Most of us can only imagine the crushing misery and heartbreak Panamanian players felt last week as their World Cup dreams drifted off into the Central American night. Truly, it must have been wrenching.
But a couple of the Panamanians got on a plane, got past their profound disappointment and professionally went about the task of getting on with it. And their clubs were the better for it.
One was in Los Angeles, where Panamanian No. 1 Jaime Penedo made two absolutely outstanding saves (among four saves overall) to preserve a scoreless draw against San Jose and put the Galaxy into a better spot for its season finale visit to Seattle. So, well done, Panamanian sir.
Unfortunately, one of Penedo’s teammates one-upped him. That was Gabriel Torres, the young Panamanian attacker whose work for the Colorado Rapids helped get the DSG Park gang a 2013 playoff spot.
Torres’ hold-up work was great all night as the Rapids eliminated Vancouver, all but officially claiming a post-season berth. (Plus, the Rapids still have a chance to move out of the fourth- or fifth-place spot, into the far more desirable third-place position.)
The club’s first Designated Player leveled Saturday’s match with a well-taken 41st minute penalty kick after Rapids defender Drew Moor was dragged down inside the 18. But it was Torres’ brilliant 77th minute strike, yet another equalizer after the visitors had pulled ahead again, that truly had everyone around suburban Commerce buzzing.
What a strike! Both in terms of greater meaning (for the club) and it terms of individual showmanship for the 24-year-old, who joined the Rapids in August. Talk about unstoppable.
Here are the highlights from DSG Park, all the goals in the Rapids’ telling 3-2 win, including Torres’ fantastic work.
In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.
But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.
[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]
In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.
For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.
From JPW on Merseyside:
“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”
The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.
And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.
Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.
If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.
Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.
Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.
“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”
So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.
As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.