World Cup Fever? Caught it.
Since the World Cup only comes around once every four years, and to date there hasn’t been a bigger match in U.S. Soccer history than our opening group battle with England, I decided to keep a diary of the action, with a little help from my friends, of course, who thought it’d be a great idea to view the Battle of 1812 Part II from a bar. Enjoy.
11:27 a.m. PDT – just walked in and getting situated as crowd breaks into the final verses of “Star Spangled Banner” … “o’r the land of the freeeeeeee, and the home, of the braaaaave!!!!”
11:28 – the first of what I’m guessing to be many “U-S-A chants!” … never thought I’d ever say this in my life, but I’m EXCITED FOR SOCCER!!
11:29 – by the way, we’re LIVE from Cabo Cantina in Venice Beach for this World Cup match between England and the United States. We’ve got quite the crew on hand (11 total) and the bar is packed. Nice contingent to our left decked out in Red, White and Blue hats and streamers on their heads and mini flags. Love the spirit.
11:31 – and we’re underway from Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, with USA controlling. Say that 10 times fast. England in the home whites; USA in the blues.
11:31 – some guy just walked in draped in an American flag, looks like the Betsy Ross version. Who does he think he is? Jim Craig?
11:32 – “I feel like no one knows what to cheer for, so it’s like silent.” Good point from the Mo. We’re a minute-30 in and no one has any idea what’s going on. It’s just like covering field hockey for the Journal Tribune all over again.
11:34 – also would like to point out that everyone roughly showed up around 10 in preparation for today’s festivities, where as I rolled in 3 minutes before kickoff. Hey, as I always like to say, when you show up on time, you’re never late. Also, the day is already a win because I got free parking on a side street. Aside from the traffic, worst part about LA is paying for parking everywhere you go.
11:34 – “put that in your diary your idiot, 3 minutes into the game and England scores and you throw your hands up.” OK, good point, Owl. I got caught up in the moment of an actual goal being scored. In the two matches yesterday, and in 4 matches thus far, only 5 combined goals scored. Americans like action!
11:35 – in my defense, other people started cheering, perhaps it was because they were pissed at our lackluster defense. Wait, that infers they know anything about the game.
11:36 – and the wind is sucked out of the sails of the crowd here after the Steven Gerrard goal. “I hope it’s like the Stanley Cup finals where there are 11 goals scored.” Yes, Owl, we can only hope.
11:37 – six minutes in and have our first big collision. “Wait, he’s not rolling around on the ground acting more hurt than he is, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?” Owl off to a big early quote lead here in the diary.
11:38 – our first look at net-cam on the goal … that should be something incorporated in real life; random cams like the Truman Show. Let’s see if we can get a list going of things that need cameras on them at all times. Stay tuned.
11:40 – “cup cam,” “vag cam,” “like a cup of water cam” … OK, this is not working out as well as I thought.
11:41 – our first scoring chance off the header foiled. Scoring chances are like good Nic Cage movies, few and far between.
11:42 – random clapping as it appears that USA will have a corner kick. Soccer is about getting excited over the little things.
11:43 – “so is like Freddy Adu still alive or something?” our first Freddy Adu reference. Surely not our last. … and the header just misses high.
11:44 – second “U-S-A” chant … followed by a missed scoring chance for US as the ball rolls right across the box without anyone touching it.
11:48 – Owl and I just had sweet 3-minute conversation about balding and facial hair, followed up by some Michael Jordan Hitler-stache talk. We’re versatile, not just sports here folks.
11:49 – best scoring chance as top US striker Jozy Altidore just misses the header … view from net-cam shows how close it really is. “why didn’t he just use his hands?” someone asks … we’re still learning the rules here.
11:50 – England comes down immediately and almost goes up 2-0 … “that’s why American soccer isn’t as good, there’s no threat of immediate death for missing a play like that … that’s one thing I like about the World Cup, it matters SO MUCH to other countries.” Owl auditioning to replace Alexi Lalas as ESPN’s top color guy in 2014.
11:53 – The Mo trying to compare soccer to American vs. Foreign movies … it’s not a bad argument actually.
11:55 – quick glance around our crew and Artie appears to be the only one wearing any actual soccer apparel … “I’m actually wearing shin guards.” OK, Owl, we get it, you like to tell jokes. I’m wearing an old school New England Patriots shirt and my standard Red Sox hat. Boston, the birthplace of Patriotism.
11:56 – our first yellow card! On the hard slide tackle by England’s James Milner … Landon Donovan with the indirect free kick coming up …one note about Donovan, he wears #10, which is traditionally the number all the top strikers in the tournament wear (England’s Wayne Rooney also wears #10), a cool tradition. Imagine if every team’s top player in the NBA wore #23 or every great QB wore #12 in the NFL? 99 in hockey? Take notice in the next week or so.
11:57 – good placement and the Jozy header goes wide. From the original angle it looked like it had a chance of going in.
11:59 – I’m no expert, but if your goalie gets taken out from a kick to the ribs, that’s seems like a bad thing.
12:00 p.m. – wow! what a replay showing that Tim Howard probably has broken ribs or a broken arm or something after that scoring chance by England went awry. … he’s still down.
12:01 – Stephanie asks my comments on the England coach’s glasses … hey, I get paid to ask the questions round here, so I turn it around: “if it’s going to be permanently displayed I have to think about this …” stay tuned America.
12:02 – replay of the England goal earlier, I will say this, soccer goal celebrations are pretty sweet. I dig the slide after. Wonder if that would translate into everyday work? Imagine banging out an important fax and pulling your Oxford over your head and sliding down the row of cubicles on your knees? No?
12:02 – Howard gets up and will stay in the game. Soccer players might be huge pussies and make Jessica Biel look like a good actor but Howard is doing his best to refute that notion. Man’s game.
12:08 – quick Twitter conversation about the favorite-ing of tweets. It always comes back to Twitter with this group. And while we’re here, check out @shawnries (Owl), @DearAnyone (Artie), @TheMo21 (Mo) and of course, @cbrock723 (myself)
12:09 – Stephanie says US coach Bob Bradley looks like Scott Hamilton, “you know, the gay figure skater.” … uh, not gay, pretty sure he has a ton of kids (update: married in 2002, has 2 kids), not saying that means he’s not gay, but there are other, shall we say, more flamboyant figure skaters out there, Steph.
12:11 – U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!!!!! and we have a brand new ball game! Tied at 1-1 after Clint Dempsey puts it home!!!
12:11 – England nearly answers immediately but Howard makes a sick diving save to his left. Still tied.
12:12- replay on the goal, what a spin move by Clint Dempsey and England keeper Robert Green makes the initial stop only to have it slid through his hands as he dove back towards the end line but can’t get it in time. “that’s going to haunt his dreams for years.” – Mo
12:13 – another replay … what a soft goal. Good strike by Dempsey with the left, but that’s not going to get you knighted, or featured in any Nike commercial, Green.
12:14 – a shot of a distraught David Beckham on the bench wearing a suit worth as much as a small country. Cabo erupts in a chorus of “Boos!” … way to turn into a villain, Becks. … “Parker is definitely the David Beckham of our group.” Why? “because he’s cuter than him.” Well that explains it, Mo. Thanks.
12:18 – we interrupt this soccer match for some Stephen Strasburg chatter. Quick poll Better carer than Mark Prior? “he’s already better.” OK, Mo. Everyone says “yes,” Parker on the fence. (shocking)
12:19 – U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! “I love USA chants.”
12:26 – just realized it was halftime. That would explain the lack of chants and excitement in the place. Give it up to ESPN for the lack of commercial breaks.
12:26 – Carvette walks up, sees my set up: “can you send a fax for me?”
12:34 – second half underway from Royal Bafokeng … thank goodness that humming from those horns isn’t going on strong right now, sounds like the world is being invaded by bees or locusts or something out of “Magnolia.”
12:36 – crowd here is quite mellow, probably has something to do with the 2-for-1 bloody marys and memosas they’ve all been drinking since 9 a.m. … also worth noting that no one here is over the age of 35. Not sure what that means.
12:38 – “wait, what just happened?” … today’s most popular question by far.
12:39 – lots of cheering as Howard clears the ball and our first close up of Wayne Rooney … “Rooney you punk ass bitch!” screams the guy wearing the Jozy jersey. Well that seems a bit harsh now doesn’t it?
12:40 – at the 51:23 mark what a SAVE BY HOWARD!!! Point blank shot Howard comes up and makes the save. He shot it right at him, what a mistake, the left side of the net was wide open. “you can tell the difference between US and them, we’re not getting those scoring chances.” Owl could be an analyst. All he needs is a foreign accent, and well, ya know, some knowledge about soccer.
12:47 – Stephanie concludes that Beckham is wearing “it” better than England’s coach. I’m guessing “it” is the 3-piece gray suit. She’s wearing a bright yellow ’80s shirt, not sure we should take her word for any value.
12:48 – someone tells a quick story from college about Parker going to ZBT for two parties and stealing all their light bulbs and walking out with them in his pockets, he took like seven of them. So our friend is a petty thief. Add it to his rap sheet.
12:49 - “England’s coach is a renaissance man with sniper glasses. Harry Hamlin, he’s Harry Hamlin with sniper glasses.” - Stephanie. You guys getting all this? They look the same but he’s got the sniper glasses. Apparently.
12:50 – USA direct kick “I got a good feeling here.” OK, Mo, let’s see what you got. … denied.
12:53 – Jozy streaking in from the left side denied by Green. That makes up for his snafu earlier. That would have been HUGE for the USA there and this place would have erupted.
12:55 – U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
12:58 – another US scoring chance goes just wide … is it just me, or are we outplaying England this half? Upset?
12:58 – quick talk about Brian Carberry (a friend of ours from Syracuse). Owl pointing out that he’s not only married, but a.) having a kid, and b) working for our country’s most trusted news organization (CNN) … many are baffled by this. He loves it though.
1:02 – yellow card on Findley a minute after he gets taken down near the box. Is Dick Bevata officiating this match?
1:03 – Rooney just rifles a shot that NARROWLY misses wide right. Howard can’t believe that missed, neither can Rooney. Still tied 1-1 with 15 minutes left.
1:04 – Howard stops another point-blank shot by 17! … “I like how they’re adding time to the clock. It keeps going up.” Umm, yeah, Carvette, they count up in soccer, get with the program. “I didn’t notice it was counting up.” Uh huh.
1:08 – “they should just have Usain Bolt play soccer. Just teach him how to sprint with a soccer ball. No one would be able to touch him.” Owl brings up a good point.
1:09 – some fat guy in a Captain America shirt starts an “America … F@*K YEAH!” chant … mildly entertaining.
1:10 – roughly 10 minutes left in the match … England has dominated play in the last 10 minutes, we’ll see if we can muster a charge here.
1:12 – talk has turned into what we’re doing tonight, which is roughly 9 hours away, mind you.
1:13 – Howard is having a great game. Trying to figure out who he looks like. Taylor Mays? Vin Diesel? I’ll take suggestions.
1:14 – “if someone scores here it’s probably over, huh?” yeah, no probably, definitely over. This ain’t hockey, you don’t exactly “answer” goals in the final minute of play.
1:15 – Butterbean starts another “America … F@#K YEAH!” chant.
1:17 – someone whose name I missed shot from 25 yards out goes just high for US with under 2 minutes to play. Would have been greatest goal in US history, hands down.
1:19 – US corner kick coming up … “U-S-A! chant going strong … Donovan kick gets headed out by defense … Shiggs chimes in and says Beckham is wearing “it” better, too. Great, two chicks think Beckham is hot. Wait, let me guess, you think Dane Cook is funny, love eating sushi and couldn’t wait to see “Sex and the City 2?”
1:20 – first “Victory” reference of the day. The over won that bet.
1:23 – and that’s gonna do it. Tie game 1-1, might as well be a victory for the Americans, who were huge underdogs against an England team which has hopes of winning the whole thing. … one final U-S-A chant.
1:24 – “it’s really hard to cheer for a tie.” Well said, Artie.
1:26 – one final thought from Vos “the score does not reflect our dental hygiene dominance over England.” Stephanie chimes in, “I would say we’re too slick for England.”
1:27 - Sara’s final though: “PORNO!”
Mo: “I’m a lucky man, here’s why, David Beckham, America got to see David Bekcham on the TV, I sat next to a hotter man, my papa, all day. ZBT’s version of Beckham. I want that in the diary.”
1:29 - Parker: “it was pretty fun.”
Yes, it was. Soccer, sons; America, F-Yeah!
(*photos courtesy the Associated Press)
12:12 am • 14 June 2010 • 1 note