Saturday night, illegally streamed CONCACAF WC qualifiers and Slovak beer

For all those who lie awake at night pondering existential problems like the meaning of Canadian identity and who should support our mens’ national side… take heart. Uncle Sam’s Army has the same issues. U.S. against Honduras at Soldier Field tonight reminded a lot of Stade Saputo last September 6, except on a much grander scale.

The guys in red were crammed into a small section immediately behind one of the goals, while the rest of the 61,000+ seats were for the most part completely blue and white.  I’d estimate the support was 80-20 in favour of Honduras. (Official attendance was about 56,000.)

But thankfully, that’s where the similarities with last September ended. After falling behind early (a goal I missed because I couldn’t find an online stream until the 17th minute) the U.S. gradually began to boss things. Landon Donovan blasted home a penalty just before halftime, and then Carlos Bocanegra made good on a diving header from a Donovan cross in the 68th minute. There were a couple of nervy moments at the end, but the Hondurans never looked like they were going to equalize, nevermind win.

I didn’t see this on television, but ESPN says that the Hondurans threw “cups of liquid” at U.S. keeper Tim Howard at the end of the match. Not to harp on this, but anyone who showed up in Montreal to support Canada last September probably isn’t surprised by that.

As a side note, Soldier Field makes for an absolutely fantastic soccer stadium. I guess it’s the smaller dimensions of the NFL field, but with the gridiron lines wiped away it could have passed for any top European venue (at least on television). The fans are pushed right up against the pitch on all sides.

And in even better news for the Anybody But Honduras campaign, arch-rivals El Salvador (these two fought a soccer war after all) pulled off a stunning 2-1 win against Mexico at home. Thank you for that too, Justin TV.

Watching this match made me decide I want to attend a WC qualifier in Central America before my clock is punched. Not with Canada mind you, I’d be too concerned for my personal safety, but just as a neutral posing in whatever happens to be the home venue’s colours.

When Cuauhtemoc Blanco converted a dubious penalty in the 70th minute to equalize, he decided in all his infinite wisdom to taunt the crowd with some sort of slingshot gesture that resulted in a barrage of garbage thrown in his direction. He’s lucky the pitch was surrounded by a chain link fence because I swear the El Salvadorians looked like they would have eaten a Mexican had one been thrown up into the terraces.

He ended up getting his though, as El Salvador converted mildly less dubious penalty of their own in the 85th minute. Here’s the latest Concacaf results. For the record, I still think we’ll see Costa Rica, the U.S. and Mexico in the top three, and maybe, just maybe, El Salvador pipping Honduras for the playoff spot.

As for the TFC game Saturday afternoon, I’m not going to touch it. I’m leaving that to certain other authors of this blog who I’m sure have much more to say than I do.


One Response to “Saturday night, illegally streamed CONCACAF WC qualifiers and Slovak beer”

  1. […] be a cracker. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be on television in Canada, so once again, grainy Internet streams and Slovak beer will be the order of the day.  Mexico vs. USA kicks off at the ungodly hour of 4pm ET, while Costa […]

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