Thursday, August 3, 2006

If a game is played, and it's not on TV - Does anyone SEE it?

So the DC United/Columbus Crew US Open Cup match the other night was a very enjoyable - yet surreal experience.

First off - DC United won... so that was good. Also, I was able to sit about twenty feet from the goal - so that was cool.

Now - for the bizarre stuff. This game took place at the "Maryland Soccerplex" which can't seat more than 2,000. Okay, I just looked it up - official seating capacity = 3,200. That has to include the standing room at both ends - with people crammed in. They only had one end open for this game and it wasn't completely packed, but it WAS pretty full. The stands were packed, so I would say maybe 2,500 were there. I went early since I saw that they were sold out and only had standing room tickets left. I staked out a good spot and sat and read (Castel di Sangro - GREAT book. Pick it up now)

What is particularly weird about this setting is that - as one of the younger guys who sat near me noted - "Ben Olsen (one of the DC players) was just playing in the World Cup in front of enormous crowds and millions of TV viewers - and now he is playing on the same field that I played on!"

Plus - the game was not only not televised - as far as I can tell there were no cameras around at all. There was no documentary evidence that the game happened other than the written eyewitness reoprts. Now - I fully understand that this is how things were for the bulk of the history of most sports... but still... the idea that I could not go home and catch the highlights of the goals of the game somehow seemed disturbing. And the fact that THAT was disturbing was TRULY disturbing. What have we come to that nothing seems real unless it is televised and we can see it later on replay?

Or is it just me?

Also - what is wrong with this that a game between two real MLS teams that actually counts for something (even if not the MLS standings) has to be played in such a rinky-dink setting?

As to the game - it was good. DC absolutely dominated, and should have been up 4-1 at half-time, but inexplicably missed THREE empty nets in the space of about twenty minutes. Including one where Freddy Adu had beaten everyone including the keeper and all he had to do was poke the ball over into the net - it wasn't even a tough angle! He just toed it about two inches wide, somehow, right in front of me, and the look on his face was one of complete bewilderment. It was like he just could not understand how that ball did not go in - and no one else could, either. It was bizarre.

Other than that - Adu played like crap, I have to say. He lost quite a few balls, inexplicably, to the Crew and just never seemed to really get in the game. He had one or two moments where he seemed to flash a move or two (like when he got free that one time), but he also had a real selfish moment or two. To use Davies system - I would have to say he was basically those girlish capri pants that men sometimes wear... I suppose I'll forgive him, as he is still only 17 or whatever, but with everyone talking about him going over the Premier League sometime soon... All I have to say is he'd better get his act together quick.

DC missed a couple more like that one (none quite that bad) and the game eventually went to overtime, tied 1-1. They scored again in the first overtime frame and held on to win it 2-1. It was a fun game and it is definitely worth going to see the game live. I can't wait to go see a game in a real stadium...


Mike said...

That's really cool. Good writeup. The upside of playing in a place that small is that you got to be that close to the action.

How does overtime work - it's not sudden death?

wiggins said...

No. The overtime was just like the world cup. Two fifteen minute periods. It would have been followed by penalty kicks if they hadn't scored. I was almost hoping for that (even though it sucks) because I am sure they would have done it down by our end and we would have been RIGHT there. That would have been cool.

Of course - in PKs you might as well just flip a coin, and I really wanted DC to win, so I'm glad it didn't come to that.

Mike said...

I really have to question the legtimacy of MLS. I want to buy into the league. I really do. But how can a league be major league anything when Columbus has a franchise? That right there is decidedly minor league.

I'm pretty sure the team is from Columbus, OH and not Columbus, GA, but I'm not really sure.

D.C. is major league. Chicago is major league. New York, LA, etc. But Columbus?