Treading Water (Levi McKinnon; May 1, 2013)

April 3, 2013

Houston Dynamo @ DC United, MLS
Houston 2 (Oscar Boniek Garcia 49; Brian Ching 80) – DC United 2 (Rafael 61; Casey Townsend 73)
DynaBest: Oscar Boniek Garcia

April 6, 2013

Houston Dynamo @ Montreal Impact, MLS
Montreal 2 (Marco Di Vaio 12 50p) – Houston 0
DynaBest: Ricardo Clark

April 13, 2013

Philadelphia Union @ Houston Dynamo, MLS
Houston 1 (Brian Ching 37) – Philadelphia 0
DynaBest: Brian Ching

April 3, 2013

Houston Dynamo @ Montreal Impact, MLS
Montreal 2 (Marco Di Vaio 1; Andrea Pisanu 69) – Houston 1 (Brad Davis 44)
DynaBest: Brad Davis

April 27, 2013

San Jose Earthquake @ Houston Dynamo, MLS
Houston 3 (Oscar Boniek Garcia 7 16 52p) – San Jose 0
DynaBest: Oscar Boniek García

# # #

League Position: 4th of 10, 6 points behind New England.
League & Overall Goals: Oscar Boniek Garcia (4); Assists: Sachin Tendulkar (3); Rating: Boniek Garcia (7.70)

# # #

Welcome to the latest installation of treading water. This is a good squad, and McKinnon is getting them to play an exciting brand of soccer–two forwards, two wide attackers, all built on a defensive trio anchored by the exceedingly stable and versatile Ricardo Clark.

But the results are inconsistent, and if Levi never sees Marco Di Vaio again, he’d be fine with that.

He knows his defense is weak, but Julian won’t return his messages. He could really use the Comets’ old defensive coach. Not to mention his best friend.

Fishing for a Headline (Danyil Oranje; April 1, 2013)

March 5, 2013

Dynamo Kyiv @ Chelsea, EURO Cup
Chelsea 2 (Romelu Lukaku 45p; Eden Hazard 55) – Dynamo Kyiv 1 (Admir Mehmedi 82)
Blues’ Best: Eden Hazard

March 9, 2013

Chelsea @ Cardiff, FA Cup
Cardiff 1 (Don Cowie 71) – Chelsea 0
Blues’ Best: Branislav Ivanovic

March 16, 2013

West Ham @ Chelsea, EPL
Chelsea 1 (Branislav Ivanovic 50) – West Ham 1 (Marouane Chamakh 40)
Blues’ Best: Branislav Ivanovic

March 19, 2013

Chelsea @ Wigan, EPL
Chelsea 1 (Victor Moses 81) – Wigan 0
Blues’ Best: Oriol Romeu & Victor Moses

March 21, 2013

Leigh hated press conferences. The lights, the attention, the fear she would say the wrong thing at the wrong moment. She felt nauseous as she waited for Melanie to tell her everything was ready, and wished Jessica were here instead. Melanie’s face was always slightly pinched, her eyebrows drawn together in a constant expression of small disapproval. Every time their eyes met, Leigh’s stomach tightened slightly, and Melanie’s thin smile of reassurance only set the butterflies fluttering further.

She scratched at the label of the water bottle with a fingernail, caught herself, stopped. She stared at the ragged edge of the label, and feeling a flush creep up her neck, cursed silently to herself.

Leigh? It was the second time Melanie had said her name. They’re ready for you.

Leigh flashed a quick smile and walked into the small room, squinting against the lights. She walked up the metal steps and sat down on the ancient folding chair, the Chelsea logo barely visible after years of use. She carefully set the water bottle down so the torn side faced away from the sea of reporters.

Melanie waited in front of the stage for another smile, her hands clasped in front of her, and when it came, she began to point at reporters, one by one.

How’s the injury, Leigh?

It’s fine. I’ve been training at full speed for a week now. All good.

Any worries it will be an ongoing issue?

Leigh shook her head. None at all. It was just a freak thing. We’ve added like some different stretches to my warmup, it’s all good.

Another voice took over, this one deeper, almost a growl. How long do you think you’ll have to wait before playing with the first team?

Leigh sighed to herself. They had prepped this question endlessly. I play with the first team almost every day. Beyond that, it’s up to Coach. Whenever they need me, I’ll be ready.

So  you think you’re ready now?

Like, physically?

There was silence for a moment, as the reporters were unsure if she was asking a question or not. Physically, emotionally. Everything. Do you really think you’re ready for the … The deep voice continued after a slight pause … rigors of the league?

Leigh heard Jessica’s voice in her head. There are words you need to be careful of, Leigh. Words like rigor, physicality, emotional stability. They’re code for things that you’ve fought against all your life, but when you hear them, you have to just go lightly. Don’t be afraid to not answer a question–they aren’t really asking you anything, they’re fishing for a headline.

She reached for the bottle, smoothing the dangling tear along the bottle with her finger as she lifted it to her mouth. That was another thing Jessica had taught her, how to delay and pause before she answered.

I’m ready was all she said, staring out into the sea of lights. I’m ready.

March 27, 2013

It’s really for the best, Jessica. Really.

Jessica counted slowly to herself, moving the headset mic away from her mouth so her slow exhale went unheard. Her hands were tied, and she knew her frustration was a bit misplaced. It wasn’t Danyil’s fault that the American federation had called Leigh into the USA U20 squad. She calmed her voice as best she could. So, when?

The Irishman. What’s his name? Langford? He said she would be back on the fifteenth.

Yes. Maybe not until that Wednesday. The seventeenth.

So …

Danyil’s voice was slow and measured, each sentence a harsh requirement. So, if she’s back. If she’s ready. If she’s healthy.

This time Jessica couldn’t prevent her voice from straining. Yes, yes. If all of that is true.

It was Danyil’s turn to take a deep breath. The twentieth. At home. Everton. And if not, then the twenty-seventh.

Jessica smiled cautiously. You sure?

You want to give me time to change my mind?

She laughed. No. I don’t. OK. I’ll get with Melanie. Again. But we’re doing it for real this time. One month.

March 31, 2013

Chelsea @ Liverpool, EPL
Chelsea 0 Liverpool 0
Blues’ Best: John Terry

# # #

League Position: 4th of 20, 13 points behind Tottenham (1 point ahead of Manchester United, behind Everton and Liverpool).
League Goals: Eden Hazard (11); Assists: Leighton Baines (7); Rating: Hazard (7.67)
Overall Goals: Hazard (22); Assists: Hazard (17); Rating: Hazard (7.84)

Lost in a lackluster stretch is the massive year being racked up by Eden Hazard, who is almost single-handedly keeping Chelsea alive in the race for a Champion’s League slot for next year. Winning the league would take a massive push, and the defeat to Cardiff was quite a shock. So, it is up to the squad to hold on to 4th (or improve on it) or qualify through the EURO Cup, in which they are still alive.

Just Need to Stay Up (Dubhgall Mainchín; April 1, 2013)

March 1, 2013

Derry City @ University College Dublin, Irish Premier
Derry 4 (Paddy Kavanagh 12; Rory Patterson 18 30; Thomas Crawley 20) – UCD 0
Scholar’s Best: Adam Zayed & David McMillan

March 5, 2013

University College Dublin @ Drogheda United, Irish Premier
UCD 3 (Robbie Creevy 17; David O’Connor 73; James Kavanaugh 84) – Drogheda 3 (Gary O’Neill 34p; Declan O’Brien 79 90)
Scholar’s Best: James Kavanaugh

March 8, 2013

University College Dublin @ Bray Wanderers, Irish Premier
Bray 3 (Aidan Downes 6; Jason Byrne 23 52) – UCD 1 (Chloe Mustaki 79)
Scholar’s Best: Chloe Mustaki

March 15, 2013

University College Dublin @ Limerick Football Club, Irish Premier
Limerick 1 (Craig Curran 39) – UCD 0
Scholar’s Best: Jake Kelly

March 25, 2013

Dundalk @ University College Dublin, Irish League Cup
UCD 2 (David O’Connor 65; Robbie Benson 117) – Dundalk 1 (Vincent Faherty 90+1)
Scholar’s Best: Mark Langtry

# # #

League Position: 12th of 12, 4 points from safety; 9 points behind Shamrock Rovers.
League Goals: David O’Connor (2); Assists: Chris Mulhall (2); Rating: Mulhall (7.35)
Overall Goals: O’Connor (2); Assists: Mulhall (3); Rating: Mulhall (7.23)

# # #

Dubhgall rolled his eyes towards the dark curtain of clouds that were ominously edging towards the practice field. He stood in the lazy warmth of the afternoon sun, but could see the grayness approaching over a muted cloak of shadow.

-Mother, save me, he muttered under his breath.

-What was that?

Anne Hari turned to him, her bright red hair tumbling over her shoulder as she did. He shook his head as he strode past her, towards the players, blowing hard on his whistle.

He took turns pointing to each small group that stood in their position.

-Look, it’s no good that way. As soon as it goes wide, we need you and you moving up, fast, to get in the box. And you, you have that whole side of the field. You have to read the cross and attack it.

Thunder rumbled in the distance.

-See, even the rain agrees with me. You have to do better.

The sky groaned again. It was going to be a drencher.

-That’s enough. Get yourselves in. Pick up the cones as you go, and two of you go fetch the balls from where Mulhall lost ‘em. There were protests in the laughter.

-Why do we have to fecking fetch ‘em? Mully the one’t sent ‘em.

-Yeah, and he’ll help. Mulhall, you too. But you’re the ones that couldn’t get on the end of them, either. So the lot of you, there were four. If you come back with three, you’re buying us the other. In with the rest of you. Weights tomorrow, and in the evening we’re running.

He turned away before he could respond to their groans, and walked back to where Hari still stood. He mentally gave thanks for the rain and an image flashed through his mind of a stalk of corn reaching towards the sky, the sound of maniacal laughter in the distance. The thunder rumbled again.

-The beat for the dancer in the corn, he thought to himself.

He was by his assistant now, and she looked at him questioningly.

-Well now?

He shrugged.

-We’re not very good yet, are we?

He shook his head.

-No, but we’re not supposed to be, are we? Bunch of kids out there against grown men. And most of them never learned a thing other than punting the ball hard as they could when they got it.

She frowned for a moment, but remained silent.

-Look, he said, wondering as he spoke why he always felt the need to justify himself to her–he was the coach, after all.

-Look, all we need to do this year is stay up. We got past Dundalk, so we have a cup that we’re still in, and who knows what happens there. We just need to stay up.

Towards the Shoals (David Barron; April 1, 2013)

February 2, 2013

Karlsruhe @ Saarbrücken, Bundesliga.3
Saarbrücken 2 (Sven Sökler 38p; Marcel Ziemer 70) – Karlsruhe 0
Saar’s Best: Jimmy McNulty

February 9, 2013

Saarbrücken @ Münster, Bundesliga.3
Münster 3 (Matthe Taylor 21; Marco Königs 54 76) – Saarbrücken 0
Saar’s Best: Marc Lerandy & Ufuk Özbek

February 16, 2013
Babelsberg @ Saarbrücken, Bundesliga.3
Saarbrücken 1 (Sven Sökler 37) – Babelsberg 1 (Kai-Fabian Schulz 17)
Saar’s Best: Christian Eggert

February 24, 2013

Saarbrücken @ Chemnitz, Bundesliga.3
Chemnitz 1 (Rui Alemida Monteiro 41) – Saarbrücken 0
Saar’s Best: Christian Eggert

# # #

League Position: 16th of 20, 2 points clear; 17 points behind Heidenheim.
League Goals: Marcel Ziemer (10); Assists: Jimmy McNulty (4); Rating: Kevin Maek (6.96)
Overall Goals: Ziemer (10); Assists: Arturo Robaina (13); Rating: Robaina (7.49)

# # #

March 2, 2013

Rostock @ Saarbrücken, Bundesliga.3
Rostock 2 (Alexandre Mendy 47; Tom Wellandt 82) – Saarbrücken 0
Saar’s Best: Tim Stegerer

March 9, 2013

Saarbrücken @ Burghausen, Bundesliga.3
Burghausen 3 (Ronald Schmidt 6 90+1p; Felix Luz 56) – Saarbrücken 1 (Marcel Ziemer 30)
Saar’s Best: Marcel Ziemer

March 16, 2013

Stuttgarter Kickers @ Saarbrücken, Bundesliga.3
Saarbrücken 1 (Sven Sökler 31) – Stuttgarter K 1 (Jérôme Gondorf 90+3)
Saar’s Best: Adam Straith

March 24, 2013

Erfurt @ Saarbrücken, Bundesliga.3
Erfurt 1 (Kris Fillinger 7) – Saarbrücken 0
Saar’s Best: Adam Straith

# # #

League Position: 19th of 20, 3 points from safety; 27 points behind Burghausen.
League Goals: Marcel Ziemer (11); Assists: Jimmy McNulty, Lukas Kohler, Ziemer (4); Rating: Adam Straith (6.93)
Overall Goals: Ziemer (11); Assists: Arturo Robaina (13); Rating: Straith (6.91)

# # #

It didn’t matter if the evening followed a game or a practice or nothing at all. If he were home, he would make a simple meal and eat alone, picking at his food and scraping half of it into the garbage. He would tie the white bag and carry it downstairs and through the small alley next to his building, leaving it in the bin with the others. Most nights, a sleek white cat with black spots floating on its back like clouds would come and rub against his legs for a moment. If David reached down, it would vanish, a long blur disappearing beneath the dumpster and out of reach, so David would just stand there, feeling the light pressure against his ankles, before turning and trudging back upstairs.

He would run lukewarm water over the plates, not-quite scrubbing them in small circles, over and over, his eyes lost somewhere beyond the window pane, and then, as if suddenly realizing what he was doing, he would move the water to a scalding heat that left his hands red and move quickly through the rest of the dishes, meticulously cleaning them and leaving them to dry on the small rack by the sink, carefully setting a towel to catch the runoff created by the slight slope of the counter.

He remained intense in practices, but found himself staying seated through most of the games. He missed Dayàn more than he thought he would, the moments they shared just before the shrill whistle that began the game, the small observations as the action unfolded before them.

His players seemed to appreciate it. He read quotes about how “the new coach was letting them play,” how he had a philosophy, “but he trusted them to figure it out.”

He didn’t think much about the articles, and barely noticed over the past two months how, like the voices of sailors as a ship moved towards the shoals, the tone shifted slowly from trusting to troubled as Saarbrücken fell from the middle of the table towards the relegation zone.

Instead, after the dishes were done, he would find himself spending hours online, scouring the internet for information about people from Port-au-Prince. He would use Google Maps to trace the route he took from his house, nestled in the small hills away from the city, down to the stadium, and then from there back out along the water to her house. The technology served as an imperfect mirror, a memory of a time before the earthquake, and he would recognize buildings and intersections only to realize a moment later that they no longer existed, lost to the clouds of smoke and piles of rubble that emerged out of nowhere to dominate the horizon.

He searched for Dayàn online, but found nothing more than ads for personal information services. More than once he sat, his credit card in hand, before sighing and closing the browser window and would stare, watching the shadows mark the hours of the night on the wall.

A Busy Month (Tadesse Makonnen; April 1, 2013)

March 1, 2013

Saint George @ Séwé, African Champions League
St. George 2 (Adane Metesenot 47 66) – Séwé 1 (Youssouf Sidibé 25)
St. George win 5-2 on Aggregate
V’s Best: Léandre Bizagwira

March 6, 2013

Adama City @ Saint George, EPL
St. George 1 (Solomon Opoku 55) – Adama 1 (Getahun Asaznew 14)
V’s Best: Solomon Opoku, Ishmael Ishmael & Andrew Sinkala

March 9, 2013

Meta Abo Brewery @ Saint George, EPL
St. George 4 (Mulalem Tessema 7; Léandre Bizagwira 54; Asrat Mohammed 80; Adane Metesenot 87) – Meta Abo 0
V’s Best: Asrat Mohammed

March 13, 2013

Harar Beer Bottling Company @ Saint George, Ethio-Italian Friendship Cup
St. George 3 (Pierre Delorme 33; Solomon Opoku 48; Atakilti Mengesha 79) – Harar Beer 0
St. George win 7-1 on Aggregate
V’s Best: Pierre Delorme

March 17, 2013

Saint George @ Trans Ethiopia, EPL
St. George 2 (Peter Moyo 80; Mulalem Regassa 90+4) – Trans 1 (Issa Gebregeorgis 90)
V’s Best: Peter Moyo

March 20, 2013

Saint George v. Pisa, Ethio-Italian Friendship Cup FINAL
St. George 3 (Bereket Addisu 11 26; Samson Mulugeta 44) – Pisa 4(Diego Armando Perrotti 41 46; Nicola Mingazzini 79 108)
V’s Best: Bereket Addisu

March 24, 2013

TP Mazembe @ Saint George, African Champions League
Mazembe 3 (Alain Djissikadié 26p 65p; Ngandu Kasongo 36) – St. George 1 (Bereket Addisu 13)
V’s Best: Bereket Addisu

March 27, 2013

Fincha’a Sugar @ Saint George, The Addis Cup
St. George 5 (Ishmael Ishmael 16; Daniel Agonfar 34 53p; Andrew Sinkala 40; Samuel Degefe 82) – Fincha’a 0
V’s Best: Daniel Agonfar & Gabriel Junedi

March 31, 2013

Ethiopian Electric Power Company @ Saint George, EPL
St. George 3 (Bereket Addisu 15 90+1; George Mapfumo 84) – EEPCO 0
V’s Best: George Mapfumo

# # #

League Position: 1st of 16, 10 points ahead of Ethiopian Coffee.
League Goals: Adane Metesenot (10); Assists: Daniel Agonfar & Lencho Skibba (7); Rating: Peter Moyo (7.51)
Overall Goals: Metesenot (18); Assists: Skibba (12); Rating: Liban Elmi (7.83)

Monthly Awards: Tadesse Makonnen, Manager of the Month; Tesfaye Wendimagegne, Player of the Month (on loan at Defence Sports Club)

# # #

Tadesse Makonnen hardly broke a smile as he accepted his second consecutive Manager of the Month award. He stood at a lectern, a blanket emblazoned with the Saint George logo hanging behind him, a microphone poking out of a small assortment of cell phones and digital recorders before him. There was a statue of a soccer ball as well, a small and lonely looking thing with the month and year engraved on a plate on its front.

Leaning in, his voice calm as always, but more monotone than usual, he addressed the half-dozen reporters that stood in a tight half-circle. “I want to thank the league for the award, and the board at St. George for their continued support. Most of all, of course, this is an award that is for the team, not for me. It’s their work that leads to the victories.”

He seemed about to say more, but caught himself, and ended with a simple. “Thank you.”

The questions began as an unintelligible cacophony, but the voices soon sorted themselves out.

“Are you pleased with the team’s performance right now?”

“In the league? Of course. We’ve dropped two points in a busy month.”

“And outside the league?”

Tadesse smiled slowly. “Today is about the league.” He lifted the small trophy in one hand. “That’s what this is. For the rest … we got tired against Pisa. It’s always painful to come so close and not bring home a trophy. And that carried through with the two penalties against Mazembe. Nobody at the club is pleased with those results.”

The Internationals, March 2013

THE OVERSEAS OVERALL SUPER LEAGUE

The group stages were almost over. As with any international competition of this caliber, there were some surprises, but quality is shining through. The OOSL also has shades of the Confederations Cup, in that weaker sides become media darlings: you can’t help but root for Haiti or Ethiopia or the Solomon Islands.

Group A. The surprise of the tournament was Japan’s comfortable lead on Spain in the group. Indeed, Spain would need both a victory in their final group game and help elsewhere just to qualify into the next stage.

Wales

Wales’ performance was probably better than anticipated, but that’s not saying terribly much. The competition opened with consecutive 4-2 losses to Japan and Spain, but a 2-2 tie with Algeria was respectable, and the 1-0 victory over Costa Rica was well deserved. Perhaps most surprising was the performance of Leeds’ Steve Morison who, with four goals in four games, was tied for second in the competition–and that was without having a blowout to pad the numbers.

Best Performers: Morison, David Vaughan, Gareth Bale
Debutantes: Camber Kyriell (19, Arsenal, AML); David Jones (28, Wigan, MC)

Spain

Spain’s fans were loudly protesting their performance so far: nobody expected them to be struggling in second place behind a surprisingly strong Japanese team. Spain could still progress, but it would require either a total collapse by Japan or help elsewhere in the competition. Perhaps surprisingly, the problems had been at the back, with a defense allowing two goals per game until finally posting a clean sheet in a 3-0 defeat of Algeria.

The blemishes were an opening game tie with Costa Rica and a surprising 2-1 defeat to Uruguay.

Best Performers: Jordi Alba, David Villa, Gerard Piqué
Debutantes: Dani Carvajal (21, Leverkusen, DR); Martín Montoya (21, Barcelona, DR)
Milestones: Sergio Ramos, 100 caps v Costa Rica

Group B. Germany was on course to progress, with both the best goal differential and the most points in the group, while Chile had an outside shot at making it as a top finisher as well. But the surprise of the group was probably Ethiopia, sitting in fourth place, ahead of Cameroon on goal differential and far ahead of the utter disaster of Mexico, who had played four games and lost all four, surrendering fourteen goals in the process.

Ethiopia

Never before had a 1-2 record been celebrated so. Ethiopia’s first game pitted them against the massive strength of Germany, and just two minutes in, the impossible happened: Bereket Addisu broke free of the defense and beat Manuel Neuer one on one to give the African nation the lead. That was Ethiopia’s only shot of the game, and for most of it, the imperious pairing of Samuel Degefe and Samson Mulugeta in the back looked like they might be up to the impossible. But, five minutes from time, a foul inside the box gave Germany the chance to tie, and when Mesut Özil drilled home the spot-kick, you could almost hear the air going out of the Walya Antelopes. So, with the final action of the game, when Mats Hummels nodded home a corner kick past Adugna Deyas’ dive, it was no surprise. Still, the performance was fantastic.

A 2-0 loss to Croatia was followed by another shock result: a 2-1 victory over the reeling El Tri from Mexico. With games remaining to be played against Cameroon and Chile, it looked possible for Ethiopia to even improve upon a tournament that must already be seen as a success.

Best Performers: Samuel Degefe, Bereket Addisu, Lencho Skibba

Group C. As expected, Portugal and England were atop the group. It was hard to get a sense of their quality, however, as the triumvirate of Haiti, Australia, and the Solomon Islands failed to offer much resistance.

England

As always, you never know what the Three Lions will give you. Was the real England the dominant and free-flowing group that thrashed Honduras 5-0 and the Solomon Islands 7-1? Or was the effort against the tiny Oceanic nation actually poor, and more in line with the 1-1 draw with Australia and the 3-0 loss to Portugal?

It was just as hard to sort out the individuals: Rickie Lambert made his debut off the bench against Australia and then scored four on his first start. But that was against the Solomon Islands, and it’s possible that Michael Carrick’s dominant showing against Portugal was far more impressive in a losing cause.

Best Performers: Steven Gerrard, Ryan Shawcross, Frank Lampard
Debutantes: Ryan Shawcross (25, Stoke, DC); Joshamee Gibbs (22, Sochaux, MC); Rickie Lambert (31, Southampton, ST); Steven Caulker (21, Tottenham, DC); John Ruddy (26, Norwich, GK)
Milestones: Ashley Cole, 100 caps v Australia

Haiti

It was always a long shot to make any noise here and while the outing against the Solomon Islands saw a 2-0 victory behind a brace from Leonel Saint-Preux, Haiti lost 2-0 to Honduras and was thrashed 6-0 by Portugal. The squad is young and, frankly, not very talented, so it is all, in that sense, going according to form.

Best Performers: Yves Desmarets, Jeff Louis, Kim Jaggy
Debutantes: Rénald Métélus (20, Le Havre, DMC)
Milestones: Jean-Eudes Maurice, Johny Placide, Kim Jaggy & Kénold Versailles, 10 caps v Portugal

Group D. Holland was already through to the next round, and Brazil looked a safe bet to join them. While Argentina and Italy had every right to be disappointed in their performances, the USA probably deserved no more than their single victory.

USA

The USA had done well in the group stage, all things considering. 1-0 losses to Argentina, Brazil, and Italy were respectable enough. Throw in a 2-0 victory over the Ivory Coast and a 1-1 draw with Holland, and you could even argue they had done as well as could possibly be expected. With that out of the way, all efforts would now be focused on the Hex and qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

Best Performers: Tim Ream, Michael Bradley, Daniel Williams
Debutantes: Matt Besler (26, Kansas City, DC)

Group E. France was through, and the surprising Irish looked like they might sneak through as a qualifier as well.

THE HEXAGON (World Cup Qualifiers, North America)

The Hexagon kicked off with a match between neighbors Canada and the USA. It was a fairly easy victory for America, with goals from Jozy Altidore and young Denis Wales leading to a 2-0 win.

The story, however, was made in the 85th minute, when FC Dallas’ tireless midfielder, Andrea Jones, was waved onto the field in place of Benny Feilhaber. With Leigh Musicek absent through injury, Jones became both a surprise selection to the team and the first female player to play for the USA’s combined national team. Jones gave a small wave to acknowledge the crowd and handled herself well, touching the ball a half-dozen times and moving it around with confidence.

Debutantes: Andrea Jones (19, FC Dallas, MC); Chase Carroll (19, DC United, MR)

THE AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS

The quarterfinals were marked by a surprising win for the DR Congo over Nigeria, but other than that, the games went according to form with Cameroon, Egypt and Ghana progressing. Cameroon would destroy Egypt 7-0, setting up an eagerly anticipated clash with Ghana in the final.

The game ended up a one-sided affair: when Olivier Boumai was sent off with ten minutes left in the first half, Jordan Ayew already had a brace and the Black Stars were up 2-0. Ayew would another two after halftime, and Ghana would hoist the trophy on the back of the 4-0 victory.

It was a typical Cameroon performance: dominant in one game, horrific in the next, and Ghana took advantage.

Ayew entered the final game tied with Samuel Eto’o for the competition lead in goals with four. At the end of the day, his eight goals took home the golden boot, but even his magnificent performance in the final wasn’t enough to overtake Yaya Touré for the best player of the tournament.

Mohammed Abera finished tied for third in goals scored with three, and the young Ethiopian striker was sixth in overall performance.

A Little More (Dawit Lebbe Kristos; April 1, 2013)

March 12, 2013

Gondar Kenema @ Cotton Football Club, ECC
Gondar 1 (Muse Tamitu 8) – Cotton FC 1 (Fitsum Mahmed 39)
Gondar’s Best: Muse Tamitu

March 19, 2013

Gondar Kenema @ Mekele Kenema, ECC
Gondar 4 (Samson Worku 27p; Gabriel Meuar 65, 71; Dejen Wasihun 83) – Mekele 2 (Alene Tegabu 23, 56)
Gondar’s Best: Gabriel Meuar

# # #

League Position: 4th of 6, 3 points ahead of Cotton FC for the final playoff spot; 9 points behind Army FC.
League Goals: Oumed Oukuri (7); Assists: Muse Tamitu (3); Rating: Oukuri (7.22)
Overall Goals: Oukuri (11); Assists: Tamitu, Gabriel Meuar & Abraham Nuru (3); Rating: Oukuri (7.07)

# # #

There were seven games left in the season, and nothing was even close to decided: Gondar could make a surprise push into the playoffs (and possibly even promotion), or they could finish dead last.

Promotion is a double-edged sword–there is no way Gondar is ready for the Ethiopian National League, but promotion would mean a little more income, and at the threadbare level of the ECC, a little more could make a big difference.

The squad continues not to really give Lebbe Kristos much to work with: the talent drop after the (still injured) Oukuri is precipitous, and the youngsters continue to struggle to develop. The exceptions are up top where both Gabriel Meuar and Muse Tamitu have prospered in Oukuri’s absence.


Click to subscribe by email.

Join 10 other followers


%d bloggers like this: