Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Winter Doldrums

What does the US soccer fan do for the next few months until important matches start up again? Well, there’s the EPL and other European leagues to follow. The FIFA World Club Championship gets going soon. The NCAA tournament’s second round will be played today, though honestly with its bizzaro substitution rules, the college game leaves me a bit clammy. The World Cup draw is on December 9th, which will offer a shot in the arm. While I’m not down on all the rules regarding pots, seeds, etc., a dream draw for the US could be: Czech Rep., Ukraine, Togo, U.S. Like-wise, a horror draw might look like: Argentina, Italy, Switzerland, U.S. Let’s hope for the former.

While the final wasn’t a thing of beauty, congrats to the LA Galaxy and their fans for winning the MLS Cup & the double. Check out the MLS Pictures production on FSC to see how the Gals battered Twellman, Noonan & Co. into submission. I hope that Adidas steps up & produces more of MLS Pictures in ’06. Here’s to the Soca Warriors as well for qualifying for their first-ever World Cup finals. It’s a little strange, though, that CONCACAF will be sending the same amount of teams as South America and Asia. Trinidad will benefit not only significantly from the influx of cash for reaching Germany, but the global exposure for the island nation will certainly increase tourism revenues there over the next few years.

2005: A Look Back
What a fantastic year for soccer in the US. Here’s a calendar-style look at some big matches in 2005. There are many more than didn’t make the list, but I hope these bring back great memories.

Jan 12-16: The US U-20s sweep through qualifying for the World Youth Championship with a 10-1 aggregate in three matches.

Feb 9: Eddies Johnson & Lewis kick-off the Hex with a 2-1 road win vs. Trinidad.

Mar 9: Clint Mathis scores his probable last goal for the US in a 3-0 spanking of Colombia in Fullerton. Across the continent, DC beats Harbour View in the CCC, 2-1 in Germantown, MD. KC ties Saprissa 0-0 at Arrowhead.

Mar 16: DC wins their road CCC tie with Harbour View, 2-1.

Mar 17: KC gives up a goal in injury time, then falls in OT at Saprissa to lose their CCC tie.

Mar 27: The US is flat in a 2-1 loss to Mexico at the Azteca. Lewis gets the US goal.

Mar 30: The Yanks rebound by beating Guatemala, 2-0 in Birmingham, AL on goals by Eddie Johnson & Ralston.

Apr 2: The MLS season kicks off: the Metros and RSL chase a ball around Giants stadium in a monsoon. The match ends 0-0.

Apr 6: DC draws Mexico’s UNAM Pumas 1-1 at RFK in the CCC Semis.

Apr 12 -16: The US U-17s go 2-0-1 in CONCACAF qualifying to reach the final tournament.

Apr 13: Pumas decimate DC, 5-0 in Mexico City to end the defending MLS Champs’ CCC dreams.

May 28: Clint Dempsey gets only US goal in a 2-1 loss to England at Soldier Field.

May 31: Michael Owen scores a hat trick, upstaging David Beckham in England’s 3-2 win over Colombia at Giants Stadium. In the nightcap, Amado Guevara curls in the game winner in extra time to give the Metros a 2-1 win over Chicago.

Jun 4: Salt Lake celebrates its first USMNT match as the Nats beat down Costa Rica 3-0. Donovan (2) and McBride are the goal scorers.

Jun 8: What a difference a year makes in Panama City. The Yanks win at Panama 3-0 behind goals from Bocanegra, Donovan, and McBride.

Jun 11-21: the US U-20s make some noise at the World Youth Championship in Holland by beating eventual champion Argentina 1-0, drawing Germany 0-0, and beating Egypt 1-0 to win its group. In the round of 16 vs. Italy, the Gnats take a 1-0 halftime lead, then get drubbed in the second half and crash out, 3-1.

Jul 7-24: The Gold Cup. The US barnstorms the country with a second-string squad, beating Cuba 4-1 and Canada 2-0 in Seattle, drawing Costa Rica 0-0 and beating Jamaica 3-1 in Foxboro. In the semis at Giants Stadium, the US goes down a goal to Honduras, then gets goals from John O’Brien and Oguchi Oneywu in the last five minutes to win 2-1. After 120 of scoreless soccer vs. Panama in the final, Brad Davis scores the decisive penalty kick to give the US its 3rd Gold Cup Championship.

Jul 18: Real Madrid beats LA 2-0 at Carson.

Jul 27: AC Milan beats Chicago 3-1 at Soldier Field.

Jul 28: DC United’s Bobby Boswell scores early against Chelsea at FedEx Field, but the EPL champs come back to win, 2-1.

Jul 30: The MLS All-stars beat Fulham 4-1 in Columbus.

Aug 3: The Metros crash out of the US Open Cup, 3-1 at Rochester.

Aug 6: Pizza Hut Park opens in Frisco, TX. Youri Djorkaeff and Carlos Ruiz each score twice in a 2-2 draw.

Aug 17: The US gets a first-minute goal by Brian McBride, but can’t score again in a dominating but frustrating 1-0 win vs. Trinidad in E. Hartford, CT.

Aug 23: The MLS “Select XI” is defeated by Real Madrid 5-0 at the Bernabeu.

Aug 29: Tab Ramos, Marcela Balboa, and John Harkes are inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, NY.

Sep 3: Steve Ralston and DaMarcus Beasley score to give the US a 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus. The win qualifies the US for their fifth straight World Cup.

Sep 7: In a meaningless game for the US, the Yanks draw at Guatemala City, 0-0

Sep 13: Jamil Walker scores in the 81st minute to give DC a 1-1 draw in their Copa Sudamericana opener vs. Chile’s U. Catolica at RFK.

Sep 17-26: At the U-17 World Championships in Peru, the US beats N. Korea 3-2, Italy 3-1, and draws Cote d’Iviore to win its group. The Mini-nats fall in the quarterfinals 2-0 to Holland.

Sep 22: DC United takes a 2-0 lead at U. Catolica, then give up three successive goals, the last in the 86th minute, to lose 4-3 on aggregate to the Chileans. U. Catolica is currently preparing to face Boca Juniors in the Copa Sudamericana’s semifinals.

Sep 28: Herculez Gomez scores the only goal of the game, giving LA the US Open Cup over FC Dallas.

Oct 3: The US B-team is beat 3-0 at Costa Rica.

Oct 12: The US finishes World Cup qualifying atop the Hexagonal for the first time after beating Panama 2-0 at Foxboro.

Oct 16: The MetroStars win at Chivas USA in the final match of the MLS regular season to qualify for the playoffs.

Oct 21: DC ties Chicago 0-0 at Soldier Field to open the MLS playoffs.

Oct 22: MetroStars beat New England 1-0 at Giants Stadium, Colorado and FC Dallas play to a scoreless draw.

Oct 23: LA beats San Jose 3-1 to take a commanding lead in their playoff series.

Oct 29: Host New England goes down 2-0 aggregate to the Metros, then scores three unanswered goals to advance to the Eastern Conf. Finals. Colorado beats FC Dallas in penalty kicks, and LA’s 1-1 draw at San Jose lifts the Galaxy to the next round.

Oct 30: Chicago obliterates DC 4-0 at RFK to end United’s repeat hopes.

Nov 5: Donovan’s two goals send LA to the MLS Cup.

Nov 6: Dempsey punches New England’s ticket to Frisco with an early goal.

Nov 12: Josh Wolff scored in the US’ 1-1 draw vs. Scotland at Glasgow.

Nov 13: Pando Ramirez delivers LA its second MLS Cup.

Quite a year, huh? Well, 2006 should be even better with LA and NE in the CCC, Hopefully more Copa Sudamericana, a possible MLS-MFL showdown, Bridgeview’s opening, and a quaint little tourney in Germany. Lots to look forward to.

The Kin of Fish will slow down a bit during the off-season, but please come back to visit every once in a while for updates. I’ve got an RSS feed as well, so you’ll know when new updates are posted. Check it out.

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