Hey y'all! Been a long time lurker, but here I go with my first ever soccer related fan post. Man oh man, what a match. May have been the most exciting thrilling, exhilarating, heart-attack-inducing match I've seen since the US vs. Algeria game in the 2010 World Cup. Here are my immediate reactions:
1. Neuer: Man I loved the effort. He was constantly pushing the attack near the end of the game, and did a great job starting the breakout from his own end. Also made some key saves, and I'm not just talking about the PK against Lukaku.
2. Cech: As much as I love Ribery, Cech shoulda been man of the match. If not for his brilliance, we'd a won 3-2 or maybe even 4-2. Tip of the cap to ya
3. Ribery: Excuse my mostly uninformed american opinion, but Franky is a straight up G. Very strong with the ball on his foot, but you all probably know all that. For this match, it looked like he purchased a time share on the left side of the goal. He was there, pushing it in (giggity) all....match....long. Also that strike he made was thunderous! Even the Chelski fans near me were shrugging their shoulders saying "nothing you can do there." Absolutely gal darn right there isn't.
4. Good to see Kroos shake off the yips when it comes to PKs. Also, good to see the rest of our PK takers stay calm and drive the ball home without over thinking where Cech was gonna go.
5. Man, did we miss Schweini. I hate making broad sweeping assumptions (like the one I'm about to make), but I just don't see us giving up the second goal, shorthanded mind you, with Schweini holding it down. His return cannot come soon enough.
6. Mandi: He needs to cut the diving crap. I know it's a viable soccer tactic and most everyone does it, and it WILL occasionally draw a free kick or a yellow, but it just bugs me. This is probably just a personal thing with me. He spends more time in the grass than a bottle of Ortho Weed-B-Gone. Kinda hard to keep up the sh*t talking with all the Chelski fans at the bar when you have to defend those dives.
7.I know people are going to over analyze Pep's tactics, or formations or preparation (Peparation?) but this win transcends all of that. It was about heart. It was about 11 guys refusing to give in even though they were down after 120 minutes and only one minute of stoppage time. Let's not dig into Pep too much, this win was neither his fault nor HIS doing. It was one helluva match, and that is just fine by me.
8. Soccer isn't exactly the top tier of my sports fandom (probably because I didn't really play it once I got to high school), but I can absolutely appreciate good sports drama when I see it. This match did not disappoint. Some of my observations and analysis should be taken with this in mind. I probably couldn't tell the difference during a game between a 4-3-3 or a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1. My knowledge is pretty much just limited to personal skill, the level of which for this game was incredible. Great game on both sides.
Overall, this was an absolutely fantastic match! To anyone reading this who lives in the Washington DC area, I highly recommend going to Ireland's Four Courts in Arlington. One of the few bars in the area that actually showed the match, in English, and in high def. Even though I was the only red shirt in a sea of blue, it was a great experience. The match was awesome, the atmosphere was just as great. Being the only one hootin and hollerin after Javi's goal was THAT much sweeter!
P.P.S: Congrats to Pep for another win over Moronho. Man, I just do NOT like that guy