Friday, June 26, 2009

Showdown in Chinatown 2009: The Recap

Steve Nash in flight

You've already seen the pictures and read our impressions. You've watched the video.

Now, after the hop, get a full recap of the match itself from our kid, the Likely Lad.

Blue - Team Reyna

Claudio Reyna
Adrian Mutu
Salomon Kalou
Quincy Owusu Abeyie (Spartak Moscow)
Javier Zanetti
Tony Parker
Ivan Cordoba
Javier Zanetti
Marc Stein
Thierry Henry (second half intro)
Mike Quarino (GK)

White - Team Nash

Steve Nash
Grant Hill
Chris Bosh
Mathieu Flamini
Edgar Davids
Martin Nash (Steve’s bro, who plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps)
Francesco Santoro (GK)

Showdown in Chinatown: The Rematch
Chris Bosh is tall, popular in New York City

by The Likely Lad

New York City-- Tony Parker came to play. We know because he told us. UF asked for a comment ten minutes before the game began and Parker declined, saying he "did press already." As far as I can tell that meant signing a couple footballs, taking a few pictures with the kids, then twisting his face in agony whenever Thierry Henry strayed from his side. It lasted all of ten minutes.

There's no karma in Tony Parker's world -- that is, we're still waiting -- he's won three NBA titles, is married to an equally vapid but especially beautiful television actress, and scored a fantastic goal not five minutes into Wednesday evening's Second Annual Showdown in Chinatown. His side, Team Reyna, would go on to win 8-5 at Nike Field on Chrystie Street.

Parker's piece of accidental magic capped off a sequence that began when teammate Chris Bosh played a neat one-two with himself. He's that tall; his legs are that long. The NBA star played the "Eddie the Eagle" card and ended the evening as the fan favorite. The Frenchman, though, rode his unending luck, skipping and redirecting a low, hard pass through his legs, turning the Team Nash goalie sideways for the opener.

He would come close again minutes later, but an aggressive slide from the same keeper stole out his feet and opened ten minutes of muted play -- nerves? Probably more to do with the surface, which was still wet from the late afternoon thundershowers. The rain fell until just minutes before gametime.

The play soon reached a comfortable speed -- looked like about 200 mph from where we stood, behind the Team Reyna bench -- and just in time for Arsenal defector Mathieu Flamini to level with the game's most pulsating strike. Team Captain Nash had fed Ryan Babel (who played with a bit of mean streak) into the box with a bouncing pass. Babel collected, then juggled in and around a passive defense before skipping the ball to Flamini, who connected on a full volley. The velocity was, as I recall, simply terrifying.

It was game on from there, as the Rossoneri Frenchman tried his luck again just moments later. The juices were flowing. Everyone wanted a piece now.

The strongest nose for goal belonged to Team Reyna's Adrian Mutu. The Romanian, playing to his considerable rooting section, was sniffing out opportunities at every turn. Cutting and tweaking through the Nash team's defense, he found Bosh alone in front, where the hoops giant had camped out all alone, just in time to bend one like Bent... and nearly skull a spectator.

Bosh was more efficient in front of his own keeper, where his shambolic clearance attempt -- he fouled it off, for lack of a better term -- led to an own goal, and a 2-1 lead for Nash's white side.

Bosh played a nominal left back position, though the purist may have preferred he'd been left home. As for the rest, he was a sensation. Completely lost in every situation, he was particularly befuddled by the "kicking of the ball." His aerial game was similarly ...emm ...distracted.

Teammate Salomon Kalou had no such difficulties. As Norwich City youth squad coach John Revell noted, Kalou plays the ball, not the other way around, and all of his considerable trickery comes in context. No wonder then his considerable work led to the tying goal, which, shock!, was credited to Tony Parker.

"It was no classic," Revell said, apparently unimpressed by Parker's last touch.

The score stayed tied as the first half progressed and Mutu continued to distinguish himself with skillful hard work. That, or he was just sweating one off.

The Romanian would eventually break the deadlock, but not before Grant Hill, playing sprightly for Nash's white team, executed the move of the game, nutmegging a hopeless Bosh during an Alves-esque drive down the right flank. It was going to happen eventually, but leave it to the Duke guy to pick on the least experienced player on the field. Ten thousand ugly co-eds cheering him and Hill might have had a flashback to Cameron Indoor.

Edgar Davids, the most obvious of the Dutch assembly (along with Babel), followed in close kind with a tittering display of ball skill. It amounted to nothing as the humorless Ivan Cordoba dispossessed him with a clean snap. Davids was masterful in his role of Dutch ball hog, and yes, spectators could be heard calling him a "hog."

The half would end just after the referee awarded a PK to Steve Nash. Either T.H. Ovrebo has stepped onto the turf or Nash was getting some preferential treatment. The call came after he botch an unmolested attempt on goal via bicycle kick. His effort from the spot was not too much better, but it did find the net, and give his side a one-goal advantage heading into halftime. (Note: the goal would be rescinded at halftime, or so we're told.)

After a quick break, some promotional squawking, and a t-shirt grab, the players resumed their endeavor, but this time with a certain former-Arsenal forward now on the pitch in his Nike high tops. Somewhere, Spectator swooned. It was Henry, and even in his malaise he could have set up or scored five or six goals for Team Nash.

Alas, proving he hasn't totally kicked the Arsenal bug, Titty managed just one, this despite hours of prancing and passing around the box. Mutu was more direct, mainlining ball after ball into the paths of his teammates, and eventually two more past Team Nash's worn out keeper.

Player ratings

Blue - Team Reyna

Claudio Reyna - 7 - Sleek and sharp as ever. And he stayed healthy ALL day.
Adrian Mutu - 8 - Ball moved at his leisure.
Salomon Kalou - 9 - Game MVP. Dribbling, creativity, demeanor... had the whole package. Cool dude.
Quincy Owusu Abeyie (Spartak Moscow) - 5 - Mystery man wasn't much of a factor.
Javier Zanetti- 7 - Part of the solid Inter-based backline. Allowed the others to roam as he and Cordoba shut up shop.
Tony Parker - 6 - Couple lucky goals preceded an impotent second half.
Ivan Cordoba - 7 - Did anyone tell him this was an exhibition? Wasn't violent, but played some serious D.
Marc Stein - 7 - That rating is for his outstanding Twitter performance, including the bit about Grant Hill recalling watching Cruyff play in the NASL.
Thierry Henry (second half intro) - 6 - Didn't do much, but clearly the most awe-inspiring presence. Didn't think we'd see him due to injury.

White - Team Nash

Steve Nash - 7 - Clearly the point guard. In the Cruyff role, if only cos he was surrounded by so many Dutchmen.
Grant Hill - 6 - Another b-baller who more than held his own. The nutmegging of Bosh was special.
Chris Bosh - 1 - The Hero, still.
Mathieu Flamini - 5 - Mostly invisible, save for that horrifying volleyed blast into upper right of Reyna's goal.
Edgar Davids - 6 - A fifth place finish, if you get my drift.
Martin Nash (Steve’s bro, who for the Vancouver Whitecaps) - 5 - Nooot bad, not bad at all. Stayed 3/4 serious and held his own.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst - 3 - Rumors of his appearance have been greatly exaggerated.


The Fan's Attic said...

No ratings for the GKs?

A birdie who played in the game told me a GK was man of the match.

Spectator said...

Well, the editor of the Likely Lad's piece added in the goalkeepers after the fact.

Keith said...

Mutu. . . was sniffing out opportunities

I see what you did there.

Anonymous said...

look at one of our members said:

Great stuff. My pics are no where near as cool. A friend of mine went to the after party, he just got a call and showed up (lucky bastard) and he's got a ton of pics with the guys. He was thrilled to chill with Zanetti (He's a big Inter supporter). Says no one wanted to bid on Flamini's shirt. It eventually sold but took a while and the poor guy wasn't really talking to anyone. I feel really bad for him, it was bad enough people were heckling him throughout the game.


poor matthew :(

k$ said...

They've got video of Nash's attempted bicycle kick and PK goal here:

Not much of a foul on Stein in my opinion...

inter4life5 said...

i was at this, it was really cool... they gave the pk to nash just to give it to him. i got shitty pics of it on my cell phone