Old Futbol Buffet–RvP and the Reggae Boyz

Friday kicked off World Cup Qualifying for UEFA. There were also games in the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL regions.  Skimming the fixture list, nothing really jumped out at me until I came across Holland against Turkey.  The Turks are usually entertaining and the Dutch are rebuilding under Louis van Gaal after an Euro 2012 disaster.

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Holland 2  Turkey 0

The last time I saw Turkey play was against Croatia in the Euro 2012 playoff where they were destroyed and eliminated from contention, but this was a much different team.  Watching the game at work, I saw wave after wave of attacks from the visitors as the Oranje looked all out of sorts—miscommunication, turnovers deep in the defending third and poor marking.  How the Turks did not score before the break is beyond me.

RvP continued his rich vein of scoring with another ridiculous header to give the Dutch the advantage going into half time.  Eventually the hosts settled down and were able to finally take control of the match, with Sneijder providing the influence.  The clock was ticking down with the outcome in doubt before Narsingh was released to score a classy goal, clipping the ball beyond Zengin and into the far post.

Zac Wassink summed up the game for Yahoo, commenting:

It was far from a perfect performance from the Dutch, but Holland did two things on Friday that they haven’t consistently done throughout this calendar year: They managed to not surrender a goal in the waning moments of a contest, and they put a team away with a late tally of their own.

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Jamaica 2  United States 1

I wasn’t able to get out to the bar for US v Jamaica.  Again, I don’t get excited about semi final round games.  Figure I would save my get out jail free cards for the Final Hexagonal Qualifiers.  Top two qualify from the group to last six, so with the loss, they need a win on Tuesday.  Otherwise, it gets very tricky with an away trip to Antigua and Barbuda (might only get a draw) and the final group game, home to Guatemala.

Didn’t watch the game, so can’t comment on lineups or tactics.  Just get the job done.  And that comment is directed at all you super excited about beating Mexico in the Azteca in a friendly fans.  Doesn’t mean shit.  (Note: after reading several post match articles, I saw that Donovan, Bradley, Chandler, Bocanegra and Cherundolo were all missing.  Big chunk of experience and spark gone from the team.)

Based on Grant Wahl’s post game comments, the US was too defensive and didn’t have enough creativity to generate goal scoring opportunities.  That and they committed fouls in dangerous positions, which they were punished for.  Tuesday night will be very interesting.

Paul Kennedy’s player ratings at Soccer America were not kind as several players did not do enough to keep Jamaica at arm’s length or enough to get the Stars and Stripes back into the games.

For a Jamaican perspective, I read Hartley Anderson’s column for the Jamaica Observer.  Despite the victory Hartley found areas of concern and improvement for the Reggae Boyz as they took a massive step towards qualifying for the final group.

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Articles and Podcasts

Aaron West looked at Porto’s extraordinary transfer record that has fueled the club’s successes both on and off the field.  Look at the list of the players they have bought low and sold high:  Maniche, Pepe, Anderson, José Bosingwa, Ricardo Quaresma, Lisandro López, Lucho González, Aly Cissokho, Bruno Alves, Raúl Meireles, Radamel Falcao, Hulk.  That’s not luck. That’s hard work.  The rest of Europe, well except Udinese, take note.

Grant Wahl wrote about Dempsey’s last minute transfer to Tottenham Hotspur for SI.com, recounting the anxious moments for the US forward as the window closed shut.  Not sure how he’ll fit in Spurs, so only time will tell if this was the right move.

The Forza Futball pod was back and the panel looked at the first two weeks of the season and gave their predictions on how the season would finish. Parity seems to be most experts take on the league as no one can figure out where teams will finish between 3rd and 20th.

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