Song of the Day #1
Song of the Day #2
I’m really of two minds about today and it could go either way. This is the last day of spring break for myself and Mrs. Mags. It has, I think it fair to say, been just about the lousiest spring break on record. It featured two severe colds, one ear infection, one root canal, one dental crown, the death of a close family member, and the news that our landlord is probably going to sell the house we’re living in. That’s only the headline stuff, but it gives you some impression of how fraught the last two weeks have been. I’m kind of looking forward to getting back to work, just to have something else to think about.
Another thing that I’m looking forward to is the return of football matches about which I actually care. As a matter of full disclosure, I will say that I did watch the USMNT play Mexico the other day, and while getting a point at the Azteca is an impressive achievement, I was a little surprised by all the fawning commentary about the US defense. Sure, they kept a clean sheet, but that looked to me like it had much more to do with the Mexicans fluffing chances (and with a few unaccustomedly sympathetic decisions from the officials) than with our own positive qualities.
Before going further, I want to mention that I saw a news blurb the other day saying the Jermaine Jones might be joining the Timbers. Might. In the summer. If he doesn’t sign up for Schalke again. And if he doesn’t sign somewhere else in Germany. And if Toronto (who have the pick ahead of us) pass on him. In other news, next summer I might be winning the lottery, after which I’ll be blowing myself up to 30 feet tall and covering myself in gold. Might. This is one of those funny, speculative pieces that one sees in the sporting press, but which I feel like is particularly common among football writers. Don’t get me wrong. I like Jermaine Jones as a player, and I enjoy hearing the commentators on Univision (where tend to watch USMNT matches when possible) pronouncing his name in the way that the Spanish language would dictate. But if you look at that story what you find is that, aside from a suggestion (based on no evidence whatsoever) that Jones is looking to move to the US, there is no real connection between him and us. The whole story is a kind of Rube Goldberg machine of supposition. Once again, if Jermaine Jones ends up coming here I would view that as a good thing, at the very least because this would constitute an upgrade in terms of the raw talent level of the side. But I’m not holding my breath.
I’ve been reading the Colorado fans sites looking to gauge how they are feeling about our upcoming match. The impression that I get it that they are more afraid of us than we are of them. This is a bit surprising, in particular because so far in our MLS lives, Colorado has pretty much owned us. Especially at home. Owned. They probably have to list us on their state tax forms. With the exception of our win at the end of August last season we’ve not had any joy against them, and even that win was followed by getting kicked around like a pair of old socks when we met them away in the following week.
Having said that, we do have a couple of things going for us. We’re certainly a better side than we were last year and, if we can resist the temptation to go defensive in the way that we did against the Sounders two weeks ago, this is a team that we can really pressure. Also, and perhaps more promising from our perspective, Colorado will be lacking a number of important players for this match. To read their fan blogs, you would think that the entire first team had been struck down en masse and that they were going to be facing a makeshift lineup comprising ball boys, concession hawkers, and anyone else that happened to bring their spikes to the ground. Well, it’s not as bad as all that. They will be without Drew Moor, whose rush of blood predictably earned him a one game suspension. It also looks as if they will be without Mastroeni who, if he is not the most mobile of midfielders, is a guy who does a lot to keep them organized in the middle of the park. There is, apparently, some chance that we’ll be seeing Danny Mwanga getting a run out against us. As far as I’m concerned this is all to the good for us. Two successive regimes here looked at him and decided that he didn’t have what it took to merit a regular place, and I am convinced by this that he just doesn’t reflect that much of a threat. [I’ll probably end up eating those words after he scores a hat trick and beats Mikael Silvestre unconscious using the corner flag. We’ll just have to see.]
I suspect that there will be some temptation to play the more defensive (in effect passive) lineup that we saw against Seattle. I really hope that this is not the approach that we take. With all respect to Jack Jewsbury, at this point I only want to see him out there when no one else is fit. I wouldn’t mind seeing a midfield of Nagbe, Chará, Johnson, and whoever is in the best form on the right (not Zizzo who’s injured, but maybe Zemanski in front of Ryan Miller or whoever seems like they’re going to get it done). I like Valeri playing the number 10 role behind Ryan Johnson. I think that’s where he’s been most effective so far. This is a formation that can score, and if we can resist the temptation to give up stupid goals I think it is an approach that can work. Of course, it’s Porter who’s getting paid the big bucks to make these decisions, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him with the more conservative look. On the road, and having taken only two points from nine, that wouldn’t be an illogical move. But it seems to me that we have to be a team that attacks aggressively in order to be successful. Playing a more defensive formation seems to concede that too easily.
I don’t know who will be doing the post tomorrow. sunshine is next in the rotation, but we usually organize thing such that I do the one on game day and he does that postgame. Anyway, we’ll see. As this is a road game I will be up on Farcebook for about an hour before kickoff with some music, some news, and some pregame chat. See you then.