Tag Archives: Javier Hernandez

USA gains valuable point in draw with Mexico

27 Mar

It wasn’t pretty, but the US managed a 0-0 draw with Mexico in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.  The Azteca is an notoriously difficult place to play and the Yanks have seen little success there.  In fact, this draw was only the second point the U.S. has ever earned at the Azteca in World Cup qualification.

With a win and a draw in its last two matches, the U.S. now sits in third place in CONCACAF with four points with seven matches to go.  Mexico, meanwhile, is in fifth with three.  There’s still a lot of football to be played and this whole qualification process is guaranteed to get interesting before things wind down.  The top three teams advance to the World Cup in Brazil while the fourth place team has a play-off against Oceania champ New Zealand.

Thoughts and observations on the game in no particular order:

  • Brad Guzan has shown that he is more than capable of replacing Tim Howard in net.  Two shutouts in two starts this campaign, including one away to Mexico?  Not too shabby.  With some question marks still surrounding the defensive unit, it’s nice to have someone reliable between the sticks.
  • Definitely think that was a penalty on Maurice Edu when he took out Javier Aquino late in the game.  Despite massive protests by the Mexican players, it wasn’t called.  It’s surprising to see the U.S. get the benefit of the doubt on a call like that on the road.
  • The U.S. has to do a better job maintaining possession and creating chances.  The Yanks were lucky that poor touches and off-target passing in the midfield didn’t result in a Mexico goal.  They can’t afford to give the ball away so much.  That said, it’s near impossible to create any decent opportunities when you can’t hang onto the ball.  The U.S. only managed one shot and didn’t force Ochoa to make a single save or big play.  The off-ball movement going forward was lacking and often midfielders didn’t have much of an passing option.
  • I was surprised to see Javier Hernandez miss a couple golden opportunities in front of the net.  Those are the kind of goals he regularly scores for Manchester United and it was odd to see him go so off target from three yards out.
  • The U.S. defense bent, but didn’t break.  Despite coming under significant pressure towards the end of the match, the U.S. defense managed to keep Mexico at bay.  For an inexperienced back line (with the except of Beasley), this was a huge performance.  To come into a place like the Azteca and earn a shutout will definitely give them confidence going forward.  Omar Gonzalez is looking much more confident and Matt Besler did a decent job in place of the injured Clarence Goodson.  Beasley looked a step too slow against Aquino down the flank, but Mexico was never able to take advantage.

What did you think?

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Premier League predictions

12 Aug

The 2011-12 Premier League season starts tomorrow and I can’t wait. I am so ridiculously excited.  My prediction?  This is one of the closest title races in a long time and it comes down to the last couple weeks. As much as I hate to say it, I think that Manchester United will win its second straight title as Chicharito takes the league by storm. I peg Man City as runners-up as the team builds on its success last year. Even without Tevez, Sergio Aguero is more than capable of picking up the slack. Liverpool makes a triumphant return to the top four after two years out and Chelsea rounds out the top four.

Champion: Manchester United
Top Four: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea
Relegated: Swansea, West Brom, Wolves
Golden Boot: Chicharito, MU

TV SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 13
Blackburn vs. Wolves – 2 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Delayed)
Fulham vs. Aston Villa – 9:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Liverpool vs. Sunderland – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
QPR vs. Bolton – 9:55 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Wigan vs. Norwich – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Newcastle vs. Arsenal – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, August 14
Stoke City vs. Chelsea – 8:25 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
West Brom vs. Manchester United – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Monday, August 15
Manchester City vs. Swansea – 3 p.m. ET/ESPN 2 (Live)

*One more plug for Fantasy Premier League: http://fantasy.premierleague.com and the code is 1335966-299712!

United, Barcelona through to semis

13 Apr

Barcelona only scored one goal, but it was more than enough as they cruised to a 6-1 victory on aggregate over Shakhtar Donetsk.  Lionel Messi scored the game’s only goal, his 48th of the season in all competitions.  I guess you could say he’s a decent player.

In England, Manchester United claimed a 2-1 win over Chelsea to go through 3-1 on aggregate.  Javier Hernandez struck first for United, but second half substitute Didier Drogba made things interesting with a goal of his own.  Chelsea’s hope didn’t last long as Ji-Sung Park put United ahead pretty much immediately.  Once again, a Chelsea player was sent off as Ramires earned his second yellow, which clearly didn’t help the situation.  And once again, Chelsea fans were left to question the decision to include the craptacular Fernando Torres, who was subbed off for Drogba at half. 

I understand the Chelsea spent a lot of money on Torres, but if he is not producing, why play him?  To appease the owner?  Me thinks a Champions League trophy would please him more.  Sometimes you just have to say screw that and play the lineup you think will win.  Sure, you might incur the wrath of said owner, but still, wins and strong performances should trump egos, regardless of what team it is.

World Cup results – June 26 & 27

27 Jun

Heartbreak on Saturday, massive controversy on Sunday.  In the opening game on Saturday, Uruguay dispatched South Korea, 2-1.  Luis Suarez gave the South American side an early lead, but Lee Chung-Yong equalized midway through the second half.  Suarez notched the game winner in the 80th minute on a beautiful curling shot into the upper right side of the goal.  It’s Uruguay’s first trip to the quarterfinals since 1970 and it is well-deserved.

And in the day’s second game, an early extra time goal from Ghana was enough to send the U.S. packing, despite several golden chances for the Yanks to equalize.  (I’m still way too depressed about this game to get into much more detail.)

Anyways, Sunday’s games were characterized by controversy and once again raised questions about the place of technology in soccer.  Germany took a shock 2-0 lead over England in the first 30 minutes, thanks to goals from Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski.  The game looked over before it had started, but England got back in the mix after a Matthew Upson header.  Frank Lampard leveled the game moments later…or so everyone thought…except the ref.  Lampard’s shot bounced off the crossbar and over the goal line, but referee Jorge Larrionda waved play on.  (You might recognize his name from the three red card debacle between USA and Italy in 2006.)  Clearly an equalizer from England would’ve changed the game dramatically.  Thomas Muller scored twice in the second half to put the game away and give Germany a 4-1 win.

The Argentina-Mexico game saw its own bit of controversy.  Carlos Tevez gave the Argentines a lead in the 26th minute, but he was clearly offsides.  A conference between the ref and the assistant yielded no change and the goal stood.  (Note to self: write post about technology/refs.)  Gonzalo Higuain  added a second for Argentina in the 33rd and Tevez added a second (totally legit) goal in the second half.  Mexico got a late consolation goal from Javier Hernandez.

Saturday, June 26 results
Uruguay 2 (Suarez 7, 80)
South Korea 1 (Lee Chung-Yong 68)

USA 1 (Donovan 61 – pen)
Ghana 2 (Boateng 4, Gyan 92)

Sunday, June 27 results
Germany 4 (Klose 19, Podolski 31, Muller 67, 69)
England 1 (Upson 36)

Argentina 3 (Tevez 26, 52, Higuain 33)
Mexico 1 (Hernandez 71)

Quarterfinal matchups
Uruguay vs. Ghana
Germany vs. Argentina

World Cup results – June 17

17 Jun

All three of today’s games featured something that had been somewhat lacking in the first set of games…GOALS!  11 goals were scored today. (Please let the goal scoring bonzanza continue…)  In the day’s first match, Argentina put the pedal to the metal and showed why its offense is so potent.  Gonzalo Higuain notched the tournament’s first hat trick en route to a 4-1 victory over South Korea.  In the second group B game, Nigeria took an early 1-0 lead off a Kalu Uche free kick, but the tide turned in the 33rd minute when Sani Kaita was sent off for kicking out at a Greece player.  From that point on, Nigeria was on the back foot.  Greece finally broke through just before halftime on a Dimitrios Salpingidis strike, the country’s first ever World Cup goal.  Vasilis Torosidis notched the game winner in the 71st minute.  The win was the first ever for Greece in the World Cup.  In the day’s finale, Mexico put the screws to a floundering French side with a 2-0 win.  Javier Hernandez beat the offside trap and dribbled around goalie Hugo Lloris for the first goal.  Cuauhtémoc Blanco added a second on a penalty.

Group A results
France 0
Mexico 2 (Hernandez 64, Blanco 79 – pen)

Group B results
Greece 2 (Salpingidis 44, Torosidis 71)
Nigeria 1 (Uche 16)

Argentina 4 (Park Chu-Young 16 – OG, Higuain 33, 76, 80)
South Korea 1 (Lee Chung-Yong 45)

Group A standings
Uruguay – 4 (+3)
Mexico – 4 (+2)
France – 1 (-2)
South Africa – 1 (-3)

Group B standings
Argentina – 6 (+4)
South Korea – 3 (-1)
Greece – 3 (-1)
Nigeria – 0 (-2)