Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Soccer in Seattle: Real Madrid vs. DC United

Finally, futbol has returned to Seattle in the worthwhile-to-attend yet still meaningless overall fashion of the international club friendly. Sure, I did attend the Seattle Sounders vs. Club America match last month (which was fun and merited the expected result). But this was different. Real Madrid, the often labeled "Yankees" of the futbol world. These days I would argue that Chelsea have overtaken that odious title, but with no championships or cups of any worth in the past few years to Real's credit, it is still fun to point out.

Even still, I was rooting for them. How can you, like the handful of 10 girls right behind me (ugh...), cheer on an MLS team against one of the better in Europe? Mostly, the girls wanted to gain the attention of one Freddie Adu, who may have been the only one around even close to their age...but he was trumped in every way by David Beckham. Gracious, his first corner kick incured the focused adulation of every female in the place--screaming, mind you, at the top of their lungs. His lackluster play helped qwell more of said high-frequency bombardment and that basically validated my position on him--can cross the ball and work wonders when the ball is dead, but useless otherwise (especially on defense...he disappears).

Anyway, enough of the entertainment news about the game: onto the match highlights!

Play started out decently well and runs down each side for DC midfielders warranted some decent chances, although once they got to the goal box, Madrid began to play defense again. Particularly, I enjoyed the mano a mano between Roberto Carlos and Freddie Adu. Showing his wisdom and international experience, Carlos was hardly fooled by some good footwork of the youngster. Still, Freddie too often got the cart ahead of the horsepower and ran himself over the ball too quickly when attempting the fancy footwork. And with both being fast, it ended up being a foot race to the ball multiple times--all of which were won by the speedy Carlos. I stand corrected, somewhat, about Freddie however. He has some great skill and as he matures and gains size, he will be a good player. Assuming all the new Pele hype doesn't ruin him first. And that he gets out of the country to really begin learning as soon as he feels comfortable to do that. Adu distributed well half the time with Jamie Moreno up front and tried to get involved but was outclassed by Madrid's defense which was running at half-steam and very obviously hadn't played or trained much since May when their season ended. The other winger for DC had plenty of runs down the left flank in the first half, but none really seemed to result in more than a limp shot. I believe it was Beckham and Madrid's right back continually being beat here, but their men in the middle constantly stepped up and neutralized. Salgado is a force to be reckoned with and constantly put his stamp on the game.

Then Cassano took a run down the left side and sent in an incredible strike just right of the left post. Even with the DC keeper near the shot, he got behind it and could not stop the laser from glancing the inside of the bar and to the back of the net. Fantastic goal and looked to be the vibe of the match from this point on...

And was not. Alecko Eskandarian (mad props for the name of the week) ended a run of Adu's with a great goal himself. I was beginning to think goal fest but none resulted beyond that point. In the second half, Roberto Carlos took a characteristic free kick with all the strength he could muster and somehow the DC keeper parried. Right to Emerson, but it was not to be and I believe it took a defender clearing a shot off the line to deny Madrid again. DC's keeper had made another point blank reflex save earlier in the match but I can't remember who shot that time. Madrid began the second half with quite a few subs and through out the game guys were warming up on the sidelines as though 3 different "shifts" were to enter much like a hockey game. DC tried to bring in some fresh legs, but they couldn't stay with Real, especially when Robinho came in. He is a fun player to watch with incredible speed. Finishing was not up to standards for Real (except considering they are in the preseason, they have plenty of time) and it was obvious that Van Nistelrooy had not played much with his new compadres. This may have even been his first match with them, I believe. He was often in the right place (like the good cherry-picker he is), but nothing came of it and DC somehow frustrated the heck out of him. I do remember him working well with Beckham, possibly due to their time together at Manchester United.

All told, this was a fun match to watch with 66 thousand in attendance and an alleged record soccer crowd for the whole Northwest--maybe that will bring Barcelona to us next year? Inter Milan? Ajax? ARSENAL??...

posted by El Jefe @ 2:40 PM  0 comments

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