Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dempsey Got a Goal! Way to go Clint! OK, I was promising that I would shift my focus to American sports, but I can't ignore Clint Dempsey getting his first E.P.L. goal. With Clint Dempsey, it's never pretty, but he just seems to have a knack. He's no gazelle, but he possesses a sudden burst of acceleration, an instinct for scoring, and a touch with the ball that serve him well. Today, he bulled his way through the middle of the Liverpool defense, pushed the ball to a teammate on his right wing, and then knocked in the return pass, for the only goal in a 1-0 Fulham victory. It's been a struggle for Clint, four months spent just working his way into the Fulham starting lineup. Today's win secures a place for Fulham in the E.P.L. for next season. Hopefully, Dempsey will be rewarded with a regular place in the lineup, and a chance to continue his arc to stardom.

Speaking of American internationals: My brother reports that he was on the No. 2 subway line in New York, headed from Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan on Wednesday morning. He was engrossed in reading an article in the New York Times, on the new sports stadiums being built in the New York metropolitan area. As my brother got up to exit the train, at Chambers St., he noticed that the guy sitting directly opposite him, reading the Times' sports section, was none other than Captain America -- Claudio Reyna.

The former U.S. national team captain, the finest soccer player this country has produced, went completely unrecognized by the other riders. As he exited the train, my brother stared, probably open-mouthed, at the seated Reyna -- while other riders probably wondered what my brother was looking at. I guess Reyna probably appreciates that he can ride the New York subway in such anonymity, but it seems we have a long way to go before American soccer players reach a status we can call "stardom." Meanwhile, Reyna's New York Red Bulls are in action tonight, vying to continue their stunning start, having won all four of the team's games in the young MLS season.

Tomorrow's Chelsea-Arsenal match (11:00 EDT on FSC) could well decide the EPL title. Chelsea needs a win to stay alive in the chase, or else Manchester United has its first title since 2003. Not quite as long a run as the New York Yankees have had without a championship -- however, in 2003, no one would have imagined that it would be another four years until the next one for the world's most famous football club. At the other end of the table, I'm personally delighted by West Ham's thrashing of Bolton, which moves them past Wigan and out of the relegation zone. It will be a pleasure to see the exciting Carlos Tevez playing for the Hammers in the EPL, next season.

Speaking of the New York Yankees -- I would never want to jinx a no-hitter (I may have already done that once this year, when I left a message for a friend after six innings of no-hit ball by John Maine), but if you're near a television, turn to the Yankees' game on FOX. Update: Chien-Ming Wang lost his perfect game on a home run in the 8th inning.

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