Hello or if you’re reading in Australia, G’day! Welcome back to The Soccer List, your one stop shop for all the major (and some not so major) stories from the last week in soccer. So hopefully your cup of tea is sufficiently mashed and we can take a Monday morning delve into the week that was!
1. Black Cats at Night? Sunderland’s Delight
Normally I wouldn’t lead off with a story that the joint last place side in the Premiership won at home 1-nil to move themselves up to second last in the table. However, it’s not everyday that the joint last place side beats megabucks Manchester City, and it’s certainly not everyday that ex-Sheffield United loanee Phil Bardsley scores the winner.
Deployed as a wingback, Bards’ must be feeling pretty frisky in the Adidas Predator LZ “Samba Edition“ as he’s been on a bit of a goal scoring tear since they dropped, he’s found the back of the old onion sack twice this week!
Emphatic win aside, this match asks more questions than it answers. Questions like, “Are Sunderland good enough to stay up?”, “Is Phil Bardsley a goal scoring machine?”, “Hart or Pantilimon, can either of them stop a beachball?”, and finally “Given their current away form, will Manuel Pellegrini last the season?” For those scoring at home the answers are, probably, YES, not really and depends if he can find a keeper who can stop a beachball.
2. Paul Pogba Scores a Worldie!
It was a couple years ago when I watched a patchy web-feed of the FA Youth Cup Final Second leg between Manchester United and Sheffield United. While the Mancunians ran out 4-1 winners on the day (6-3 on Aggregate), I watched a young Frenchman in the heart of the Man Utd midfield who reminded me of Patrick Vieira.
Paul Pogba was his name and apparently scoring worldies (world class) has become his game. Since the 2010/11 season he’s moved on to pastures new and a small club in Turin who given their nickname are supported mostly by old ladies. The French international was back at his game today, using his Nike CTR 360 Maestri III Hi-Vis, to drop this worldie in a 3-nil win over Napoli.
Incredible goal, the same however, cannot be said about his haircut and celebration. Is he steering a car or opening a safe? I don’t get it?
3. MLS Playoffs are Exciting
Wednesday and Thursday saw the MLS Conference Semi-Final Second Legs, and three of the four matches saw extra time. In Kansas City, Sporting KC (formerly The Wizards, formerly formerly The Wiz) overcame a 2-1 first leg deficit and a superhuman Matt Reis in extra time to beat the New England Revolution 3-1 in the second leg and 4-3 on aggregate.
Over in New York City…er…Harrison, New Jersey; the Houston Dynamo were doing what they do, winning Conference playoff games. After a 2-all draw at the BBVA Compass Stadium, against Terry Henry and friends, the Dynamo knew a win would send them through to the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite a goal on 23 minutes from Bradley Wright-Phillips, the Dynamo hit back through Captain Brad Davis on 36′ and Jamaican International Omar Cummings in extra time to steal a 4-3 aggregate win and their third consecutive Eastern Conference Final appearance.
Over in Sandy, Utah, LA Galaxy were looking to keep their hopes for a third consecutive MLS Cup title alive. Stricken by near freezing temperatures and ridiculous winds, the defending champs never really looked settled. RSL took the lead through “The Divine Rat-tail” Sebastian Velasquez (note: I doubt that’s his actual nickname) after 35 minutes. RSL should have doubled their lead late on when Alvaro Saborio curled a free kick into the top corner from the moon; but, referee Baldomero Toledo was doing Baldomero Toledo things and disallowed the goal for reasons which can’t be comprehended by mankind. Justice however, would occur in extra time as Chris Schuler ghosted to the back post and got his leg to a free kick for the game winner.
Finally, in Portland, the Timbers and their Canadian Captain Will Johnson jumped out to a 3-nil lead against rival Seattle Sounders, and managed to survive a late scare to win 3-2 and 5-3 on aggregate. Goals from the Timbers came courtesy of Umbro Geometra II wearer Will Johnson, Deigo Valeri, and Futty Danso, while the Sounders late fightback saw goals from De’Andre Yedlin and Eddie Johnson.
Just to note, here is a pic of Toledo booking the Gaffer. Apparently, Bryan didn’t do anything wrong and should not have received this yellow card….apparently.
4. Let the ‘Cupsets’ Begin
The greatest knockout tournament in the world is back. This weekend saw the First Round Proper of the FA Cup and as usual there is always a good ‘cupset’. This rounds ‘cupset’ belongs to Macclesfield Town of The Skrill Premier (formerly Conference National) who ran out deservedly 4-nil winners over League One side Swindon Town. The Silkmen are currently sitting 14th in The Skrill Premier but were gee’d up for their home match against a Swindon side who are currently knocking on the door to the playoff spots in League One.
Skrill North side Brackley Town nearly provided the ‘cupset’ of the day as they lead League One strugglers Gillingham at Gillingham. It was left to 19 year old midfielder Bradley Drack to save the Gills blushes and ensure them a replay up at St. James Park. Skrill South side Boreham Wood FC are still in the competition as well, they face a 300 mile trip to Carlisle after securing a creditable nil-nil draw against the League One side.
A note for you “glory hunters” out there, the Premiership clubs enter the competition in the Third Round Proper.
5. What new in reviews?
Light week on the SC101 review front this week.
- Our resident goalkeeping specialist Aaron Perez is back with a review of the Lanzera Marino GK gloves so if you’re keeper inclined Aaron has you covered.
- However, the Adidas Samba collection did drop this past week, and like the boss that he is, our boss Bryan has been all over it. You can find out what’s new on the Adidas F50 Samba and take a peek at the new adiPure 11pro Samba.
6. Ronaldo Scores Another Hattrick
His third of the season…yada yada yada….I’m starting to expect this each week now!
7. Blades blunt U’s
It was the FA Cup First Round Proper for my beloved Sheffield United this week, and with it a trip down south to ‘cosmopolitan Essex’ to face Colchester United in a nearly empty Weston Homes Community Stadium. Listening on the radio it seemed the Blades were up for it. Leading goal scorer and central defender (no you didn’t misread) Harry Maguire got his head to a Stephen McGinn free kick after 10 minutes to give us the lead. Less than two minutes later we were at it again, as the striker who can do everything but score Chris Porter found the back of the net via Colchester’s keeper trying to pick out poacher Shaun Miller. With only 12 minutes gone and two goals to the good the Blades seemed poised to be on the way to delivering a hammering to the home side, but somehow managed to get to the half still only 2-nil up.
After half time it all went a bit Pete Tong. Colchester pulled a goal back less than 5 minutes into the second half, and began to really turn the screws into us. Shortly after the hour mark, I was walking around my work cursing, Everton loanee Luke Garbutt drove home from 30 yards to level the match, and it took a late penalty from Chris Porter, who can do everything except score from open play, to avoid the ignominy of throwing away a two goal lead, and allowed us to get out of Essex with a 3-2 win, and our name in the bag full of names for the Second Round of the Cup. COME ON YOU RED AND WHITE WIZARDS!
Well that is going to do it for this weeks The Soccer List, hopefully the coming week will see all of your passes be clinical and your goals be worldies!