It's official, ESPN has begun advertising for the World Cup 2010. The ad shows Lahm's first goal (a neat far-post upper 90) and then Grosso's no-no-no-I-can't-believe head shake and then I don't remember anything after that because I get goosebumps and have to close my eyes. This is the voice in my head when I see it. That clip makes me want to guffaw, cry and throw-up all at the same time and I don't even care about Italy.
There's always time for nostalgia but I have more important things to get to, namely, Giuseppe Rossi effectively ending his citizenship in the United States. Traitor.
Italy vs. USA
Landon Donovan has 10 goals in 24 international appearances. That's not too shabby when you consider that many knowing soccer fans contend that Donovan is the USA's best player. If you would agree with such an assessment then I have a very, very worrying caveat to that statistic. 8 of those goals are from penalty kicks. 1 is from a free-kick and the other is from "free play." Yikes. I like that he is efficient from the spot but my goodness, 1 goal in 24 appearances from flowing soccer? That's reveals something. More on this later.
To the game:
The US looks really frisky! Italy seems a little slow out of the gates and we could make this happen. I watch Michael Bradley scuff the ball and blow a free shot on Buffon just outside the six and I think, hmmm, that reveals something. Then a few minutes later, Jozy Altidore (America's soccer equivalent of Barack Obama) also mishits a shot bearing down on Buffon. Hmmm.
What's that Ricardo Clark, you're an idiot? Yes you are. It may be a bad call but he sees red and we're down to 10 men. Ricardo has no explanation for kicking Gattuso in the upper-knee 3 seconds after the ball had vacated the area so does it really matter it was a harsh card? The answer is, "Ricardo Clarke is an idiot." Landon converts a PK - of course - but if you didn't know, the sun is setting on this game. Sorry Alexei Lalas but it's true.
By the way, allow me to take this space to illustrate Alexei Lalas' career for the red white and blue. Lalas led the United States in 1994 to a 3rd place group finish and a -1 goal differential overall losing in the first round of the knock-out stages. In 1998 Lalas led the United States to a -4 goal differential and last place finish in the group stages. But he did have a weird hair-do!
If I had to liken him to one other US player I'd go with Brandi Chastain. So yeah, Alexei Lalas.
Halftime. Back to the studio where we're joined by Alexei Lalas! What a coincidence. Anyway, Alex, sporting a subdued haircut, rants about the horrible call on Ricardo Clarke. He then, let the record show, claims that Jozy embellished the PK but, "hey, that's what you have to do." Very interesting. I personally don't think that Jozy embellished the foul and even if he did I do agree, that's what you have to do. So at least Lalas and I agree on that.
The 2nd half starts and wouldn't you know it, that son of a bitch Jersey trash traitor subs on. I speak of course of Giuseppe Rossi. Then a few moments later, on his first touch, he steals the ball, takes a few strides and absolutely launches past Tim Howard. 1-1. Just like that.
Does anyone else think that Tim Howard is becoming overrated a shocking pace? I digress.
Italy is the one that looks frisky now and our only hope, Jozy, gets subbed off in the 66th minute. Chances of the US holding on for 1 point fall like BearStearn's stock. 5 minutes later Daniele De Rossi, no relation to Giuseppe, rolls a shot past Tim Howard for number 2. It bounces perhaps tre times, passes by tre players (who all have enough time to react to it) and does not hit the side netting from 35 out. Announcers blame Iguchi for screening Timothy. That's interesting - usually a shot from 35 out is well seen. I'm no goal-keeper though, just someone who can count how many times a ball bounces before it rolls into the back of the net.
1 minute later (72nd) we officially throw in the towel. Do you know how I know - Demarcus Beasley subs onto the pitch. I stay tuned because hey, there are always set pieces for the US to score on. Luca Toni misses three easy chances - apparently he hasn't quite shaken that National Team slump he's in. This immediately changes my mindset from, hey let's steal one back, to, hey lets just not get embarrassed. Nope. Giuseppe smashes home a volley after Pirlo walks, read that correctly, walks by Jay Demerit. 3-1.
I hope Cash Cab is on. This reminds me I need to call my friend Jon and ask him if he ever rode in the Cash Cab when he lived in New York. Jon was always trying to hail that cash cab.