Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Dos a cero

Soccer takes the stage for a night.

Dos a cero

Sam´s Army celebrates the big win. (Paul Vernon/AP)
Sam's Army celebrates the big win. (Paul Vernon/AP)

Lots of results flying around tonight: La Salle over GW at Tom Gola, Drexel upsetting Northeastern in Boston, Dayton routing Xavier at home, Connecticut blowing out Syracuse in Storrs, and North Carolina exploding past Duke in the second half for a 101-87 triumph.

It was the first time in 457 games that Duke gave up triple digits, the last one having come against UCLA (100-77) on February 26, 1995.

(You might have noticed that the ESPN graphic said 2005. I saw that and thought it wasn't possible to play 457 games in four years. So I went to the Duke media guide and found the real answer.)

Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green are the first Tar Heels to go 4-0 in Durham in the Mike Krzyzewski era, which is also a significant milestone.

But for the last two hours before Dick Vitale blew out our eardrums, the office TV was tuned to soccer - specifically the United States-Mexico World Cup qualifying match in Columbus, Ohio.

In front of a packed house that appeared to have more Mexican fans than the U.S. Soccer Federation wanted when it placed the game in Columbus instead of a bigger market, Michael Bradley scored both goals in a 2-0 U.S. win.

The game played out much like many other U.S.-Mexico games have in recent years. Mexico had the better individual skill, but the U.S. played with enough defensive cohesion and got some big saves by goalkeeper Tim Howard. Howard's best stop came early in the game, when he denied a close-range shot from Giovani dos Santos.

There weren't too many great chances for either team in the first half, but the U.S. finally broke through almost on the stroke of halftime. Landon Donovan redirected a DaMarcus Beasley corner kick into a scrum at the six-yard box, and after Mexican goalkeeper Osvaldo Sanchez stopped the first attempt, Bradley thumped in the loose ball.

The second goal was prettier. In stoppage time of the second half, Bradley got control of the ball about 25 yards from goal, took a step forward and ripped it past Sanchez on a bounce.

On the whole, the game was not all that memorable, and there's a pretty good case to make that Mexico played the better soccer on the night. But I take three things away from the result.

First, it's worth mentioning that Bradley is the son of the team's head coach, Bob Bradley. Bradley fils is in the squad on merit, but you have to figure it made the father's night even better.

Second, this was the third straight U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier in Columbus that the home team won by a 2-0 margin. The first came in 2001, the so-called "Cold War" game that remains among the most famous meetings between these two in this decade, and the second came in 2005. Overall, the U.S. is undefeated against Mexico in games on American soil this decade with nine wins and two draws.

Finally, a shoutout to whoever that was in the Phillies winter hat whose face was smack in the middle of the camera shot as the teams took the field. I know that many of the Sons of Ben read this blog, so if you know who that was please let me know.

I can't leave this post without awarding a Line of the Day. I can't really do a boxscore line for Michael Bradley, so I'll give it goes to North Carolina's Ty Lawson - and not just because his slam dunk put the Tar Heels over the century mark. Though I wonder if Bojangles' will do its sausuage biscuit promotion anyway since the game wasn't all that far away from Chapel Hill.

I'll be back at around 6:45 p.m. tonight for live blogging of Temple-St. Joe's at the Palestra.


Name
Min
FG
FT
3pt
OR
DR
TR
A
S
TO
Blk
PF
Eff
Pts
T. Lawson
34
8-11
9-9
0-1
1
3
4
5
2
5
0
1
27
25

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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