Wednesday, September 21, 2005
"I hate those bloody I-ties!"
EurotripI don't have any personal animosity toward our friends in the boot-shaped country (and I'm sure that's a very offensive slur I just don't know about yet) but that is one of my favorite lines from Eurotrip, a highly underrated stupid movie. And it aptly describes my thoughts after watching the mini-Yanks totally outclass the mini-I-ties in a 3-1 win at the U-17 Championships in Peru yesterday.

During the course of the match (in which we could have easily won 5 or 6-nil if not for some just-wide shots and the complete howler the U.S. 'keeper let in (perhaps it's not just Timmah)) we played with more speed, athleticism and talent than the Italians. I'm not sure if it's more to do with the players being 16 and 17 years old and not being talented enough to overcome superior athleticism or if we were really that good.

We played solid defense and moved the ball forward with ease. None of the players seemed comfortable on the FieldTurf field (all matches in this tournament are playing on FieldTurf as FIFA tests it out for future matches) and I think that hurt the midfield play to a point. Still, we were barely on our end of the field, had a goal nullified (that would have been credited to RSL first pick Nik Besagno) for no particular reason and Italy had no answer for forward David Arvizu.

Honestly, in eight or ten years, I'll be able to say I saw when David Arvizu started to become a star. The kid was all over the place. He could stand to improve his finishing but italy had no answer for his speed, his ball control and his ability to push past people. An all-around great game from him.

Except for the howler, the defense was also in good form. Besagno came back to play in the center of defense (instead of his usual role as a d-mid) and I'm sure Coach Ellinger was watching and wishing he could have Nik back for tonight's game against Colorado. Man, RSL needs some help on D. Anyway, Besagno went out with a sprained (maybe more?) ankle but that was the only downside.

Oh, and get this, the Italians were so pissed (after a straight red in the 60th when the assistant referee noticed something the head honcho didn't see) and countless late struggling fouls that after the game was over, they tried to start a fight with the US. One player was so frustrated that he started making motions like he was shooting a basketball, telling the U.S. fans (parents) to go home and play basketball (theoretically in reference to Italy being the first country to beat the U.S. after the U.S. started using NBA players in international competition). Classic.

All in all, a good win. Next up is the Ivory Coast but no Didier Drogba. U.S. is already through to the quarterfinals.

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