Mexico 1-2 USA

Let us enumerate how deeply the USA took ownership of Mexico today in soccer. Gold Cup, baby.
Onyewu and Bocanegra own Mexico. All of it. Onyewu won every single challenge. Bocanegra faked Borgetti so badly Jared broke his own ankle. Then Omar Bravo subbed in. Then Cuahtemhoc Blaco subbed in. It was like watching 10-foot waves crash against a 100-foot granite cliff. Gives the waves 50 million years, and they might make headway. Unfortunately, the Mexican attack won’t hang around that long.

Jonathan “El Inspector” Spector treated Guardado like he does Cristiano Ronaldo in the Premier League: closing down, standing up, and not letting the ball get to him. I don’t even think this kid can legally take tequila shots in the USA!
Brian Ching started rusty, but by the middle of the second half not only wreaked havoc among the Mexican back line (as he had been doing the entire game), but took full advantage of it (finally!). When will we realize that he is a player who sets up our attacking midfielders better than any other forward we have? Ching to Beasley. Ching to Dempsey. Ching to Donovan. That’s how you play with aloha.

Bob “Crazy Eyes” Bradley won this match. Hugo Sanchez and Bradley talk every Sunday when Sanchez calls back home to his daddy. Just listen to Timmy Howard credit Bradley in his postgame interview. Motivating the team to stay together in the face of a ravenous mexican attack (both teams best show of the tournament by far), gutsy switch with in the first half with Donovan and Dempsey swapping positions, inspired sub at half-time (Ricardo Clark for veteran Pablo Maestroni), and then class play by his team at the end to hold the win.

We are completely inside Mexico’s head! When we score, they can’t deal with it! It’s like a glitch in the Matrix!
The only player who did not crack under the mental torture of the USA play was Nery Castillo. The boy is a mexican-greecian god. I will be cursing this kid for the next 15+ years.

June 24th, 2007 | Hawaii, Soccer | No comments

…ahhhhhhhh

…and we’re back.

On my sixth visit, I finally began to genuinely love Hawai’i. You might have a hard time believing that. What’s not to love, you ask. You’ve seen the postcards, the dashboard hula girls, the craigy blond surfers gliding down huge waves. Waikiki, Maui Wowee, wiki wiki, etc. Twee.

Sponger's Regret

I was never that into island paradises. Especially Polynesian, and most singularly isolated. The Sandwich Islands (even the name) always seemed odd, overwrought, easily ignored, inconsequential. Biggest claim to fame was to be bombed, and to ride a board of wood down a wave. Kudos; check back when you’ve advanced the human race, son. When I first started visiting, I found the culture oddly introverted and unambitious (Is it an predictable yet unavoidable outworking of my Midwestern-American culture that I dismiss the people of Hawai’i as exotic, lazy savages?). The ocean’s relentless insistence at remaining visible no matter where I was greatly disturbed me. Switching from the Midwest, where the adequacy of a home is judged by how well it seals up and keeps the outside out, the construction of single-walled homes with jalousies beggar belief. (“How can it be all open like that…wait, why not? What happens when it gets col…oh, right, it doesn’t. Well, what about strong winds…right, none there either. What about the air cond…right, don’t need it. But in the winter when it gets…to 75 F, as opposed to summer’s 79 F. So let’s review, without tornadoes, hurricanes, severe storms, flooding, strong wind, winters, and summers…I suppose there is no need to seal your house up. And when the earthquakes come, there’s less to collapse onto you. Brilliant!”).

Mather Dragon & Japanese Man

As a Midwestern kid, I’m into weather. More so than most. It’s not just a polite topic of conversation, it’s a lifelong education and always a variable when attempting to plan anything (like, when to wake up the next morning. Or whether to open the front door right now.). Case in point, last night I sent my brothers and sisters some awesome pictures of a classic low-pressure supercell as it moved across the Oklahoma panhandle in this May. I love supercells.

Slowly, I started to internalize bits of Hawai’i. The weather never deviates from perfect, but it changes all the time. The most spam per capita consumed, but any culinary culture that fearlessly combines Korean, American, and passion fruit on the way to making an apple pie wins my satiated respect.

The Infanta (Here She Comes!)

You think the islands are all beach, but some of the most spectacular mountain and cliff hikes I’ve ever seen, let alone done, are begun (and sometimes ended) from there. More family-oriented than any suburb, but not a place which allows you to withdraw from society.

Beach Boys

Also, falling in love with the place allows me to keep falling in love with my wife. And her food. Which to her is basically the same thing.

June 8th, 2007 | Flat, Food, Hawaii, Spam, Wife | No comments