Thursday, April 28, 2011

Clint Dempsey - Fulham's career high EPL scorer

With 2 goals vs Bolton on Wednesday, Dempsey became Fulham's sole top scorer with 33 goals in the modern Premier League era (which began in 1993, but Fulham didn't make it until 2001).  Dempsey's first goal was truly awesome - with great technique, he was able to locate a cross and power in a beautiful side volley into the left top corner from about 15 yards out.  The record breaking goal was more an instance of making the correct run at the precise time to tip in a pass right in front of goal.

Its funny that these records just sneak up on you - I didn't even know that this record was in reach until he did it.  His 33 goals just tips Brian McBride's (and Steed Malbranque's) previous record of 32.  This comes on the heels of his record for most Premier League goals scored by an American in a season (10, also besting McBride).  But while that record was historical only for Americans, this record is an English one (although he's also the only American to set this kind of mark for his respective top flight club).

I decided to look into Fulham's history to see how its possible that 2 Americans have made such a huge impact on Fulham history in such a short time.  Apparently, before finally getting to the EPL in 2001, Fulham has only been in England's top division for two stints (1949-52, 59-68).  No wonder they named a pub after McBride.  Hopefully they find something to name after Dempsey, when its all said and done.  (Perhaps a statue to replace that full color MJ ridiculousness, eh?)

Quick thoughts on Real v Barca yesterday.

- Just a few years ago, I would've never been able to see all 4 of these Classico matchups.  Soccer is here to stay in America!

- Messi is the best player of this generation.  Though I always root against Barca, watching him is invariably pure delight.  That 2nd goal was one of those times when the greatest player shows up on the greatest stage and creates the greatest moment that is indelibly imprinted in our memories.

- Barca was a bunch of cowardly divers last night.  Playing off the incorrect notion that Real has been fouling them like thugs instead of playing football (a notion that is easily disproven by looking at the number of foul calls as well as shot attempts by each team - both of which are essentially even in the first 2 games), they started diving and making the most of clashes.  Three that come to mind are obviously Dani Alves' acting which got Pepe sent off, Pedro's face grab when he and Arbeloa merely touched shoulders and Busquets face grab when Marcelo simply boxed him out.  It was unbecoming of a team that has the ability to play beautiful and it should be punished.  Corrupt FIFA will do nothing, obviously.

But the fix for this is extremely simple.  The NFL does this for every game.  Postgame review and punishment.  Since Dani was barely touched by Pepe, Pepe's red card should be rescinded and Dani should be suspended for simulation.  Any fake injury should be punished.

While I'm at it, here's more obvious changes:  During the game, more officials are needed - 2 on the field, 2 more behind the goals.  Instant replay on all goals or during stoppage of play in key moments.  Technology developed for offside calls.  An allowance for different kinds of foul calls in the penalty box - indirect free kick, etc, instead of straight penalties for everything.  No running clock.  There's more, but I'm tired of talking about it.

Here's hoping Kaka pulls off a hat trick at Camp Nou.  Otherwise, go Man U.

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