First of all, I just wanted to say that I am blown away with all the soccer on TV right now.
In the past I would pretty much take a break from soccer once the Premier League and FA Cup Final were over. I enjoyed the break before I was full blown into soccer again with college pre season starting August 25th.
Since I am currently on a family sabbatical for a year with the arrival of our new son Keegan, my thirst for soccer is not waning, in fact, I am enjoying all the soccer on TV right now.
I have been following the CONCACAF Gold Cup as well as the EURO 2011s for the Under 21s. As I write this post the FIFA Women’s World Cup begins today. We still have the FIFA Under 17s World Cup as well, although I have to admit I haven’t seen any of that yet. We then have the FIFA Under 20s World Cup starting on the 29th July and don’t forget the COPA AMERICA in Argentina starting the 2nd July.
So let’ s get back to yesterday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Final at the Rose Bowl, Mexico vs USA. Firstl of all, what a magnificent spectacle, 93,420 fans in a sold out Rose Bowl. If the stadium held 200,000 it would have been sold out also. Unfortunately I didn’t get a ticket, so watched it on Fox Soccer Channel.
The USA got off to a dream and almost surreal start, 2-0 up by the 23rd minute. Great headed goal from Bradley from a Freddie Adu corner. Can you imagine how that must have felt for Bob Bradley? Imagine, playing in the Gold Cup Final in front of a sold out Rose Bowl and your son scores the first goal! Hard to fathom just how good that must have felt.
The second goal was fantastic. The highlight reel does not do it justice because it doesn’t show the whole build up. However, great goal from Landon Donovan, proving again why he is such a world class finisher.
So, at that point, the USA team has silenced the crowd and is now having to figure out how to hold onto the toughest score in soccer, up 2-0. Why is that such a tough score to handle? Well, the next goal often determines the winner of the game. If it goes 3-0, game is over. If it goes 2-1, suddenly the momentum shifts to the trailing team and they have nothing to lose but go for it. The team up 2-1 suddenly gets the jitters and now they have a game on their hands.
And that’s exactly what happened! Great finish on the goal from Barrera from a sublime through ball from Chicharito, however Tim Howard has to be questioned being caught as he was at his near post with no attempt to make a save.
The second goal from Mexico was a goal mouth scramble with Andres Guardado stabbing it over the line, again Tim Howard was at fault. I listened in amazement when Eric Wynalda said that Chicharito proved he was not greedy because he could have tapped the ball in a claimed another goal….Chicharito and the rest of us knew that had he touched the ball, it would have been disallowed for offside…amazing that someone with Wynalda’s pedigree didn’t realise that.
So, the locker rooms of both teams at half time would have had two very different atmospheres. The USA locker room would have been a swirl of disbelief, dejection and disappointment whereas the Mexican locker room would have been pumped up, positive and passionate.
So, whoever scores next wins the game, simple as that.
Barrera hits a nice first timer to the bottom far post and again I have to question Howard, he just seemed late on that one.
Except for one piece of sheer brilliance from Dos Santos.
The defending was a calamity of errors, just watch the replay and where do you start?
First of all, I don’t rate Jermaine Jones even though last season he featured for my beloved Blackburn Rovers. If you watch what he does, he actually runs away from Dos Santos in the box, then at the last second he sticks a toe out to try and block the shot. Tim Howard was flailing around on the grass like a fish washed up on the shore and then Dos Santos chipped the ball high towards the far post and it squeezed in the upper V. Brilliant finish!
So here’s one for you…my friend Jared Montz from the Online Soccer Academy posted a question on facebook asking if it would have been legal for Lichaj to have jumped up, grabbed the crossbar and pulled himself up to head the ball away…what do you think?
I would have preferred to see Lichaj tip the ball over the bar with his hand, take a red card, give Howard a chance to save a penalty and keep the USA in the game at 3-2….what do you think?
So, the Mexican team are rightly crowned CONCACAF Gold Cup Champions and qualify for next year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil, well done and good luck to them as they both represent CONCACAF and go to Brazil for a dress rehearsal for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.