Monday, September 24, 2007

What's with all the Sandhill Crane mating rituals?

Haven’t viewed the EPL wrap-up show, or finished watching all of the taped games, but I have viewed the Derby County-Arsenal match and the Fulham-Man City game. A few thoughts:

I got to see Feilhaber play about 40 minutes in Derby County’s Saturday “clash” with Arsenal. Derby didn’t put up much of a fight and meekly succumbed to the Gunners by a final score of 5-0.

Benny didn’t do much, and looked every bit as out-paced and out-classed as the rest of his Derby compadres. I don’t know if it is fair to expect anything else at this point. He’s hasn’t had enough time to get in sync with the team and it showed. He seemed pretty aimless at first (it actually reminded me of Landon Donovan's sleepwalking performance with Bayer Leverkusen in the Champion’s League against Liverpool in, when was it, 2005? Egad, I shudder from the flashbacks!). Also, on Cesc Fabregas’s rocket-shot goal (Arsenal’s 4th of the day), it looked like Benny was playing some pretty soft defense. All should know that Cesc is scoring form distance of late, so maybe not a terrible idea to try and get in front of him as he prepared to tee up for another go. Benny looked ultra casual and barely lifted his leg in defense as Cesc took aim. Sigh.


Fulham has been playing in some entertaining games lately. This week 3-3 draw with Man City was a roller coaster of a match, and, frankly, Fulham looked pretty dangerous throughout. Dempsey came back down to earth a bit with this performance, but it was still a hard-working effort. And on Fulham’s first, he was poised to claim the cross for himself if teammate Simon Davies had somehow missed it. At the least, he did not do anything that should warrant his removal from the starting 11. As a bonus, he got this biographical sketch in the Times.

Deuce also demonstrated his competitive fire, at one point going forehead to forehead with Man City (and England national team) defender Micah Richards. Richards took issue with a Dempsey elbow that landed mid-chest during a leap for a header. Deuce didn’t back down from Micah’s protestations and that wonderfully-strange, macho-man-dance you see with increasing frequency in football ensued. You know, the one where the two players lean on each other’s foreheads while bickering back and forth, sometimes slowly circling while yelling. It’s not entirely different from the mating ritual of the sandhill crane, sketched above. (American viewers witnessed a variation of this ritual when Jesse Marsch of Chivas USA “danced” with David Beckham a month or so back after Marsch kicked Becks in the wrist.) But good to see a USMNT standing his ground. Heck, maybe one day we’ll even get a friendly with England.

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