How was your week? Do you have a righteous case of “the mondays” right now? Could you just strike John Terry in the head? Yeah, same here. How about the results of that one Gold Cup match? Pretty unexpected, if you ask me. Have you heard about that International Champions Cup? It is such a hit! But enough of me answering my own questions, I know why you’re here. Please enjoy the Soccer Week in Review, now endorsed by your favorite 2016 presidential candidate!
CONCACAF Gold Cup
USA 1-2 Jamaica (Semi-final match)
After their six-goal trouncing of Cuba, the US was pleased, but wary of the looming semi-final match against Jamaica. Although everybody loves a good ol’ beat down on an already struggling team, the United States zeroed in on their next opponent. Jamaica had narrowly defeated a strong Haiti team in the quarterfinals and had also encountered minimal difficulty in their Gold Cup experience. After about a half hour of back and forth play and not a whole lot of anything, Jamaica struck with a quaint flick of the head by Darren Mattocks. US goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who had been a force worth reckoning with, was not entirely on his game against Jamaica. Mattocks first goal could have been avoided with the help of some proper positioning. Guzan then crossed the line as he threw the ball, resulting in a Jamican free kick and subsequent goal five minutes later.
Now down two, the US had its work cut out in the second half. Enter a ferocious Michael Bradley. Only three minutes into the half, Bradley scrapped himself a loose ball in front of the net and tapped it home. Momentum looked advantageous, potential was there. Michael Bradley would continue to pummel the ball at Jamaican goalkeeper Ryan Thompson for much of the half, striking him in the chest, off the post, and pretty much everywhere but the back of the net. This match would ultimately end the United States’ run at the Gold Cup, despite controlling much of the gameplay. They would go on to lose the third place match to Panama. Following these matches, many US speculators wonder about their national team’s supporting cast in future endeavors. Bradley and Dempsey are excellent players, but an entire side of talent is always preferred. Enjoy some highlights:
Mexico 3-1 Jamaica (Gold Cup Final)
Little known fact: North Americans love finals matches, especially when they involve other North Americans. This match would be no different. Both of these teams fought hard, but not too hard, on their way to this final match. Both meeting arguably their most difficult games in the semi-finals (thx for the competition, US & Panama), this would be an excellent contest.
Jamaica created some lightweight early pressure, resulting in a few gasps from the fans. But that was nothing compared to Mexico. As the first half continued to progress, Mexico created chance after chance. Hindered only by some respectable Jamaican goalkeeping and the fact that the goal is a little too small, Mexico’s frustration was understandable. But their time would come, and that time happened to be around the 30th minute when Andres Guardado froze Ryan Thompson in his place with a laser of a volley. Although Jamaica would go on to produce a few more chances, they could not find the back of the net (“Eat your heart out, Thompson!” -Guillermo Ochoa).
The second half would bring more Mexican pressure and that meant more Mexican goals. A mere minute into the half, Jesus Corona effortlessly pocketed one in the lower right corner. About fifteen minutes later, Oribe Peralta would capitalize on a defensive blunder and clinch the Gold Cup with a third Mexican goal. Jamaica would put one away late, but this one was already in the books. It’s a shame to see Jamaica lose after such a fantastic run in the tournament, but Mexico clearly established itself as a dominant CONCACAF presence. In the words of Mexico, “come @ me, North America.”
International Champions Cup
Manchester United 3-1 Barcelona
There’s something about talented teams clashing that is always a good time. And we all enjoy good times, right? Luis Suarez enjoys good times. He also enjoys hitting the post; something he did in the opening minutes of the match and again near the end of the first half. But the poor soul could not buy a goal. Barcelona’s pressure was fantastic throughout the game, but Manchester United’s luck and defense prevailed time and time again. United took the lead within the first eight minutes with a strong header from Wayne Rooney. There was an incredible amount of pressure applied by both sides, but it appeared only one could score. Man U would double their lead in the 64th minute (after substituting much of their team) with a Jesse Lingard one touch dagger from point blank. That may have been his very first touch on the ball, nice. The disparaging Man U defense would continue to prevail until the 90th minute when Barcelona would final put one away via Rafinha.
Inter Milan 0-3 Real Madrid
If I’m being completely honest, this was hardly a game worth reviewing. Real Madrid came to play, and play they did. With three excellent goals and not a whole lot of error, Madrid controlled the game. My reasoning for including this trite match? James Rodriguez. You don’t have to look at the highlights if you don’t really want to, I know you lead a very busy life. But please appreciate this free kick, I love it. James Rodriguez has also been tearing up for Madrid, so go ahead and keep him on your radar (I assume he’s already been there for some time), soccer fan.