Wednesday, August 14, 2019

It's Frisky Business In The A

In case you were unable to catch (or didn't bother with) tonight's Campeones Cup bout between Atlanta United and Club América, you missed one helluva game directly followed by this...

If I may, a few thoughts in the aftermath of a breathless, physical throwdown:

  • My man of the match? There were several standouts for the victors, but I gotta give it, hands down, to Darlington Nagbe. Ably deputized by Jeff Larentowicz and Emerson Hyndman, dude repeatedly worked the Five Stripes out of trouble, repeatedly worked them into the final third, repeatedly hoovered up second balls in central park and repeatedly had Las Águilas chasing dribble shadows. I seriously hope Gregg Berhalter was paying attention. Quoth Elvis Costello, let him dangle. 
  • Okay, so hometown boy/stand-in keeper Alec Kann served up a softie on the visitors' second, but he also made massive stops on deflected drives early in each half. If either of those get past him, we may have had another ending to this game.
  • It's long overdue, but geez, mega-props to Carlos Bocanegra and his staff for shrewdly making sneaky good pick-up after sneaky good pick-up for this Atlanta roster. It's like a soccer zombie crew, because he's raising all sorts of players from the dead. Hyndman, Meram, Pereira and Pogba all made important plays tonight, the kind you need to win silver against scary opponents.
  • I was thinking it literally seconds before St. Louis homey Taylor Twellman said it on the espn2 broadcast: the Campeones Cup just... got... real. Now that an MLS team has captured it, against a Liga MX giant, in a hell-bent back-and-forth slugfest, this annual match jumped a few levels of important. If you skipped it this time, don't make that mistake next year. 

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

amen on nagbe. i wish coaches would stop penalizing him for not being what he isn't and appreciate him for what he is. GB not picking him for every single match he's available to this point has been mind boggling.

DaMa said...

oh and super seconded on martinez's (or anyone's) pks. as a former keeper of no quality whatsoever... i always used to relish players who used to try to be tricky in their run up. go for it. i like to read and react over guessing for exactly this reason. every now and then you get someone who tries to overthink it rather than relying on the fact that the penalty taker has a huge advantage if he just runs up and slams it to a side (or at least high down the middle). whats the rate on those takes? 80% when its a primary penalty taker? i think shoot outs in the world cup history is like 70-75% but there are 5 takers there.

i doubt the best stoppers in a league get more than 1/3 of non shoot-out related pks.