Saturday, September 11, 2010

Score First and Win

The First Goal
As the Philadelphia fans counted down the number of beers Peter Vermes drank in one night before being over the limit and subsequently under arrest, I nervously sat on my couch, and thought over and over again about the one stat that rules all of soccer.

The Wizard this season have been a slave to the rule. Almost every 2010 World Cup game bowed down. The whole of MLS, and Europe follows it. What is this ghastly stat that I so feared? Not who took the most shots on goal, not who was getting the most yellow card, nor was it who was going to get the most corner kicks (as if!).

No, the one stat that matters most is: Who scores the first goal. The first goal rings a loud and clear death toll for the team who has a big 0 after the celebrations are complete. Oh sure, they might get one point in the end, but those elusive three points have been knocked completely out of reach.

Take my home team, the Wizards. Not once have they won a game this season when the other team score first. Of course conversely, if they don’t score first they are completely and utterly screwed.

Hope without Hope
I try to tap down those feelings of being done for. I’m sure most soccer fans out there do too. For a long time, I’ve tried to ignore that stat. Teams come from behind all the time! When that first goal is scored again my side, I think, “This will be the time my team displays remarkable luck, courage, or skill, and prove those fucking stats wrong.” But after reading the stat so many times (on Du Nord usually) and dwelling on them for so long, I’ve let it get to me in the end.

So I was in the kitchen, washing out my old Blue Moon pint glass and generally ignoring the game, when I heard the announcer start to clatter. I ran from my kitchen to see what was the matter, away to the TV I flew like a flash, in hopes that the Wizards were running a celebration dash.

Oh joyess joy they were. All of a sudden I was back into the game. That stat about us not being able to win if we didn’t score first was out of my head, we were tied! Anything could happen! This was the it!

Of course the Wizards left with one point, and all the Philadelphia fans drove home drunk.

The Best Wins Are the Ones Where You’ve Given Up Hope
All this week I’ve pondered my curious snap. I gave up hope completely after Philadelphia scored the first goal. I’ve never completely stopped believing before. Am I just getting more jaded, less of a soccer fan? As I wondered, I realized that some of my best soccer memories happened when the team I was rooting for came from behind to win.

There are famous examples (Liverpool’s amazing three goal in the Champions League Final, although they needed PKs and if it had been for points, they would have left with one) and examples that I lived. My favorite stat defying moment came when the Wizards were down by a goal in extra time in Arrowhead (07 I think). Amazingly the Wizards scored twice in stoppage time to take all three points. It was a moment that made me fall in love with live soccer and the Wizards.

Another great come from behind Wizard’s win in 07:

I’ve also started to pay more attention to games where teams come from behind to win. It really is an amazing feat. Now as the season winds down, it will just get harder to win. Games will get tighter, and when a team that really needs 3 points gets scored against, the bell that is tolling? Well it is tolling for their playoff hopes.

What is your favorite come from behind win? There is obviously more to life than the Wizards, link or describe your favorite victory in the comments.

Ending Music Fun
Because I just saw them in concert and our currently my favorite band (and have a new CD coming out in less than a month), I’m leaving you with some Ghostland Observatory. If you ever get the chance to see them live, you are doing yourself an incredible laserriffic disservice if you don’t.

Also, if you are using the most amazing add-on ever, AddblockPlus, you should turn it off on Du Nord. There are some fun adds and information that is being hidden from you in the left hand column.

I’d also like to add it’s an honor to be writing for Du Nord and I look forward to the coming months! Bruce got me started soccer blogging years ago when I ran AdvantagePlayed, and I’m really excited to have the chance to write for all of you.

Till next time, Graham out (


Blogger The SACK Lunch Team said...

USA vs Mexico 2007 Gold Cup Final is my favorite comeback win of all time with USA vs Honduras 2005 Gold Cup Semifinal a close second.

8:44 PM  
Blogger blackswan photography said...

what an inspiration!

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earthquakes versus the Galaxy in the 2003 playoffs. After a 2-0 LA win in the first game, LA scored two in San Jose to take a 4-0 aggregate lead. Then the Quakes scored four in a row and pulled out a golden goal in extra time. Best soccer game I've ever seen.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Danny said...

St John's coming back from 2 down with under 9 minutes to play against Indiana in the NCAA quarterfinals in 2008. The whols vibe in the stadium changed on the first St. John's goal and once the second went in we know the game was ours in OT.

11:06 AM  

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