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Seattle 0 – LA 1

October 31st, 2010 3 comments

It turned out to be a fun game to watch. Seattle was not outclassed and can feel a little unlucky to have come out of this one with nothing. Both teams had good spells; LA spent most of the evening with five across the midfield and did a good job at spoiling the through balls to the Seattle attackers.

Beckham

LA’s tactics in neutralizing Seattle were more effective than most other teams. They packed midfield and man-marked Alonso in the middle. This made it difficult to get onto any balls passed to the attackers on the outside.

The LA keeper Donovan Rickets had an outstanding game, very solid when Seattle managed to get the ball into the channels.

Seattle had the ball in the net in the first minute of play. Alonso let his marker with a cut back and got space for a shot. Zakuani got onto the rebound and put it away. Unfortunately Zakuani was offside and the flag went up.

Scarves up Seattle! For the last time this season.

Shortly before half time Edson Buddle turned Pat Ianni around and made a wonderful lob that gave Keller no chance. That was the only score of what was an entertaining game.

The ref had a poor night, he let the game get away from him somewhat and allowed some heavy tackles go unpunished, especially in the first half before tightening up after the break. Seattle has something of a history with Salazar and his calls. Most players want consistency from the ref and they did not get it this evening.

Despite all that LA probably deserved the win, certainly Rickets kept them in the game, but they had more control and the better chances.

Header from Nfuko

Interestingly Zakuani and Nyassi seemed to spend a lot of time on the opposite wing from where they normally play on. Not sure why they played so much out of position, it did not seem to create much but did give LA something they’ve not seen before.

There are some good signs for Seattle, they did OK in the final third of the field and got some good looks. The LA defence looks vulnerable and if they can find space in the middle of the field and win a few more of the 50/50 balls they have a chance to pull a surprise in LA next weekend. This tie is a long way from over, next Sunday should be a fun game.

Lastly, lets not forget this was Halloween and there were a lot of costumes on show (again, I don’t understand the dressing up part, but it makes for fun people watching). There was the cookie monster in the Pyramid brewery before the game, A Sounders green Kermit the Frog and a few seats along from me the Wicked Witch of the West.

Halloween at RBP

Freaks and drunks – Halloween in Seattle

October 31st, 2010 Comments off

Last night was an interesting evening, being Halloween the freaks and drunks were out in force in Seattle. Lots of first class people watching. A group of us ended up at the Comet Tavern for some good live music, it’s the first time I’ve been there and it’s a perfect music/dive bar and hearing Bob Dylan played by a cover band dressed as Kiss is quite the way to spend the evening.

Before the club we went to dinner, conversation turned to where parts of our personality come from. I know exactly the two moments where my love of loud, metal and hard rock comes from. First was Status Quo Live at the NEC on the BBC (I’ve talked about this before, click here if you are interested). Second was school friend of mine, Angus (real name Keith, but lets face it not nearly as cool), lending me a cassette of Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast Album” in 1983. I listened to it, said “that’s fucking awesome”, Angus said “yes I know” and 27 years later a significant part of my taste in music is still rooted in that moment.

It’s quite a moment to look back on, that someone knows you well enough to sit you down, say “you are going to like this” and not only be right, but be an influence for decades to come.

The music I listen to, the art I buy for the wall, movies I love and so on, they are all rooted in a moment when someone shares something they were passionate about. Add all these moments together and you define a lot about whom we are, how we evolve as we grow up and whom we get on with, it was a fun evening.

I’m coming to get a couple of things about this final bit, the “who we get on with” part. How many of those first conversations when you meet someone new revolve around music, football teams, movies, museums or one of those pieces of culture that move us in some way?

You take the content of these brief discussions, sometimes it’s just a moment or two, put them together and decide whether you want to continue getting to know this person.

Last night over dinner there was a talk about favourite movies. Someone answered “Ghostbusters”… WTF… OK, it’s Halloween, but really Ghostbusters?

She could have said The Godfather, perhaps Star Wars, Fight Club, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, or even something like The Matrix or Forest Gump and it would still be acceptable. The conversation could carry on and perhaps we’d discover we both like the art of Lichtenstein, the guitar work of Gary Moore or maybe the way the Bloody Mary’s in T4 at Heathrow are mixed.

There are so many movies to choose from as a personal favourite, but Ghostbusters… Really, it’s a medium with a rich history and out of the thousands upon thousands of movies made that’s the one you like the most?

Another big night at RBP

October 30th, 2010 2 comments

I agree with many, the current MLS play off structure does not make much sense; unquestionably the West is the far stronger conference compared the East. The seeding system obviously does not work with 6 teams from the west and only two from the East moving on to the post season.

This weekend Seattle plays the top-seeded Los Angeles Galaxy in the first round of the playoffs, even though the Sounders were the No. 6 seed (of the 8 sides that qualify).

So what would I do?

Nice of you to ask, but I think a single combined table is the way to go with the top 8 qualifying. Every team plays every other home and away in a balanced schedule. It’s going to be the same next year; my season ticket invoice says 17 league games so it’s staying as a balanced schedule despite the addition of Vancouver and Portland.

This year the top eight teams in the standing have qualified, so it’s worked in that respect, but I don’t understand the aversion to a single table rather than the East/West conference that the league insists on.

RBP, hosting the playoffs tomorrow.

So lets say we have a single table, with the teams seeded 1-8, the easy is 1v8, 2v7 and so on. A little predictable, but it works. A twist in the matchups is done in British Rugby League. The top seed picks who they want to play, then the second seed and so on.

Teams get to choose who they match up with, maybe the team that’s not playing well, or perhaps the team they’ve good history against and stay away from the teams that are playing really well or have historical issues with. I like this idea and certainly rewards consistency in a way the current system does not.

So what do I think of the LA-Seattle match up? LA was the team I wanted to Seattle to play, for a number of reasons.

First, we owe them after two thrashings this season (4-0 hammering at RBP and 3-1 at LA). That was not the same Seattle team that we’ve watched since that match in LA, they are playing some of the best football I’ve seen at RBP and the homer in me fancies them to beat anyone right now.

Secondly, if you want to win this thing you have to beat the best at some point and I want to see the Sounders take on the best. I think there is a better chance of a win over a two game home/away series that a one off game at their place.

Landycakes

Finally, and selfishly I want to watch the best players in the league. I want to see Beckham, Donovan, Buddle and Gomez play and see how good they really are.

It’s going to be a fun night under the lights and another highlight in a season full of them. Come on Sounders!

True meeting quotes – #3490 in a series of millions…

October 30th, 2010 Comments off

“Just because we’ve used the phrase “vendor assist” in the presentation, it doesn’t me we will actually help.”

Categories: Humour, Work Tags: , , ,

The toughest thing

October 29th, 2010 3 comments

In the slightly bigger picture, over the last couple of months I’ve received a number of comments to this blog, always posted anonymously under the same name “davehasnofriends”. There is no such thing as anonymous on the Internet and the trail of breadcrumbs is not hard to follow to its source (Google Analytics is awesome).

The most “voracious” of the anonymous posters is Jeanette Higgins who currently lives in Portland (but has sent messages from Peoria, AZ and Veradale, WA too) and visits this blog at least 4 times a week, sometimes daily. It’s interesting that a woman who is “looking out for others” feels the best way to do that is accuse me of abusing kids. She is supposed to be a mandatory reporter, which means that if she suspects any abuse she is required to report it to CPS, she has not done that. If she feels it’s true there is a significant breach of professional ethics. If it’s not true then it’s slander.

Which for someone who wants to get her license to practice in Washington State is not a good move.

When I called out the “fat ugly troll last” last week it was her I was responding too. For what ever reason she is claiming to be a friend of, and is doing this to help my ex.

I spent a little time today with my lawyer, and she is not. This fits the Washington State definition of harassment very well, additionally because there can be only one source of the information that puts my ex in a clear contempt of court as there is a confidentially agreement that’s been broken here.

Ultimately I need to clear myself of the accusations leveled by Ms. Higgins. Years ago I was accused by my stepdaughter of “throwing her against the wall”, she complained of a sore and stiff neck and that I’d hurt her. The father was picking her up that morning and did not believe her, there were no marks and her neck was fine, this was demonstrated by him throwing his keys on the ground and her aledgedly stiff neck was just fine when she turned around to see what had happened. Her mother felt the same way, the family therapist was clear that he had no doubt it did not happen.

Let me be totally clear, I did not do what I was accused of.

When we started living together this really was my worst case. I was put in a role of spending a lot of time with the kids, over a two year period I spent more time with them than either of their parents (it pisses my ex off when I say that, but it’s true and she has admitted to that and apologized for it). This was my biggest worry, I think most stepparents feel the same way, it’s covered heavily in most of the books on the subject. For a stepparent it really is the doomsday scenario and was a soul destroying thing to live through. I was at work when I got a call from my ex explaining what had been claimed and that no one thought there was any truth to the accusation that I’d hurt the kid. I’ve never felt a jolt like I did in that moment (and I’m including rolling a race car at speed). It was devastating, the thing I was told would not happen had.

Yet some how, years later it’s come up again to be used against me. A I said the information can only have come from one source. Jeanette Higgins felt it OK to throw it at me. She is PO’ed with me for a good reason.  But as retaliation to bring someone children into this? That’s lower than anything I’ve ever done. On top of that to claim she is doing it to help others, really? I’d like to know how.

Here are a few examples of the comments I’ve received

“Everyone is better off without fucks like you in their house”
“It’s so sad how you get your rocks off abusing 10 year olds”
“Really you have to compete with 10 year olds?”
“You are a sad fuck and you will meet a sad end”
“You have no house, no home get out and leave the country”

A lot of the information used in these is inaccurate, but can only have come from one source, my ex.  When I asked her about it she said a couple of interesting things (and I have all this in an e-mail or recorded if she wants to dispute). First was admitting she knew who was behind it (duh…). Secondly that the information never came from her, it’s got nothing to do with her and completely washed her hands of it. The claim of it being nothing to do with her and selling Jeanette down the river was despite claims this was being done on her behalf.

When we spoke a couple of weeks ago she was very clear once again it had nothing to do with her, and said it while we were talking about something totally different. Legally that’s not 100% true, but someone has accused me of abusing my former stepdaughters my lawyer and I don’t feel we have any choice but to clear my name.

Jeanette Higgins is not the only one who has sent these, but she has sent the more vicious ones that I will deal with first.

The last few months have been a life changing experience for me, one again I stand behind every word of what I’ve had to say today.

Categories: Personal Tags:

Zakuani for England?

October 29th, 2010 3 comments

It’s not a particularly complementary about the MLS, but the Mirror claims Zakuani is appearing on the radar of the England national team.

He’s got a huge upside and I do believe his playing future lays in Europe. He’s certainly good enough, but even with the real issues England has on the left it seems a little bit of a stretch today.

Anyway, here is the link:-

http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/john-cross/Meet-Steve-Zakuani-the-Major-League-Soccer-Seattle-Sounders-sensation-who-could-play-for-England-John-Cross-Column-article614667.html

Colorado 1 – Columbus 0

October 28th, 2010 2 comments

The MLS playoffs started this evening with Colorado hosting Columbus.

During the first half Columbus looked rather out of sorts, did not do a good job keeping their shape and the distribution of the final ball is poor. On the other side Colorado was playing some very, very nice football, have a nice passing game going on and are using that to really stretch Columbus down the sides. I think Colorado considered themselves unlucky to been only 1-0 up at half time.

Columbus seemed to work out what was the problem was and did a far better job in the second half. Colorado were limited to one or two chances, while Columbus were the more creative side and brought a couple of really good saves from goalkeeper Matt Pickens late in the game.

Colorado lead the series 1-0, it’s not much of a lead to take to Crew Stadium next week. It’s a very open series and Columbus is very much in it.

Perhaps most notable was the mostly empty stadium. I get that I’m spoilt in Seattle with the game day atmosphere and 31 sold out league games in a row.

Having said that I’ve been in Qwest with fewer than 3,000 when the Sounders were in the USL. Just a couple of years later I was sitting in the same stadium with almost 67,000 and watching Barcelona walk out onto the field. It’s quite incredible what we have in Seattle.

When a club that’s been playing some decent football during the regular season had maybe 10,000 for a home playoff game that’s not a good sign for the side or the league.

OK, I got a couple of questions about the format of the playoffs. In the quarterfinal round, teams play a two-game home-and-away series. The team with the most goals over the two games advances to the next round. Should the teams be tied at the end of the second game a 30-minute extra time will be played and if it’s still level then it goes to penalties.

The semifinal games are a single game hosted by the higher seed. If it’s level after 90 minutes then it’s another 30-minute overtime followed by penalties if required.

The winners of the semi finals meet in the final in Toronto on November 21st.

An awfully long tour…

October 27th, 2010 2 comments

On Friday the England cricket team leave for Australia. The first game is next week and the final game is not until February 6th. Between now and then they will be playing 19 games, and a total of 47 days of cricket. An awfully long tour.

The first test match between England and Australia was in 1877, the Ashes date to 1882. That year the teams played one test at the Oval in London and England were beaten by the Australians for the first time in England.

After the game legend says one of the bails (part of the wicket) was burned, it’s ashes put in a small perfume bottle. A few days later an obituary was put into a British newspaper that read:

In Affectionate Remembrance
of
ENGLISH CRICKET,
which died at the Oval
on
29th AUGUST 1882,
Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing
friends and acquaintances
R.I.P.
N.B.—The body will be cremated and the
ashes taken to Australia.

And “the Ashes” were born.

The teams played a three test series over the following winter (1882-83) in Australia. The England captain Ivo Bligh promised that the “ashes would be regained”. Over the next 20 or 30 years any test series between England and Australia became known as “the Ashes”.

Since the first test at the Oval there have been 65 ashes series. England have won 29, Australia 31 with 5 draws.

For most of the last 20 years Australia have been the most dominant side in world Cricket. In that time England have played 25 tests in Australia and rather dismally won 3. Yes that’s right, 3.

Ashes tours are huge events in both England and Australia, it can really define a players career. The wickets are hard and bouncy, the crowds rowdy and the weather will be hot. England fans over the last couple of decades have a default setting when talking aobut tours to Australia: A pessimistic we’re going to get hammered. For good reason, the last time they won in Australia was the winter after I left school, 25 years ago by the time the series finishes.

This tour England may be facing one of the weakest Australian sides of the last generation, they did not play well last summer, but that was in England and India. This winter they are at home. Even Shane Waugh has admitted that this is not a great Australia team, but there is something about plating for the Ashes away that brings out the worst in an England team. It’s not an easy place to play and the tour is long, but this time there is a tiny ember of optimism, that almost certainly will be stamped upon very quickly and I’ll return to my default of “of course the got beat, it’s Australia…”

There are a couple of English and Australian bars in Seattle that will be showing the series and after the disapointment of the summer, who knows what may happen. Maybe this is a poor Australia side, maybe Graham Swann will show what he can do, maybe KP will play to his ability. Or Maybe England will get crushed once more…

So what’s wrong with cricket?

October 26th, 2010 9 comments

Spent a morning sitting the George and Dragon with a couple of other ex-pats on Sunday. The idea was to go and watch the football and enjoy breakfast (and the G&D does a great full breakfast), and we got onto the subject of cricket. It’s not secret I really enjoy the game, especially the full five-day test matches. I’ve always loved the way the spectacle slowly unfolds in front of you. Additionally there are a lot of great memories of spending time with dad learning about the game.

At its best it’s beautiful to watch, no mater if it’s witnessing a great batting performance, a spell of devastating bowling or a beautifully balanced game going into the final day. There is something very unique about the game.

When I was in England in March and April dad and I spent a number of afternoons watching the 20/20 version of the game from the IPL, very spectacular and fun to watch. No question about that, but if you listened carefully the buzzing noise was WG Grace and The Don spinning in their graves as they hear of Steve Waugh playing in Silver pajamas.

Amir to Trott

Back to the George and Dragon, with the Ashes (a best of five test series where Australia will be hosting and giving England the expected thrashing) coming up this winter the discussion over breakfast ended up at cricket.

I maintain the game is rather tilted in favour of the batsmen at this time, and there seems to be some level of agreement here. Boundaries have shortened in many grounds, the bat is heavier and makes the ball travel further, fitness has increased (can anyone imagine Boycott having a fitness consultant?) and of course the batsmen have more padding that an American football player to allow them to face a short-pitched bouncer.

All these things are here to stay, and I don’t have a problem with seeing better athletes well protected from a 150kph Wasim Akram inswinger.

So what’s the answer? I think it’s the pitches; they are so benign as to offer little challenge. Lords is immaculate prepared, but it plays essentially the same on day-five as it does on day-one. The Oval on the other hand traditionally allows big first innings totals, followed by second innings collapses as it deteriorates.

The bowlers kicking holes in the surface help the deterioration, but as I’ve said I think they need all the help they can get in the game today. While that upsets the grounds men to does make sure we get a result in five days and gets away from the boring bat fest.

While I like to see monumental innings like Trott and Broad this summer at Lords, I also want to see what the bowlers have got. Lets face it; Amir was spectacular in the same game (other than the whole betting thing of course). OK, I want it all, but damn it’s good to watch when it comes together.

In summary – Lets even the playing field between the bowlers and batsmen, let the umpires worry about LBW rather than where the bowler’s feet are (that’s why we have TV). Produce some pitches that are going to deteriorate somewhat to give the bowlers a more of a chance as the test carries on.

My last change would be offering light to the batsmen. Most test grounds have floodlights; those that don’t should, especially with the increase in 20/20 being played in the evening midweek. Just turn on the lights and poor light will never stop play again.

See, all the problems with test cricket solved by three people over breakfast on a Sunday morning, what’s so difficult? Now where is the address of the ICC…

Thank you, I remembered to breath again.

October 26th, 2010 3 comments

Sometimes as adults, we tend to get wrapped up in all the craziness of everyday life. It does no matter if it’s a small irritation or a life-changing event. We all have moments when we can all loose perspective on what’s really important.

So much so, that we forget to take a moment to breathe and appreciate some of the little things that make life so worth living.

This evening I went through my e-mail, comments and stats and I’m just overwhelmed and not sure what to say. In the last 48 hours my site has had its biggest two days ever with over 3700 uniques (that’s uniques, not hits). I’ve received over 100 e-mails and comments from people I’ve never met in support of what I’ve had to say, and one e-mail and two anonymous comments that think I’m the spawn of the devil and are very liberal with the F-bombs.

Thank you, it’s made a difference to my day.

Yeah I fucked up and I own that, but other people need to do the same. I’m tired of this bullshit, it’s all going to be in the hands of my lawyer

Categories: Personal Tags: