Sunday, September 12, 2010

NFL Kickoff

Odd start to the NFL season for me. Caught a bit of the Juventus-Sampdoria barnburner -- Milos Krasic is very, very good -- and Liverpool-Birmingham -- Pepe Reina is insanely good -- before heading to Ludwig with daughter in tow to watch Maryland's women take on the Blue Hens of Delaware.

Rather then find a way to watch the Bears open up the season with a very winnable game against an improved Detroit Lions team, I largely succeeded in avoiding the game until returning from campus (much, much easier to endure only a quarter of a game Chicago should have lost, even if Cutler's numbers ultimately were impressive: 23-35, 372 yards, 2 touchdowns; perhaps that is not impressive for other NFL teams, but in the past ten seasons a Bears quarterback had thrown for 370+ yards only once, when Brian Griese passed for 381 yards in a loss at home against Minnesota in 2007).

Because of a steady drizzle, not many people saw Maryland's women play today but the few on hand were treated to a strong performance by the team. Maryland is a well organized side that passes well and bore down on Delaware's goal box throughout the opening minutes of the game. But Delaware has some pretty talented players on their side -- Tania Domingos, in particular, showed lots of skill on the ball in the middle of the field -- and Delaware went up a goal early on by refusing to buckle under Maryland's pressure and continuing to counter the Terps' attacks.

But that was all Delaware would get. Maryland scored a flukey equalizer on a ball headed from midfield into the goal box that Jasmyne Spencer was chasing down and caught Breanna Stemler in a bad position such that the ball simply popped over her head into the goal untouched. If the first goal was just bad luck for Stemler, the next three were the product of Maryland's superior talent and organization. And Jasmyne Spencer (at least the first two). She is quite good and, again, alone worth the trip to Ludwig. A brilliant through pass saw Sade Ayinde into the box with only the keeper to beat leading to a penalty that Ayinde converted for the lead. And an equally brilliant cross a bit later ultimately led to another Ayinde goal from open play. Maryland is now 7 and 0 to start the season, with one more game (against George Mason) to play before the start of the ACC Conference season.

In Finland, IFK Mariehamn got a huge win at home over Turun Palloseura today, moving them up from 13th to 10th on the league table. Mason Trafford and Joe Funicello both started for IFK and the early returns for Real Maryland's alums have been promising.

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