It started with Ross County F.C. hosting Manchester United F.C. at the finally completed (capacity 6600)
Victoria Park Global Energy Stadium. With the newly installed pitch looking and performing beautifully, County was on the scoreboard by the 5 minute mark when recent signing Kevin Luckassen (he’s only 19!) scored for the home side. United tied the match later in the half time via a free kick from Davide Perucci. Ross County were having none of it, however, and Alex Cooper (who is looking more and more like the player Liverpool bought from Ross County as a teenager) gave the hosts another lead early in the second half. Ryan Tuncliffe would eventually score for United to salvage a draw for the visitors, but even after that several County players- most notably Gary Glen and Stuart Kettlewell- had chances to win the match for Ross County.
Sure, neither Eric Cantona nor Peter Schmeichel took the field at any point, but it was still a score draw against the reserve/academy side of one of the top five clubs in the world and that’s nothing to sneeze at!
Perhaps the most intriguing development of the day is that Ross County manager Derek Adams was true to his recent comments about County adopting a more direct/attacking approach to its matches. The signing of Luckassen, Klok, de Leeuw and Maatsen had already hinted at this new tactical tack, but lining up in a 3-5-2 formation rather than the more common 4-1-4-1 seen in recent years confirmed it, and it worked quite well. Hopefully there’s more of this kind of innovation to come!
Last night, in a match that can only be called “physical” and “contentious” (okay, maybe it could also be called “poorly officiated” as well), the New England Revolution dropped two late goals on the Columbus Crew and remained in contention for the last playoff place in the Eastern Conference.
The four yellow cards handed out in this match (two to each side) only hint at the bad blood that was on display between these two clubs last night- there could have been at least four more, a red card or two, and at least one penalty kick. In the end, however, the Revolution- especially Dimitry Imbongo- kept their cool and the winning goal eventually came to them off a corner kick in the 91st minute. The goal came off the head of captain Jose Goncalves and it must have felt pretty good as it was his first of the season and it also took some of the sting out of the own goal he scored last week. Goncalves has generally been acknowledged as one of the best defenders in the league this year and it was good to see him smile after clinching the match. Or perhaps young Diego Fagundez should get credit for “clinching” this match as he scored in the 94th minute after taking possession of a pass from Lee Nguyen and cooly slotting the ball by Andy Gruenebaum. Nguyen also got the assist on Goncalves’ goal, so he might have shaken off his midseason funk- and wouldn’t that be good news?!
USMNT v. El Salvador tonight- Sunday may turn out alright as well!