Some quick thoughts on the game…
I hate the playing on turf but Jozy Altidore might be thankful he played on it in the coming years. Why? Because the turf forces him to develop tight, sharp control. And unlike Eddie Johnson, I think Jozy’s got it and knows how to uses his big frame to shield the ball and lay it off when he should. I’d like to get his thoughts on playing on the turf in New York in his blog.
The highlight of the first half was a give and go at the top of the box by the Red Bulls. With his back turned, Reyna blindly played a ball into Wolyniec, who played it back to Reyna as spun and rushed towards goal, a nice one two, but Reyna’s low shot to the far post trickled past Cannon only to be cleared off the line by Garcia. He would clear the ball again just before it crossed the goal line late in the game as Wolyniec headed over the out rushing Cannon. Nick Garcia was a very wise pickup for San Jose, he’s steely eyed and strong in the back, there’s no messing around with him.
There was no Angel in this game, as he remains out injured for New York.
Dave van den Bergh stood out throughout the match as a player who can hold on to the ball and take players on, cutting in and around the Earthquakes in a crafty manner many a time. He also might be the player in the MLS who can speak the most languages, counting English, Spanish, Dutch and German, as part of his repertoire. He’s played for some class teams in class leagues, having played for Ajax in Holland and Rayo Vallecano in La Liga in Spain.
The game was uneventful for the most part, although Jozy looked like he could get lose at any moment. And he did. A through ball, the weight of the pass just right, put him through and he went at the defender and glided by only to be clipped at the edge of the box. Penalty for New York. Mike Magee stepped up and powered the ball into the upper left corner.
There would be one more goal too. In injury time, the ball was thrown into Jozy as he sort of posted up in the box, which he let run on to Wolyniec, who again laid back a perfect ball off a give and go, this time Jozy first timed the ball sharply to the near post and the ball clicked off the post and into the goal. Joe Cannon had no chance really.
The artificial turf creates an ugly game overall. Sure it forces teams to play sharp passes and move the ball quickly, but you can’t really play through balls or chip the ball into the space for a player to run on to. Or you can, but the ball must be played with the perfect weight. It’s like you’re playing one of those air hockey games, where the puck floats on top of the surface. It’s like shuffleboard, or that Olympic sport where they slide the puck and players rush to slow the pace of the puck as it courses over the ice.
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