Monday, July 05, 2004

Soccer Blogging

-Congratulations to Greece for capturing the Euro 2004 Championship with a 1-0 finals victory over host Portugal. For a nation that had never won a World Cup or European Championship match until this tournament, this was truly a remarkable achievement. Ironically, the competition opened with Greece's 2-1 win over Portugal in group play. If you had told me a month ago that Euro 2004 would end with the same matchup that it began with, I would never have believed you. While I taunted the Portuguese for losing that opening game, which brought back happy memories of what the USA did to them two years ago at the World Cup, I give them full credit for bouncing back and making it to the final.

-I attended my second A-League match of the season Friday night as Virginia Beach Mariners shocked previously unbeaten Montreal Impact 2-1 in golden goal overtime. This match was much better than the previous one I attended. It was hard-fought, played at a good pace, and provided plenty of drama. The Impact showed why they were unbeaten, combining a solid defense with speed and skill in attack. They were in control of most of the game until they had a man sent off in about the 40th minute. Even though they were down a man, Montreal managed to take the lead early in the 2nd half after Joel Bailey drew a penalty. Virginia Beach battled back, and finally snatched a deserved equalizer in stoppage time, as former Columbus Crew striker Dante Washington finished off a goal mouth scramble. Carlos Garcia won it for the hosts in overtime, with a goal that may have been offside. Garcia celebrated by ripping off his shirt, while irate Montreal goalkeeper Greg Sutton ran thirty yards in pursuit of the linesman, even throwing the ball at him. All in all, an entertaining game, definitely good value for money.

-Saturday provided some enjoyable TV viewing, as DC United awoke from their goalscoring doldrums to give the Metroscum a 6-2 thrashing. Alecko Eskandarian continued his hot streak with his 5th and 6th goals of the season, finally showing why he was the number one pick in last year's draft. Jaime Moreno was again excellent with a goal and two assists. He isn't quite the player he was four years ago, but Jaime continues to play at a far higher level than I thought he was still capable of. With two skilled professional strikers producing the goods in front of him, Freddy Adu is going to have to be patient and wait his turn. Being forced to battle for playing time and prove he belongs on the field will only help Freddy's development, IMO.


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