Thursday, June 25, 2009

Determined to win now or die, so give a Hokie hi...

Angels 11, Colorado 3

Saunders has become a favorite of mine. Despite his general lack of stuff, he's been an excellent pitcher for the Halos for two seasons now, really 2.5 if you're counting 2006 and 2007 in there as well. Hokie Joe went 6 scoreless innings before giving up a long, long homer to Garret Atkins. The next pitch resulted in a single, and Joe got the hook. The Angel bullpen managed to give up a pair to the Rockies before closing out the game.

It's hard to complain too much, particularly as I didn't see much of the game. Vlad hit a homer, hit a double, managed three RBI's, and still bounced into a double play in the only at-bat of his I saw. Typical. Seriously though, his hair looks fantastic now that it's gone.

Also, Torii Hunter's sacrifice fly in the 6th was one of the weirder plays I've seen. The ball really wasn't deep enough for Aybar to score, but he went anyway, and the ball inexplicably shot through the basepath between third and home. But not, like, near home. Kinda right in the middle. Very strange...I didn't get much of a replay, but that throw was either realllly bad or it hit the mound and bounced weirdly.

Dan Haren went 7 innings with 8 strikeouts, giving up two runs, and lost. Arizona's awful. Thanks to that, the Rangers and Angels remain tied atop the AL West.

USA 2, Spain 0

Soccer has always been one of my favorite sports to watch, although my fondness for hockey has subdued my futbol fetish a little bit. Regardless, after defying some rather steep odds to make the semifinals, the USA played well enough to win against the #1 ranked team in the nation, Spain. Spain, of course, had a 35 game lossless streak, and that loss had come in 2006.

The US is, well, the US.

United States coach Bob Bradley made an excellent interim coach, but has been a poor game manager since. His starting lineup construction has been suspect, particularly when starting guys like DaMarcus Beasley, who hasn't been a world-class player for 2 years, if he ever has been. However, Bradley managed a reasonable lineup. Davies, who's the fastest kid I've ever seen, netted the first goal on a nice shot horribly misplayed by the Spanish goalie. Goaltending tip #29: If the ball hits you in the hands, it should be an automatic save. The guy was moving the wrong direction as the ball came in, trying to cheat for far post, and paid for it.

The second goal was from Clint Dempsey, probably my favorite American player at this point. Landon Donovan had a wide open shot and yet, for no apparent reason, decided to force a pass through four Spaniards. Somehow, the ball ended up paused in the box and Dempsey buried it. Again, the goalie seemed to be getting into the proper decision when he just decided to give up on the play. If you're diving across the goal, dive across the goal. Don't stop halfway.

The Americans were bailed out early and often by goalie Tim Howard. Howard had 6 saves on all 6 Spain shots on goal, while also spending a good deal of time yelling. Goalie is the best position in sports.

This is only a watershed moment for US soccer if they win the next one. The final is on Sunday against either Brazil or South Africa.

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