Thursday, September 13, 2007


So, I was watching Euro 2008 qualifying last night, and, specifically, one of the all-time classic footy matchups, Netherlands vs Albania. All kidding aside, Albania took the game to the Dutch, and had, perhaps, the better of the opportunities. The Dutch controlled possession (with quick and accurate passing that would have had Jester drooling), but were having problems breaking down the compacted Albanian defense.

The score was deadlocked at zero as the game went into stoppage time. Enter Ruud with a stunning goal that you really need to view about twenty times in slow motion to appreciate.
I admit I’m a Ruud fan. I thought his exit from ManU two seasons ago unfortunate, and I’m sure the club’s fans feel the same so far this year (watching their games, you gotta think Ruud would have 3-4 goals already and they’d be sitting atop the table). He’s the ultimate poacher, which the goal yesterday firmly proves.

In stoppage time, Urby Emanuelson did very well to get free to send in a cross from the left. Ruud, spinning to his right, took it out of the air, volleying it at an impossible angle (no kidding, maybe the entry point of the goal was 270ยบ from where his front was when he took the shot) back to the far corner. To get that absurd angle, he had to change the momentum of his body (which, recall, was going to his right) back to his left upon striking the ball. So, after the volley with his left foot, he spins back to the left. Goal. I don’t know if you’ll see a finer use of body control to score a goal. I’ll look for a clip of it later today (probably not up yet), but I encourage viewing it.

The Albanian fans were understandably stunned, and responded with much class: watch for a swift response from FIFA for the large and loud firecracker that exploded about a foot from the head of Dutch defender Mario Melchiot, who promptly crumpled to the ground. Good on the ref for calling the game immediately, despite there being a few minutes left of the announced injury time. Nuts.

UPDATE! Haven't viewed it yet, but this might be a good clip of the goal.

(break break)

Should be a good one tonight in the MLS, with the Galaxy and Chivas USA once again squaring off. It’s MLS Primetime too, which here means 11pm EST. Ah well, at least it’s primetime on the west coast.

Let’s hope ESPN doesn’t make the same “MLS—Minor League Soccer” mistake they made at the last “Superclasico” between these two teams. No, I’m not referring to having a WNBA game go to triple overtime and run way into the MLS coverage, though that too will hopefully be avoided. And no, I’m not referring to having one of the most-high-scoring college football games I can remember also run way long and into the MLS coverage as happened last week before the DC United-Chivas match, though THAT TOO will hopefully be avoided. (Anyone sensing a trend?) No, I hope ESPN will fix, when showing the game’s score during the halftime sports news rundown, the erroneous graphics of the teams that are playing. At the last “Superclasico,” when running down other sports scores in the studio at halftime, they had the MLS game’s score featured prominently on the screen. Only, rather than the Galaxy playing Chivas, as they actually were, the graphic had the Chicago Fire emblem rather than the Chivas emblem going up against the Galaxy. “CHI-cago” – “CHI-vas”—Okay, I can see how the mistake was made, but, still, kind of sad. (Sigh.)

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