Wednesday, March 19, 2008

U23: Canada - USA live blog

We'd like to see more of this!

CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying
Semifinal match: Canada vs. USA

8 pm local (Nashville, TN), 9 pm ET

[spanish | english] : These live streams may not work in Firefox, so you might have to use IE.

I'm setting this up early because I'll surely be too jittery to do it tomorrow. Its a semifinal match, but since both finalists in the tournament will qualify for Beijing '08, this is the important round.

This match is so important, in fact, that the Canadian media have decided to take a break from ignoring Canadian soccer. Some recent articles:

Cdn U-23s relish underdog status vs. US (that headline has me hungry for hotdogs)
Canada gears up for Olympic soccer qualifier vs U.S.

You can do a Google News search and find more, but they are all essentially mash-ups of the same wire stories.

If you need any more reason to get fired up a for a match against the U.S., here it is:

Check back tomorrow when the action begins, beginning no doubt with the pre-game beer updates.

Game day

It's two hours until game time. I've been watching a bit of Guatemala-Honduras, which has been predictably chippy, and is 0-0 at the half. The Honduran #10 is lucky to still be in the match, as the yellow he received could easily have been red.

The beer choice for this evening is Alexander Keith's Red Amber Ale. I stayed away from Keith's for a while after the child porn charges against their former commercial spokesperson, but they are a decent Canadian brew. And it is clear that going foreign brough bad luck last time. It may not matter much, as I've developed a killer sore throat and may be sucking down tea and Halls for the next few hours instead.

Keep checking back for updates. The next will probably include the lineups, maybe 30 or so minutes before kickoff.

T minus 30 (or so) minutes: I'm not quite sure if our match will kick off on time, with Guatemala and Honduras going to extra time (edit: Honduras is through to Beijing on PKs). But the starting eleven is up, and it's the same as for the 5-0 thrashing of Guatemala. It should look like this:

Ramalho - Jakovic - Hainault - Ledgerwood
Hemming - Ayre
Ricketts - Rosenlund - Johnson

Getting a bit nervy. I settled in to watch some hockey and saw two brilliant goals by the Canadiens (sure, they were both by the Russian Alex Kovalev) which could be a good omen.

6:00: It's underway. Somehow I missed the first few missed, distracted by basketball of all things.

12:00: Not much to say so far. USA has the better of the play, as might be expected. Canada defending in numbers, perhaps too large a number.

16:00: Will Johnson is described as "a little hot and heavy in the head". A bit puzzling, if you ask me.

18:00: Altidore gets free near the back post, but Wagenaar robs him! Someone sign this guy.

24:00: Canada is not attacking at all. And the announcers have got all excited about two Adu shots that were 6 yards wide.

Half time: Sorry about the lack of updates. Issues here at OOT central. It's 1-0 USA, on an Adu free kick that was poorly defended, but also misplayed by Wagenaar in the 29th minute. Shortly thereafter, Ayre was subbed out for Kyle Hall and Canada started to look a bit better. Each team has had a couple of half chances and Canada has the only yellow card, to Hainault for a foul on Altidore.

I'll be switching to the Spanish broadcast for the second half because these American announcers are nauseating. Case in point: the Adu goal. They were going on and on and getting boners about Adu's great service when the goal was clearly a case of Wagenaar initially jumping the wrong way. In fact, Adu shot it directly at the point where Josh was positioned.

The ref has been calling very little, the harsh yellow on Hainault excepted. Ornoch is getting abused and therefore hasn't been as effective, while Johnson is taking his usual beating, though without earning any whistles.

USA has surely dominated, but Canada isn't out of it. The goal came on a set piece and was a bit of a cock-up by all Canadian players involved. Otherwise, USA hasn't had any gilt-edged chances. Altidore did come in to try to poke loose a ball that Wagenaar had collected, which the keeper did not appreciate, and a minor fracas ensued. That was dangerous play and probably deserved a warning if not a booking.

We'll see what the second half brings. Obviously Dasovic has used a sub already, but it was a useful one as Keegan Ayre had missed almost every pass he tried in the first half, while Hall effectively used his pace. Ricketts and Johnson both had half chances with shots over the bar, but Canada needs to do more.

45:00: 2nd half is on. 45 minutes, and a few goals, away from Beijing.

47:00: I nearly shit my pants. Hainault gets a yellow for a foul on Altidore. I thought he already had one, so it was the showers I thought. ... and Adu scores off the free kick, a good one this time. FUCK! No more live stuff from me unless Canada gets back in it. I do stand by my belief, though, that Adu is a piece of shit and won't amount to much in Europe.

Sometime later: What a waste of time this night has been. I wish I could say I'm happy for the US, but they're no less a bunch of dicks than Mexico, and I hope they crash and burn in the Olympics.

(In case you're wondering, it's 3-0 now. This sucks)

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