Saturday, June 17, 2006

U.S vs. Italy Journal

I'm here sitting on my couch waiting for the game to start, so I figured I would post notes from today's U.S./Italy World Cup match periodically. I may include notes from the four soccer games I refereed earlier today as well. Please feel free to write comments throughout and after the match.

2:35pm (Eastern Time) Why is Taylor Hicks doing Ford commercials? Did he sell out already? Is it possible for him to ever sell in?

I missed the Czech Republic-Ghana game. Was Ghana really good, the Czechs bad or a combination of both?
2:41 Commercial for the new Superman movie. I’m not sure I really want to see it, but I like the bald look for Kevin Spacey plus he’ll probably make a good bad guy.

2:47 ABC just showed three U.S. fans wearing Harlem Globetrotter jerseys. The Globetrotters are great, but what do they have to do with soccer?

2:50 More commercials. Please start the game.

2:52 Dave O’Brien and Marcelo Balboa are calling the game. Balboa looks a little scary. A haircut would be nice.

2:53 Let me state for the record that I hate the red and gray referee jerseys. I’m sure they will start requiring all referees to wear them. I really don’t want to buy a new referee jersey.

2:56 The Italian national anthem is nice. However, why did they show at Italian guy in the stands wearing no shirt and a Speedo? Call security and get him out of the stadium!

2:57 For the U.S. national anthem, ABC showed several Americans with U-S-A written on their chests. At least they weren’t wearing Speedos.

2:59 Bocanegra and Dempsey get the start for the Americans today. I’m surprised the Johnson isn’t starting in place of McBride up front as well.
3rd minute: The U.S. already has 4 fouls. Fortunately, none of them have really hurt the U.S. Another foul; 2nd on Onyewu. He needs to be careful or he’ll get a card soon.

4th minute: Yellow card for Totti of Italy. He deserved it for a cheap tackle. He’s also the one player on the Italian team that I know which means he’s really good.

7th minute: Good no call. Donovan was trying to draw a foul in Italy’s box.

9 minutes in: Besides all of the fouls (7 overall), the U.S. has played well. They’re not intimidated and seem much more aggressive today.

11th minute: Nice play by Onyewu stopping an Italian 1-on-1. I don't know any of the players names on Italy, so if you are looking for extremely thorough analysis, this is probably not the place.
13th minute: I’m getting into the game. I just yelled at the TV when McBride was taken out just outside the penalty box. Great opportunity for the U.S.

14th minute: The kick went directly into Italy’s wall. U.S. corner kick.

15th minute: Clint Dempsey is making things happen. Great cross which Convey kicked all the way to Poland. Dempsey then missed just wide on a shot from about 20 yards out.

This game is being played in Kaiserslautern. I’ve never heard of this city. Is it near Keyser Soze? (Speaking of Kevin Spacey...)

20th minute: Yellow card for Eddie Pope.

21st minute: Goal for Italy. There was a foul by Donovan (I think). On the free kick Alberto Gilardino had a diving header for the goal.

23rd minute: There’s an injured Italian player. Bathroom break!

26th minute: GOAL FOR THE U.S! I don't care it it's an own goal (meaning the Italian player knocked it in). It's a goal

27th minute: RED CARD on De Rossi (not Portia from Ally McBeal and Arrested Development). He elbowed McBride in the face. McBride's bleeding nicely. It's 11 on 10 now. This game has got really exciting. I think the Italians are losing their composure. Get a T.O. baby!
I’m so inspired by the red card that I just went outside, saw a squirrel and gave it a red card. The squirrel responded by running up a tree.

35th minute: Substitution; Totti is out. That is really early for a sub.

39th minute: Carlos Zambrano was just offsides for Italy. I didn’t realize he played for the Italians and the Cubs.

41st minute: Great shot by Mastroeni (of the U.S. not Italy) from about 40 yards out. Just high…didn’t miss by much.

45th minute: Red card on Mastroeni. Bad call. He slid for the ball and got the man. It should have been a yellow, but not a red. Balboa says it’s a make-up call from the earlier red card given to De Rossi.
Welcome back (or just welcome) for the Second Half! The score is tied at 1.

47th minute: Bad foul by Pope. He got a second yellow, which means he’s gone. Balboa (who is a big time homer) thinks it’s an awful call. I think it’s actually a good call but my brother (who refs many more games than me) agrees with Balboa. The U.S. is now playing 9 against Italy’s 10. That’s not good.

52nd minute: Substitution. Conrad in for Convey. I’m a U.S. soccer fan but I have no idea who Conrad is. Italy almost converts on the free kick. The ball is deflected by a U.S. player off the crossbar. Italy is killing the Americans on these set plays.

If the U.S. has any chance of winning, Donovan and Dempsey have to make something happen.
62nd minute: DeMarcus Beasley is in for Dempsey. Like I said, if the U.S. has any chance of winning, Donovan and Beasley have to make something happen. I expect big things from Beasley today.

63rd minute: Donovan sets up McBride for a shot. McBride misses badly with his left foot.

65th minute: GOAL U.S!!!! Wait no goal. McBride was offsides and obstructed the keeper. Great shot by Beasley; McBride was in the wrong place. Arena is going nuts. If this was basketball, he’d get a technical. My brother just called and was laughing at Arena. Completely unrelated, but I wonder if there is a “Bruce Arena” somewhere in the world. Same with a “Chan Ho Park.”

68th minute: Carlos Zambrano just misses a shot wide from 20 yards away. I don’t care if his name really is Zambrotta. Calling him the Cubs pitcher is more fun.

70th minute: Yellow card for Zambrano/Zambrotta for pushing. A yellow card wasn't deserved.
73rd minute: Great diving save by Keller. Italy is really putting on the pressure. If they are able to stay onsides (they have been off about 10 times this half), it could be trouble.

Is Italy known for their sideburns? It seems like all of their players have unique sideburns.

77th minute: Del Piero (who will also be known as Del Monte) had a shot from about 30 yards out that Keller deflected away.

The game is playing slow now. I think both teams are really tired. I say suck it up! I was a referee and assistant referee for four games today (4+ hours). It is 95 and humid here in DC. It’s only 68 in Germany.

Balboa is still complaining about the refs. Just shut-up and get a haircut!
I’m like Brian McBride, but I think it’s time to put in Eddie Johnson or Josh Wolff or even Brian Ching. Why not put in someone with fresh legs to stretch the Italian D?

Balboa just said exactly what I wrote regarding Johnson or Wolff.

90th minute: 3 minutes of stoppage time. It looks like it will be a draw.

Game over. It basically comes down to this. If the U.S. defeats Ghana AND Italy defeats the Czech Republic on June 22nd, the U.S. will advance to the 2nd round.

Thanks for joining me today. Nap time!

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