Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday cup of coffee: Missed penalty edition

Before we get any further, please watch the video. The wisdom of this wealthy child of Peruvian-American immigrants abounds, and would surely have turned the result of Saturday's friendly with Macedonia on its head. The feature on celebrations was particularly groundbreaking. I can only hope one of our Canadian lads will be breaking out the "Arm Thrust" in the near future. [insert masturbation joke here]

On to the soccer . . .

Canada - Macedonia redux

Remember that time we all huddled around our laptops in the early morn, some of us in bed and hardly clothed, watching amateur boxing from a Macedonian junior high cafeteria until we figured out what channel the game was on. It doesn't seem so long ago, does it?

At the risk of sounding wistful, despite the woeful result -- a 3-0 loss -- I enjoyed the entire process (I'm referring here to the live blog). Waking up hours before the good Lord (not Lord Bob) intended, assembling a quorum of the most like-minded diehard Canadian supporters, and watching the choppiest of streams from the sloppiest of Balkan soccer pitches.

I'm not much in the way of proper detailed match analysis, but here are some quick thoughts in that most preferred of high school modes of expression -- point form:
  • Dejan Jakovic's injury was bad news, further aggravated by having Richard Hastings as our only CB cover. One can only hope DJ is fit for Poland on Wednesday.
  • Can't decide what was worse: the first half Macedonian shooting gallery, which remained scoreless by a combination of finishing and Josh Wagenaar; or the lopsided penalty shootout stretched over 40 minutes of football in the second.
  • Simeon Jackson's career may be on the upswing, but he is not ready for prime time if prime time is understood to mean playing as a lone striker. If it's not Radz and Friend to start against Poland, I'll eat my hat.
A quick summary of the penalties:
  • A hand-to-ball situation, or the right call? Perhaps among my readers we have armchair or real-life refs who could tell me. It didn't matter though: Iain Hume missed the net entirely.
  • This one looked a dive, though I can't vouch for much that I saw since the stream, struggling under the weight of the Canadian diehard, was a slideshow with audio for much of the game. In any case, Paul Stalteri was whistled, and Goran Pandev scored.
  • The one I did see clearly was Rob Friend's heel being clipped from behind. Simeon Jackson gave an anemic effort and it was easily saved.
  • Kevin McKenna could have no complaints for being called for a bodycheck in the area, but that didn't stop him from trying. Pandev converted again, this time in injury time.
In all honesty, this was a game Canada deserved to lose by 1 or 2 goals, not 3, but results at this point don't count for much. It's what you take from them. Player-wise, the only bright spots for Canada were Wagenaar and Mike Klukowski, who now looks to be the team's best player. Biggest disappointment for me was Julian de Guzman, who seemed as rusty as he did at the beginning of his TFC stint.

With Klukowski always among Canada's best, and with a 36-year old Tomasz Radzinski poised to be Canada's best player on Wednesday (I have no doubts about this whatsoever!) I think Canada would be a real juggernaut internationally if we selected only Polish-Canadians playing in Belgium. Think about it.


On live blogging, generally:

I enjoy running a live blog, and the interaction it often generates. I even entered the 21st century, abandoning my vanity and my need to amass hundreds of pageviews, by adopting one of those ultra-interactive liveblogging formats.

The ScribbleLive blogging outfit is not too bad to use, and Canadian to boot. I learned about it watching Dragon's Den, where they scored a sweet 3-dragon deal for some cash, only to learn that the deal fell apart after due diligence was carried out.

This initial enthusiasm followed by mild disappointment is par for the course when it comes to livebloggin' it. My last four liveblogs:

Date Match Desired outcome Result
14/11/09 CAN-MKD friendly Duh! 3-0 MKD
17/10/09 USL-1 final 2nd leg Vancouver win Montreal win
18/06/09 V-Cup: TFC @ MTL Anything except a Toronto win by 4 or more goals 6-1 TFC
05/03/09 CCL: Impact @ Santos Impact, or small loss 5-2 Santos

That said, I'll probably be around on Wednesday for Canada - Poland.

Other internationals of note this weekend

THE GOOD: Portugal 1 - 0 Bosnia

Good for one obvious reason. Would loved to have seen a few more goals from Portugal (it hurts even to type this).

THE BAD: Italy 0 - 0 Netherlands

Ok, this was only a friendly, and it was only really bad for Robin van Persie (broken ankle) and Arsenal fans, but choosing to watch this match over taking a nap was a bad move for me.

THE UGLY: New Zealand 1 - 0 Bahrain

New Zealand is in the World Cup. The teams they beat to qualify, and current rank of those teams:

Team Rank
New Caledonia 141
Fiji 108
Vanuatu 159
Bahrain 61

Done puking? And they actually lost one of those matches with Fiji.

MLS playoffs

Houston lost in extra time to the LA Galaxy, after a seemingly legitimate goal by Canadian Andrew Hainault was waved off for a phantom foul (start watching at 3:45 to see the disputed goal)

On the bright side, Real Salt Lake are through after upsetting Chicago Fire in a penalty shootout. Canadian international Will Johnson scored a vital goal in the shootout (at 5:50 of this video) and celebrates appropriately with a combination of "The Airplane" and a shushing motion.

I have to admit that I really dig RSL and all things Utahn, likely because of a recent Big Love kick I was on, which itself was due mostly to the hotness of Bill Paxton's youngest wife. I also was a big Utah Jazz fan in my younger years, probably because of a subconsciously racist satisfaction of seeing a successful basketball team with so many white players. (Stockton, Hornacek, Ostertag, oh my!)

If RSL can compound Landon Donovan's heartbreak (yes, he dumped, or was dumped, by this hot piece of ass) by beating him and Becks in the finals, I'll be over the moon.


Duane Rollins said...

Cover It Live is a Canadian company too and it has a few more features than the system you used Saturday. It’s free.

J said...

Fancy that. I always figured CoverItLive was American because I had seen it used at big American sites likes ESPN, etc. Typically Canadian inferiority complex I guess.

Still, I like the ScribbleLive guys, and will stick with it for the near future. Feature-wise (esp. comment moderation settings) it is a bit deficient, but it loads a lot faster.

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