Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thoughts For A Monday

You'd never see an American side do anything like this. Have to admit it's a class move, especially after the result. A lot of sports fans hate soccer because of a lack of scoring, but 9 goals would change some minds rather quickly. Unless it was in the situation that happened Saturday, where Wigan gave up 9 while only scoring 1. The players stepped up to pay for the tickets of those fans brave enough to watch this debacle. It's putting your mouth is, and I'm proud of the players to own up for what happened, whether it was crappy luck, lack of form, or simply the planets aligning in the wrong way. It shows they care, and as a fan who is dealing with a miserable season, sometimes that's enough to buy more time before the bandwagon loses any more fans.
The MLS Cup happened yesterday, and Real Salt Lake won in penalties 5 to 4 after drawing at 1 in the regular match and 30 minutes of overtime. I personally hate penalties deciding any match, but I also understand that soccer matches could end up like cricket in terms of time if you actually had to play until a winner was decided. The drama was compelling, though, as both sides had chances to put it away until Robbie Russell finally won it for Real Salt Lake.
My thoughts on things:
  • Real Salt Lake barely qualified for the playoffs and actually finished with a sub .500 record, but they were the hottest team going into the playoffs, and they used that energy to win 3 tough games to get there. Playoffs to me don't determine a winner for the season, but simply crown the hottest team at the time, which is why any side that can win the regular season title and then win the playoffs is truly one special squad. Not that I want to discount the accomplishment, but the whole situation here makes me want the regular season winner to be declared the champion more of a reality. That rewards a complete body of work, not just a hot streak at a specific timeframe.
  • Seattle supported the game well, and it was nice to see many fans show up even if the home side wasn't part of the match. I'm still not a fan of many game day things they do, but putting 46,000 fans in the seats for the championship is an impressive feat.
  • It was great to see some former Timbers playing well in the match. Josh Saunders came in late in the match to replace an injured Donovan Ricketts and performed admirably in a rather tough spot. It's tough to enter late as a keeper, much less then face penalty kicks and hold up as well as he did. It would have been nice to see Bryan Jordan enter the match, but at least former OSU Beaver Robbie Findley played well and was a key cog in the RSL attack.

The Civil War is on December 3rd and it's for all the marbles. Or for the Roses, as the annual Duck and Beaver football game will determine the Pac-10 team that will represent the conference in the Rose Bowl. There hasn't been as much at stake in this game, and the usually friendly rivalry will take on more of a fervor over the next few weeks as trash talk elevates itself to higher than usual levels.


The Oregon - Oregon State rivalry is one of the most friendly in many respects, as you hear stories about Ducks and Beavers interacting all the time until this week, and then all bets are off. Relatives don't speak to each other before the game, businesses and people start promoting their side, and it's time for those in the state who didn't attend either school to pick a side or just remain neutral if you can. And with the stakes being what they are, the pressure to pick a side will be huge.


Myself, I didn't attend either school until I moved here and have attended 3 classes at each college, so I can't choose my allegiance that way. I have dear friends that attended both schools, and based upon that, I can't pick a side much less upsetting one group of friends or the other. The Ducks haven't been there since 1995 and the Beavers haven't been there since the 1960's. I attended a college that doesn't have football, so I can't use that as an excuse, and my wife's alma mater does have football but they seemed to have lost their way. I've always just wished that both teams do well and get into great bowl games so I can watch as a fan, and over the past few years, it's been easy watching their success. And even after this game, both sides will still have good bowl dates.


But this year is different, because both teams have a chance at the Roses and that doesn't come up all that often. So for me, I'll try to take the platypus approach, supporting both sides in a hybrid sort of way until I'm forced to make a call. Besides, being Switzerland in a dispute like this isn't so bad, cause you get those cool bank accounts, chocolates and glockenspiels!!

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