Much improved US; Not so for RSL
USA v. Italy
Incredible play from the United States as a whole. Nearly every player left it all on the field - quite literally. I watched the match in my sister in-laws basement in 88-inch High Definition glory! In attendance with our small group was my Italian brother in-law from Milan and his friend who just flew in from Italy. The mixed partisan crowd added an element to watching that was entertaining. Each time the Italians would scream for the Azzuri, we would yell even louder for the Red White and Blue.
Well done boys. You made a statement with your much improved effort. Dempsey and Conrad, as new comers, looked fantastic. With Ghana's result over the Czechs we have a lifeline, setting up for a crazy Thursday. I'm sure all of us will be calling in sick.
RSL v. Houston
An event filled weekend caused me not to be able to catch Real's game in Houston live. I should mention that KSL, the local NBC affiliate, earned my huge respect on Saturday. When most other NBC channels were showing Game 6 of the Stanley Cup, KSL was showing RSL's match live. I believe this is the first time I witnessed a local MLS telecast preempting another national sporting event. Well done KSL!
Getting home late I watched the entire match in fast forward - stopping only for goals and other points of interest. Thus, I didn't get a whole lot out of it except for the scoring changes. My impression as the play moved frantically back and forth across the screen is that RSL is having the same struggles as earlier this season. One or two costly mental errors in defense - resulting in goals - and choking in the attacking third.
Returning home this Saturday let's hope our boys can reset their minds and get back to winning ways.
Spain v. Tunisia
I figured it badluck that I would skip Spain's first match - assuming they were going to be their normal World Cup lousy selves - against Serbia. It served me right to think so as they demolished the fellow european nation 4-0 in a dominating performance.
Two-thirds the way through today's match against Tunisia I figured I was get my just-deserved as Spain dominated play but couldn't pull the trigger on a scoring chance. But, as the Spaniards mounted a come back on Raul's second half follow up goal and then won on Fornando Torres' sublime touch around the Tunisian keeper. Torres also put away a penalty for the brace.
I was glad I skipped an afternoon of work.
I realize that their coverage has been far from flawless, but I do want to point out something that ESPN is doing well during this World Cup. They talk about the US team at every possible chance. Every World Cup live I've seen and nearly every half-time show has had a segment on the US National Team.
That is one thing, I think, that ESPN is grasping this time around. Most of the people watching do care about the American team and by constantly reminding the viewers that we're still in the tournament it can only boost their ratings for the US games. Well done ESPN.