July 11, 2011

The Eternal Season - Monday July 11th

Hello Again TES Friends!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and that the Monday we now find ourselves in treats you as well as it can.

What a sporting weekend it was for we here at TES.  Saturday noon marked a major milestone, as we were just 8 weeks out from the first Saturday of college football, and the start of Iowa Football 2011.  And so, a day or two late, but here none the less - another highlight video from an incoming Iowa freshman.  Running back Rodney Coe, out of Illinois, #21:

It might feel like the dead of summer (and it does), but college football will be here soon.

But it was the other kind of football that stole the show this weekend.  First, on Saturday, Japan stunned host and two time defending Cup champ Germany 1-nil.  That meant that the road to the title was wide open for the USA-Brazil winner.

Rarely does of game of such hype live up to the billing, but on Sunday, the ladies far exceeded it.  It had a little bit of everything you could have in a soccer game - an own goal, inexplicable bordering on criminal officiating, a masterful goal by Marta, the game's #1 player 5 years in a row.  And as time wound down and it looked like the USA was about to be sent home, a play that vindicated every coach who says you have to play until the final whistle. 

Down to ten after the phantom red card, and subsequent mysterious re-kick of the penalty, it seemed the US would crawl into a shell, but the opposite happened.  As the booth announcers were telling us, the American team was the best conditioned team there.  Sure enough, as the game wore on, we seemed to find more rhythm, ball control, and chances.  But it ended at 1-1 and the 30 minute overtime period loomed.  

It looked bleak from the start - somehow we forgot to mark, or body check, Marta right smack in the middle of the box. and she took a pass from a player (one who was offside when she got the ball - not that the officials caught it) and just did a half volley to flip the ball up and to the far side of the net.  Solo was in position for the blast, but could not recover in time to get across the net, and it bounced in for the 2-1 Brazil lead.  From there, the gas was let out of the very pro-American crowd, and the players had to buckle down for 28 more minutes of overtime.

But, still playing with just 10, we once again seemed to gain control.  There were some close chances, but no real fear inducing moments for Brazil.  Still, they put on a classic stall play - taking forever for restarts, feigning injuries, doing all they could to kill the clock.  And, kill it they did, as the first overtime ended, and then the 2nd 15 minute period started, and the stall got even worse.  So bad in fact, that while there were no goals in that period, the officials added 3 minutes of stoppage time onto the end.

We had chances, with multiple corners that could not connect, balls launched into the box with no one there to get them.  Two minutes left, then 90 seconds, as on the far side of the field, Megan Rapinoe found the ball, and some space.  From 30 yards away, and with her left foot, she launched the cross - and in what seemed like forever, the ball rose, floated, spun, and then began to drop near the far post.  The Brazilian goaltender, Andreia, leaped with her arms skyward to punch it away - and missed!  Just behind her, our emotional leader and veteran Abby Wambach found enough in those tired, 31 year old legs to rise up, cock her head back, and slam it forward, where this time, the connection was made, and the United States had tied Brazil at 2 with just over a minute left in stoppage time. A goal worthy of another video!

A play like that, you see why those around the world call soccer the 'beautiful game.'  Once the time elapsed and it went to penalty kicks, you knew what was going to happen.  Hope Solo made the save on the 3rd kick, as the player taking the shot was the one that had the own goal in the 2nd minute.  And that would do it, we slammed the last two kicks into the left corner, and the celebration was on. There was special irony there too, as the first kick by us was missed - but the goalie left her line, so we got a re-kick of our own, and buried it into the back of the net.

So now France, a country that doesn't like us, one who dispatched my homeland England in penalty kicks after France tied the game up with about 2 minutes to go in regulation.  On the other side, Japan and Sweden battle in the semi-finals, where if form holds, we will get a rematch with the Swedes this Sunday.  Our game is at 12:00 pm on Wedensday, the 2nd game at 2:45.  Both on ESPN, or ESPN3 if you can't get away to a tv.  Now past Brazil and with Germany out, this thing is ours for the taking. 

When it comes to American football, sources are now saying that things have moved forward enough that a likely NFL deal can be in place for July 21st - a key date where meetings are going on and the deal could be ratified by both sides.  It will produce a very hectic and compressed free agent period, but it should get in all the pre-season games and allow camps to start on time.  Yay.

Just as it seemed things were about to go over the cliff, the Dodgers won the last 4 games of the 1st half!  The first 3 of those were shutouts, and yesterday they only gave up 1 run in beating the Padres 4-1.  Saturday night's game was an NL game worthy of Koufax-Gibson battles of yesteryear.  San Diego, one hit, a single in the 5th.  LA, no hits - 5 different Padres pitchers had a no-hitter going with one, and now two outs in the 9th.  But, the Dodgers got a double to break up the no-hitter, and then a single to drive that guy in, and win the game 1-zip.   Both weekend games featured anti-ownership protests outside the stadium, and very low attendance inside.  Maybe by people staying away, the fans can bankrupt those idiots out of town.

Tonight, the MLB All Star Home Run Derby, tomorrow the game itself.  Still sticking to the dumbest rule in all of sports, pro, college, or high school - where the winner of the All Star game gets home field for the World Series.  It's going to take Selig's retirement, or death, as I don't see him stepping down, to get rid of this.  Another day off Wednesday, before MLB resumes the 2nd half on Thursday.

So that leaves us not much on this, the first of the two days where traditionally, there have been no US sporting events.  We do have a Copa America game tonight, and some tennis going on right now.  If the weekend's excitement was a bit too much for you, a day or two off seems like a good idea. 

Because here at the TES control center, it's hot!  A real good day to do much of nothing.  I hope you find some cool air in your neck of the woods, and that the Monday ends as soon as it can - for all of us.

Where To Find Live Sports On TV:

MLB Games - Regular Season:

Soccer aka Football:



The love of sports is shared across the generations, and there are few things as fun as debating the merits of certain players, strategies, and team histories with other, opposing sports nuts. If you are an all around sports fan, feel free to join the ride, and please comment/vent whenever you feel you need to.


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