Saturday, August 2, 2008

It All Fits But Could It Work? Neville likes Starbuck's

Yes, it seems like a good fit but how do you get there? Colorado Rapids' skipper, Pablo Mastroeni, smiled at my idea of him playing for Everton next season. They have no players, they need to sign up to six new faces, he is looking to move to Europe and play and he wouldn't cost them as much as European players when there is controversy within Goodison Park about the transfer budget. All seems like a slam dunk, right? Well, life is more complicated. Clearly, it is too much pressure on one player to expect him to perform so brilliantly in one game that Everton coach, David Moyes, would sign Pablo on the spot. "I just don't think about the end of the season," Pablo said after training yesterday. "I'm thinking about the next game." And he has things to think about because it looks as if he may be back to a more accustomed defensive midfielder role with some changes in the defense which could see Mike Petke get a much welcome outing. More accustomed role, maybe, but Mastroeni has probably just got used to playing at the heart of the defense. Pablo revealed that he did have the chance of playing for Italian team, Brescia, two years ago, but that the MLS didn't exactly give him a free pass. This time, he won't have to worry about the league because he is out of contract at the end of the season. Moyes did say he is very well aware of American players. After all, he has national team goalkeeper, Tim Howard, to keep him aware of trends in the US player market and he did sign one Brian McBride to play for the Blues. Another point in Pablo's favor is that he wouldn't have to worry so much about the dreaded work permit in the UK because he has an Italian passport which should allow him to work freely anywhere in the European Union. See, it does all add up.
Moyes and team captain, Phil Neville, were very complimentary about the set-up at Dick's Sporting Goods Park and the overall health of the MLS. Moyes was lavish in his praise of the pitch at DSG Park, saying it was one of the best ones he had ever encountered and he had impressive words about the overall state of youth soccer in the US. "The youth teams here are much better than the ones in England and Scotland," he said. England international Neville, who said he was enjoying Cherry Creek and the fact there is a Starbuck's on every corner (there is one in all of Liverpool, apparently), said he was very much looking forward to the game tomorrow. "The quality of the football here is very high," he said."Chicago were very athletic and skillful and we are expecting a tough game on Sunday." Everton lost 2-0 to the Chicago Fire earlier this week.
A couple of other things to note. Moyes said that influential midfielder, Tim Cahill, will not be fit to play tomorrow. The upside is that the Australian walked up and down our co-ed game this morning and might just have noted my left foot rocket into the top corner. Well played, Class VI, great effort all around. Finally, don't be surprised if Preston Burpo gets a start in nets tomorrow.

1 comment:

Joey said...

Well, it was a fairly entertaining match, as expected. There were plenty of unoccupied seats, but my section felt pretty full and the stadium didn't necessarily feel empty. Anyway with the breeze it was a nice evening to sit outside, which was a pleasant change.

Was nice to see Tim Howard (and Bouna) get in for the 2nd half. The Rapids made a couple of pretty glaring defensive mistakes, which doesn't lend confidence given that the team has presumably been working on just this aspect of their game, coupled with the fact that Everton is not exactly a club in peak fitness. There were plenty of offensive chances for the Rapids, tough luck (or lack of finishing competence) doomed them.

But nice to see that the quality of the field and facilities are allowing the Rapids to host top caliber international teams.