the tanner ba'

A Tale Of Two Saturdays

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

 

Dingwall, Soon-to-be-Independent-Scotland

Dingwall, Soon-to-be-Independent-Scotland

In the morning, everything went wrong…

Never would I have been more pleased by a painfully dull, nil all, away point.  At the conclusion of the first half, it looked as though I might get my wish- at the very least.  Interim manager Steve Ferguson and club captain Richard Brittain selected- barring injuries- the starting eleven that most supporters had been pining for:  Boyce was in, de Leeuw was in, Balk was in.  Even Tony Dingwall- favorite of a stalwart few on the supporter’s message boards- made the bench and got himself ten minutes at the end of the match.  Surely, the goals would come in the second half.  And they did…

…for Hamilton.  All of them for Hamilton.  Former Ross County man Martin Canning opened the scoring barely two minutes into the second half.  Then came two goals via penalty kick from Mickael Antoine-Curier- a player I believe Ross County had once tried to sign- the second of which came as the result of a straight red card shown to County’s Uros Celcer who was adjudged to have denied a “clear goal-scoring opportunity” as the last man back.  As if to add insult to injury, Hamilton’s last goal came in injury time and was scored by Old Age Pensioner Jason Scotland.  The former Trinidadian international made his professional debut in…1996.

So, still no manager. Still no points in the league.  If there’s any bright spot it’s that the next two matches are against two clubs- Motherwell and Aberdeen- that are also off to poor starts.  Not as bad as County’s but not good.

Toronto, Ontario, Northern United States of America.

Toronto, Ontario, Northern United States of America.

…in the evening, everything went right.

Obviously everyone was tuning in to see the debut of World Cup hero and Designated Player signing Jermaine Jones, but before he played we- and he- got to see the Revolution put on a clinic featuring both individual brilliance and breath-taking teamwork.  First, before of the fans in attendance could take their seats Lee Nguyen did this.  He’s been doing things like this all season.  In fact, his play in 2014 should get him a recall to the USMNT, serious consideration for league MVP, and offers of bigger money to play abroad, but none of these things are going to happen.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe the publicity brought by Jermaine Jones will shine a little more light on Nguyen’s play, but at the moment the Revolution are very much the red-headed step-children of MLS.

Only twenty minutes later Kelyn Rowe turned back the clock to 2013 when he did this.  I suspect that this clip will not make the highlight reel of Michael Bradley or Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik.  While both Nguyen’s and Rowe’s goals were the result of slack passing by Toronto, which led to turnovers, and then not closing down the player with the ball, the final goal (in the 58th minute) was more representative of the match- New England dominating Toronto on the flanks through Rowe and Bunbury with striker Charlie Davies giving up a “good” scoring chance to give Bunbury a “great one.”  Bunbury, who made an 80 yard run to get into the play, made no mistake with the ball from Davies.

So, the match was over by the time Jones came on in the 65th freeing Jones to simply work on his fitness, get in sync with his new teammates, etc..  Jones will probably get a half on Wednesday against Sporting KC and will probably start against Chicago on the 7th- and won’t that be…interesting.  Jones may not take New England to MLS Cup this year, but if the club can play as well as it did against Toronto yesterday and have Jones in the line-up as well New England might just make some noise in the playoffs and would have to be a club to watch in 2015.

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