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Ecuador vs. Chile, 2-3

I’ll keep this brief.  Ecuador pretty much dominated most of the game despite a couple of players in midfield playing sub-par soccer and an aging defensive line.  Unfortunately, they could not hold the 2-1 lead for long.

On offense, Ecuador was efficient.  They worked their passes well and created many opportunities for scoring and came up short a few times.  On defense, however, they were slow and static.  They never attacked the ball and Chile made them pay with some good strikes.  Hats off to Chile for not letting up despite some signs of giving up in the first half.

Mexico vs. Brasil, 2-0

Admittedly I didn’t watch much of the game, still in disbelief of Ecuador’s deserved loss.  The second Mexico goal was nice.  Brasil played their brand of beautiful futbol, but were unable to penetrate the Mexican backs. 

Overall, two surprising results in the Group B opener.

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peru vs uruguay, 3-0

Peru played one of their best games in recent memory in their tournament opener against a Uruguayen squad that just couldnt get it together.  They were hitting on all cylinders: their short-pass game was excellent, they had some nice execution on the defensive side, and took advantage of their opportunities on offense.

My peruvian friend Joe’s main complaint of the last 10+ years of the Peru national team was that they only played for personal glory; individuals had the skills but never meshed well as a unit purely for selfish reasons.  None of that showed tonight.  Some of the players had opportunities to take selfish shots, but opted for some well timed passes leading to the victory.

Uruguay didnt help themselves, however.  For a lot of the game they just played futbol with frustration, which was mirrored appropriately enough by Diego Forlan.  He played lackadaisical for the first 15 minutes of the first half.  When they gave up the first goal, he took some errant shots rather than letting the pay develop a bit more.  His teammates were no help;  for a player that’s better suited with a ground attack, it seemed that most of the passes in his direction came from the long air strike.

venezuela vs. bolivia, 2-2

It’s a bit astounding that my complaint of this game is how unispired it was, considering there were four scores.   But that’s about the size of it.  It seemed Venezuela was content with trying to hold their early lead and dropping their men back for defense, only to give up the advantage on an own-goal in the 39th minute of the first half.

To Venezuela’s credit they scored two impressive goals.  Both were the brainchild of Giancarlo Maldonado, scoring the first one and setting up the second goal to give them the lead in the second half.  He was the only player from both teams with any intelligence on the field.  Unfortunately for him, his team often would not play in the same pace, leading to a visible fatigue and consequent substitution with about 15 minutes left in the match.  It was again on the 39th minute of the second half that Bolivia scored the equalizer.

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i haven’t posted anyting in weeks,  life sort of gets on the way of free time.  so in order to feel e-productive i’m doing preliminary documentation of this year’s Copa America hosted by Venezuela.

Ecuador is in a tough group, rounded out by Brasil, Mexico and Chile.  I can honestly say i have no idea how the national team will perform.  Lucky for us the tournament will start on Tuesday, with Ecuador playing their first match on Wednesday.

One look at the Argentine squad and there is no doubt they are the faves.  Even la brujita Veron is in the team!  Not enough can be said about Messi.  And Riquelme’s recent performance in the Copa Libertadores makes him one to look for.

here’s the Ecuador call ups for the Copa America:

Goalkeepers:
Cristian Mora
(Liga de Quito), Marcelo Elizaga (Emelec).

Defenders:
Ulises De la Cruz
(Reading), Neicer Reasco (Sao Paulo), Oscar Bagui (Olmedo), Ivan Hurtado (Atletico Nacional), Giovanni Espinoza (Vitesse Arnhem), Jorge Guagua (Colon de Santa Fe), Renan Calle (Liga de Quito).

Midfielders:
Edison Mendez
(PSV Eindhoven), Luis Antonio Valencia (Wigan Athletic), Segundo Castillo (Red Star Belgrade), Edwin Tenorio (Liga de Quito), Patricio Urrutia (Liga de Quito), David Quiroz (El Nacional), Walter Ayovi (El Nacional), Luis Caicedo (Olmedo).

Forwards:
Carlos Tenorio
(Al Saad), Felix Borja (Olympiakos), Cristian Benitez (El Nacional), Felipe Caicedo (Basel), Pablo Palacios (Deportivo Quito).

If I’m as lazy as i plan to be, I should be able to catch every game, with hopes that I will be commenting on all matches.

Good luck to Ecuador and all nations involved!

this post will not contain any pictures.  but you will just have to trust that i indeed have the mother of all pimples on my butt.

i feel it at every moment, everywhere.  when i walk, when i sit, especially when i get up from seating.  i’m afraid of going to the gym.  when i pretended to do squats earlier today, i felt the pimple expanding.

i tried to look at it in the mirror, it was in such a specific spot i could not catch a glimpse of this monstrosity.  but i can feel it; it’s tangible if i reach for it from the back and and around the front side.  it’s that big.

i’m wondering if this is even a pimple at all.  i was sitting on my ass a lot during the weekend from the long nights.  i know i sat in a somewhat uncomfortable position often, looking for my comfort zone.  i can’t remember if this thing was on my body yesterday, i do remember making a comment about it last night.

as i type this i’m sitting in a holy uncomfortable chair.

i can’t wait to rid this thing of me.

 photo taken from ESPN.com

So with that heading I’ve fulfilled my “ass-kissing of Lebron James post-Game 5” internet quota.  Other equally funny statements have been:

We have liftoff on the LeBron era; even MJ never quite did anything just like James did to Pistons in Game 5  from MSNBC.  Jordan comparisons are too easy and they show how little writers have progressed since the nineties, living with the false pretense that the league never moved on talent-wise post-MJ.

It was the only time he looked human all night from ESPN, referring to his post-game press conference.  Not true, His fatigue really showed throughout the game, even shooting an errant airball in OT.

LeBron: I Questioned You, Thanks for Responding from a Fox Sports Blogger who goes on to rant about LeBron having a grip on the league for years to come and how he has always known this would happen.  The header just reeks of self importance.

Simply marvelous from the Sporting News.  Pretty accurate, really.  He went on to be called “LeBron Roget” due to his far-from-limited description of his physically hurt state.  Nice touch.

And that is why you, dear fan, shouldn’t have given up on the NBA playoffs from AOL Sports columnists.  This, without a single mL of cynicism on my part, is the winner. 

After the Cavs finished off the Nets, I was convinced Motown would have no problem disposing of Cleveland.  In my mind NJ was the better match-up basketball-wise.  Detroit came away with two home wins that I thought for sure would hurt the Cavs psyche; two very close encountersin which LeBron’s leadership ability was criticized and dissected in papers and sports shows nationwide.  I tuned out of the seriesfor that reason (and just life in general), even though the Pistons never did win those games convincingly.  So I had a “woah-is-me” moment when I learned The Cavs tied it up.  So I started watching from the fourth quarter last night only to find (surprise!) it was another tight game.  And things really unfolded.

I always felt Jordan was full of it in his infamous fever game,  where he played with a temperature of over 100 degrees against the Jazz.  I know he felt ill, but we already knew what he was capable of.  LeBron, however, has never come across as hyperhuman;  he was never a copy of a copy of a copy.  He was always LeBron, with his superb games that lacked the dominance of a Kobe.  His playing through fatigue is reminiscent of playground full court games; the kind of game where everyone seems equally tired except one person stands above the rest.  LeBron was he/she. 

He scored the last 25 Cav points through both OTs and some of the fourth.  Twenty-nine of the last thirty Cavalier points.  And he was tired as hell.  If every other sports star shows superhuman Clark Kent qualities in their historic performances, Lebron showed traces of anti-hero Batman: beaten down, facing more than many adversaries, simply not stopping, sometimes messing up, refusing to let go, totally in-your-face.  And it was an awesome sight.

For the sake of the playoffs, I hope the Cavaliers finish the Pistons off for good at home.  The last thing we (me, actually) want is a Detroit appearance in the Finals.  And hopefully he can screw the West for good measure.

(photo taken from ESPN.com)