Seattle Sounders 2 – 0 Houston Dynamo

Seattle Sounders scored two first half goals to maintain their 100% start to MLS 2012, condemning Houston to their first loss of the season.

The goals came within four minutes of each other in what was a hectic first half, with Dynamo the dominant side but Sounders the more threatening.
An intense atmosphere at CenturyLink Field was matched by frantic football from both sides, which made for end-to-end lunacy in the first half and scrappy play in the second.
Houston had the early chances, Brad Davis showing great play on the wing and crossing dangerously to no-one, while Geoff Cameron struck over the bar from an inswinging corner.
Seattle looked better equipped going forward and, with Dynamo keeping the ball in areas that threatened Sounders little, they did break through on occasions, Brad Evans making a lung-busting run to be found with a brilliant through ball, only for Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall to stop the cross.
It was Seattle, though, who took the lead after 22 minutes. David Estrada – fresh from his hat-trick last week – volleyed from the edge of the area only for a Dynamo leg to divert the ball into the opposite corner.
And, soon after, Sounders doubled their lead. Defender Patrick Ianni was pushed over in the penalty area at a corner, and Evans stroked in the resulting spot-kick.
The two goals were the first Dynamo had conceded having won both of their first two games 1-0, which maybe hints at issues of scoring goals. Will Bruin looks to be an exciting player and has a fierce shot on him – he forced Michael Gspurning into a fantastic save early on – while Brian Ching’s quality is well known, but it is the service and general final ball that is the problem. Clear cut chances just weren’t created, although a spirited Sounders defence should take credit for that as much as Dynamo should be criticised for it.
Despite the goals, though, Houston did look the more impressive side. They started better and were playing some lovely football, just not in the right areas to really hurt Seattle.
And their defence, at times, was far too easily opened, Roger Levesque somehow skewing a shot wide from the edge of the area with just the ‘keeper to beat in plenty of space. Late on, Fredy Montero – a man well aware that he’s a Designated Player – held the ball up well and eventually poked a pass through to Alvaro Fernandez, who curled over the bar.
Seattle were never entirely comfortable as such but they certainly weren’t threatened, while Houston came away disappointed with the result and frustrated with the performance in the final third – but everything up to then was nothing but promising.

Picture from JoeBrokken

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Robbie Keane – a bright light amongst mediocre celebrations in modern football

Keane celebrates – and it’s brilliant

Robbie Keane scored his first goal for LA Galaxy recently, rounding the – frankly awful – goalkeeper after latching on to a David Beckham hoof from the halfway line.

The boyhood Republic of Ireland fan, it is widely thought, has been past his best for quite some time, falling out of favour at Tottenham and recently enduring a pretty torrid loan spell at West Ham.
So, to see the former-Leeds hitman score on his debut and proceed to perform his trademark celebration was lovely.

Some would say that Keane’s celebration is embarrassing, that in fact all pre-planned celebrations are sad and pathetic (see Starjnan for a perfect example). Some would also argue that Keane should spend less time on his stupid celebration and should focus more on the football – just get on with the game and stop wasting everyone’s time, you clichédprick.

Those are probably the same people who think that a mass brawl on a football pitch between players – in which no one is hurt – is anything other than compelling (and hilarious) viewing; they might also think that Emmanuel Frimpong’s words of wisdom for Samir Nasri on Twitter showcased the midfielder’s sheer arrogance, and it was therefore proof that young players need to keep their mouths shut and concentrate on their football ALL THE TIME. Not, you know, that he was just voicing an opinion or anything.  
These people need to lighten up.
The best celebrations have great impact. Julius Agahowa’s was nothing short of incredible and gave fans something to cheer about (as well as the actual goal itself). Benjani’s is very simple but at least some thought, clearly, goes into it. Alan Shearer had a trademark celebration and it was always a delight (unless you’re a Sunderland fan/Shearer-hater) to see him raise his hand aloft. In the same way, David Beckham’s – against Greece most famously – was full of impact – although somewhat ruined by Rio Ferdinand getting in the bloody way (not to mention the fact that the man stood behind Beckham – he didn’t mount him, thankfully – was Emile Heskey).
These celebrations put smiles on faces; some may make kids stand still in amazement; others will make fully grown adults want to rip their own hearts out of their bodies because of the sheer passion on show.

How can you not like a celebration
that gives you this kind of snapshot?

The modern football celebration has a pretty limited repertoire; a knee-slide into the corner; a fist-pump, usually followed by an arms-out-wide stance allowing a teammate to mount the scorer. These are tedious celebrations. (And don’t even get me started on badge-kissing).

So, surely in a sport that can sometimes feel like the narrative has been composed even before kick-off, a little bit of inventiveness – despite it’s slight repetitiveness – should be applauded?
In a car park full of mediocre Honda Civics, it’d be nice to see a classic Mini; it might be old, it’s certainly predictable in the modern world and it might, because of this, be a little bit lame – but at least it’s… it’s… well it’s something.
In a world full of badly executed knee slides, players being flattened by schoolboy pile-ons and loyalty-less footballers kissing the badge on their shirt in a vain attempt to get the fans on side – give me a cartwheel, forward roll and gun signal any day of the week.
Although perhaps best to leave the firearms part out of the move now that you’re in Los Angeles, eh Robbie?