Real Madrid v. Manchester United and Duke v. UNC Diary, Part 1

1:00 pm

First beer, Lagunitas Brewing Hop Stoopid and half a frozen pizza.  Lunch of champions.

1:30

Pot of Earl Grey tea to combat the 8% ABV of Hop Stoopid.  Must slow down to get through this match.  Plus, if the Duke/UNC turns out the way think it will, I will need a lot more beer to stay sane.

2:06

First Gus Johnson sighting.  He gave a great interview on the Men In Blazers podcast.  Seems to understand the enormity of what he is being given and honestly wants to do a great job.  He doesn’t come off as bombastic as American soccer fans seem to worry he will be during games.  I think he’ll be fine.

2:30

New shoes  just got here in time for the game.  Old school Adidas Sambas.  Ah yeah.  I’m reverting to my high school self in some ways as I get older.  Don’t know if that is a good thing.

2:52

Just saw photo of Duke mascot on a pike at UNC Student Stores.  We may lose the game, but we will win the Twitter war.

2:59

Manu’s defense has been a mess all season.  Ronaldo will exploit that at some point.

Every soccer fan agrees:  Ronaldo is douche, but if you were to create a player from scratch, this is what he would look like.

3:04

1-0 Manu.  Welbeck scores a header.  The definition of an “against the run of play” goal.  If you are on the post, you stay on the post until the ball is cleared.  I learned that in junior high.  Apparently, Real players have forgotten that.

3:14

Again, he is how you would build a soccer player. 1-1 on Ronaldo header.  Basically, he levetated over Evra, hung for a second, and headed the ball into the net.  Ridiculous athlete.

3:22

It took about 35 minutes, but Gus is getting warmed up now.

3:49

United appear to have gotten the hair dryer treatment at half it appears.

3:53

That didn’t last long.  Real Madrid has complete control of this match.  They are dominate in midfield.

4:00

United hanging on now.  No possession of the ball, crowd in full voice.  Too many players holding on to the ball in midfield too long.  Must move the ball quicker or go down 2-1 with the accumulated pressure.  I understand they want to absorb pressure and attack on the counter, but at some point you need to get control of the ball for an extended spell.

4:01

De Gea makes some of the weirdest great saves in the history of the sport.

4:06

Giggs is on the field now.  I am happy.  He has been on United’s first team longer then some of his teammates have been alive.

Real dominating the proceedings but a goal doesn’t feel inevitable.

4:13

Swing and miss by RVP.  There was so much going on that sequence.  First, a great shot and save, a complete defensive nap, followed by RVP missing a sitter.

4:37

A good match.  Exactly what you want out of the road leg of the Champions League.  Take your 1-1 tie and get home.

David De Gea plays like a performance artist just learning how to be a goal keeper.  To say he is unorthodox is a major understatement.  Perhaps he is a genius creating a whole new style of goal keeping.

Gus did well in his first match.  As it went on he started to get more comfortable with the rhythm of the game.  He had a good feel of when to let the crowd do the work, when to talk to move things along, and when to exclaim.  I like what FOX is doing giving him time to learn how to call soccer matches before the World Cup.  This is much better than ESPN throwing Dave O’Brien into the deep end with only a few months to learn.  Also, American soccer fans (In all honesty, we can be a bitchy lot.) need to relax and not worry that Gus is going to sound like a buffoon.  If this match teaches us anything, a lot of what Gus is famous for is shtick.  He does get excited and it does come through, but he is a professional and understands people are there for the game and not him.   A good review of the game and Gus on SB Nation, right here.

Part 2, will start later and it may be a live blog that ends with me drunkenly typing away about Sudoku if the game gets out of hand.

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