Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Satan Said Dance

The Champions League has left me in a void I hadn't approached since Fabian Carini did his best Jenna Jameson impression in World Cup Qualifying. Brasil 2, Uruguay 1 was the worst loss I've ever experienced as a whole.

I was at a bar with my dad watching Uruguay for the first time since 2002. We entered Summers and were shocked to see the remaining 20 Uruguayans on the eastern seaboard drinking beers and loudly conversing - in spanish of course - about Montevideo and Rocha. I was sure my eyes were deceiving me as I scanned the room to see La Celeste jerseys on everyone. My dad and I got pretty bad seats (only 5 minutes till kick, how foolish of us) next to an older Uruguayan couple seemingly enjoying their appetizers.

It took only three minutes for me to curse in Spanish at Forlan's bad pass and the crowd awoke. A group of 20-somethings laughed at my outburst and when I looked back to see if they were laughing at me someone in the crowd responded with, "VAMOS! Carajo!!!" That sufficiently fired the crowd and it was about time because this happened.

The only other time I can remember being filled with such violent joy and the need to scream and flex my muscles was Clint Dempsey's carefree open-lace blast against Ghana (were you in my basement with me Jim?). Well anyway, long story short, if you want to know how I felt - pause the video at the 11 second mark, check Abreu's face, and that was me. The bar was :19.

That's all I remember after that.

Well that's not exactly true. I remember I stared at my dad at one point during the final minute completely heartbroken and devastated and he was lost in thought. He sat there still for a moment, then his eyes flared and he snapped out it. "Lets go," was all he said.

I can hardly imagine what that team has done to him the past 30 years and I realized something after I watched Toure flail behind Babel for the 100th time. The human experience was designed to endure long stretches of misery and failure but not meant to sustain happiness. You can become desensitized to happiness but your threshold for pain only increases. And that's what sports are all about. I had X amount of sports misery and Steven Gerrard simply told me to make room for X + 1.


What have we learned...

Remember when I predicted no English teams would advance except for the winner of Arsenal/Liverpool. Sorry. I came away having learned something important though - the top teams in the EPL enjoy a significant home field advantage. I refuse to buy into the Stamford Bridge streak yet, but now I'll at least listen to what you're selling.

And can someone please explain to me what happened to De Rossi? My publicist is telling me that he effortlessly converted his PK on the biggest mother effing stage already - explain yourself Of-The-Pink. Gosh that would have changed the game completely. Don't let the media fool you with their, "Man Utd on cruise control," or "Manchester United easily through" or, "Man Utd players don't wear condoms when making love to Roma WAGs."

United were in some real danger if De Rossi doesn't miss his first ever* penalty. Ya, ya, then Ferguson brings on Cristi and Rooney. Whatever, crazier things have happened than that game going to PKs. All I'm trying to point out is that Chester looks vulnerable and it's eerily similar to the way the Patriots looked vulnerable in their wins as well. Huh, huh, didnt think I'd mention the patriots did you. Well yeah, I did, that just happened, wrap your mind around that.

(The only problem now is that the loss has to happen to Barca now because facing a familiar foe in Livercrap or Chelsboring isn't going to happen)

Meanwhile, after Jim and I checked into our room at Heartbreak Hotel, we were visited by satan - he said this weekend will give the Gooners one final hurrah on the season and that we should dance. Satan also said that Arsene is gonna start Theo or else. Thanks satan.

Juventus has AC Milan as well - thank god Kaka is healthy again. YAY! I'm sure my two teams aren't going to split the weekend.

Enjoy the weekend.

*may or may not be true


Ben said...

So I'm definetly playing with fire. At some point, it'll come back. my two teams have a total of 4 goals in the last 5 minutes of play. Either this was payback for Appy State or will be the reason why our bullpen keeps blowing games (2 out of our 3 losses so far).

De Rossi channeled Trezi on his PK miss.

We get Liverpool v. Chelsea again, but this time, Chelsea has an uphill battle for the Premier League, so perhaps that tires them out? Maybe I'm just hoping. I mean, can the Reds really go to their 3rd final in 4 years?

It's a shame DC United was unable to advance against Pachuca. But nonetheless, good steps being made by the MLS. Perhaps the new CONCACAF Champions League will be a good step forward, and something I can watch while not being at work (though I will no longer be working at that time).

Jim said...

That may be a bit hard on Trez... he nailed the crossbar in the WC. De Rossi sent his into Row Z.

I like Liverpool to take out Chelsea yet again. Rafa owns that squad, and Liverpool's resilience and mental toughness in this competition never ceases to impress me. In fact, they may be our (I speak for all non-red devils) best hope for ensuring that United don't win that competition as the jury is still out on Barcelona's quality.

Jake said...

let's not forget trez' champs league miss in the finals of 2003 (Milan won) i'm sure he has more infamous misses, but perhaps it was more akin to something beckham would pull, perhaps he channelled beckham sex appeal and trezeguet finishing?

anyway thank god there's another chelsea-liverpool semifinal, this means i'll have something to put me to sleep the next couple of wednesday evenings.
For the record the in the 3 meetings this year both league matches ended in ties, 0-0 at the bridge, 1-1 at anfield, and chelsea won 2-0 in the carling cup at stamford bridge.
last season they met 5 times, liverpool won 2-1 in wales for the community shield, chelsea won 1-0 at home, twice, liverpool won 2-0 at home in EPL and 1-0 at home in champs league of course advancing on penalties,
the year before that 5 more meetings, group stages of champs league 0-0 EPL chelsea wins 4-1 at anfield 2-0 at home, FA cup reds 2-1
2005 you guessed it 5 times, chelsea won the first 3 meetings (including carling cup final), then the champs league semi's 0-0 at the bridge 1-0 at anfield.
What's the point??????
1) chelsea and liverpool will apparently play each other 5 times every year
2) inevitably at least 2 of these will be very very very boring matches
3) to suggest one side "owns" the other is foolish given recent history, these teams seem to be very even chelsea holding the edge 8-5-5 in the last 4 seasons, liverpool winning the 2 most important matches
4) i still think chelsea are currently the better side (keeper questions aside) and will go through given the second leg is at the bridge, any argument that liverpool are the better sides are based on the fact that torres and gerrard are both ubermensch (note: i'm not saying the argument is not valid)

the man utd-barca tie should be very very fun to watch, does anyone know messi/ronaldinho status? barca have looked shaky on defense (especially when playing dirty marquez) but you can't doubt their quality, man utd has some worries at the back as well (especially if rio and vidic aren't 100%) again both sides know how to attack, both venues are magnificent, i'm looking forward to this more than the final

Jim said...

"Rafa owns that squad..."

"in Champions League semifinals" should have been the end of that sentence. On both occasions (05,07), Chelsea were by far the better side in terms of league form and recent performance. So I think Rafa can duplicate that success, especially against a team that has been particularly lackluster in this year's competition. And not lackluster against top teams, either; their opponents for group and knockout have been Schalke, Rosenborg, Valencia, Olympiacos, and Fenerbahce. Decent teams, but not really what you'd call world-beaters. Liverpool, meanwhile, have claimed the scalps of Porto, Inter, and Arsenal. Much better.

Additionally, after seeing Chelsea's displays against Tottenham and Barnsley, can you put any faith in Avram Grant to win a big tie like this?

Apparently nothing can stop the universe from giving us its annual borefest. I can see it now: Liverpool take a 1 nil lead to the Bridge, where they hold the Blues to a 1-1 draw. Or slightly better, they concede there and it goes to penalties, where Pepe Reina does his thang. It's so clear.

Ben said...

Ronaldhino to AC, plus shevchenko. Is AC putting too much together at the risk of losing chemistry? Will this hurt them?

Jake said...

milan are getting ronaldihno and sheva as part of their "youth" movement, (i think those 2 guys drop the average age of the squad by a full year!)