After just 12 seconds of Stoke City’s 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday, there was utter delirium inside the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke’s goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had scored.
From the kick off Saints gave the ball away, and as Stoke knocked the ball back to Begovic he struck a booming clearance forward. That clearance turned into the opening goal, as Saints defenders Jose Fonte and Dejan Lovren let the ball bounce through to Polish’ goalkeeper Artur Boruc… or so they thought. But the ball bounced off the surface and zipped up over Boruc’s head and into the net.
Despite his incredible achievement of scoring from almost 100-yards away, Begovic was humble afterwards as he recalled the crazy moment.
“It’s a cool feeling but it is a fortunate incident,” Begovic said. “I feel bad for Artur Boruc when that happens but it’s a good point for us. Hopefully we can keep the confidence going. It does not make a goalkeeper look good and after it I did not want to celebrate against him. Hopefully I can get a couple more!”
The blustery conditions made it a tricky afternoon for both ‘keepers, and Begovic conceded that the wind played a massive part in his goal.
“We had to graft one out in the end with the conditions,” Begovic said. “It’s the worst conditions you can play in. The wet you can deal with but the wind makes it difficult. You don’t know where the ball is going to go.”
As for the man on the receiving end of Begovic’s freak goal, Southampton ‘keeper Boruc would rather forget all about it.
“I don’t want to remember it anymore,” Boruc said. “I blame the wind for that. I’m really sorry for my team-mates and our supporters but what can I say? What happens, happens and I need to bounce back. I promise to get those two points back.These kinds of things happen to goalkeepers. It has happened before and will happen again. That’s the life of being a goalkeeper, it is not always beautiful. I look forward to the next game.”
The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.
My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.
2018 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)
Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.
Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:
“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”
Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.
Sticking with the orange and blue color combination which has served them since inception, the shield has FC in the top left corner, Cincinnati running diagonally left-to-right in blue script on white, and a winged lion holding a sword as the primary icon.