The Americans are coming - Yanks do in Chelsea!! In a driving rain at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium, Fulham rallied to gain a tie against the world's most expensive soccer team. Credit for the tying goal went to a combination by Fulham's American stars, Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra. A Fulham free kick gave Chelsea defenders fits as it bounced through the penalty box, before McBride hit a one-touch, grass-cutting shot that almost found the back of the net. Only a terrific, stretching kick save by Hilario denied McBride, but the rebound came right to Bocanegra, who knocked home the game's biggest goal, with less than 10 minutes left to play.
The game's finest bit of skill came early in the second half, as Frank Lampard chased down a loose ball in the penalty box. After sighting teammate Didier Drogba in front of the net, Lampard, in one motion, gathered the ball, turned and chipped a perfectly-placed cross to the head of Drogba. The Ivorian striker, Drogba, headed the ball home to put Chelsea ahead of a Fulham squad that had seemed the the more likely side.
In the end, the Yanks, McBride and Boca, were able to work their magic and deny Chelsea the victory. In fact, they might have done even better. In stoppage time, McBride was probably in position to gain the victory for Fulham, but he was unable to react in time to play a nice cross, as it sailed past him, right in front of the goal. Though he may seem a little lead-footed for the E.P.L., McBride is clearly Fulham's most dangerous player, and needs to find a way to get more touches on the ball. For tonight, his efforts, and Boca's memorable finish were enough to win the day for Fulham, if not actually win the game.
Back in the U.S.A., in American Football, the New York Giants play tonight here against the hometown Redskins. The Giants have the chance to gain a certain amount of pride and "earn" a playoff spot with a win at FedEx Field. I'll be there, cheering on the Jints, and will provide a first-hand, Fisch Fry report for those who don't get the NFL Network.
Finally, I hope to close out the year (or start the new one) with the much promised and much awaited next chapter in the saga of "My Crazy Neighbor."