Ross County F.C. v. Aberdeen F.C.: There are those who are going to focus on the fact- or even lament it- that in Saturday’s match (which ended in a draw) County failed to score for the second time in its first two SPL chances. I am not one of them. For me, there are two things to take away from the match and both are positive: First, County have opened their inaugural SPL season with two clean sheets and the mantra is the same on both sides of the Atlantic- defense wins championships. Now, nobody is saying that Ross County are going to win the championship, or even contend for it, but if I’m forced to choose between a stout defense or a potent offense, I’ll take the defense. Whether through persistence, skill, or luck, the goals- and wins- will come. Second, draws of any kind will keep County in the SPL and that is the big picture for this season. In fact, 38 draws in a row will give County 38 points and that is one more than I think they’re going to need to stay up.
One other result of the away draw with Aberdeen is that Ross County has now gone a calendar year in the league without losing a match. I don’t care what the league is, that’s impressive.
In the footballing futures of Mexico and Brazil it probably won’t have much of a lasting impact, but Mexico’s victory in the Olympic final is a nice reminder to Brazil that even they can’t “mail it in” and expect to win tournaments, and to every other national team that there’s no reason to take the field against Brazil with any goal in mind other than to beat them. It’s tough to root against the U.S.A.’s arch-enemy, but nonetheless, well done, El Tri!
The New England Revolution “tapped out” Sunday night against the expansion Montreal Impact. They’ll be mathematically alive for a few more weeks, but it’s over folks, over. With that established it’s time to start looking toward the 2013 season and I can only hope that two things happen- first, that the players are told that for the remainder of this season they are playing for their jobs. Second, that the club cleans house above coach Jay Heaps. The personnel moves the club has made in the last 18 to 24 months are a- if not “the”- major reason why the club is going to once again be outside of the playoffs looking in.
Watching Shalrie Joseph play for another club on Sunday night was unpleasant. Partly because of the way he was unceremoniously dumped by the Revolution, but mostly because unlike the departure of Clint Dempsey or Michael Parkhurst from the club, Joseph was only making a lateral move. I think it would have been much easier to see him go a few years ago when Celtic offered $2m for him and MLS turned it down. At least then he would have been off to “bigger and better” things and the club (and its supporters) could have taken some pride in nuturing his talents to the point where he was read to play at a higher level.
The Revolution announced this week that forward Zak Boggs- who has been out injured all season- has called a halt to his career as a professional footballer to accept a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Leicester University in England. Boggs, a third year player, was the league’s 2011 “Humanitarian of the Year” and since joining the Revolution he has spent most of his non-soccer time doing research at Boston Children’s Hospital. Those who have been Revolution fans for a while will know that this is not the first time a Revolution player has retired to answer to a higher calling: In 2008, Revolution defender Chase Hilgenbrinck retired after four seasons as a professional (the first three in Chile) to enter the priesthood. Hilgenbrinck is scheduled to be ordained in 2014.
In case there was anyone who thought that the Rangers Newco was going to have an easy time of it in the Scottish Football League’s Third Division, chew on the following: In their first competitive match then needed a goal in extra time against Brechin City F.C. (Second Division) in order to progress out of the first round of the Scottish Challenge Cup, and this past weekend they needed a late goal to salvage a 2-2 draw against Peterhead F.C.- a middle of the pack club in the Third Division last year. They may yet win the division and gain promotion, but I wouldn’t bet any of my own money on it.
If you can name a team that’s been involved in a better set of back-to-back matches than the USWNT was against Canada and Japan, I’d like to hear about it. If I were Jurgen Klinsmann I’d have those two matches on a perpetual loop in the USMNT training facility.