Monday, July 11, 2011

Nacional da Madeira

The Portuguese season gets underway this Thursday. Well, not really, sort of, yeah it doesn't. However, this Thursday a Portuguese team will be in action in a competitive match for the first time since the season and Taca ended as Nacional da Madeira takes on FH of Iceland in the first leg of a second round UEFA Cup play in. Nacional is a good club. They've got some good young players in Joao Aurelio, Candeias, and Zarko Tomasevic. Aurelio has been linked with a move to FC Porto. Candeias was a junior at Porto but was never really given a chance there, which is a shame as he's a solid player. Tomasevic is a good defender, his play last year earned him a call to the Montenegrin national team. This is a leg that Nacional can certainly win and move on from. If they do win, they'll join Vitoria de Guimaraes in the third round of qualification. They've got the quality to make it to the group stage, it will certainly be difficult with teams like Sevilla, PSV, Roma, Lazio, and other good teams entering in the tournament in the later stages before group play begins. Making it to the group stage would be a big accomplishment and the extra tv money and gate money would certainly help the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo began his development at Nacional before making his move to Sporting.

The Portuguese season gets underway in August with the Super Taca which will feature FC Porto taking on Guimaraes. It'll be here before you know it.

I can see Perovic fitting in very well at Nacional. I'd love to see him sign with them.


Monday, July 4, 2011

"Kill The Game"

In Jeff Lemieux's RSL preview piece on, he says the Revs will try to "kill the game" in Salt Lake this weekend. Notice I used the word "will" instead of "should"; this is not an opinion piece. It's a beat-writer-type of article. The kill-the-game attitude comes from Nicol. Here's an excerpt:

"'The game was dead,' said head coach Steve Nicol. 'It was ideal for us. It's exactly what we spoke about before the game. Try to kill the crowd, try to take the heat out of the game and that's exactly what we did until the free kick that was given against us (which led to Seattle's first goal).'"

Why is a professional team's ideal game "dead" and ambition-less? I could take this as unimaginative coach-speak, but it's actually very descriptive of their style.

Later in the piece, Nicol says of the upcoming RSL game: "It's a bit of the same as we did at the weekend...we want to go there and kill the crowd, kill the game, try and get ourselves ahead again and this time hopefully things will go with us and we'll stay that way." It seems that Nicol can find a different reason to kill every game he's involved in, as long as he's not facing a team of eleven cones. His attitude toward offensive production is actually funny: the Revs will "try and get [them]selves ahead," and "hopefully things will go with [them]" as if they are powerless to affect their scoring production, and need to just "hope" they get lucky every week.

Again, I could choose to read this as if it's typically vague coach-speak, but I know better, because the team really plays just like this. When RSL came to Gillette, they played their B team because they were resting some of their best players for the Champions League final. RSL still won 2-0. This time it could be uglier. But hey-- maybe "things will go with us."