All right! GO AMERICA! The one World Cup moment the majority of Americans will actually be paying attention is upon us: The red, white and blue is going soccering!
But a win here, or even a draw, would be a mouth-watering good start. Your live-blogger today is Brandon Hollihan. If you have any comments for him, feel free to email him, and he'll be right there with you. And enjoy! U-S- ... uh, what's the last letter again?
FULL TIME: That's it, and what a debacle that was. At least we see Oguchi taking his shirt off, revelling in his physique and threatening to beat people up afterwards. (Actually, would you want to exchange shirts with someone who played so poorly? Who'd he give his to, Nedved? I hope not.)
ESPN2's booth leaves us with postmatch comments, and Lalas and Wynalda are PISSED. As soon as Julie (hey, I leanred her name, Julie Foudy!) opens her mouth, Jason says, "Who is she? And why isn't she in a kitchen somewhere???"
Truer words have never been spoken. I'm CliffX, thanks for reading, and go Cubs.
90' Two minutes added time, which doesn't matter. Bruckner is an evil genius, man; it showed in the way he prepared for the US trying to cross in the ball all those times in the first half, he denied them everywhere. Balboa agrees with my sentiments on Onyewu's tough outing. Shame, really.
85' Moment of the match happens in the booth, when Balboa pleads to the audience that there's still two matches left, and the US only needs to regroup and they'll be fine. As he says this, a box in the upper right corner reads, "Next match versus Italy, Saturday at 2:30 ET." Runner-up for moment of the match goes to a blond-haired Czech guy sporting a mullet AND the last name Polak. Rosicky is substituted and gets an ovation for his work, as he well should. He's the man of the match.
81' Anyhoo Josh Wolff is now in there for the US. Yellow card goes to Galasek for tackling Johnson. Johnson then fires a nice shot that goes a bit too high. This is tough to watch.
74' Cech actually moves! Donovan crosses one in to Jonhson, just missing the striker as Cech smothers the ball....
Okay, I'm done blogging.
Yeah, so Nedved just slotted the ball to Rosicky, who had beaten off a napping Onyewu to easily slide the ball past Keller. 3-0 Czechs. That's kind of equivalent to 30-0 in an NFL game. And now the Czech fans are going NUTS, while Sam's Army looks for an exit ramp.
70' CROSS-BARR. Thomas Rosicky—with no pressure whatsoever, notes Balboa—fires another great shot toward goal that hits the crossbar and bounces into touch. It's worth noting by now that he's headed to Arsenal next season, and he's playing like a million quid today. Eddie Johnson gets in a couple shots on the other side, but we STILL have yet to force Cech into a save.
68' www.myspace.com/cliffx Hey, it's more entertaining than this.
64' Keller makes at least one save, but otherwise, the US attack looks even worse. I really can't believe that. Soccer's a game of two halves (and that amazing 2005 CL final proves that), but Bruckner's tactics have competely shut our guys out.
61' CliffX is back. Sorry! Should've gone to Burger King instead. I get back in time to see Reyna get a silly yellow card. Czech player Luckvic gets a card too.
52' Now it's Nedved's turn to take a dive. Unlike Koller, the Danube's Dawson actually got up.
50' Czechs attacking the goal (again) and with more fervor. If they got lucky in the first half with Convey's dinger, we just got lucky with their near goal.
49' Koller is officially out of uniform and at least walking around. It's imperative he attempt to look hurt, or else he might get suspended for being such a wuss.
Opening of second half: Onyewu fouls early, and good for him.
Hey everyone, this is Jason. CliffX is getting me a sandwich and relinquished control of the keyboard. It better be a good sandwich too.
I'm not a futsoccerbol fan by any means, but I will say that ESPN is doing their damndest to make this sport as unappealing as possible. Dave O'Brien is tantamount to the third plague of Moses when it comes to sports commentating. I don't remember if that was the locusts, the ferrets, or the ebola plague, but every time the Davester makes an inane comment about the number of runs the Americans are behind, or how many downs they have left, I wish I had been the firstborn in my family so that Yahweh could strike me down in the final plague. That'll learn ESPN.
This game, however, has been exciting if not completely frustrating. It's always nice to see smaller countries do well against larger nations, although if we want a pissing contest with the Czechs we can always bring them over here for some "how's the economy going" action. Ours might be going in the crapper now, but at least there's no breadlines.
On a serious note, the breaking news is that Ben Roethlisberger has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident. They say the injuries are not life threatening, which is good, but he's a local boy for me. Even though I'm a Bengals fan, I still have love in my heart for Big Ben. I hope he gets better.
In terms of stats, the United States are winning the possession game, but with no production. The last stat I saw was a 64% to 36% difference in time of possession, but it's hard to swallow since the Czechs are completely dominating our defense. Koller's loss to injury are big, but our defense needs to step it up like whoa. Hell, another striker would be even better, because a good offense and a good defense is better than a bad offense and a bad defense (there's my Maddenism).
The Czechs are also winning the mullet game, with 2 mullets to America's none. All the mullets in the crowd I credit to the Czechs as well. Should America step this up? I vote yea.
HALF-TIME: Well, I'm gonna go get a sandwich, and let Jason commentate, in the meantime, enjoy this video: http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=15862
45' There's one minute of stoppage time, which is enough for Onyewu to make a long throw directly to Cech (not a good start for Onyewu today), and the whistle blows. Ugly first half for the Americans. They need a second striker.
43' O'Brien notes how Peter Cech speaks five languages. "Dialects are not languages," retorts Jason.
42'Koller makes a dive in the box. For the second time today. Oh, wait, actually he's hurt, as they bring out the stretcher for him. Well then, if the Czechs have a problem, they're now down TWO strikers. I say just put in Vladimir Smicer, if only because he somehow scored in the 2005 Champs' League Final. Most unlikely goal EVER.
40' Guys, that might be it. These Czechs are for real, and Nedved's efforts are inspiring all the midfielders. Coach Karel Bruckner, Anton's long-lost descendent, is also getting a lot of praise from Balboa.
37' TESTICLES AND VAGINAS. Midfielder Tomas Rosicky, who Jason says looks like "Jake Gyllenhall, only gayer", cracks an awesome strike from about the same range as Reyna, only this one's on target and Keller is helpless to stop it. Shoot.
35' The US get the right idea, waiting for players to get inside the box and cross it to them. Unfortunately, Peter Cech hasn't even been tested yet, and that could be forboding in the second half. He's one of the worlds' best.
32' I get the feeling the Dave O'Brien is reading off Wikipedia when describing the life stories of some of these soccer players. Nedved assumes good control and wins a corner, but that's thwarted. US are starting to look more in this thing.
28' THE POSTMAN!!! I get flashbacks of Kevin Costner's worst movie ever, as Reyna smashes a great shot from about twenty yards, but the ball hits the post. Man.
26' Anyways, raise your hand is you think the US' FIFA ranking is a bit too high. That's funny, Gasface didn't raise his hand.
24' TOO CLOSE. Nedved batters Cherundolo (I think) on the right side, crosses in to Grygera who heads the ball, just right of the goal. Too close right there.
20' What I can tell you about the Czech formation is that they've got 6'8" striker Jan Koller up front by himself, and he's creating enough problems for the defense. It was supposed to be perhaps him and Aston Villa striker Milan Baros, but the latter is hurt and won't make an appearance today. Funny, I thought that'd be a good thing...US tries to find something in the middle.
17' Good run by Donovan as he takes the ball towards the front and forces Rozehnal to knock him down. Roz gets a yellow card for that. They waste the following free kick though, sending it to Beasley on the wing instead into the box, and he loses possesion.
15' Onyewu tries a long ball to McBride but that doesn't work. They'll need more people forward if they want to try that.
11' Sorry, had some techincal problems there. Jan Koller scored on a header from a cross on the right side; no one on the US had that side coverd, and it's 1-0 Czechs. The US get a few crosses on the other side, but the Czechs are now starting to browbeat them already. That's a scary sign for a team playing five midfielders.
1' Screw it, I was going to write the starting lineup for the Czechs but the names are wayyyy too difficult to write that quickly. The big names are the goalkepper Peter Cech, midfield Pavel Nedved, and striker Jan Koller. Both sides exchange freekick but then Onyewu beats up the cheater Nedved and gets a yellow card for it. By the way, Onyewu's the Brock Lesnar of soccer, 6'5" and 215 pounds and ready to become a huge star in this Cup.
0' We're off! US win possesion to start. Balboa notes the contrast between Euro US players and MLS players. That could be the biggest disadvantage for them, as the Czech players come from the biggest leagues in Germany, Russia, France, and England. Early free kick for the Czechs doesn't go anywhere.
0' Typical American television coverage; they show our anthem but not the Czech's, which is awesome and talks about bombs and destruction and shit.
0' If you want to start complaining about announcers, do it now and get it out of the way, as we have O'Brien and Balboa are in the booth. Jason spots one mullet on the Czech squad well beating the over/under at 3. The players step out to huge applause at the beautfiul AufSchalke Arena in Gelsenkirchen. Will to me on AIM: "They all brought kids! Awwwww!"
Hey y'all, it's CliffX and I welcome you to Deadspin's commentary of the United States versus the Czech Republic in Group E of the World Cup. Today's commentary is brought to you by 'Snakes on a Plane.' I've had it with these motha-f*ckin' snakes on this motha-f*ckin' plane.
My boy Jason has joined me to watch the game and play House to my Bill Simmons. Together, we did this video:
Will refuses to acknowledge its existence, I'm telling you.
The ESPN2 booth people are doing, well, just ok. I like Wynalda and Lalas, but the chick on the right...ouch. She's like a prettier version of John Kruk. C'est la vie. Oh yeah, some correspondent just made a really stupid crack about blood plasma or something. Let's get rolling with the US lineup, in a 4-5-1 formation:
D Lewis Onyewu Pope Cherundolo
M Convey Mastroeni Donovan Reyna Beasley
Expect Donovan to push up a lot, obviously.