"Let me tell you about Sweden, only country where the clouds are interesting."
"Too much time to think, too little to do."
"It's all quiet on the Eastern front."
meaningless very important friendly between a mishmash of fringe American and Swedish players! We sure do love US Soccer here, so why not join me for a liveblog after the jump? YIPPEE!
Here's what we know: The U.S. plays Mexico in an important World Cup Qualifier on February 11th, but practically none of the players who will be in that match will be playing tonight. Similarly, most of the Swedish regulars won't be playing today. So, it's basically the U.S. C Team versus the Swedish C Team. Oh, and the game takes place in California, so no ogling at Swedish fans in the stands. Still with me?
You see, I've got a cold and have basically been on the couch the past few days, so why not try (my best) to follow along with this game? If nothing else let's have a nice chat in the comments, shall we? And, worst case, we can each have ourselves a nice nap.
I'll be back closer to 8:00pm EST with starting lineups and whatnot.
Pregame: Yup, I'm back and rearing to go. The storyline tonight is whether some of the younger and fringe players can earn their way into Bob Bradley's good graces. Otherwise, well... Cops is on Fox, and I believe there's a Time Life infomercial featuring the Bowzer on another channel. The Bowzer hasn't really aged well.
Your starting lineups...
USMT: Troy Perkins, Marvell Wynne, Michael Parkhurst, Danny Califf (captain), Jonathan Bornstein, John Thorrington, Sacha Kljestan, Ricardo Clark, Robbie Rogers, Charlie Davies, Brian Ching
Let me tell you about Sweden: Johan Dahlin, Markus Jonsson, Marcus Lindberg, Max von Schlebrügge, Adam Johansson, Daniel Andersson (captain), Andreas Dahl, Gustav Svensson, Samuel Holmén, Daniel Nannskog, Mikael Dahlberg.
Oh look, FSC sprung to send Bretos to the match! And there are literally dozens of people in the stands to see the game.
Oops, I left out Kljestan up in the lineup. You were paying attention and noticed that, didn't you?
Bob Bradley is being interviewed outside his hotel, and he's wearing his U.S. Soccer uniform. I bet he sleeps in that uniform.
Speaking of sleep, Bob Bradley speaking puts me to sleep.
Uh... so, I hope that Kljestan signs with Celtic, that would be cool. 13 more minutes till this game starts. The anticipation is killing me, and just in time is a kind of creepy interview with USWT coach Pia Sundhage.
I'm taking this opportunity to express my hatred of the constant Proactiv ads on FSC.
Shots of the stands... I wonder what kind of person shows up to a US v. Sweden friendly at the Home Depot Center?
Poor Brian Ching, always a USMT bridesmaid, never a bride.
And the players are coming out on the pitch... but first more commercials. I'm betting there will be at least one for Proactiv.
Yay I win, it's a Proactiv ad. If there were a FSC bingo board, than Proactiv would be the free space.
Okay, after 35 minutes of exciting buildup, it's the... coin toss and handshakes. We're getting closer to the game starting. I have chills running down my spine.
Mark Rogondino has a face that belongs on Mount Rushmore. He's craggy.
Kickoff: Sweden gets it going and pass it back to their defenders before punting it up the field. Promising start.
2: So far, the young Americans are showing their talent at kicking the ball out of play.
4: Landon Donovan is the Peyton Manning of US Soccer. Discuss.
6: Christopher Sullivan suggests that Larsson should come to MLS. Yeah I see that happening. USMT putting some pressure outside the Swedish goal. There looks to be an early goal in this one.
10: More shaky defending by the Swedes. Their back four would make Arsenal proud. On the other end, Sweden earn a corner kick that Kljestan heads away.
13: Marvel Wynne with a nice run down the right and corner. And Thorrington makes a good tackle. Color Bob Bradley.... impressed. Otherwise, just a lot of running around.
14: I think Sullivan just compared Kljestan to Pirlo? Wha?
17: GOAL! 1-0 USA! Hello Celtic, you paying attention? Kljestan scores a beautiful curling freekick.
18: And Bretos compares Kljestan to Lampard and Ballack. Who's next? Cristiano Ronaldo? Torres? Fabregas? Kaka?
22: More running around, a few late tackles by the Swedes that the ref lets go, and the U.S. is pressing for a second. Oh and a plug for Fox Football Fone In. I bet in real life Steven Cohen yells at people all the time, like when he orders coffee at Starbucks... "I want A TALL LATTE!! WITH SKIM!!"
27: Andersson takes out Kljestan with a flick of his foot and earns a deserved yellow card. Dirty, dirty Swedes!
30: And now some sloppy end-to-end play, capped by Wynne winning a ball down the right for a throw-in. Like almost all of the American defenders, Wynne would be top notch if only he were around 3-4 inches taller.
33: Robbie Rogers finally does something useful by earning a freekick, that's taken by Kljestan again but redirected for a corner that's eventually cleared.
36: Wynne makes a nice play that results in a US breakaway that comes to nothing. Sweden must've really left their decent players at home. They look pretty crap.
39: Another great play by the Americans, who maintain possession until Wynne makes a run and is taken down for a penalty that...
40: GOAL (penalty) 2-0! Kljestan easily converts. The nice thing about that goal was the Americans finally showed some concerted ball control, something that's been lacking in 99% of the MLS matches I've seen. If the next generation of Americans can finally learn basic ball control skills, maybe the USMT finally will become relevant (there, I said it).
44: Sweden cross into the box but no one is there to meet it. Meanwhile, Bretos and Sullivan are waxing nostalgic about the Swedish leagues. Halftime is almost here, and I have a feeling I'm the last one still watching!
45: With one minute of extra time, Ching earns a freekick around 15 yards out that Robbie Rogers kicks straight into the wall. US up 2-0. I'll be back for the second half, assuming I don't fall asleep.
Halftime: Even Bretos just admitted that this is a boring game. 'Nuff said. Between more Proactiv ads, they ran that It Starts Here ad. I'm a fan of that one.
46: And they're off... Kenny Cooper is on for Charlie Davies.
47: Someone forgot to tell the Swedes the game started again. They let Klejstan cut through their defense before giving up a corner, which is just barely cleared off the line.
50: Although it's still all the Americans, who are maintaining control but can't quite manage to finish, the Swedes manage to kick the ball around at the other end before giving up a goal kick. So far just more kicking about. I will say I like the way that Thorrington plays: he's everywhere and is willing to give up his body (which is what you'd hope for from a 29-year-old journeyman earning his fourth cap).
54: Sweden can't manage to keep the ball in play, and the U.S. are just slightly better.
56: And Thorrington takes a presumptuous shot from 30 yards out that's well wide. So much for him playing within himself.
60: Let me tell you about Sweden, only country where the clouds are interesting, big brother says it's place to go, too much time to think too little to do. Yellow card to Danny Califf on a very late challenge.
61: Chris Rolfe on for Thorrington. Sweden makes a sub too, not that it really matters. Bretos says that the US will be fielding a top team for the Confederations Cup. Great.
68: Well, this game has descended into tedium. Sweden almost get an open play on goal but the American defenders close. That's about the most exciting thing that's happened in a while. Oh, and Kenny Cooper kicked the ball into a defender.
69: Rolfe does his best Gerrard impression and kicks the ball into the stands behind the net. Brian Carroll on for Rogers.
73: Shambolic defending leads to a freekick just outside the box. But Kljestan can't get the hattrick, he kicks the ball straight at the goalkeeper.
74: GOAL SWEDEN! 2-1. Nice cross and bad defending by Bornstein gives Nannskog a classy header.
75: GOAL USA! 3-1. Kljestan hattrick! Set up beautifully by Brian Ching, who uses his body to control the ball and set up Kljestan. That should help his standing with Celtic.
76: Oof Sweden get a shot on goal to almost pull one back. Eddie Gaven on for Brian Ching, who had a good game. I just wonder if Brian Ching can ever manage to play as well when it isn't against lower competition. Just askin'.
79: Kljestan goes for a fourth, but it's blocked by a defender. Chris Wingert on for Bornstein.
82: And we're back to shambolic play. Lots of bodies flying and no concerted possession by either side.
82: Ihemelu for Parkhurst. And FSC has some stupid fact about how Kljestan is only the second player to score his first three national team goals via a hattrick.
86: I have no idea who some of these American subs are and, by the way they're playing, I think I now know why.
87: Ihemulu clears a soft shot off the line. Things are a bit ragged now.
89: GOAL SWEDEN. 3-2. Right on cue. Another good cross, more poor defending, another good header. Swedish subs are outplaying the American subs.
90: Long distance strike by the Americans, and now it's back into the American half before the ref calls a free kick. Three minutes of extra time for the U.S. to kill off.
92: Oh Kenny Cooper. He has a breakaway and only the goalie to beat, but drags it wide and doesn't have the speed or the skill to get past the keeper. It's end to end at the, uh, end.
FULL TIME. USA 3, SWEDEN 2. Pretty much what you would expect. Poor game, Sacha Kljestan was the star, Brian Ching and Marvel Wynne both played well, and most of the American fringe players deserve to remain on the fringe. Thanks for wasting a perfectly good Saturday evening with me!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
"Let me tell you about Sweden, only country where the clouds are interesting."