The way that I sum up Sunday’s performance against Revolution is that this is EXACTLY what should have happened. No more scoreless draws at home, THIS is what you do to a bad team who is also missing their best player. Union dominated possession and had all of the threatening chances in the match. They made the Revs look like the only reason they were on the field was because the MLS schedule told them they had to be there. From New England’s perspective, the smartest people on their side were the member of the supporters’ group, “The Fort,” who staged a walkout in the 17th minute in protest of their team’s front office. Those lucky people saw their side down only a single goal, and as the rest of us who watched the whole match know, it only got worse for NE from there.
I didn’t bother submitting grades for this match because that would be giving them credit for something they were supposed to do. I would have high praise for them winning 5-0, but seeing how they really won 2-0, adding a breakaway in the waning seconds, they deserve just standard compliments. A similar performance in their next league match on Friday, July 29, against defending MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids would carry far more weight.
As to these friendlies Union will be playing in the interim, I am a fan of the team doing this. My theory in sports is that you only get better by playing better players. These matches against Everton and Real Madrid are excellent opportunities to learn something from a collection of the best players in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing how Sheanon Williams and Carlos Valdes handle the likes of Leighton Baines and Tim Cahill. I’m also curious to see if playing in a no-pressure environment can get Sebastien Le Toux to score a goal, though dealing with Sylvain Distin and Johnny Heitinga could prove to be too much for him anyway. If nothing else, it will be a fantastic way for Union to view first-hand how a top-level club organizes itself and works to break down a defense.
The point that I hope Union take away from this match, and the match against Real Madrid on Saturday, is at least one technique or philosophy that they can incorporate into themselves to improve both individually and as a team. I know Everton is in preseason and this is just a money-grab for the club, but there’s no way that they want to lose to an American club team. They will play hard to prove their season readiness to manager David Moyes. Union should take this both as a challenge, and a bonding experience, to take down a team playing in the highest level of English Football. One thing I will be looking for is maybe Sheanon Williams being able to mirror Leighton Baines’ technique crossing balls from the defensive wing position, though Baines plays the left side. Should Sheanon improve that aspect of his game, he’ll earn the right to play in the All-Star game every year that he’s in MLS. Other than that, I hope Marouane Fellaini is on the trip because his white man afro is fantastic.
Nick, the other .5 of Unholy Union
Congrats to the USA Women’s National team on making the Women’s World Cup Finals. They’re facing off against Japan on Sunday.
No, i’m not gonna make a joke this time. I’ve been called racist, bigotted, asshole, and many things – but orientalist I am NOT.
In Union news, there is yet ANOTER rumor that Ruiz will be joining a Mexican team. And there is ANOTHER rebutal by the star forward saying he’s staying. There’s cheers, jeers, women weeping… Unfourtanately with our fan base, we don’t know which news is causing any of these emotions.
In MLS news, Red Bull enjoys having no cups. They sent only 14 players (no staff) to face Chicago Fire, the day of, for the USOC tournament. Two things can be taken from this – they don’t take the USOC seriously, and that they take the regular season seriously. Fortunately for us, they only walk the walk on one of those things.
It’s been a while since I talked about the CONCACAF scandal, but not much new news bits (read: comedy) has come from it. Since I didn’t do a TL last week, here’s the update – how bad is your company management when someone keeps pressing outside courts to put themselves back in office? It’s really bad when you have to re-release the same mandate saying the man is banned from all things soccer. At this point the punchline is just “FIFA” and a snicker. Then again, it has been for 50 years.
In other news, my stand up comedy gig is going well (read: in my mind).
Back to the Union – we are going to play a game. Pin the ball in Juan Diego Gonzalez. If he touches the ball at any point – be it warm ups, half time, the ball came out of bounds and he tossed it to a playing player, take a picture. We want proof that he is DOING SOMETHING WITH SOCCER. The picture has to be after this date (looking at you Earl, sneaky bugger). Contest to be decided, or just lots of memes.
July 15, the transfer window is approaching fast (so is christmas… it’s already halfway through the year…gotta make christmas cards.) Nowak has made it known that he wants to be active during this time. By active he means doing his usual thing and banging hookers. Wonder where that allocation money for Harvey went huh?
Good luck to the USWNT, and the New England Revolution FANS – may you not get thrown out this time. In the words of Charlie Sheen ”Already got your money”