Sunday, May 27, 2007

At Last, Soccer Has That Hometown Feel

Props to Mark Kiszla for his column in the Denver Post today. As someone who grew up in a time when the mainstream media ripped on the soccer if they even bothered to mention it all, it's been wonderful to see the changes over the last few years. More and more it's being covered in a positive light and at that by sports journalists who aren't devoted to the game. That is, those who cover sports in general are playing attention to the beautiful game.

When Will The Revs Learn?
For those who didn't catch the game, the Revolution and Kansas City had a shootout of sorts at Gillette Stadium. The game ended 4-3 in KC's favor. New England went out to a quick 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Ralston and Twellman. Twellman had nothing in the 23rd minute except a little space to take a shot and he scores his 7th of the year. But within a minute or two KC turns around and scores.

The play starts with a long, stray pass by Shalerie Joseph out of New England's back. KC's Harrington get's the ball about 60 yards from goal. He plays it to center mid who plays it to Victorine on the left, who plays it to Zavagnin in the center. Michael Parkhurst disappears somewhere up the field (busy writing a thank you card to Bradley for his US call-up?) and neither Joseph nor Riley pick up Arnoud coming straight through the middle to put away the goal. 2-1 NE but it's not over.

Not even a minute after the first goal, KC scores their second. For some reason Riley has a poor clearance that goes to KC's right back Jack Jewsbury who puts it right back in the mix. Eddie Johnson, in appropriately marked by Jay Heaps (no offense to Heaps; he just doesn't have the skills to mark EJ).

Both goals were perfect examples of how important possession can be. Neither was an instance where the defender gave up the ball in an obviously dangerous position. But they were stray passes that KC was able to quickly take advantage of. Worse, with the New England team being essentially the same to have just lost to Houston in the MLS Cup one has to wonder if they've learned nothing about concentrating on the game after scoring a goal. It wasn't as quick as the in the MLS Cup final but they should not have let KC turn around and score so soon after going up 2-0. Had they done a better job of that they would've walked away with points at home.

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