Monday, April 09, 2007

Beasley and Bocanegra both notch goals at Craven Cottage -- Facing immminent relegation, Manchester City is suddenly playing really well. City has won three straight games on the road. They got an early lead as Joey Barton made some space for himself at the top of the box and delivered a crisp shot for the game's first goal. A little later, Barton got the ball just ahead of the center circle. American international DaMarcus Beasley raced past Barton, pointing to a spot up ahead for Barton to deliver the ball. Barton slotted the pass nicely, as Beasley took the ball, ahead of the defense, at the top left of the box. With one step Beasley set up the Fulham goalie, and then he neatly struck the ball to the far corner, for Man City's second goal. Late in the second half, with Fulham trailing 3-0, another American, Carlos Bocanegra, stepped up on a corner kick and delivered a perfectly snapped header towards the near post for Fulham's only goal.

These goals were great to see, for American soccer fans. Beasley is showing signs of coming out of a very long slump. His speed and touch make him a very dangerous threat. Though he and Landon Donovan are both quite small, they can offer the U.S. an element that other coutries lack. As for Bocanegra, his defense continues to be underwhelming, but he is still quite a threat when he gets to come forward. Sometimes, I wonder if he is badly out of position, as a fullback. Still, a winning team will need to get the occasional goal out of its defenders.

As for the other Yanks there: Brian McBride was a constant threat. Though he has retired from international play, it's always great to see McBride get into the game. Clint Dempsey was a late substitution, but had some good touches, with no obvious misplays. One hopes that Fulham finds a way to start getting Dempsey into the game much earlier. He needs to get the work. Not much point in being over there, for Dempsey, if he spends most of his time on the bench. Though Beasley came off within ten minutes of Dempsey's coming on, it was nice to see four Americans on the same pitch.

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