July 29, 2007

Atlanta-Cruz Azul throughts (aka It's raining blue)

Fun night out at the RE/MAX tonight. As I try to dry out, here's a few random thoughts:
  • Fun atmosphere at the game tonight. The Cruz Azul fans were great, and there were tons of them. It's always nice to get weird looks when you're wearing the home team's colors. When we countered their chants of "Azul" with chants of "Rojo", good times ensued.
  • With their season kicking off next week, I think Cruz Azul will be working on defending set pieces in training over the next few days. They struggled all night on them. McManus scored off a corner, but it was called back. Lancaster scored on another one with a nice header, and there were many other dangerous chances. It was definitely on set pieces that Atlanta looked most dangerous.
  • That said, the Cruz Azul counterattack is high quality. They looked dangerous a few times, and then won in the second half on a great break after an Atlanta corner. El Matador struck again, as the attacker was able to penetrate deep into the Atlanta defensive third before getting an uncontested cross off.
  • Macoumba Kandji was the most dangerous player on the field in the first half. Can we get Robert Stack and Unsolved Mysteries on the case so he can play in the real games?
  • I was glad to see the switch to a 3-5-2 late, but I'd like to see it tried with 2 attacking center mids instead of 2 defensive ones. Rios and Rivillo combining with the 2 forwards would be interesting to see. All too often, when the team switches to 3 in the back, they still bypass the midfield in favor of the long ball. It'd be nice to use the numbers advantage in midfield.
  • It was nice to watch the game without the music during the run of play. The PA announcer also did a good job overall with the bilingual announcements. I'd like to see that continued. If you're going to cater to the Hispanic market by bringing in a team of Cruz Azul's stature, give those fans the same game day experience when the come back to USL games. Anyone serious about soccer in America at this point knows that the game is spoken in 2 languages.
  • I wish the fans had been thanked more for staying out in the downpour. Very few people left when the storm started, which made it kind of a shame when everyone bolted for the locker room at the final whistle. The team should clap to the fans after everything is said and done, I've always thought that was an extremely classy thing to do after games.
  • Other than missing Borgetti and Torrado, this was pretty much the first team for Cruz Azul. Even with the semi-ugly second half, a 2-1 loss against a team of this caliber is a fine performance. Let's hope that this will prime them for the USL stretch run.
There may be more later, but I'd love to hear from anyone else who took a bath at the RE/MAX tonight. Hit up the comments, folks.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

After seeing Kandji play,do you think he could play in a higher league than USL? I know he is inexperienced but he is still young.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, besides hearing from the players first hand, your blog is the next best thing (I like it even more than the official 'Backs site). You cheer the team unconditionally, while being very objective about everything else - and you guys do a good job of reminding everyone that these players are hard working men - all with a nice sense of humor. I'd rather read your updates than usllive's broadcast...

Longshoe said...

Thanks for the comments. After everything else, we're still just fans who want to see the games.

Kandji is inexperienced, but he has all the tools to be very successful. He needs consistent playing time first somewhere before you can tell too much. Hopefully that will be here in the ATL...

The thing that stood out about him last night was his 1v1 ability. I wasn't sure about him playing on the right wing, but he was causing the Cruz Azul left side problems the whole time he was on. I thought playing Kandji and Moore on the same side might be a defensive liability, but it was never really exploited.

Anonymous said...

Let's sell Kandji to Cruz Azul for a few million and a 4 year contract for a home and away series. It should be easier for him to get a work permit in Mexico.

Longshoe said...

We might be able to sell Kandji in exchange for finishing the stadium...

I keed, I keed...

If the team can't get the work permit issues sorted out, they should allow Kandji to move on while making a profit on the deal.

Anonymous said...

Kandji will probably never play for the Silverbacks. It looks like they are just showcasing him for a possible sale. If it's that hard to get a permit in this country, he should go elsewhere to start his career.

More Cowbell said...

I think it's impressive that when the ticket prices go above $10 that Westside 109 watches games on their computers. That's hardcore fans indeed. That's excusing the 3 or 4 real members who still forked the dough and came.

Longshoe said...

They didn't even have the option of watching the game on the computer, the Silverbacks didn't put it on USL Live. The only thing they could do is park on I-285 and try to watch over the bridge.

The friendlies seem to be hit or miss on USL Live. Carolina has showed theirs with Cruz Azul and Chivas USA, but Portland didn't show theirs with Preston North End. The Silverbacks aren't alone in this regard, but I wish more would follow the Railhawks' lead.

Anonymous said...

As far as work permits go, It probably took Beckham and Blanco all of 48 hrs to get theirs. Big money and politics.

Longshoe said...

My understanding is that it's not just a work permit issue, but an immigration issue as well. It's a little more complex than what Blanco and Beckham faced.

I don't know when this particular process began, but you ordinarily get some kind of response within 180 days.

More than anything, I just feel bad for Kandji because it's obvious the kid can play, and he deserves his chance.