Friday, August 22, 2008
A tough week at work that prevented any time for enjoying sport gave way tonight to what may prove to be a far too packed schedule of soccer. It started tonight with our attendance of a preseason scrimmage between the University of Maryland men versus the University of South Florida, will continue with the Nigeria-Argentina match for Olympic gold in a few minutes, a brief break before Charlton-Reading on Setanta USA tomorrow morning at 7:45 am, then a chance to catch up with former Addicks Andy Reid and Darren Bent as Sunderland-Tottenham is broadcast live on the Fox Soccer Channel at 10 am, and then perhaps a nap before the DC United-Colorado Rapids match at RFK tomorrow night.
Although the score line for the Maryland scrimmage will indicate that USF won two to one, the match has me fairly excited about the upcoming season. Coach Sasho Cirovski chose to give freshman Zach MacMath, the keeper for the U.S.'s U-17 team, serious minutes in goal. MacMath looks to be a very strong keeper, despite being beat successively in a horrendous minute of play by a free kick that shouldn't have been given and then on a breakaway in the box where Maryland's right back, Rich Costanzo, was badly out maneuvered. Jason Herrick, the sophomore (red-shirted) striker from Elmhurst, got three good chances on goal with his head (and seemed to be a near constant threat off set pieces) and converted one that gave Maryland a lead that the Terps did not look likely to relinquish. I went to the game to watch Rodney Wallace play the wing but ended up spending most of it impressed by the performance, skill, and leadership of Omar Gonzalez. I know next to nothing about the technical aspects of the game, but Maryland's number 4 is fun to watch. The 6'5" junior center back's play makes it easy to imagine him playing in the top professional ranks of U.S. soccer. The only thing that was at all troubling was Maryland's midfield play, which was not nearly as competent or confident as one might expect given the talent and depth that the Terps claim at the position. Neither Herrick nor Casey Townsend ever got a ball to their feet that allowed them to pose any threat to USF's defense. Can't imagine that this will be a theme for the Terps season, however.
While typing this out, I've had the first half of the White Caps-Timbers USL1 match on in the background and it is nice to see DC United alum Nick Addlery net two goals for Vancouver. Addlery won my respect and the affection of an entire gaggle of 10 to 13 year old girls with his patient coaching/babysitting of the youth team at a clinic graciously hosted by MLS at RFK.