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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Clint Dempsey”

They’re not the world champs for nothing

“He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!”

Apparently someone forgot to tell Spain this was supposed to be an exhibition.

The reigning World Cup champions dismantled the U.S. on Saturday, 4-0.

The friendly, before more than 64,000 at Gillette Stadium, was the first time the two teams have played since the U.S. shocked Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Spain clearly did not forget.

Santi Cazorla scored twice, and Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Torres also scored for Spain.

As for the U.S., Landon Donovan (illness) and Carlos Bocanegra (coaches decision) did not play, while Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Steve Cherundolo only saw action as second-half substitutes.

The U.S. was clearly holding players back in advance of Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener against Canada.

While winning a tournament is more important than winning a friendly, we have to wonder what the thinking was in scheduling Spain just a few days before the Gold Cup.

The only way the U.S. team is going to get better is by taking on teams like Spain, but if the top players don’t see the field, where is the value? Presumably the experience was still there for the second-level players on the team who saw game action, so that’s a positive.

And it’s not like Donvan, Dempsey, Bradley, etc., are lacking in big-game experience.

We still would have liked the U.S. team to enter the Gold Cup on a bit more of a positive note, as this loss puts more pressure on the team to put on a good showing.

Because if they don’t at least make the finals of the Gold Cup, today’s loss against Spain could have a lasting impact that the team was not expecting.

Oh boy, now we’ve done it

Well, we did it Cleveland – Peyton Hillis is the new cover boy for this year’s Madden NFL game.

Oh crap.

Hillis picked up 66 percent of the vote in the final of the 32-player tournament to easily beat Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick.

We tried to warn people – the Madden Curse is real. And now it’s going to roll through Cleveland like Godzilla through Tokyo.

And now Hillis is infected with something worse than the cheese touch.

The Browns better hope Montario Hardesty’s knee is OK and we have no doubt general manager Tom Heckert is hastily reordering his draft board now that the news is out.

Of course, there are some heretics out there who think this is OK. Check them out at your own risk here, and here.

***

The Browns are reportedly (emphasis on the reportedly part) in discussions with Minnesota to trade for the Vikings’ first-round pick (No. 12) in tomorrow night’s NFL Draft.

According to National Football Authority, the Browns are targeting two players and, if they land one of them with their own pick at No. 6, they will be interested in trading with Minnesota if unnamed player No. 2 is available when the Vikings go on the clock.

While that sounds good on paper, the cost of the reported deal is steep: the Browns would give up their second-round pick this year (No. 37) and their No. 1 pick next year.

Now, the Browns clearly need all the help they can get. But is adding a second player at the cost of next year’s No. 1 pick – which could be quite high again as the team is working with a new coaching staff installing a new system – a price worth paying?

We don’t think so. If the team was ready to win now and that one extra player would help put them over the top, we could probably get behind the deal.

But as the team is currently constructed, we’ll take a pass. And we expect the Browns to do the same if the Vikings actually do come calling. (h/t to Cleveland Frowns)

***

Congratulations to Clint Dempsey, who scored twice in Fulham’s 3-0 win over Bolton on Wednesday.

Dempsey is now the Cottagers’ top scorer in the Premier League era with 33 goals. He’s also just one of two U.S. players to score in multiple World Cups, scoring against Ghana in 2006 and England last summer.

You can see video of his two goals here.

***

More good news out of Kent State, as the women’s golf team will play in the 2011 NCAA Women’s Golf Tournament from May 5-7.

The Golden Flashes, winner of their 13th consecutive Mid-American Conference team title, will be one of 24 teams to participate in the Central Regional at Warren Golf Course where the Flashes placed second in October at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Kent State is the 11th seed in a regional where UCLA, Duke, LSU and Arkansas are the top four seeds. The top eight advance to the NCAA Championship at Traditions Golf Course in Texas from May 18-21.

A Solid Start

The U.S. worked England for a 1-1 tie in the opening game of their group at the World Cup. All in all a solid effort from the Americans and an OK result for both teams.

After Stevie G’s goal just four minutes into the game, the Americans could have lost some energy and composure, thinking they were in for a repeat of their opening game of the 2006 World Cup. But they held it together and kept battling, until Clint Dempsey sent a shot in on England keeper Robert Green, who saw the ball bounce off his hands and roll easily into the goal.

The U.S. kept the pressure on, with Jozy Altidore missing a great shot that bounced off Green and the left post. The Americans received solid goalkeeping from Tim Howard, who settled the defense down after Gerrard’s early goal and was the man of the match, holding up especially in the second half when Wayne Rooney got going.

Even though both teams walked away with a point, and if they both keep up the intensity they showed today you can easily see them winning out in the group and each finishing with seven points, the Americans clearly will look at this as a win, while the English will have to face the following from back home:

Well, you get the picture.

For a country with such outstanding talent, for some reason England just can’t seem to find a quality goalkeeper. And for a team that already seemed to have a fragile psyche because of expectations from back home, you have to wonder what kind of carry over affect this game will have. They have until Friday to figure it out before they take on Algeria in their next game.

The U.S. takes on Slovenia that same day.

The fun has just begun.

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