Daily Sweeper, 09.10: My Issue with Women’s Game, Philly Looking Good, The Revs’ Problem, More U.S. v. Brazil (much more)

– To lead with my quibble against women’s soccer: Germany 11-0 Argentina. I have absolutely no problem with watching women’s soccer, but would prefer to watch a game as opposed to ritual slaughter.

– Wake Philly fans up when December comes?  It’s worth flagging the language people are using with regard to a potential stadium in Chester, PA (as well as who’s showing up to the events – e.g. MLS Commish Don Garber).  Everybody just seems so damn happy.

– Matt Reis speaks the truth – and his words apply not only to New England’s Sunday loss to DC United, but to the Revs in general:

“‘We didn’t keep possession, went straight to goal every time,’ Reis said. ‘With the formation (3-5-2), we had a numbers advantage in the midfield, but we ended up chasing the game, even with the lead.'”

I’ll go one better: I think this applies to U.S. soccer almost across the board.  A sense of urgency that borders on spazzing seems part of our game.

– Tucked toward the bottom of Ian Plenderleith’s wrap of Week 23‘s action, he touches on how the constituent members of this summer’s Argentine Invasion are coping with the change in soccer culture; it’s an interesting piece of anthropology, down to the stuff about Mauricio Taricco, who played in a totally separate time and place.

Contained in the same article is the unpleasant (for me) news that Week 24 starts on Wednesday.  Damn.  This totally throws my posting schedule.  At least that Wednesday game kinda sucks.

– Right.  Time to wrap up the day where it started – namely, with reactions to the U.S. Men’s loss to Brazil.  Why not start with the central take-away from the game delivered by Brazil’s Kaka (article):

“It was a tough game,” Kaka said. “They played well. I think they’re getting better.”

Me too, Kaka.  Me too.

Then again, opinion falls on both sides of that one.  Count Frank Dell’Appa the biggest dissenter from that view; I also think it’s fair to color Jen Chang unimpressed with everything but the U.S. Mens’ attitude.  Jon Burklo from the American Soccer Daily falls in among the mildest of dissenters – he comes closer to confusion and disappointment, though that’s mainly from a big-picture progress perspective.  On the happy side, you’ll find Ives Galarcep and Jonah Freedman, who leads with his own half-giddy disbelief.  Here’s the shocking thing: I think the best top-to-bottom report came through Sports Illustrated from the Associated Press. That’s always a little surprising.

After reading all that, I can’t say I’ve changed my mind much.  We did a little all right.  Nothing wrong with that.  I wasn’t expecting anything else.  More to the point, I wouldn’t have believed in a win had we secured one.

Crew 0-1 Fire: The Anger of Eddie Gaven

I think…wait…did I?  Yeah.  I did.  I think I enjoyed the Columbus Crew’s unfortunate loss to the Chicago Fire.  It wasn’t a graceful thing, but it did interesting things to the standings (hello, five Eastern Conference teams) and gave a fair representation of how the two sides stack up. It also revealed why I resist making predictions: I’m no Tiresias.

Bottom line, both teams defend well and Columbus was just better bottom-to-middle, but Chicago enjoys the telling, if slender, edge of players on the roster capable of concocting a break-through.  That barely looked on the cards for Columbus after Guillermo Barros Schelotto went down early.  Having failed to take notes I have to go by memory, but feel like that’s a fair overall rundown. Continue reading

Brazil 4-2 Yanquis: Hate and Envy

I hate Brazil. I mean the team, not the country.

I don’t hate them for being over-rated; they’re pretty talented, actually. I don’t consider them a team of thugs and they don’t lack class, or even personality. Well, maybe the middle thing does apply: Brazil cheats in this subtly dirty way, employing little tugs and grabs that violate decency more than the physical integrity of their opponents. And that really sucks because the same team that pulls so much little crap also possesses talent at a 2:1 ratio to the U.S. Men’s National Team (hereafter, the Yanquis).

That brings me to the question of why? If one of your three or so playmakers can loft a pass from midfield to a segment on a forward’s toe after he makes a run behind the opposing defense, why do your defenders have to claw and paw Benny Feilhaber like he’s Zac Efron making a surprise mall appearance? Why the theatrical diving? Why, after all these years, do I still hate Rivaldo for the awful bullshit he pulled against Turkey in the 2002 World Cup?

Without going into this more than I need to – after all, this was a friendly and who really expected us to win – the Yanquis did all right on Sunday. We scored two and one of them even looked deliberate. We fought like hell up the middle – and, here, “we” means Michael Bradley who impressed me more in this outing than in any previous – and we created some respectable chances besides. We should have had a PK of our own, which offered, oh, a 50/50 chance of making this a wholly respectable 4-3 loss.

The nearly silly thing is the extent to which none of that matters. Brazil simply plays on a different plane. Half their team can play the killer ball and that slick, that one-, two-touch rhythm seems to come naturally to 3/4 of Brazil’s players, allowing the team to change the point of attack and exploit the thinnest of openings in the proverbial blink of an eye. And it’s so fun to see the game played with that kind of awareness and magic. The cheap fouls and theatrics? Not so much.

So, by way of closing, who did well for us? I thought Steve Cherundolo turned in a good one, Dempsey fought hard for scraps and finished well when he had to. As already noted, Bradley impressed me as much as anyone – and I look forward to the day when I won’t be reminded he’s the coaches son and the fact that’s not relevant, even though I know it will never come. All in all, I don’t think anyone flat-out sucked – and that’s a good thing.

But…y’know…it was a friendly; a win wouldn’t have felt much different.