Saturday, June 30, 2007

Week off: Oh What a Week it was!

So right after the USMNT “got” bye the Canadian National team and booked their trip to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final, I too took a trip. I ended up going out to Iowa for wedding related issues. While I was out in Des Moines I was able to catch the Gold Cup final at The Royal Mile (if you ever get to Des Moines, check it out, the place is awesome).

That was one helluva match. Bocanegra being a monster on the backline, Tim Howard having a great match, Donovan stepping up and not chocking on the PK, and Benny’s goal. Damn that was a good game.

I was glad to see Mexico come out firing and pushing the Americans back. The entire tournament it had been the USA storming out of the gates, but this match was different from the other five. Yes the score line was the same, but I saw a different USA come out in the second half. One that was down a goal for the first time since January and needed to recapture its lost form. They did that in the form of Ricardo Clark. His play in the second half injected a much needed presence in the midfield which woke up the Americans. Too bad we couldn’t win the game 2-0.

Hats off to the USMNT for winning their second straight Gold Cup and booking a trip to South Africa in 2009.

So right after that, or during it (I really don’t remember) I saw that Thierry Henry finally decided to make the move to Spain and join Barcelona. I honestly think that this move came one year too late and cost Barcelona the Champions League and La Liga this last season. This move also has pretty much sunk Arsenal for their 2007/08 season.

Without Henry, Wenger (if he is still around next season) has a much larger task at hand, and no real incentive to draw star players to the Gunners. Next season, pretty much as this last season went, the EPL “Big Three” will be Manchester United, Chelsea & Liverpool. Sorry Nigel.

So when I returned to DC from Iowa, I went straight into a week long Microsoft training class. Having to study for two tests in one week forced me to miss my first home DC United match of the season. Pissed me off too, it looked like a good one. I was happy to see (DVR is god) that after we went down a goal, that the entire squad stepped up their play and we were able to get a PK for our efforts. Hopefully Kpene’s injury doesn’t keep him off the field for too long. Getting the offense in gear is a good sign.

The other big United news this week was the Facundo Erpen for Greg Vanney trade that just happened. I really don’t know how to rate this one. On one hand you have a very talented, but very erratic young Argentine defender who could have become a longtime defender for the club; and on the other you have an experienced US player who instantly brings solid defensive experience to a backline that has been anything less than stable. Trading Erpen does keep the club from having to use a Senior International roster spot next year, giving the club a chance to bring in an other experienced defender or (heaven forbid) a possible replacement for either Gomez or Moreno. Trading Erpen also allows us in Blog land to retire the phrase: Erpen had his usual gaff/flub/SNAFU/…ect. I do wish him well in Colorado.

I do like the move of bringing in Vanney. Considering that he at most will stick with the club for this season and maybe next, the time he is here should be a god send for helping Boswell and Namoff as they move more and more into the USMNT spotlight. Having Vanney’s experience assist their talent should get them more playing time, as well as giving Troy a little bit less work to do over the course of the season.

Now we have the Copa America and Bradley’s first loss. You knew it was coming and you knew that if it didn’t come from Mexico, Argentina was going to serve that big L on a dish served cold. We all knew that we would loose to Argentina, the fact that we even got a goal in my mind was the surprise. Yes it was a PK, but I was shocked we even held them in the first half.

After watching the match again on DVR, I saw that Bornstein played a great match, much better than any he had in the Copa America. Ben Olsen provided the same thing that he has been doing for DC United, he was the energy bomb that the squad needed to run. Once he left the field and Argentina decided to bring on Aimar, the match was over. I had hoped for a better score line considering that we held them in the first half, but 4-1, in a match with a USA B/C team against the best Argentina has to offer…that ain’t half bad. This loss will go so much farther in getting our guys ready for World Cup Qualifying than any of the Gold Cup matches will.

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