Saturday, June 17, 2006


As of about 2am this morning I am 28 years old. To be honest, it feels no different than yesterday except today was a really good day.

Victoria woke me up this morning with breakfast. Scrambeld eggs, sausage, toast and pancakes. Very nice. I loved it. Also got to cuddle with her a bit and watch the beginning of the Ghana v. Czech Republic match.

Watch Gyan score the first goal 1:08 into the match. The fastest a goal has been scored in any 2006 World Cup match up to this point. Not to mention the Czechs were HEAVILY favored. Even after that goal and a 1st half where Ghana completely dominated the pitch, the Czechs apparently still didn't show up for the 2nd half. The Black Stars got a penalty kick late, but missed it. They did get that second goal in the last 10 minutes of the match. Kingston, the Ghana goalie had a couple great saves late in the match but Ghana beat the Czechs, 2-0 giving the United States a fresh life.

Tony came over at noon and Scott came over at 12:30. I made some Welsh Rarebit which turned out terrific. Added some caramelized onions to the sauce and tossed some Italian sausage on top. The only thing that would have made it better is if it were English sausage but I have no idea who sells that around here. Perhaps Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad but I didn't want to go that far for it on my birthday.

We watched the USA-Italy match while enjoying lunch. The Americans have never won a World Cup match on European soil. The last guy to score a goal for the US on European soil? Brian McBride in 1998 (87th min against Iran in a 2-1 loss).

Now onto the match. The match started quickly with both teams showing quite a bit of energy. It was great to see this from the United States after they looked really lackluster (I'm being really kind there) against the Czech Republic. Still, in the 22nd minute, Alberto Gilardino scored off a header for Italy. It was a great quick pass right in front of the net that was headed in. 1-0 Italy and the we (Scott, Tony and myself) were beside ourselves. 4-0 over 115 minutes. Sad.

Ahhh but then we got some help. In the 27th minute a shot was crossed over to the right post and Cristian Zaccardo of Italy tried to clear the ball. Well it hit off the wrong side of his foot and went right into the net instead. That's it. Own goal. 1-1 tie.

THEN THE TROUBLE STARTED. A minute later, Daniele De Rossi elbowed Brian McBride in the face and busted him open like a pinata, earning a deserved red card. A bloodied McBride cleaned himself off and returned to the match.

The Italians are known all around the world for being the best actors on the pitch. They are really great at diving (sometimes without even being touched) and the refs tend to just play into their hands. Such was the case when just before the half, Jorge Larriodana (that joke of a referee) gave a straight red card to Pablo Mastroeni of the USA for what was, at worst, a foul.

Still, like I said, the Italians are great actors and the extra tuck and roll by Andrea Pirlo was apparently enough. The play? Both players were running towards an open ball. Pablo slid in and caught Pirlo on the ankle, tripping him up. He didn't raise his cleats and catch him any higher than his ankle. Pirlo hit the ground, grabbed both legs, rolled over and screamed out in pain. The ref immediately pulled out the red car and all of a sudden it's 10 men vs. 10 men.

Two minutes into the second half, Eddie Pope made an identical tackle on Alberto Gilardino and he too was shown the red card. Not a yellow (which was his second) then a red...just a straight red. Now we're down to NINE MEN on the pitch!

Even with only nine men on the pitch we still dominated the match and DeMarcus Beasley sent a goal through the net about midway through the 2nd half but it was called off because Brian McBride was between the shot and the keeper and he was offsides. So a 2-1 win is taken back because McBride was between the shooter and the keeper? I don't agree with that rule at all.

So we have a referee, Jorge Larriodana, who was suspended in his own country for being corrupt and for inconsistencies who somehow got a job at the World Cup. You have the Italians, filled mostly with Juventus players who are being investigated for betting on football matches, locking refs in rooms when calls didn't go their way and paying money to be sure they get refs that are more biased towards them. I'm going to make any connections. I think you can do that yourself. We got the 1-1 draw but it should easily have been 2-1 and considering how we dominated even when we were down 9 men to 10 I can only imagine the result if we had all 11 men. Embarassing. I hope that man never referees another match in his life. He likely robbed us of making it to the elimination round. Of course, we didn't help ourselves by not showing up for the Czech game ready to play.

NOW back to my birthday!

The four of us headed to Batter Up! for dinner. We met Becky there and she gave me a great photography book for my birthday. I thought that was really sweet. Had myself the Double Shrimp clubhouse. Grilled shrimp, lettuce, tartar and Batter Up sauces and bacon on three slices of bread. YUMMY!!

After dinner it was down to Brunswick Lanes in CV for some bowling. I was way off tonight scoring a 99 and 101 but I did start the night with back to back strikes. I just should have quit there.

Now we're home and I'm about to go take a shower, relax and finish up the evening with the wife. I'm going to make any connections. I think you can do that yourself. Heh.


At 7:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great birthday! We were thinking of you all day, but neglected to call, sorry. We've been really busy lately. But, I am glad that you enjoyed it and were able to do some of your favorite things.



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