Tuesday, August 12, 2014

USA June 2014

One baseball match and five football games during this week in the US prior to my longer visit to South America.

Mariners march thru Georgia, the tomahawk chops are deflected.

3rd June Atlanta Braves 5 Seattle Mariners 7   36,503

Pre-game - a shooting in downtown, a few blocks from my hotel, apparently gambling related.

But more calmly a visit beforehand to the impressive High Art Museum which had a superb display of concept cars plus a range of American Art.

Then watching the league leaders, Atlanta, lose out to the Mariners.

The Braves started well, scoring 4 runs in the first innings, including a home run.
And the ‘tomahawk chop’ song got going.

But the visitors eventually pegged them back and scored two in the seventh to go, and stay, ahead.

I’d walked from downtown, stopping for a couple of pints plus some wings, along the way.
The stadium is on the site of the Olympic stadium from 1996 and some the surroundings still have signage from that event.

I took the free bus to downtown and had an early night.

Followed by a fairly early start to get to Hartsfield International.

More questions than answers.

4th June Ecuador 2 England 2  21, 534  at the SunLife stadium in Miami.

Roy Hodgson decided on an experimental side for this pre-World Cup  friendly against South American opposition played at the home of the Dolphins.

The results were mixed with Barkley and Oxlade-Chamberlain (before getting injured) looking particularly good while Milner at right back, though typically persistent, was embarrassed at times.
As was Sterling getting himself sent off for a rash challenge.

Both sides made mistakes in defence.
But in the end it was the South Americans who were more likely to get the winner.
There was a number of times when they squandered chances.

It would have been a wake up call for various England players.

Though Lambert justified his inclusion with involvement in the first and a nice strike for the second.

A better hit, from Arroyo, ensured a draw for Ecuador.

Plenty of Ecuadorians were present and, as usual, our fans brought loads of flags.

I had driven from Miami International after a somewhat fraught trip from Atlanta - my original AA flight being delayed I managed to switch to another allowing me enough time to negotiate the drive north in timely fashion.

The next day I enjoyed a visit to Bayside including a very pleasant boat trip around the Miami bay area, taking in a look at a certain David Beckham’s new local residence under construction.
He will join other famous names on ‘Star Island’.

During the boat trip we saw the homes of such other luminaires as  Vanilla Ice, Gloria Estefan, P Diddy, Julio Iglesias, the creator of viagra (naturally the biggest, and most expensive place) and past homes of Elizabeth Taylor and Al Capone.

6th June Wilmington Hammerheads 2 OKC Energy 2  USL Pro  2,164 (no away)

A flight via Charlotte to the coastal city of Wilmington.

Where the Hammerheads play in a stadium an hour´s walk from the centre.
It might be a long walk but there is some interesting, historic, properties along the way often the ex-homes of Confederate figures.

And near to the ground is a pleasant park and lake area.

In the match Wilmington went ahead twice but each time, eventually, the lower ranked visitors replied.
Missed chances by the home side cost them.

Spanish steps.

7th June Spain 2 El Salvador 0  Friendly played at the FedEx field in Maryland.  53,267 (mostly El Salvador fans)

First part of a double header at the home of the Washington Redskins.

The numerous fans from Central America didn´t have much to cheer as the world champions strutted their stuff.
The El Salvador goalie was kept busy and he did well to restrict the score to just a pair of second half efforts from David Villa.

We also saw a couple of audacious long range shots from the Spaniards, including from the specialist, Xabi Alonso.

As expected the Europeans dominated possession throughout and they could even afford to miss a penalty (Fabregas the guilty party)

So a decent workout before the world champions travelled to Brazil to defend their title.

Signed-off DC.

DC United 0 Columbus Crew 0   MLS

A reasonable second game of this double header though it definitely was second best compared to the Spanish mesmerism.

Hard fought but lacking quality a draw was probably the correct outcome.

The highlight (or rather lowlight) was the penalty miss by Espindola for the home side in the final minutes.
His `Panenka`failing miserably as he chipped the ball into the waiting goalkeepers’ hands.


8th June New York Cosmos 1 Ottawa Fury 0  NASL  6,495 (no away)

The Cosmos started by commemorating a player from their past - Giorgio Chinaglia - and they could have done with his goalscoring prowess.

But their newer crop did finish the Spring Season in second position behind Minnesota, helped by this single goal victory.
Which was secured early on when a fine cross from Stokkelien was laid on a plate for Noselli.

Cosmos played some decent passing soccer although the pace of the artificial surface didn’t seem to help.
Fury stayed in the match without getting too close apart from a scramble near the end.

So ended my matches in the US on this trip.

more pictures at  http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/2715344435

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