Digital Headbutt

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Archive for August, 2007

LSU vs. Miss. State Live Blog: College Football is Back!

Posted by Mike on August 30, 2007

If you’ve read Digital Headbutt in recent months, you may have noticed that I’ve covered quite a bit of “futbol”. But now my true love, college football, has finally returned.

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The first real game is tonight, as Missisippi State hosts the #2 ranked LSU Tigers. LSU looks to compete for a national title in 2007, while Sylvester Croom’s 10-year plan to get to a bowl game should be right on schedule. Better than the game’s matchup (which should be a blowout), or even the return of all that football means, will the the potential comedic value of watching the coaches; Every Day Should Be Saturday will never let me look at the SEC in the same way.

I’m just glad to see some football, some real football, for the first time in months.

8:06 pm: The football season begins, well, predictably. The Bulldogs have the ball for exactly 26 seconds before punting on a 3-and-out.

8:07 pm: For the love of God, my eyes! Don’t show me Miss Mississippi and then put James Carville into my face. So much pretty, then a man ugly enough to make the banjo player from “deliverance” a ladies’ man. Make it stop, ESPN.

8:10 pm, 11:30 left in the first quarter. After a quick scramble by QB Matt Flynn, the Tigers get a first down with a fullback run up the middle on 3rd and short.

8:12 pm, 10:42 left. Just as Early Doucet makes a nice catch on the sideline, we see the first true sign of football: “DEAD BALL, FALSE START, ON THE OFFENSE. FIVE YARD PENALTY, REPEAT THE DOWN.” I have no idea why that makes me giddy.

Announcer watch: Craig James likes to push it, push it real good!

8:14 pm, 10:19 left. The Bulldogs break up the deep pass on third and long, and the Tigers…wait, they’re punting? from the 34 yard line? boooooooooo… The first chicken play of the season, and it certainly won’t be the last.

8:15 pm: ESPN, don’t be showing me a soccer ad on the first day of college football! I am DEFINITELY not in the mood.

8:17, 9:23 left in the 1st. Miss. State completes two short passes, but get no yardage after the catch. They face a third and long.

8:18, 8:43 left in the 1st. INTERCEPTION! Michael Henig throws a deep pass under pressure, and the floater gets picked off by LSU safety Danny McCray.

8:22, 7:45 left in the first. After Jacob Hester gets into field goal range, Kieland Williams makes a huge run to the MSU 12 yard line. The run offense is really clicking right now for the Tigers…

8:24, 6:40, left. …and that’s a good thing, because Matt Flynn hasn’t been passing the ball very well.

8:25, 6:28 left. Hester can’t handle the pass overhead on third down, and LSU has to settle for a short field goal. LSU leads, 3-0.

8:30, 5:30 left. Holy crap, stop the presses! Mississippi State has first down!

A really good catch and run by Arnil Stallworth from the backfield.

8:33, 4:30 left. Anthony Dixon runs to the left side, giving the Bulldogs another first down.

8:35, 2:42 left. Dixon tries to stiff arm his way to the first down on third and two, but the LSU defense chases him down at the line of scrimmage.

It looks like the Bulldogs are going to go for it on 4th and 2! YES!

8:37, 2:35 left: Well, that was anticlimactic. Hegin fumbles the snap, falls on the ball, and the Bulldogs turn over on downs. Still better than a punt, though.

Heat, humidity, and now we have heavy rain…yup, this is football weather!

8:38, 1:46 left. Not to question Matt Flynn (who can run the ball well) or Les Miles, but heavy rain is the worst situation under which to run the option.

8:40, 1:09 left. Let’s just get this out of the way, bulldogs fans:

“Lemme put it this way. I have a fever… and the only prescription…is more cowbell!

8:44. The first quarter ends, and unbelievably, Missisippi State is still in the gains. LSU leads, but only by a score of 3-0.

8:47, 14:45 left, 2nd quarter. The Bulldogs defense is stepping up. After forcing Matt Flynn to throw the ball away, he’s tackled for a loss on third down. Once again, Les Miles punts inside the MSU 40, proving that he is an absolute chicken.

8:51, 12:27 left. We get the first big hit of the game, courtesy of defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. He really made the Bulldogs pay for the shovel screen pass on third down. MSU will have to punt again.

8:58, 10:15 left. After getting sacked to force 3rd and 19, Matt Flynn makes a huge run up the middle, but he has to slide just short of the first down.

9:02, 9:20 left. Once again, LSU decides to punt on fourth down with good field position (this time on 4th and 1). Is Hayley Lafontaine telling Les Miles what to do?

9:04, 8:15 left. Neither QB is playing very well tonight. Hegin just threw his second interception of the game. This time, Anthony Zenon is the beneficiary of an underthrown fade route.

9:07, 7:32 left. Flynn buys some time in the pocket, and makes a big completion, and Early Doucet takes the catch inside the 30 yard line. Maybe now the Tigers will finally open the game up.

9:09: Mississippi State bulldog mascot + 5 year old girl in Bulldogs cheerleader costume = cute overload. I’m pretty sure that was what ESPN was going for.

Jacob Hester breaks a few tackles, and he makes a huge run inside the 10 yard line. Can LSU finally get a touchdown?

9:13: After two good run stops, the Bulldogs appear to have forced another field goal after Jasper O’Quinn breaks up a pass in the endzone…but he’s called for a pass interference. It’s a good call; he wasn’t even looking at the ball.

9:14, 5;52 left: TOUCHDOWN! Keiland Williams makes the Bulldogs pay for that penalty, busting his way in the endzone for the touchdown. LSU leads, 10-0, as halftime approaches.

9:17, 5:42 left. The Bulldogs gets a nice kickoff return, taking it to the 40 yard line. Inexplicably, Chris Fowler credits the run to the new 30-yard line kickoff rule.

9:20, 4:35 left. Henig finally makes a great pass, firing a bullet to a slanting Jason Husband at midfield for a big first down. Not only that, but LSU is called for a facemask penalty.

9:21, 4:10 left. No sooner does Henig make a good play than he makes a very, very bad one. He goes for the touchdown on a deep pass in the endzone, but the ball hangs in the air too much, and Craig Steltz gets LSU’s third interception of the night. Not good for the Bulldogs.

9:25, 1:58 left. After a holding call that sends the Tigers back to the 10, the MSU defense pins them way back, forcing a punt inside the five.

9:27, 1:29 left. no sooner do the Bulldogs get the ball back than Henig throws another pass directly into the arms of an LSU defensive backs. Four interceptions in the first half…it’s a video game, except that LSU hasn’t put the game away yet.

9:29, :41 left. Craig James, you are a silly, silly man. You think that LSU need to protect their 10 point lead and prevent the Bulldogs from scoring. Jesus could be in the backfield for Mississippi State, and they still wouldn’t score the way they’re playing right now. Why isn’t Anthony Dixon being handed the ball…at all?

9:33, :03 left. LSU is on the three yard line, with 12 seconds left…and they run the ball. Keiland Williams is stopped just short, and LSU is forced to take a timeout with 3 seconds left.

9:35, :00 left. Williams gets the ball again, and he scores easily. LSU goes into halftime leading 17-0. Mississippi State has played tough so far, but Michael Henig’s 4 interceptions have absolutely killed the bulldogs. In fact, I’m shocked that LSU isn;t up by more with the mistakes they made. The Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble putting it away in the second half (assuming that someone doesn’t hack into Henig’s brain in the Bulldogs locker room and turn him into the white Vince Young).

I kind of enjoyed Sly Croom’s halftime interview with Erin Andrews. He talked fast enough to be an auctioneer in Starkville.

10:00 pm: The second half has begun, and LSU starts with the ball.

14:00 left, 3rd quarter. Flynn is passing well to start the second half, making some good intermediate throws to Early Doucet. LSU is already in MSU territory.

10:03, 13:00 left in the third quarter. YES! We get a big decleater. What a block by Brandon Lafell lays the lumber to safety Zach Smith. I got pumped up just watching that.

12:52 left in the third quarter: TOUCHDWON LSU! Flynn connects with Doucet again, who’s wide open in the endzone. LSU now leads 24-0 and has pretty much put this game away.

10:07: With some pouring rain and MSU holding a big deficit, we’re starting to see quite a few empty seats in Scott Field.

Right now, the Bulldogs need to start working on the running game.

10:10, 11:25 left. A three and out may actually be an improvement for WHAT A PASS BY HENIG! He fires a bullet 40 yards up the field, and Tony Burks makes a great catch before being dragged down at the LSU 34. finally, the Bulldogs catch a break.

10:14, 9:12 left. Just as quickly, MSU loses six yards and gets a quick 3-and out. This is actually an improvement for them after the turnovers in the first half. The ensuing pooch punt works beautifully, and LSU will be pinned at their own 1 yard line.

10:17: Oh yeah, when I think of Starkville, Mississippi, I think of sushi! What’s next, Nick Saban leaving the NFL for…oh.

10:20, 7:19 left. MSU forces a three-and out inside the five, and the Tigers are forced to punt. Despite a great punt, the Bulldogs will have good field position.

10:23, 5:40 left. Henig takes a big hit, ad he may have hurt his knee. Nothing is going Sly Croom’s way tonight.

10:28, 3:57 left. How have to give the Mississippi State defense credit: they’re playing just as well as ever. They force another LSU 3-and-out, including a net loss of 10 yards. The Bulldogs might still be in this game if not for the turnovers.

10:31, 2:12 left. Henig throws his fifth interception, killing any momentum from the defensive stop. Steltz runs the INT back inside the 10, and LSU gets a quick touchdown pass to go up 31-0. Bulldog fans are now leaving the stadium in exodus.

10:37, 1:50 left. You know a game is getting out of hand when Doug Flutie is hitting on a defensive lineman.

10:43, The third quarter is over, and LSU leads 31-0. To add injury to insult, Michael Henig is pretty banged up. I think it’s time for both teams to call off the dogs before this game gets really out of hand.

10:54, 10:43 left in the fourth quarter. LSU has dominated this game, despite gaining less than 300 yards on offense. Can they really compete with the best if their opponents don’t make mistakes?

Finally, Matt Flynn leaves the game and Ryan Perriloux comes in to quarterback LSU. It looks like Henig’s out of the game, too.

11:00 pm, 8:20 left. Touchdown, LSU. Okay, this is just getting ridiculous. 38-0, Tigers.

11:07, 6:13 left. Wesley Carroll comes into the game at QB for the Bulldogs. After getting a first down, he fumbles a snap and turns the ball over. Again.

11:10, 5:45 left. 45-0, LSU. Les Miles is definitely running up the score. It’s the fourth quarter, less than 6 minutes left, and you’re up 38-0. Why are you passing in the red zone? It’s just not fair.

11:15, 4:08 left. Mississippi State could be in for a long season. People might think that Croom isn’t succeeding because he’s not a good recruiter, because his offense can’t score, or because the program was a mess when he arrived. But Jackie Sherill talking to the announcing crew reminded me: maybe it’s been the lack of genital-based motivation.

11:25: This game mercifully comes to an end. LSU wins 45-0. The Tigers looked good in this game, but mostly because the MSU Bulldogs made so many mistakes on offense. So other than the final score, I doubt that we learned very much from this game. We won’t know how good LSU is until they face stiffer competition. Still, I’m very, very glad that college football is finally back.

Posted in College Football, Live Blog, LSU, Missisippi State, NCAA, SEC | 1 Comment »

SuperLiga Final Live Blog: LA Galaxy vs. CF Pachuca

Posted by Mike on August 29, 2007

Tonight, the LA Galaxy play Mexican club CF Pachuca in the finals of the inaugural SuperLiga and a $1 million prize. For the Galaxy, it could be their only chance at hardware this year. This made their decision to play Beckham and Landon Donovan substantial minutes last week against Chivas USA, after they both played international games the day before, all the more puzzling. I thought that they would be saving these guys for their best shot at a title. Hopefully, they will play long enough to have an impact. Meanwhile, Pachuca has Brian Ching and Joseph Ngwenya to thank for their entrance into this game, as the two Houston Dynamo players absolutely botched their penalty kicks in their loss to the Mexican side two weeks ago.

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As always, we’ll be joined by our good friends Pablo Ramirez and Jesus Bracamontes for this game on Telefutura.

11:06 pm: The game is about to begin. It looks like the Galaxy will have their full lineup on the field. Beckham, Donovan, Carlos Pavon and Abel Xavier are all starting.

11:07, 1st minute: The crowd is a lot bigger (and louder) for this game than in LA’s semifinal against DC United, which is a good sign. A much improved showing by Galaxy fans.

11:09, 3rd minute: Pavon tries the bicycle kick early. Ballsy, but he swings and misses.

I stand corrected. A lot of the fans out tonight seem to be Pachuca supporters. But it still beats the hell out of the semifinal at the Home Depot Center.

11:13, 6th minute: Pachuca are controlling the game early, holding the ball more than 60% of the time and getting all of the decent scoring chances so far. If you have a hard time figuring out which team is Pachuca, they’re the eleven walking billboards. Seriously, what’s with the 10 different sponsors on their jerseys?

11:15, 8th minute: Landon gets the first real scoring chance for LA, receiving a good pass in the box. His header is way too high, though.

11:17, 10th minute: Regardles of your opinion on Mexican teams vs. MLS, one this is undeniable: the Mexican players have much better hair. Although, Chris Berman’s combover looks better than whatever Abel Xavier is sporting on his head right now, so my view might be skewed.

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11:21, 14th minute: Pachuca is definitely more mobile, taking advantage of La’s midfield just hovering around. The Galaxy don’t seem completely in this game yet.

11:23, 16th minute: Pachua gets a free kick, and Julio Manzur very nearly kicks it in. No one is able to deflect, and the shot unexpectedly heads straight for the goal. Joe Cannon is forced to make the first real save of the game.

11:25, 18th minute: David Beckham just did something that any American football fan can appreciate: he delivered a decleater, sending a Pachuca midfielder to the turf, without getting carded.

11:28, 21st minute: David Beckham sets up a potentially great shot for Landon Donovan, but he instead tries to pas it to Carlos Pavon and gives the ball away.

11:29, 22nd minute: Less than a minute later, Pachuca gets their own breakaway scoring chance, but a Galaxy defender blocks the shot, and Cannon grabs the ensuing corner kick.

11:31, 24th minute: I noticed a lot of empty seats around the SuperLiga sign behind one of the goals. Is that by design, or could they not fill those seats? I think it’s both.

11:33, 26th minute: Chris Klein, what the hell was that? Kyle Martino and Beckham set you up almost perfectly on the right side, and you sail the cross over everyone’s heads.

11:35, 28th minute: AUTO-GOL! Pachuca had been knocking on the door for the entire first half, and one of their attacks finally pays off. Some crisp passing puts Cannon completely out of position, a pass goes right across the front of the goal, and midfielder Peter Vagenas, trying to clear the ball, instead kicks it into his own net.

11:38, 31st minute: This is exactly what the Galaxy (and the MLS) didn’t want to happen. Beckham goes after a loose ball, slides directly into an opposing player’s foot, falls to the ground, and he has to (at least temporarily) come out of the game. A nightmare for LA’s chances.

11:41, 34th minute: They aren’t taking any chances: Beckham is out of the game, and he’s not happy about it. In comes Alan Gordon to a chorus of boos at the HDC.

11:43, 36th minute: Xavier stops a Pachuca scoring chance with his face. Looks like it’s good for something after all.

11:44, 37th minute: Believe it or not, the Galaxy seem to be more aggressive on offensive in Beckham’s absence tonight.

Speaking of which, David is either is some serious pain, or he’s very upset not to be in the game right now.

11:45, 38th minute: OH! Juan Carlos Cacho and Damian Alvarez completely faked out the LA defense on that play, and Alvarez had a wide open shot, one-on one with a keeper out of position. But he kicks the ball wide right.

11:48, 41st minute: I think it’s safe to say that La needs to get some good defenders in the offseason. The Pachuca offense have out played them in every aspect. What’s shocking is that this game would still be tied if not for that Auto-gol.

11:50, 43rd minute: The defense gets beat again, and it takes a great save by Cannon to keep the ball out of the goal by one inch.

11:54, 45 minutes: We’ve reached halftime, and Pachuca leads 1-0 off of the own goal in the 28th minute. MLS’s nightmare came true, and Beckham’s night ended before it could begin. Obviously, the Galaxy need to tighten up on defense, but the way they’re being outplayed in this game, to win they need one helluva halftime speech. That, or for Pachuca to make some mistakes at the right time.

12:11, 46th minute: The second half begins. Something I forgot to add: the Galaxy need to do a better job of creating scoring chances. Miguel Calero has yet to be challenged tonight.

12:14, 49th minute: Landon Donovan is taking free kicks in Beckham’s absence. So far, he’s had little luck against the Pachuca defense.

12;16, 51st minute: Calero just took a pass from one of his teammates, with a Galaxy player chasing the ball. I was kind of hoping the he would make a Jens Lehmann-like blunder.

Cobi Jones is about to enter the game.

12:18, 53rd minute: Finally, some good Galaxy defense, courtesy of Chris Klein.

Cobu Jones is coming into the game, replacing Carlos Pavon. This is a puzzling move considering that Pavon is their biggest scoring threat. Then again, he hasn’t really done anything tonight, and maybe a change is good.

12:20, 55th minute: Whoa. My voodoo Lehmann comment nearly came to fruitition, as Calero mishandled a seemingly easy save, and Alan Gordon was half a step away from making him pay. But he finally gets control of the ball and clears it out of the zone.

12:22, 57th minute: Landon Donovan is fouled hard just outside the box, drawing a yellow card and setting up a very makeable free kick. The kick makes it past the wall, but Calero is there to make the diving save on his right side.

12;23, 58th minute: Donovan does a bit of acting inside the box. he’s touched, but he exaggerates it a bit. He wants the penalty kick, but the ref won’t bite.

12;26, 61st minute: Christian Gimenez had Cannon beat, but he loses his footing before he can take a good shot, and the Galaxy eventually manage to clear the ball.

Less than half an hour to go, and LA is running out of chances. A lot can still happen, but the Galaxy need to act quickly.

12:29, 64th minute: That was by far LA’s best scoring chance yet. Chris Klein’s perfect cross connects with Landon’s head in the box, and only Calero’s outstretched fingertips prevent a goal.

12:30, 65th minute: Since the Cobi Jones substitution, the Galaxy are now the agressors, and have completely shifted momentum. One minute later, they get another shot on goal. More importantly, it looks like Calero is hurt. Pachuca needing to throw an inexperienced keeper into the fire or deal with their injured one could be just the advantage that LA needs. They have less than 25 minutes to act on that advantage, however.

12:34, 69th minute: Everything seems to be going LA’s way right now. Everything, that is, except for a goal. Alan Gordon receives a great pass in front of the goal, but his header is just blocked by Calero in front of him. Six inches higher, and the ball goes in the net between the keeper’s arms.

12:37, 72nd minute: Just as the Galaxy are coming back in this game, Pachuca and Cacho come with a few inches of putting it away. Cacho had Cannon completely beat, and only a sliding Troy Roberts prevented a 2-0 deficit and in essence the one that would have put LA away.

12:41, 76th minute: Pachuca finally has possession of the ball in the second half, and now they’re milking it for all it’s worth. Can’t say that I blame them.

12:42, 77th minute: Another chance to put the game away, this time for Rafael Marquez Lugo (in for Cacho), but he hits it wide of the almost open goal.

If Pachuca allow the Galaxy back in this game and lose, they have no one to blame but themselves. They’ve had more than their fair chances to to get the knockout.

12:44, 79th minute: Edson Buddle comes in for the Galaxy, replacing Kyle Martino.

12:47, 82nd minute: Marquez has another chance to put the game away for Pachuca, hitting the ball at the goal about as hard as he possibly can. But Joe Cannon makes the spectacular save to extend the game for now. The Galaxy have less than ten minutes to deliver the equalizer. Can they finally get one past Calero, whose play has been stellar in the second half?

12:50, 85th minute: Donovan draws a free kick, to the delight of Abel Xavier wig-wearing fans in the stands (ha!). A good free kick into the box, but Calero manages to clear it out with his fist.

Less than five minutes in regulation.

12:52, 87th minute: OH! Landon Donovan ends up with a near perfect shot at goal, and his accurate shot manages, after a deflection, manages to roll past the keeper, and out of bounds, three inches away from goal. Can these guys please catch a break?

12:54, 89th minute: Really bad timing for a full screen graphic, Telefutura.

12:55, 90th minute: All the Galaxy have left is 4 minutes of extra time, still down 1-0.

12:57, 92nd minute: Predictably, Pachuca uses the stoppage time to make a final sub and take up a big chunk of the remaining time.

12:58, 93rd minute: GOOOOLLLAAAAAAZZOOO!!! At first, I thought it it would be absolute heartbreak, as Edson Buddle’s open header hit the crossbar. But the Galaxy get another chance, and Gordon Chris Klein doesn’t disappoint, netting the equalizer in a spectacular bicycle kick. Miguel Calero had no chance. The game is tied, 1-1! WHOOOOOO!!!

1:00, Full Time: Regulation is over, we’re tied at 1-1, and the game is going to overtime! It has been a great game so far. The LA Galaxy did a great job of turning things around in the second half, and for extra time the momentum is completely in their favor.

We’re playing 30 more minutes. I definitely don’t mind staying up late for this.

1:07, 91st minute: Extra time has begun. LA Galaxy has the momentum, but might Pachuca have more energy left in the tank?

1:10, 94th minute: No matter who wins this game, I think that the SuperLiga has been and will be a big success for MLS. Hopefully it will get more coverage in the future.

1:11, 95th minute: Pachuca makes the first threat in extra time. They make it into the box, but the shot goes just wide of goal.

1:12, 96th minute: It’s very late in the game, but the fans in the HDC are the loudest that they’ve been all night.

1:14, 98th minute: Landon Donovan couldn;t make anything happen out of that corner kick. The Galaxy have yet to get a real chance in extra time.

1:15, 99th minute: The Galaxy deflect a cross from the left side, but Abel Xavier very nearly commits a second auto-gol. Fortunately Joe Cannon is there to make the stop…barely.

1:17, 101st minute: LA kind of got away with an “armball” on that free kick block. Nothing becomes of it, however.

Beckham is on the bench in a suit, cheering his team on. And you know what? He looks a lot like a coach out there. As a matter of fact, he might make a better coach than Frank Yallop. Wait…oh god no. I shouldn’t be giving Alexi Lalas any bad ideas.

1:22, 105 minutes: The first period of extra time is over, and we’re not getting any closer to determining this game. The game is tied at 1-1, and neither team seems to have a particular advantage.

1:25, 108th minute: One complaint about this game: those guys with the sound dishes on the sidelines look really, really awkward by themselves out there.

1:26, 109th minute: LA gets a corner kick, but nothing becomes of it.

1:27, 110th minute: The Galaxy are almost unable to clear the header off of Pachuca’s corner kick. It would have been almost sad if they ended up losing that way. Fortunately, they manage to clear.

1:29, 112th minute: Mike Randolph falls asleep at the wheel, and he almost pays dearly for it. if not for his speed (and foul), Pachuca would have had a breakaway.

1:30, 113th minute: Edson Buddle breaks away from the Pachuca defense, but Leobardo Lopez’s last-second slide prevents him from taking a good shot. On the ensuing corner kick, LA has a couple of chances at glancing headers, but the players jump a bit too far in front of the kick, and miss completely.

1:33, 116th minute: Kevin Harmse has to come out of the game, getting a hamstring injury on that corner kick. In to replace him is Haitian Galvin Glinton.

1:34, 117th minute: Pachuca’s Luis Gabriel Rey takes a long distance shot at goal. It’s a hard shot, but is goes just wide curving to the outside. Less than five minutes before penalty kicks.

1:36, 119th minute: A Pachuca player has also succumbed to injury. The problem is that they’ve already used their final substitution. With penalty kicks looming, however, it’s unlikely to change their strategy.

1:39, 120th minute: Pachuca mounts one final charge at goal, but Cannon makes a save. Time runs out, we’re tied at 1-1, and we’re going to penalty kicks!

1:42: They had better play the penalty kicks at the goal where all the fans are. If they do it in front of the empty seats, it would look insanely bad.

Phew. They’ll play at the crowded goal.

1:44: Pachuca will kick first, and it’s Rafael Marquez Lugo against Joe Cannon.

Marquez makes it look easy in his attempt. Now it’s Vagenas’ turn for LA.

Calero makes the save! A great stop, and Pachuca leads 1-0 in penalties.

1:47: Joe Cannon guesses wrong, and Rey makes it look easy.

Cobi Jones makes his kick, and Pachuca now leads 2-1 in penalties.

1:48: Third penalty kicks. Joe Cannon makes the kick save! Now it’s Klein’s chance to equalize.

Klein fires a bullet into the back of the net, and it’s 2-2 in penalties.

1:50: Manzur makes his penalty kick with relative ease.

Edson Buddle follws suit, hitting the top left corner. 3-3 in penalties, with just one left, then sudden death.

1:51: Pachuca hits the crossbar! And now Landon Donovan has the entire tournament resting on his leg.

Calero makes the save! It wasn’t a very good kick, but way for Miguel to step up. 3-3 in penalties.

1:53: Rodriguez makes his kick, and now it’s up to Abel Xavier.

Xavier misses, and Pachuca wins the SuperLiga, 1-1 (4-3 on penalties). Xavier absolutely shanked that one.

Pachuca are the champions of SuperLiga.

A great performance by both teams, but the MVP of the game has to be Miguel Calero. he saved his team too many times to count tonight, and even in the end he made two saves in the penalty stages (although some might think that Landon choked. I don’t think so, but he could have made a better shot.)

Overall, it was a fantastic game and a fantastic tournament. Congratulations again to Pachuca, winner of SuperLiga 2007. It was a lot of fun to watch, and I think that the tournament has a very bright future. I will eagerly await its return next summer, as the rivalry between Mexican and American teams will only get better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Beckham, Futbol, LA Galaxy, Live Blog, MLS, Pachuca, soccer, Superliga | 3 Comments »

Huevonazo of the Week: Robin van Persie

Posted by Mike on August 29, 2007

It hurts bad enough when some guy comes up behind you and kicks between your legs as hard as he can. It’s even worse when he plays for your most hated rival.

Here we see Arsenal striker Robin van Persie take a really good huevonazo from a former Tottenham defender, who I’m fairly certain is Swede Erik Edman.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Funny Videos, Futbol, HUEVONAZO!, nutshots, Skit Ocksa!, soccer | Leave a Comment »

Get Ready For Football, With The Decleater!

Posted by Mike on August 28, 2007

The college football season is finally upon us. The long sports winter has finally come to an end! The mere prospect of real, meaningful football has gotten me excited for the past week. This past Tuesday, the first day of school at UNC, I had not taken twenty steps onto campus before saying “hey” to Joe Dailey (what I should have said was “interception!”). I then headed straight for Kenan Stadium, one of the best college stadiums in America (to watch a football game? not so much lately…but that will change soon enough).

Looking onto the field began the synapses in my head, and my mind began racing with anticipation of this Saturday. Still, I think we all need a real adrenaline rush to get us pumped up before the college football season. So this post is dedicated to the single greatest play in all of football: the decleater. A hit so hard that it knocks your opponent clean off his feet.

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YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!

Why is it this game’s greatest play? Because it works on so many levels. The mere hit acts as a simple but effective means of physical intimidation on your opponent for the rest of the game. When a receiver gets knocked to the turf by a safety, he’s going to think twice about running a route in the middle of the field. When a defender is decleated on a huge block, he knows to keep his head on a swivel for the rest of the game. When a running back runs you over, it could ruin you psychologically for an entire season. And when the home team delivers a big decleater, everyone watching the game notices, jumps out of their seats, and cheers their lungs out. It can be the ultimate home field advantage.

Not a single play in football, not even a touchdown, is more motivating than a bone-crushing hit. Before we begin the season anew, we must pay homage. And what better way to do that than a huge supply of YouTube decleaters?

We’ll start with some big defensive hits:

What’s better that a decleating hit on defense? A bone-crushing block on offense!

This one is special because it’s a quarterback who make the huge block, and he drills two guys:

The best decleaters, however, have to be the ones delivered by running backs on unsuspecting defensive backs. And in college, few were better at it than Florida State’s Greg Jones.

This final hit I was (un?)fortunate enough to see live, in Kenan Stadium. It was the first game of the 2003 season, August 30th. The last time my Tar Heels met the Seminoles in Chapel Hill, we destroyed them 41-9 for Bunting’s first career win en route to a six-game winning streak and an 8-5 record in 2001, including a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn. After that the last of Mack’s recruits left, and the bottom fell out in 2002. Still, we had UNC’s best-ever QB in Darian Durant, who had been hurt for most of the previous year. So I was somewhat optimistic that Coach Bunting could turn things around in 2003. (By the way: to those of you cursing out UNC’s QB situation from last year, I have one name for you: C.J. Stephens. Just the thought of him under center will keep me awake tonight.)

Any hope I had for that season was destroyed on this play.

Ugh. Not very good memories. I need to cleanse my palate a bit:

That’s better. Okay, NOW I’m ready to greet this season the right way, and I hope that this helpd you to get ready as well.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Big blocks, College Football, Florida State, football, Get Pumped!, NCAA, North Carolina, Patriotism at its finest, Tar Heels, The Decleater, This is why the Internet was invented, Videos, what is this hyperbole of which you speak? | 10 Comments »

Premier League Live Blog: Arsenal vs. Manchester City

Posted by Mike on August 25, 2007

Today, Arsenal looks to keep themselves in contention for the top of the Premier league Table against Manchester City. Arsenal had stumbled out the gate this season, thanks in no small part to a few goaltending blunders by some old German guy. Arsenal fans certainly aren’t happy with him.

Meanwhile, Manchester City, behind great play from newcomers and the leadership of former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, are trying to continue their run at the top of the league while preventing their new owner, corrupt ex-PM of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra, from getting shot.

So we enter this game with the added intrigue that someone associated with either team could rake a sniper bullet to the crotch today. Let’s watch.

10:05, 1st minute: We have an announcer with a thick Scottish accent today. Hilarity shall ensue.

10:06, 2nd, minute: Almunia is in goal for Arsenal. A good move by the Gunners, but it reduces today’s possible intrigue substantially.

Meanwhile, Man City keeper Kasper Schmeichel (yes, that Schmeichel) has been the polar opposite of Lehmann so far this season. At age 21, he’s playing his first season in the Premier league, and has yet to surrender a goal.

10:08, 5th minute: Robin Van Persie takes the first real shot of the game. His hard strike was just a little too high.

10:11, 8th minute: Arsenal seems to be dictating the pace so far. I would say the have the upper hand, but Sagna’s horrible, horrible hair negates any advantage.

sagna1.gif

10:14, 11th minute: Michael Johnson breaks away from the defense and sets up a shot for Martin Petrov, and he hits it just wide.

10;15, 12th minute: Cesc Fabregas sets up a good shot for Adebayor, but he decides not to take a shot.

So far it’s been a pretty good game by both teams, but it looks like Arsenal should draw first blood.

10:17, 14th minute: Arsenal gets the first corner kick of the game, but Sagna is down.

I’m pretty sure Matheiu Flamini gave Sagna an accidental nutshot.

10:20, 17th minute: Deitmar Hamann is yellow carded for a hard tackle on Van Persie. That wasn’t a very smart tackle on his part.

10:22, 19th minute: Stephen Ireland makes a great pass to Emile Mpnza, but he can’t get a good touch towards goal. Good to see Man City getting some chances.

Meanwhile, Sagna and his hair mercifully come out of the game in favor of Denilson.

10:25, 22nd minute: Elano gets a very open shot off of a turnover, but he can’t get a good shot off, and Almunia stops his strike with relative ease.

10:29, 26th minute: A great pass by Rosicky into the box, but Van Persie can’t to the ball before Schmiechel slides in and grabs it. He gets a faceful of Van Persie’s foot, but he’s OK.

10:30, 27th minute: I’m pretty sure that the british announcer hit on Kasper just now, discussing his “boyish good looks”.

10:34, 31st minute: As we reach the half hour mark in the game, one Arsenal fans believes now is a good time to go for concessions. The other 59,999 fans in the stadium think he’s a nut job for doing so. Could someone explain this part of soccer stadium culture to me?

10:36, 33nd minute: Some good defense my Manchester City today. Arsenal has had more than their fair share of scoring chances, but have almost no shots on goal to show for it.

10:40, 37th minute: Great passing by Adebayor to set up the cross by Fabregas, but Van Perise just can’t get to the ball in time. Another half-step and it might have been a goal.

10:41, 38th minute: Shinawatra is in the open air part of his box. Not a smart move; it puts him right in the crosshairs of a potential sniper hired by the Thailand government. Or a United fan.

10:44, 41st minute: A good pass to Rosicky, who sets up a decent cross. But Van Persie, what the hell kind of a shot was that?

Man City’s defense has been bending all day, allowing Arsenal to dictate the game. Eventually, they’re going to break.

10:48, 44th minute: Some very good defense by Arsenal right now. Any good runs by Man City are broken up pretty quickly, before they begin to pose a true threat.

10:51, 45+ minutes: We reach halftime, and Man City and Arsenal are still scoreless, 0-0. Arsenal certainly has been dictating the pace of this game. Man City has done a pretty good job, playing as well as we can reasonably expect them. But Arsenal is now showing that they are the more talented team.

City still has a very good chance of keeping the game tied or even winning this game. But they’ll need to clamp down a bit more on defense, setup a few more scoring chances, and catch one or two breaks in the second half.

11:09, 47th minute: As we start the second half, Arsenal still isn’t doing a particularly good job with their set pieces. They’re still doing better than man City, who haven’t gotten any set pieces today.

11:12, 50th minute: Adebayor is going to score if City continues to allow him to set up shots.

11:18, 55th minute: Finally, Man City threatens for a goal in the first half. a good run by Petrov, but he can’t make much of it. They get a throw in later, and finally take a shot, but Almunia collects it easily. I’m pretty sure that was they’re first true shot in over a half hour of game action.

11:20, 57th minute: A great no-look pass sets up Petrov who takes a hard shot at the goal. It’s out of the keeper’s reach, but just a bit wide of the right post. A bit unlucky, but at least now Arsenal’s defense is being challenged.

11:23, 60th minute: One hour gone, and with Arsenal’s momentum fading, neither team has a particular advantage right now.

11:24, 61st minute: Kolo Toure very nearly gave up a penalty kick, with a bad defensive play on Michael Johnson.

11:25, 62nd minute: Mpenza takes a great pass, and he had a near perfect opportunity for a goal. But Almunia slides in and make s a great save before Mpenza’s shot goes too far. The ensuing free kick is cleared easily.

11:29, 66th minute: Rosicky sets up a great opportunity for Alexander Hleb, and he’s fouled in the box by Richards. A penalty kick for Arsenal. Not a very smart move on the part of Richards.

11:30, 67th minute: Van Persie takes the penalty…and Schmiechel saves it! What a kick save by Kasper Schmeichel! Van Persie was sure the he had it, but Man City’s new keeper comes through.

11:32, 69th minute: Almost immediately after the penalty, Arsenal comes back and takes two great shots. each time, Schmiechel is there to make a spectacular save. It’s been quite a start to this young man’s career.

11:35, 72nd minute: Sven is going to make an offensive substitution and put Rolando Bianchi into the game.

Arsenal continues to threaten the Man City goal, and City’s defense continues to step up. Right now, though, they need a break and for their own team to get some offensive chances.

11:37, 74th minute: Bianchi comes in for Mpenza, Geovanni comes in for Elano, and Adebayor comes out of the game in favor of Eduardo da Silva.

11:43, 80th minute: GOLAZO! What a goal by Cesc Fabregas. Hleb makes an absolutely superb pass, Fabregas makes the quick one-touch strike, and Schmiechel stood little chance. Arsenal’s constant pressure pays off, and Fabregas gives them a 1-0 lead.

11:45, 82nd minute: City now has less than ten minute for their substitutions to pay off and to get the equalizer.

11:47, 85th minute: As Arsenal continues to put pressure on the Man City goal, their best defense has been a relentless attack on offense, keeping City on their heels and preventing them from threating the Arsenal goal too much.

11:50, 87th minute: Final subs: Michael Ball in for Stephen Ireland, and Van Persie is replaced by Alexandre Snng.

11:53, 90th minute: Time is running out, as Man City only have three minutes of stoppage time to try and get the equalizer. With the way Arsenal is playing, it’s highly unlikely.

11:55, 92nd minute: Schmeichel comes into the box for the corner kick, and he very neraly heads in the equalizer. But Almunia is able to make the save.

11:57, full time: And it’s over. Arsenal wins, 1-0 behind Fabregas’ fantastic goal, as Kasper Schmiechel and Man City’s perfect records are broken. Kasper did an excellent job today, but Arsenal was simply relentless on offense, and they got a well-deserved win in a great game today.

Posted in Arsenal, EPL, Futbol, GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!, Live Blog, Manchester City, Premier League, soccer, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits | 19 Comments »

Huevonazo of the Week: Your Trainer

Posted by Mike on August 24, 2007

When someone kicks a soccer player in the groin, it’s funny. When a soccer player takes a huevonazo from his own trainer, when he’s already injured, it’s just wrong. And by “wrong”, I mean mind-bendingly funny.

 

 

Posted in Futbol, HUEVONAZO!, nutshots, soccer, Things that are more fun in foreign dialects | 1 Comment »