Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you that these would be done on an extremely irregular basis. But let’s do what I normally like to do and just move on from the bad and look towards the good. The bad? I missed three months. The good? I’m back.
Since it’s been so long let me remind you what this is all about. On the podcast and most of our other writings we try to be objective. We try to support things with stats and video evidence. That ain’t gonna happen here. These are MY takes. They aren’t watered down and they don’t even always make sense. For the most part they will be NSC related, but like you’ll see in today’s piece, not always. Ben made me start a twitter (almost made my 3 things I hate list) so if you don’t like this, let me know publicly there. That’s what it’s for right? Alright folks, here we go.
Three Things I Love:
Jimmy Ockford and Forrest Lasso
I’m on the record about a billion times saying that I like defensive soccer. The team that made me first fall in love with soccer (Chelsea under the first Jose stint) is probably one of the best examples of this we’ve ever seen. As we saw against Bethlehem on Saturday, you cannot lose a game if you don’t give up a goal. That game was frustrating, it was obnoxious, it was the kind of game where you just knew it wasn’t going to go your way. But that’s the type of game where most teams let in a goal and end up losing all three points (see Tampa v Birmingham as evidence). Instead we held them to four total shots, three of which were saved, and two of which were rather routine. Pickens may have won MOTM, but it was the big dogs in front of him that did the heaviest lifting.
A Horse In The Golden Boot Race
Despite being weird myself and not really caring if every game is won 1-0, I’m understanding of the fact that most people aren’t like this. Goals are exciting, and we saw firsthand last year what a lack of them will do to an otherwise good soccer team. On that note, why don’t we revisit some thoughts from last year? How much of the “A Gary Smith team can’t score enough to really win” narrative came down to just having guys who simply couldn’t cut it playing up front? Simply put Daniel Ríos has been a revelation. He’s been neck and neck for most goals scored nearly all season, and looking at goals from open play he’s actually leading with 13 goals compared to Asante’s 11. I think the guy has all of the skills to make it work at the next level. He moves well off the ball, he’s strong holding the ball up, he can play an incisive pass and most of all he’s clinical in front of the net. We’re spoiled to have a forward this good in the USL and we need to enjoy it every time he suits up.
Games at Nissan Stadium:
There has been a fair amount of dialogue about how terrible life is going to be when we’re playing at Nissan Stadium. Talk about how big it is, how empty it will feel and how quiet it will be. That dialogue is point blank wrong. The viewing experience is better in every way. The sightlines are better, you can see more from the higher vantage points and the light boards and screens pop more (especially when the yellow graphics are up). Perhaps most importantly the sound carries and is trapped better than at First Tn. The Supporters section was in full voice and it absolutely influenced the atmosphere in the rest of the stadium. Don’t get me wrong, I love First TN Park. It’s a great venue, and has been a great home for the USL seasons. But Nissan feels more professional and at least to me, feels more like home.
Three Things I Hate
Stepping on a dead bird on my birthday
Today is my birthday. I’m now 31 years old. Now I don’t care much about birthdays. I’ve always felt older than I am, so aging doesn’t really bother me in anyway. That being said, I still make an effort to have an especially good day on my birthday. When you are in a mood as often as I am, this kind of stuff helps. So stepping on a dead bird approximately 50 steps into my 60 step commute to the office kind of got things off on a bad foot. I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious and I have to admit I’m wondering if this is an omen of some sort. Perhaps it relates to the Chelsea game this afternoon, perhaps it’s my own impending doom? Most likely it just means I got bird blood on my shoes. Anyways, Happy Birthday to all you Leos out there.
Look, injuries are a part of sports. They are bound to happen, and they always suck when they do. That being said there are a few different ways this can go down, particularly when an opposing player is involved. Most frequently, we see guys who are making an earnest play, and had absolutely no intention whatsoever of even causing a foul, much less so injuring someone. That was not what we saw in the game against Hartford. Jorgensen was beat cleanly, he knew Reed was going to be able to find space, and he fouled him from behind purposefully. Now even there, I’m not willing to say he *injured* him purposefully. There is a huge difference between a professional foul, and injuring someone on purpose four minutes into a game. But there is a right way, and a wrong way to handle things. When you hurt someone you realize it, admit it, and deal with the consequences. You don’t shrug your shoulders and pretend you got the ball. I found the actions to be either cowardly or supremely naïve. I don’t ever want to be either of those things.
Look, the station just sucks. It’s bad for a lot of reasons, but I’ll keep them soccer specific for the sake of this article. They really just have absolutely no interest in portraying things in a factual manner when it relates to the stadium, the owner, or MLS in general. The latest version of this is Nancy Amons piece on “Ingram’s dark money” in the Mayoral election. She starts off the article by asserting that Ingram is breaking contribution laws by shuffling money around in businesses and making contributions larger than $1600. The only problem being, that this is legal. Now we can have a conversation on that if you’d like, and I’m all for overturning Citizens United. But that isn’t the world we currently live in. So if Ingram wants to make a contribution to a candidate from a company, he can, and it is 100% above board. Nancy inconveniently arrives at this point In the last sentence of her article. Perhaps the dumbest part of the whole piece is that she just focuses on Ingram. This could’ve been an interesting topic if she’d looked at other Nashville power players and paid attention to where their money was going (think Beaman and the Transit vote). But that isn’t what she did because she (and her bosses) were only interested in telling a particular part of the story. Normally I’d encourage you not to give her the time of day, but I think it’s important to stay up on what she’s spouting, so you can combat it if you hear in in conversation or see it on social media.
Amons' article can be found here.
So that’s it for your second installment. I hope you enjoyed it, and hope if you didn’t you’re super public about it so I can tell the other guys I’m not going to do it anymore. In lack of twitter outrage, I’m going to try to produce these on a monthly timeline from now on. Coming up with the parts I hate is usually easy, but this season has actually been pretty good about giving me things to love.
The views expressed here are the sole opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Speedway Soccer as a whole.