Scottish parents—in the commentary booth.  I hope coverage like that is a sign of things to come.  A half-hour pre-match show for big games always adds to the excitement…well, at least that is my opinion…and it doesn’t hurt to be able to squeeze in a few extra ads during the build-up.

How ‘bout Man U beating Chelsea?  I wonder what the “Not 4 Sale” mob make of that one?

One final note before the wife makes me do some more packing.  Robin Frasier announced his retirement the other day.  I always thought he was a class act and was one of the best central defenders in the league…especially during his time at the Rose Bowl.  Good luck in whatever you do next Robin and thanks for helping to grow the sport in this country.
 
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An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

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