I had a busy week of travel for the Thanksgiving holiday but managed to watch a handful of soccer games live and via ESPN 3 replays.
South Africa 0:1 United States (17 Nov 2010)
Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of vuvuzelas. The USMNT has played a lot of games in South Africa the past couple of years and returned for the Nelson Mandela Challenge. It was a good opportunity to see a lot of youngsters as five players earned their first caps. There were a number of great individual performances including Eric Lichaj, Brad Guzan (captaining from the goal) and of course Mikkel Diskerud (who provided a golden assist) and Juan Agudelo (who scored the lone goal). At 17 years old Agudelo is the youngest player to score for the USA. It’s a small sample size, but this game made me very happy about the future of our side.
Ajax 0:0 PSV (20 Nov 2010)
Ajax’s battle with PSV for the top of Eredivisie table was physical, gritty, and tense, but all the same it ended in a scoreless draw. Ajax continues to struggle and have been winless in three straight Eredivisie matches. Also, in a game I missed on Tuesday, Real Madrid eliminated Ajax from Champions League contention. Oh well, time to focus on the domestic league.
Italy 0:1 United States (20 Nov 2010)
Who’d have thunk that the Italian women’s football team also focuses on defensive play? A fairly dull World Cup qualifying playoff match saw Italy and the US goalless through 90 minutes. Then Alex Morgan (always Alex Morgan and her fresh young legs) scored in the 4th minute of stoppage time for the win. Scoring a dramatic, last-minute goal to win the match? Now the US women are playing like the US men.
Manchester City 4:1 Fulham (21 Nov 2010)
I didn’t watch this match with great attention but saw enough of Manchester City’s evisceration of Fulham at Craven Cottage to not be happy about it.
FC Dallas 1:2 (o.t.) Colorado Rapids (21 Nov 2010)
The unlikely MLS Cup contenders played a fairly entertaining match in Toronto. David Ferreira’s first half goal was the scoring highlight of the game but also the only highlight for Dallas. Rapids’ star Conor Casey equalized in the second-half after fighting for a rebound while laying on the ground. The game winning goal in overtime Macomba Kandji made a good drive to the net and had his shot deflect off of Dallas’ George John for an own goal and the win.
Everton 4:1 West Bromwich Albion (27 Nov 2010)
This seemed like a rerun of the Fulham-Manchester City match last week with the home side demolished by four goals and even playing a man down due to a red card. Everton is looking pretty hopeless these days as they are winless for November (and they kick off December at Stamford Bridge).
United States 1:0 Italy (27 Nov 2010)
Amy Rodriguez provided the goal in Chicago to give the US women a 2-0 aggregate win over Italy and the final spot in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Pia Sundhage was not happy with her team’s play and after the matches against Italy & Mexico (not to mention friendlies versus China and Sweden) it looks like the team needs to get it’s act together if it hopes to contend for the World Cup championship.
Palermo 3:1 Roma (28 Nov 2010)
Thanks to a profile of young Argentinian star Javier Pastore on Cheeky Chip, I’ve finally found a Serie A team I want to follow and that is the Sicilian side Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo. The flamingo pink side joyfully defeated Roma in a battle for the 6th spot in the Serie A table and are in striking distance of moving further up the table next week.
There’s an exciting week coming up including El Classico at Camp Nou, the draw for the Women’s World Cup, and the announcement of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 (Go USA!)