Monday, June 20, 2011

Big Weekend for Jedi Soccer

This past Fathers Day weekend was all good news here in the land of Jedi Soccer, as all of the sides we follow either won or at least tied their respective matches.

First and foremost, the US National Team has finally delivered the kind of dominant performance we all knew they could, but were worried they wouldn't.  The hero of the match was Jermaine Jones, whose hustling performance both defensively and offensively was a real pleasure to see.  His hard work-ing performance in the midfield gave the US possession dominance, and set up Jones to blast a long-range shot that gave the USA a 1 goal lead.  Jones also managed to have a red card drawn on Jamaican defender Jermaine Taylor in the 67th minute, giving the US a one man advantage.  Then, in the 80th minute Juan Agudelo sent a perfect pass to Clint Dempsey, who put away the game-winning goal for the United States.  It was a dominant performance by the US national team, and we are glad to see they have found their mojo again.  Next up is Panama, the same side that defeated the USA just eight days ago.  If this team shows up for that match, Panama will be in trouble.

Moving on to the MLS, DC United tied the ridiculously-named Real Salt Lake ('Royal Salt Lake?'  Really?), 1 - 1.  RSL took the lead in the 39th minute on a converted penatly kick from Fabian Espindola, but DC United 's Charlie Davies returned the favor in the 85th minute when he was taken down in the box by RSL defender Chris Wingert.  This brings Charlie Davies to 7 goals so far this season, and DC United to 4-5-5 and a middle-of-the-pack 5th place standing in the MLS eastern conference. 

In NASL action, our beloved Fort Lauderdale Strikers posted a 0 - 0 draw against the MLS-bound Montreal Impact, another team with a silly name (which should be 'Olympique Montreal').  The really odd thing about the Impact this season, is that they have hardly played like a side about to be advanced to the MLS next season ('promoted' is the wrong word as they did not earn it on the pitch but in the boardroom instead).  Sitting in 7th place in an 8 team league, the Impact was desperate for a win, but they didn't get it against Fort Lauderdale.  To their credit, the Impact dominated the Strikers and missed several good chances to score a goal, but the other side of the ledger was the Strikers dogged defense.  This outcome drops the Strikers to 3-6-2 for the season and 5th place overall; but it is worse for the Impact, whose less-than-inspiring performance this season, calls into question their readiness to play in the MLS.  From my perspective, the Impact is playing like a side that should be relegated to the USL-PRO league, and not promoted to the MLS.  It's more evidence of the crying need for a promotion-and-relegation system in North American soccer, if you ask me. 

Finally, we come to the USL-PRO league, whose Charleston Battery posted a 1 - 0 victory over the Dayton Dutch Lions, the newest team in the league.  Levi Coleman scored late for the Battery in the 77th minute to give them the win, advancing the team to 6-5-3 for this season, and drawing them to within one point of third place Antigua Barracuda FC in the USL-PRO National Division.  This was a good outcome for a classy little soccer franchise.

Overall, it was a good weekend in the land of Jedi Soccer, more especially because the US National Team has finally found its rythym.  All they need to do now, is ride this rythym all the way to the Gold Cup.