Red Bull Loses, Wins: Hide the Children

There are ugly wins. Then there’s the win the New England Revolution picked up against Red Bull New York. The Revs will take this home – albeit like a dog covered with a mystery rash requiring a long, long course of lubing with topical ointments, I doubt they’ll be showing it off.

As the title implies the Red Bull did this to themselves: between helter-skelter defending and losing the beat to the possession game that had them looking the better team in the first half, Red Bull ceded the initiative and hung too close to the ropes. Bizarrely, though, the coup de grace came with a wild throw from one of their own: a thumping back-pass from Carlos Mendes to Jon Conway, who, unbeknownst to his teammates, was sleep-walking.

Things looked nearly as ugly on the other side of the ball. With New England playing like they were – the usual mixture of hard-running, hand-grenade quality passing (e.g. close enough), and scrapping after every 50/50 – the telling mistake was always going to come from a Red Bull blunder; the only surprise came with the great, whopping, even stomach-turning aspect of the thing.

For the record, I watched this game in the morning, when the Insanity Juice is safely locked in the fridge. So, my notes should read a little more literally. Here goes: Continue reading

A forgettable Saturday: Fulham loses another lead but Dempsey scores; Arsenal crashes Man City’s party

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Chelsea 1, Portsmouth 0

Frank Lampard played to spoiler in Portsmouth’s bid to upend the giants. With their win they now sit pretty at the top – only dropping 2 points in their first 4 games. Lampard had connected for the English national team against Germany earlier this week and his good form has continued during the transition between both levels. The play didn’t favor a Chelsea win most the game, as Pompey fought hard away from home and created a bunch of chances. Sulley Muntari returned from suspension and wreaked havoc in the middle – distributing well.

Arsenal 1, Manchester City 0

Cesc Fabregas cleaned up Robin van Persie’s mess and dispatched Citeh as neither team played particularly well. The game looked certain to end in a bore draw as every pass seemed to be a touch off, each run a step off. That is until Micah Richards – who had a great game regardless – took Hleb down in the box. Van Persie was stoned by young Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmiechel. The Light Blues were truly missing Rolando Bianchi. Manuel Almunia took over in goal for the afflicted Jans Lehmann, who is currently fighting a bad case of butterfingers.

Aston Villa 2, Fulham 1

Fulham’s woes continue despite Clint Dempsey’s first goal of the season in the 6th minute. Villa responded right after half-time but the true kick in the nuts was delivered by Shaun Maloney – a somewhat flop after coming into the Villa squad last year – who struck in the last minute. I certainly hope American-friendly doesn’t become synonomous with relegation.

Bolton 3, Reading 0

A thorough out-classing of the Blues – Nicolas Anelka, veteran Gary Speed, and new Norwegian signing Daniel Braaten provided the firepower. Despite the lopsided scoreline, Marcus Hahnemann had a decent game and Bobby Convey came in to service the last 30 minutes. Reading looked flat-footed all game and barely mounted a formidable attack all match.

Liverpool 2, Sunderland 0

The Reds’ fantastic away form continues as Ukrainian Andrei Voronin is outshining his injured compatriot Andrei Shevchenko by way of actually finishing goals. Big young’un Mohamed Sissoko struck for the first and welcomed himself into the new season. Liverpool thoroughly outplayed Roy Keane’s boys, but the goals didn’t flow – either way, the Reds will like their start to the season.

Birmingham 2, Derby 1

No Feilhaber but Eddie Lewis did his best to fend off the Blues in the battle of the newly promoted. The former Leeds winger assisted Matthew Oakley’s game-equalizing goal. His efforts were futile though as Cameron Jerome had different ideas. His brace in his first start of the season was enough to get the Blues a home win.

West Ham United 1, Wigan Athletic 1

No Jonathan Spector as Lee Bowyer and Paul Scharner scored several minutes apart late in the game to keep this match-up from being a deadlocked draw. It was Lee Bowyer’s first goal in 75 years, while Wigan’s Scharner acrobatically put his in the net.

Everton 1, Blackburn 1

Another American goalkeeper duel. Both Howard and Friedel turned in great performances but it was the Rovers who struck first through the efforts of Roque Santa Cruz. Scotsman James McFadden struck with about 10 minutes to go ruining a slight Blackburn advantage in regards to quality of play. The Toffees couldn’t be happier that the addition of Yakubu and Manuel Fernandes into the starting line-up is inching nearer. Both are sorting out contract/work permit problems.