It’s been a tremendous week since we last spoke, hasn’t it? The United States MNT didn’t lose to Guatemala again, but instead played well! Abby Wambach took control of a motor vehicle under the influence and has disappointed us in a major way. Life’s tough tho. Keep on keepin’ on, Abbz. Real Madrid found themselves some sweet redemption in Camp Nou. Gary Neville had come to Valencia and now he is leaving Valencia. Leicester continues to #shocktheworld as their unprecedented lead continues to grow. Some wealthy individuals may be in trouble (FIFA ppl included). All this and more below, so quit reading these blurbs and enjoy the Soccer Week in Review.
Major Results from the Week:
Highlights Worth Noting:
Napoli’s resident savage Gonzalo Higuain is the owner of prime real estate across several Italian defenses. It’s not a huge shock that he hit 30 goals this past weekend with authority (pretty blurry, but still clearly a massive strike). Later that game, however, as 2nd place Napoli went down two goals to Udinese, Gonzalo sort of fell apart and also nabbed himself a four-game suspension. Actually, just watch the highlights. What a wild match.
Speaking of noteworthy Serie A performances, look at Genoa’s Suso putting away three great finishes for a stunning hat trick in their win over Frosinone.
On the topic of hat tricks, Zlatan had himself one too. Look at the way he smashes the ball home and proceeds to throw words at his latest victims. Unfortunately for Nice, Hatem Ben Arfa’s fantastic equalizing goal was not enough to overcome the French powerhouse.
Dimitri Payet knows where he wants the ball to go. All he does these days is execute, it’s honestly disgusting. I can’t remember the last time I executed any task with skill. His most recent efforts for both France and West Ham looked something like this and this. Are you kidding me?
Some Games You Could’ve Watched:
World Cup Qualifier
USA 4-0 Guatemala
After a disappointing loss in Guatemala, the USMNT returned to Columbus, Ohio to fight for their right to compete in the 2018 World Cup. Maybe it was having something worth fighting for, maybe it was home field advantage (an American favorite), or perhaps the squad collectively removed their heads from their asses. Regardless, we saw a rejuvenated US team in the face of their recent rivals. Clint Dempsey started things off early capitalizing on a clumsy Gyasi Zardes set-up. From there Geoff Cameron snagged an easy one a bit before half. The United States was playing the same, fierce offense they usually provide, but this time around they were actually scoring. Graham Zusi and Jozy Alterdore (eh..wish he hadn’t) both scored in the second half to put a firm stamp on the shutout. Hometown hero Ethan Finlay nearly had a goal himself, but the speedster was wrongly (IMO) ruled offside. Still a good win for a team I love to see do well. With this win, the US maintains a strong chance of advancing in the qualifiers.
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
The big one. The one everybody (whether you’ve heard of soccer or not) is talking about. Messi v. Ronaldo. Star-studded lineup v. Star-studded lineup. So much currency running around on one field. El Clasico. The air was electric in Spain, as Barcelona presented a strong opening effort against their rivals from Madrid. Lots of great chances, some yellow cards here and there, another nice Cruyff tribute, classic Navas goalkeeping, and not a goal in sight. Not until the 56th minute would someone strike, that someone being the head of Gerard Pique. Gerard Pique loves chirping, but at least he backs it up with being a baller by definition. The Real Madrid answer could have come from a few usual suspects, but first it was Karim “You Can’t Touch Me” Benzema with a righteous volley from close to equalize. Barcelona regained composure, then a moment of hope glimmered as Sergio Ramos received a second yellow card. Unfortunately this was only a false sense of security. CR7, as the kids refer to him on the streetz, put the game away moments later with a scrappy goal from a nice Gareth Bale feed.
So ends another Clasico, this time to Real Madrid. Fingers crossed, we see a Champions League rematch. But I’d rather see all the other teams win too. W/e.
Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Two teams that have been fantastically entertaining this season. Arsenal, Man City, and Chelsea all had easy wins and Leicester always wins, so these two gritty teams duking it out had my attention. They certainly did not disappoint. Despite a scoreless first half, we still had great action. Simon Mignolet put on a clinic. And the second half brought excellent goals anyway. Two class acts: Philippe Coutinho and Harry Kane would score. Both in fantastic manners: first Philippe in the 51st with some fantastic ball movement, then Harry in the 63rd with a great turn and shot. That would be it for the scoring and the two would split points. Kane didn’t even wear his neat mask for you this week, what else could you want?
Inter Milan 1-2 Torino
You knew this was going to be a good one as soon as Maxi Lopez rubbed some crotch at Mauro Icardi. Apparently swooping in on someone’s wife is not cool. It looked as though Icardi would get all of the laughs after a lackluster start from both teams. Drawing a handball from a sliding Emiliano Moretti, he gave Inter a 1-0 lead on the penalty. Although that would be the only goal of the half, Inter controlled much of the play and had Torino on the ropes. The second half had a much different story for us. Torino looked fierce, making chances and scoring those chances (via Andrea Belotti). Inter Milan started losing players. First, Miranda on a reckless tackle, then Yuto Nagatomo on another bad trip. Nagatomo would concede a penalty, allowing Belotti to score again from the dot. With nine men and no real chance, Inter lost a gave up three crucial points at home. :'( <– so sad!