DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU ARE TRYING TO AVOID SCORES!!!
Then again, if you are reading sports blogs trying to avoid scores you are a fucking dickhead.
On to the show…
The Pan Pacific Championship wrapped up this evening with the LA Galaxy def. Sydney FC 2-1
and Gamba Osaka def. Houston Dynamo 6-1
What have we learned? Basically nothing new. I think everyone knows that the J-league is on par with MLS and A-league is a touch behind.
We also learned that Gamba being further along in their pre-season and spending the last 2 weeks in Hawaii rather than the last 4 days paid off. They were obviously very serious about winning and it showed in their hustle.
We also learned that even very good teams can have fluke games. The 6-1 scoreline was cruel. Houston had a lot of hate coming from the woodwork and Gamba had just about every good bounce go their way.
That’s not to say Gamba didn’t deserve victory, I simply don’t think the scoreline was indicative of how close the game was. 3-1 or 3-2 would have been a fairer result. However, that’s not the end result.
We also learned that Bare is a hell of a player and someone needs to try to lure him to MLS ASAP.
We also learned that when you have little/no salary cap restrictions you can put together a technically adept side pretty easily as Gamba showed.
We also learned that Stuart Holden looks REALLY good out right. I am no Dynamo fan but for the sake of the currently RM/RW-less USMNT that Holden continues playing the way he did all tournament.
We also learned that trading Zach Wells was a REALLY bad idea. Onstad is simply looking old and slow right now. Maybe he just needs to shake the rust since Houston has been training for all of 4 days, but he is old and it may be that his time is up.
We also learned that LA is capable of playing decent football. The debacle on Thursday was an embarrassment to the club but they came out and played much better. Beckham looked sharp and Tudela continues the rock solid play he started to show at the end of last season.
We also learned that Bobby Boswell had no right getting a defensive player of the year award and we now have confirmation that he had a LOT of cover while be was in DC because he got TORCHED on a few occasions.
We also learned that Pat Ianni probably should be an emergency starter only. As poorly as Boswell played at times, Ianni was just not good at all. Slow. Poor positioning. Need I go on? If you don’t have either one of those two you are in trouble.
We also learned that Dynamo loses a TON of their dynamism (no pun intended) when DeRosario is out of the line up. He is truly a special player in the league. Kinda shocking that he doesn’t get more European looks. He’s a fierce competitor.
We also learned that this may be the last one of these. The field was shit and the crowds were equally shit. Thursday was bad but Saturday improved a bit. The crowd as announced at roughly 23K. Not horrible, but you know MLS/SUM was expecting more with Beckham in the house. If they can find a better venue it’s not a bad idea as all three leagues participating are roughly the same standard of play and could benefit from international competition like this as the styles of play are quite different.
However, with the turnout I don’t like the chances. Perhaps if the audience in Japan was big it will stay but with the gate as it is, it seems like a lot of effort to fly teams out for ‘OK’ turnouts in a building that probably costs quite a bit to rent.
That’s about all. Congrats once again to Gamba Osaka for coming in serious as a heart attack and really playing their hearts out to win. Their work and effort beforehand really paid off in the end.
I wouldn’t mind seeing it again next year, so long as LA isn’t a compulsory inclusion in the line up. Please make them start proving themselves on the field before throwing them into these tournaments.
UPDATE: I see a lot of hits coming in from Japan. I assume they are Gamba fans or fans of J-League in general. I just wanted to say ‘welcome!’ and to also congratulate Gamba on a well played tournament once again. Good luck in the regular season.